Women with Black African ancestry ‘at greater risk when plague hit London’

Experts studying remains of victims buried in 14th century say bubonic plague was not an indiscriminate killer

When the Black Death hit London in autumn 1348, it caused a wave of devastation, with more than half the city’s population thought to have been killed. But a study has now found women with Black African ancestry could have had a greater risk of death than others.

Research has previously demonstrated that, far from being a homogeneous white society, medieval England – and its capital – had considerable diversity. As well as residents hailing from the far reaches of Europe, documentary and archaeological evidence has revealed people of Black African ancestry and dual heritage lived in London.

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