Pestens gåta : farsoter i det tidiga 1700-talets Skåne

Translated title of the contribution: The Riddle of Plague : Pestilences in Early Eighteenth Century Scania

Bodil Persson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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This study deals with Sweden’s last outbreak of the plague with focus on Skåne, where the epidemic raged for three years - from late autumn 1710 to late autumn 1713. This was a time of war, crop failures as well as other simultaneously occurring epidemics. The outline of this study can be summarised with the following points:

This is the first regional analysis of plague in Skåne. All preserved burial records from the area have been systematically examined, not only for the plague years, but also for a number of years before and after (1704-1718). They have then been compared with different narrative sources – primarily correspondence within the local secular and ecclesiastical administrations as well as reports of the proceedings from district-court sessions and town courts.

The occurrence and behaviour of the plague is compared with other simultaneous epidemics. The entire spectrum of disease for the period is included in the analysis, as far as the sources allow.

Modern knowledge of epidemiology, medicine and medical history has been utilised in the analysis, not only in analysing diagnoses of the plague but also the other relevant diagnoses. This knowledge has been kept separate from what people knew then and how the initial stages of a plague epidemic were diagnosed. The investigation also includes an analysis of the transmission of the disease on a local level in two plague-infected parishes. In these parishes, the sources make possible a reconstruction of the relationship between individuals and households in the infected villages, as well as of the daily course of the epidemic. This reconstruction constitutes the basis for a discussion about the transmission of the plague within villages and families from an ecological perspective. What cultural customs made societies vulnerable to the plague? What kind of fleas and what rodents are likely to have been involved?
Translated title of the contributionThe Riddle of Plague : Pestilences in Early Eighteenth Century Scania
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • History
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2001 Dec 15
ISBN (Print)91-628-5060-1
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2001-12-15
Time: 10:15
Place: Department of History, Magle Stora Kyrkogata 12A, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Nelson, Marie C.
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: University of Linköping


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History

Free keywords

  • pestilential fevers
  • diagnosis
  • symptoms
  • pattern of distribution
  • demography
  • causes of death
  • burial records
  • epizootics
  • rats
  • rodents
  • lice
  • fleas
  • regional and local analysis
  • scurvy
  • epidemic typhus fever
  • measles
  • Plague
  • smallpox
  • plague vectors
  • Modern history (up to circa 1800)
  • Tidig modern historia (till ca. 1800)
  • Public health
  • epidemiology
  • Folkhälsa
  • epidemiologi


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