The Black Death, also known as the Great Plague, came from China in 1334 and spread throughout Europe. The Black Death claimed a total of 75 million lives, according to History.com.
The Great Plague was brought to Europe by sea in 1347 by sailors on 12 trading ships. Most of the people on board these vessels were already dead when they docked in Messina, with the few remaining suffering from mysterious symptoms, including fever, chills, vomiting, pain and black boils oozing pus and blood. Research has determined that the Black Plague is caused by a bacteria called Yersina pestis, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.