The 1630 Plague
The 1630 epidemic of bubonic plague was one of the worst, if not the worst, cycle of plague to strike North Italy. Some 12,000 Florentines perished over the course of 18 months. In this map, DECIMA deploys a nifty feature of GIS that enables us to map change over time, to track the spread of the plague through the large and busy parish of San Lorenzo. The map displays plague infections recorded by the city’s doctors, street by street, month by month, from 30 October 1630 to 30 October 1630.
Click the clock in the upper-left corner of the map to enable time, then watch as the plague spreads through the main arterial roads and into the neighbourhoods of this important and large urban parish.
You can see the original map on ArcGIS.com here.
The research for this map is drawn from the chapter "Plague and the City" in Mapping Space Sense and Movement and from the recent monograph by John Henderson, Florence Under Siege: Surviving Plague in an Early Modern City (Yale University Press, 2019). Our thanks to him for allowing us to distribute the data within the DECIMA ecosystem.
This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Archivio di Stato di Firenze
Archivio di Stato di Livorno