After the black death tragedy of 1348, London never imagined it could experience a worse plague again. On September 26, 1665, the Great Plague of London hit its population hard, causing 68,596 deaths. Some researchers argue that the actual number was over 100,000. Other areas bordering London were also affected.
The peak of the Great Plague
The week of 19-26 September 1665 was the epidemic’s peak, recording up to 7,165 deaths from the Great Plague. Because the poor had no means to flee, they were forced to stay in their houses marked with a cross symbol. The houses were locked for 40 days. No one was allowed to travel by ship. These actions caused London to appear deserted during the day. Dogs, cats and other domesticated animals were killed, and anyone who held on to them was punished accordingly.
How the Great Plague came into London
The Great Plague was believed to be the aftermath of the civil war and religious rifts among Londoners. Some people blamed it on the order of the planets and the appearance of a comet in December 1664. Doctors assessed the mode of transmission and came up with herbal remedies to combat the plague. Londoners skeptical about researchers’ sentiments saw it better to put charms and amulets to keep it at bay.
People affected by the plague exhibited symptoms like fever, painful swellings in the groin, neck and armpits, vomiting, bloody coughs and muscle cramps. These symptoms could worsen, leading to death. However, those who were asymptomatic in the first few days survived.