The London Plague of 1665

Completely irrelevant to modern warfare (we hope), but they have confirmed that the plague that hit London in 1664 was the bubonic plague. I was not aware that there was much question about this. Still interesting stuff based upon DNA:

DNA Confirms Cause of 1665 London’s Great Plague

DNA from Ancient Skeletons Reveals Cause of London’s Great Plague

A few notes:

  1. Plague killed nearly a quarter of the city.
  2. Killed more than 75,000 people in the space of a year.
  3. Caused 8,000 deaths were week at its peak in September 1665.
  4. Black Death killed an estimated 50 million people during the 14th century.
  5. More than 780 cases of the plague were reported in 2013, including 126 deaths (mainly in Africa).
  6. They are still examining to the DNA to see if the disease has changed over time.

Also related (but older articles):

Scientists fine DNA of first-ever bubonic plague, warn of new outbreaks

  1. Justinian’s plague (541-542 AD) was bubonic plague.
  2. Around 2,000 people a year get affected globally.
  3. When rapidly diagnosed and treated, it reduces mortality rate from 60 percent to less than 15 percent.
  4. Strains of the Yersina pestis bacterium in the first plague are different than later plagues.
  5. “These results show that rodent species worldwide represent important reservoirs for the repeated emergence of diverse lineages of Y pestis into human populations”
  6. “New sophisticated strains of the disease…could break out in the future.”

In Ancient DNA, Evidence of Plague Much Earlier than Previously Known

  1. The bacterium was infecting people as long as 5,000 years ago.


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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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