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Plague to coronavirus: how pandemics have transformed history

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Published on May 8, 2020

Coronavirus is nothing new: for centuries, infectious diseases have spread across the world. Their deadliness has been well documented - but have they altered the path of history?

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From the Plague of Justinian to the Black Death to the spread of cholera and the eventual eradication of smallpox, pandemics have made a profound impact.

Did plague weaken the Byzantium Empire? Did the Black Death cause a social revolution in England? And what role did smallpox play in the birth of the United States?

We speak to the historians Sir Richard J. Evans, Rebecca Rideal, Michael Bennett, Michael McCormick, Elizabeth Fenn, and Andrew Bailey.

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