‹‹‹ prev (14) Page xiPage xi

(16) next ››› Page xiiiPage xiii

(15) Page xii -
With such a previous record, the recent appearance of Plague in Portugal and
Spain cannot be regarded without anxiety.
At the present time there are believed to be three endemic haunts of plague.
The first in Mesopotamia, ; the second in Gahrwal and Kumaon at the foot
of the Himalayas in the North-West Provinces : the third in Yunnan in China.
Dr. Koch mentions another endemic centre, which is situated in Africa
(near lake Nyassa), and is supported in this view by Dr. Proust,
1800 A- D.
(Up to September 1896.)
We cannot in the case of ludia trace the history of Plague century by century.
Up to 1800 a reliable historical document is a rara avis. We can only record the
instances where mention is made of Plague under such terms as 'Waba,' ' Ta' un,'
etc., and conjecture bow far the statements are accurate, and to what extent the
pestilence referred to is identical with that which is amongst us now. But even
such references as these are rare. The folio wing brief summary of what is known
on the subject is taken from Nathan's Plague in, India :
" Only two direct references have, however, been traced which may point to
the existence of Plague in the west of India in the fourteenth and fifteenth cen-
turies. The first is from Ibn Batuta, who notices that Muhammad Tughlak's army
in Ma'bar (1325-1351) mostly perished of pestilence, and that at the end of the
century (1399), after Timur left, the districts through which he had passed were
visited by pestilence. The second relates to the year .1443, when pestilence
caused such loss of life in the army of Sultan Ahmad I. that, leaving many of the
dead unburied, he retired to Gujarat. Ferishta calls this disease ta'un, and
speaks of it as very unusual in India. The famine of 1590 to 1594 was followed
by a pestilence that, besides hamlets and villages, depopulated whole cities. It
must remain a matter of conjecture whether these outbreaks of virulent pestilence
were epidemics of true Plague.
" Twice in the seventeenth century the district of Almiedabad in the Bombay
Presidency was visited by severe epidemics of pestilence which were probably out-
breaks of Plague. The Bombay Gazetteer gives the following description of the
first of these epidemics, which appears to have been very widespread :-
"' The disease that raged in Ahmedabad in 1618 began in the Punjab in 1611.
It is called the plague, Waba or Waba-o-ta'un, and the works of the Hindus are
said to have no mention of such a disease. It was thought to be connected with
the comet of 1612. From the Punjab it spread through Lahore, through the Doab
to Delhi, and north to Kashmir. No place in Hindustan was free fro m its ravages.
Lulling at times, it continued to lay waste the country for eight years. About
the same time in Kandahar the land was overrun by mice, and mice and plague
seem to have had some close connexion, A Mouse would rush out of its hole as if

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence

Takedown policy