The Great Plague of Marseille was one of the most significant European outbreaks of bubonic plague in the early 18th century. Arriving in Marseille, France in 1720, the disease killed 100,000 people in the city and the surrounding provinces.

Plague Trivia: Great Plague of Marseille 1720 – 1722
Plague Trivia: Great Plague of Marseille 1720 – 1722

However, Marseille recovered quickly from the plague outbreak. Economic activity took only a few years to recover, as trade expanded to the West Indies and Latin America. By 1765, the growing population was back at its pre-1720 level. This epidemic was not a recurrence of the European Black Death, the devastating episodes of bubonic plague which began in the fourteenth century. Attempts to stop the spread of plague included an Act of Parliament of Aix that levied the death penalty for any communication between Marseille and the rest of Provence. To enforce this separation, a plague wall, the Mur de la Peste, was erected across the countryside (pictured above).

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