The Black Death


The black death was an epidemic plague that spread in Europe in the year 1348. It was going around for a while but the recognized date was 1348. This great plague killed 30-60% of Europe’s populations. Due to the numerous amount of deaths working men became scares and this let to less food coming to harvest. Even more deaths came from the famine that was produced from the plague.

Symptoms of the plague were boils, fevers, aches, chills, and vomiting. The boils or spots would turn black and you would have just a few days left after this. Doctors did not have enough knowledge to know how to treat the disease. They tried dangerous things like bloodletting but all was in vain.

Some people believed the plague was judgement from God and they whipped themselves in public. This was their attempt to make it right with God. I believe that it could be very likely that it was God’s judgment. The people did not help themselves at all because they did not respond how God would want them to. God wants them to repent from their sins not try to take punishment into their own hands. It may have been painful and embarrassing to be whipped in public but it is not what God would require. Therefore they embarrassed themselves on their own accord and gained absolutely nothing from it.

You may not have known it but you most likely sang a poem about the plague as a child. The poem Ring Around The Rosy is a poem about the black death. Rosy symbolizes the red spots that would appear when you infected by the plague. Posies symbolize the bundles of flowers that people would carry around to try to help with the smell from the bodies of the dead. Ashes symbolize the bodies that had to be burned to try to control the smell. What may have been a sweet poem to recite is actually telling a story about a terrible plague.

The plague was mostly gone by 1350 but did show up a few times in the 19th century. It took Europe approximately 150 years to regain its numbers. The plague was a major dent in Europe’s history.

John Wycliffe

thJohn Wycliffe was the first to promote the Reformation. He is known as “The Morning Star of the Reformation”. He was born in about 1320 near Yorkshire, England. In 1374 he went to Lutterworth and lived there for the rest of his life.

John was against indulgences and believed the scriptures should govern the church not the Pope. The Pope greatly disliked him for his preaching. He was widely popular in England so the Pope was wasn’t as harsh as he could have been. Pope Gregory issued five bulls (official documents) against John. He did not however excommunicate him.

At the time it was believed that God’s Word should not be for everyday use to the people. John believed otherwise and wanted everyone to have access to one. He began to translate the Bible for people to read. He died before it was completed but his friend was credited for finishing it.

In the year 1384, John Wycliffe, suffered from a stoke and died. His followers were known as the Lollards and continued his teachings.

He was so hated by the Pope that his works were all burned and his bones dug up and also burned. All of this was an attempt to rid of what John had started. John’s teachings instead lived on and despite the struggles of the Pope they continued to flourish.

William Wallace


William Wallace was born around the year 1270 and grew up to be a Scottish landowner. During the his childhood, Alexander the third was reining. Alexander’s granddaughter preceded him but after her death there was no heir. Edward of England was suggested but the people of Scotland chose John Balliol. John left his throne and Edward became king of Scotland and England. The people still viewed John as king and did not want to be governed by the English.

When he was not yet thirty years old he led an army against the English. He burned the city of Lanmark and killed the sheriff while doing so. He met in battle with the English near Stirling. Even though he was outnumbered he still won the battle of Stirling Bridge. When he went back to Scotland he was knighted and named the Guardian of the Kingdom.

A few months later Edward tried to attack the Scots. The Scots followed them to try to break them in their weak points. Edward’s army found out and fought with them and won. Edward was then crowned king in the year 1304. Wallace did escaped from the battle.

Unfortunately, a Scottish knight who was loyal to Edward betrayed Wallace. William was convicted of treason in Westminster Hall. He was executed in an absolutely horrible way. It was terribly painful and he was cut into pieces and each part was hung throughout Scotland as a warning to the other Scots. I have heard two different accounts of what William said as he was being executed. The first was that William yelled “freedom” right before he died. The second was that William was singing Psalms to the Lord. I certainly hope for the latter.

William Wallace will always be remembered as a martyr and a hero.

Marco Polo


Marco Polo was actually born into a family of travelers. He inherited the love for travel from his father (Niccilo Polo) and his uncle (Maffeo Polo).  He was probably born in Venice where he lived with his aunt and uncle. His mother had died and his father and uncle were believed to be dead as well.

His father and uncle were not dead. What had happened was when they were traveling they had been captured. They were saved by Kublai Khan’s army and convinced to return to China. They were treated very well and Kublai Khan was very interested in their lifestyle. He requested that they send a message to the Pope and ask for 100 monks and holy oils. He wanted the monks to teach his people. They agreed to do as he asked.

Marco was fifteen years old when he first met his father. Marco went on the journey back to China with his father and uncle to take the things the Khan had asked for. Marco was fascinated with China and he immediately began writing about it. They were all treated like royalty and given whatever they wanted. Marco was most surprised by the paper money and the coal. The money was surprising because they thought money should be gold or silver. The coal he was also fascinated by and he described it as “stones that burn like logs”.  The Khan quite liked Marco and asked him to be his Privy Council in the year 1277.

He spent 17 years in China and learned four languages. They all decided to return to Venice in fear of a new Khan. They asked Kublai Khan to leave and he refused but later allowed them to leave with a princess on her way to marry a Persian prince. They did not easily fit in when they got back and had a hard time speaking Italian. Marco became a galley ship captain during a war. He eventually married and had four daughters. He never returned to China but encouraged others to travel.

Marco’s book, Travels of Marco Polo was not really accepted as true. It even was given the nickname ” The Million Lies”. Marco said that it was all true and he had not even written half of what he saw. Marco fell ill in the year 1323 and died in 1324. His book influenced many travelers. Most notably his book was found in Christopher Columbus’ ship.

A Snow Storm


A few years ago I was in a very scary situation. Even though we can die at any time most of us do not expect it to happen any time soon. It was a real eye opener that people can die at any age. It makes you think of everything wrong you ever did. I praise God that even though I did all of those horrible things I can be comforted in the fact that I would be living with him if I had died.

It started when I went to my sewing lesson like every other Thursday. We had just finished the lesson and it started to snow very heavily. The driveway was packed with snow and we could hear trees cracking and falling. The roads where I lived had trees hanging over them everywhere. When we finally got out of the driveway we realized that it was a mistake to try. Trees were falling all down the roads. They were very big trees and at this point any one could hit our car. This was horrifying and I really began to think that I might not get through it if one tree fell.

We ran from the car to the nearest home. We had never met these people but it turned out we had a mutual friend and we actually had been wanting to meet. The gentleman helped pull our vehicle out and actually drove us home that night. The ride back was also scary and I can still remember it perfectly. At one point we were stuck on a phone line. I did not know what that would do so I was terrified that it would electrocute me. And, there were many more falling trees to worry about.

In the end we did get home safety. I am so thankful to God for his mercy in the situation. I could have been hurt or even died and He got me home without even a scratch.