The Great Plague Scare of 1720. Disaster and Diplomacy in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World
Cambridge University Press
Part of Global Health Histories
Date Published: February 2023
From 1720 to 1722, the French region of Provence and surrounding areas experienced one of the last major epidemics of plague to strike Western Europe. The Plague of Provence was a major disaster that left in its wake as many as 126,000 deaths, as well as new understandings about the nature of contagion and the best ways to manage its threat. In this transnational study, Cindy Ermus focuses on the social, commercial, and diplomatic impact of the epidemic beyond French borders, examining reactions to this public health crisis from Italy to Great Britain to Spain and the overseas colonies. She reveals how a crisis in one part of the globe can transcend geographic boundaries and influence society, politics, and public health policy in regions far from the epicentre of disaster.
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