In the 14th century, a horrible disease struck all over the world. The people called this illness the Black Death. Also in the villages of England, people died. The disease was big and painful. Infected people first broke out with red ring shaped marks with dark center spots on their arms and necks. They would run high fevers. They became even more ill, and then they died. In two and a half year, the plague had killed over one third of country's population. People were sick everywhere. Whole families were wiped out. Whole villages were wiped out. They thought it was a punishment from God for being wicked. Love, anger, and hot baths were to be avoided; and, based on the belief that bad drove out bad, potential victims would spend a half-hour daily crouched over a latrine to build up their resistance. Once one contracted the plague, death was only a question of time. Physicians stopped visiting the infirm out of fear and the obvious futility of their efforts. Peasants died young from malnutrition and the simplest of diseases. At first, people locked their doors trying to protect themselves. They carried flowers to ward off the smell of the dead and dying. The skies were filled with ashes as people burned houses filled with the dead. Villages filled with the dead were burned down, to contain and kill the disease, but nothing worked. Outbreaks of the disease seemed to come in cycles. Just as people thought it was over, a new rash of illness would hit the towns, and the villages. People did not know that infected rats carried the disease. Women died in childbirth from ignorance. People handled cattle and then directly handled food. Even before the plague, what is amazing really is that anyone lived. The truth is, only the very strong survived. But the strong had no defense against the Black Death. No one was safe. And millions of people died. Outbreaks of the plague continued for two hundred years.