Outbreaks of the Plague Timeline 430 BCE-Present Day

The PlagueThis timeline is a chronology of  the main recorded outbreaks of bubonic and pneumonic plague.


430 BCE – Athens, Greece
Plague of Athens
Around 100,000 people were killed during an outbreak of what may have been typhoid.
224 BCE – China
An outbreak of plague was recorded in China.
165 CE – France, Germany, Iraq, Italy
Antonine Plague
Although described as plague at the time this outbreak, affecting a large area of the Roman Empire may have been smallpox or measles. It lasted for around 15 years and caused the deaths of around 5 million people.
250 CE – Rome, Italy
Plague of Cyprian
Thousands of people died during this outbreak which spread throughout Italy over a period of 12 years. This outbreak may have been smallpox or influenza.
540 CE – Ethiopia, Egypt
An outbreak of plague broke out in Ethiopia and spread to Egypt.
541 CE – Mediterranean region
Plague of Justinian
Named after the Roman Emperor Justinian, this outbreak of plague began in the Eastern Roman Empire and spread throughout the Mediterranean region. It lasted for two years and killed around 35 million people. It is believed to have been caused by the same bacteria that caused the Black Death in 1346 and was the first plague pandemic.
590 CE – Rome, Italy
Roman Plague of 590
This was a localised outbreak of plague.
627 CE – Ctesiphon, Persia (Iran)
Roman Plague of 590
Plague attacked the city of Ctesiphon, capital of the Sasanian Empire killing around 100,000 people.
664 CE – Ireland, England
This plague first struck Ireland killing as many as two thirds of the population. It then broke out in southern England before moving to the north.
1346 (Spring) – Mongolia, Turkey, Italy, France, Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, Russia
Black Death
It is thought that an earthquake in central Asia or an asteroid falling to Earth may have released the plague bacillus, Yersinia pestis. This second plague pandemic spread to Constantinople and was then carried by ships to Sicily. It spread through Italy then on to France and Great Britain. It then spread to Scandinavia, Germany and Poland before reaching Russia. It lasted for 5 years and killed at least 30% of the population, possibly as many as 200 million people.
1592 (August) – London, England
The 1592-93 London Plague
This was a localised outbreak of plague that killed around 15,000 people in London in four months.
1563 (June) – London, England
The 1563 London Plague
This was a localised outbreak of plague that killed around 20,000 people in London in a six-month period.
1596 – Spain
The Plague of 1596
This outbreak of plague affected most of Spain and took the lives of around 600,000 people.
1629 – Italy
The Italian Plague of 1629 – 1631
This outbreak of plague affected northern and central Italy. It claimed the lives of around a million people.
1647 – Spain
The Great Plague of Seville
This outbreak of plague affected the Mediterranean region of Spain and spread through Andalucia over a 5 year period. The city of Seville was very badly affected with a quarter of the population falling victim to the disease.
1665 (July) – London, England
The Great Plague of London
An outbreak of plague broke out in the capital city. It killed around 100,000 people.
1679 – Vienna, Austria
The Great Plague of Vienna
This outbreak of plague took the lives of around 76,000 people in the city of Vienna.
1720 – Marseille, France
The Great Plague of Marseille
This outbreak of bubonic plague affected the port of Marseille and then spread through southern France. It took the lives of around 100,000 people.
1738 – Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine
The Great Plague of 1738
This outbreak of bubonic plague spread across Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and the Ukraine killing around 50,000 people.
1770 (January) – Russia, Ukraine
1770 – 1772 Russian Plague
This outbreak of plague broke out during the Russian-Turkish war and spread through Ukraine and Russia killing more than 50,000 people.
1772 – Persia (Iran)
An outbreak of plague killed as many as 2 million people.
1855 – China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Madagascar, Egypt, Paraguay, South Africa, Hawaii, Great Britain, United States, Russia, Burma, Tunisia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Trinidad, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, France, Australia
Third Plague Pandemic
This outbreak began in the Yunnan province of China and spread throughout the World. From China it spread to Hong Kong where it was carried throughout the British Empire and then worldwide by trading ships. Outbreaks occurred in the ports and then spread inland. The impact was greatest in India where it is estimated that 10 million people died. Overall it is thought that the pandemic killed 15 million people. It was not considered over until 1960.
1994 (August) – India
1994 Plague in India
An outbreak of bubonic and pneumonic plague was reported in southern and south-western India. 56 people died over two months.
2003 (June) – Algeria
An outbreak of plague was reported in Algeria. It lasted for two months and all affected recovered after treatment with antibiotics.
2006 (June) – Democratic Republic of the Congo
100 cases of suspected pneumonic plague were reported. 19 people died.
2014 (September) – Madagascar
Plague in Madagascar
An outbreak of bubonic and pneumonic plague was reported in Madagascar. 40 people died of the disease over a four month period.
2017 (August) – Madagascar
Plague in Madagascar
An outbreak of pneumonic plague was reported in Madagascar. There were 2119 reported cases of the disease and 171 people died over a two month period.
2020 (5th July) – China
A suspected case of Bubonic plague was reported in China.


Published Jun 9, 2019 @ 12:20 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2019 – 2020). Outbreaks of the Plague 430 BCE – Present Day. https://www.thetimelinegeek.com/outbreaks-of-the-plague-430-bce-present-day. Last accessed [date]


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