What is a Plague? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the plague.

  • Plague is a disease transmitted from animals infected with bacteria. It is often spread to humans by bites from infected fleas, although squirrels, rats and mice also carry the bacteria.
  • A plague is sometimes seen as a sign from God, such as the ten plagues the Egyptians suffered. These included frogs, boils, locusts and the death of the first born child.
  • The most famous plague was that which affected Europe from about 1346 to 1353. Also known as the Black Death, it killed at least 75 million people.
  • The disease probably started in Asia and was brought to Europe by rats on ships. It’s estimated that it had killed almost 60 percent of Europe’s population by 1353.
  • Symptoms included swollen arms and neck, bleeding, with blood often black in colour, a high fever and vomiting. Most people infected with the Black Death died within a week.
  • Because so many men had the plague, fields were not ploughed and there were food shortages. In 1381 the peasants in England revolted, partly because of the damage caused by the Black Death.
  • Another outbreak, the Great Plague, occurred in England in 1665. It killed over 100,000 people, many in London. The famous writer Samuel Pepys, wrote about the plague in his diary.
  • Many towns hired plague doctors, although often they had no real medical training. Part of their costume included a long beak or nose, filled with straw and pleasant smelling flowers.
  • The plague started to die down in 1666, the same year that much of London was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. When the city was rebuilt, changes were made to prevent plague and other diseases. For example, open sewers in the city were.
  • Some people believe that the well-known nursery rhyme Ring a Ring o’ Roses was written to describe the plague and its symptoms. The different versions of the song date back centuries.


What is a Cyclone? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about cyclones. A cyclone is an area of winds blowing in a circular motion, usually centred on an area of low pressure. They circle clockwise in the southern hemisphere, and anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere. Cyclones often have different names, depending on where they occur. In the north Atlantic Ocean, theyContinue Reading

What is a Hurricane? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about hurricanes. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone or storm, with winds stronger than 119 km per hour. They occur in the North Atlantic, and are known as typhoons or cyclones in other parts of the world. Hurricanes were first given girl’s names in 1953, and then male and female namesContinue Reading

What is a Tornado? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about tornadoes. A tornado is a narrow and rotating column of air, which touches the ground as it moves. Also known as twisters, these columns can cause loss of life and terrible damage. A tornado is often caused by two different air masses meeting, such as warm and cold air. WindsContinue Reading

What is an Earthquake? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about earthquakes. An earthquake is caused by a sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust. This leads to a seismic wave, or wave of energy, which travels under or across the earth’s surface. Every year there are over 1.3 million earthquakes all over the world. One occurs every 11 seconds,Continue Reading

What is a Tsunami? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about tsunamis. A tsunami is a huge wave caused by a large volume of water being displaced. It can be caused by an underwater explosion, earthquake, landslide or volcanic eruption. The name tsunami comes from the Japanese words for harbour wave. The earliest person to understand what caused these huge wavesContinue Reading

What is an Iceberg? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about icebergs. Icebergs are chunks of ice larger than 5 metres across, which form on the land before floating into the sea or a lake. They vary in size, some being several km across. The liner Titanic sunk in April, 1912 after hitting an iceberg, killing over 1,500 passengers. After theContinue Reading

Coral Reefs: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about coral reefs. Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. They are formed by tiny living creatures depositing limestone, or calcium carbonate, which builds up over time. The polyps that form reefs measure between 3 and 56 mm in length. Polyps can live for several hundred years,Continue Reading

September 2 – On This Day In History

2 September What happened today in history? 1666 – The Great Fire of London starts, and it continues to burn for three days. 1945 – World War 2 combat in the Pacific ends as Mamoru Shigemitsu (the Japanese Foreign Minister) signs surrender documents. 2013 – A new portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is opened. AtContinue Reading

September 1 – On This Day In History

1 September What happened today in history? 1914 – Martha, the world’s last passenger pigeon, dies in the Cincinnati Zoo. 1939 – Nazi Germany and Slovakia invade Poland, beginning the European phase of World War 2. 1952 – Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is first published. 1997 – Buckingham Palace announces the death Diana, PrincessContinue Reading