The cholera, endemic in Bengal, in the early 19th century spread in the West thanks to the revolution in transportation resulted from the steam engine. Tuscany was struck in 1835 and then, even more violent, in 1854-55. Thanks to Pietro Betti, Superintendent for health of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, we have a detailed description of the epidemic and a precise estimate of the deaths. 26,327 individuals died in 1855. The disease penetrated in Tuscany by Liguria in July 1854; from the ports of Avenza and Livorno spread towards the Interior of the region, until Florence, and quietened down in December 1854. Then cholera rekindled in devastating form in March-April of 1855, starting from the area immediately west of Florence, a district rich in activities related to the water cycle, and retraced the route in reverse order made last year, always following the way of the Arno and the new railway line opened in 1848: in august-september the cholera was spread to all the Tuscany. The area of Lucca is one of the hardest hit in the region. Between 2007 and 2010, the Division of Paleopathology of the University of Pisa undertook the archaeological exploration of the cholera cemetery of Benabbio, a mountain village near Lucca, where cholera lashed between August and October of 1855 causing 46 deaths in a population of around 900 inhabitants. The excavation made it possible to detect for the first time the material characteristics of a cholera cemetery. The findings provide a new source for anthropologically reading the reaction of a community facing the mortality crisis, between acceptance of regulations imposed by the authorities and local strategies.

For the History of Cholera in Italy. The pandemia of 1854-55 in Tuscany and the Cholera cemetery of Benabbio (LU)

Antonio Fornaciari
2014

Abstract

The cholera, endemic in Bengal, in the early 19th century spread in the West thanks to the revolution in transportation resulted from the steam engine. Tuscany was struck in 1835 and then, even more violent, in 1854-55. Thanks to Pietro Betti, Superintendent for health of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, we have a detailed description of the epidemic and a precise estimate of the deaths. 26,327 individuals died in 1855. The disease penetrated in Tuscany by Liguria in July 1854; from the ports of Avenza and Livorno spread towards the Interior of the region, until Florence, and quietened down in December 1854. Then cholera rekindled in devastating form in March-April of 1855, starting from the area immediately west of Florence, a district rich in activities related to the water cycle, and retraced the route in reverse order made last year, always following the way of the Arno and the new railway line opened in 1848: in august-september the cholera was spread to all the Tuscany. The area of Lucca is one of the hardest hit in the region. Between 2007 and 2010, the Division of Paleopathology of the University of Pisa undertook the archaeological exploration of the cholera cemetery of Benabbio, a mountain village near Lucca, where cholera lashed between August and October of 1855 causing 46 deaths in a population of around 900 inhabitants. The excavation made it possible to detect for the first time the material characteristics of a cholera cemetery. The findings provide a new source for anthropologically reading the reaction of a community facing the mortality crisis, between acceptance of regulations imposed by the authorities and local strategies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/937142
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