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Blindsided by Jonathan Gifford

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The Great Plague

In the mid-fourteenth century, the important Genoese trading city of Caffa was besieged twice by the Tartars (Mongols). The Genoese had purchased the city — on the southern coast of the Crimea in the Black Sea — from the Mongols in the late 1200s, after the Mongol hordes had poured out of the East, overrunning Central Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Europe, and made Caffa the administrative centre for all of their Black Sea trade. In 1345, Mongols laid siege to the city that they had previously owned, but were driven off by a relief force from Italy. In 1347, they returned. This time, they were struck down by a terrible and mysterious illness:

See how the heathen Tartar races, pouring together from all sides, suddenly invested ...

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