Measures to combat the plague in Southern Italy in the early Nineteenth Century

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Following several previous epidemic outbreaks which appeared as early as in 1812, initially in the eastern Mediterranean area, and subsequently in regions bordering the Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean Seas, the plague also arrived in Noja (now called Noicàttaro), a small town of Southern Italy, near Bari. For eight months, the disease raged, killing 716 inhabitants out of a population of 5,200; these figures mark this epidemic as one of the last serious outbreaks of the plague in continental Europe. As was common practice in European state of that time, the newly restored Bourbon government dealt with the disease with a typically repressive and militaristic approach. Indeed, as soon as the disease emerged, the town was surrounded by a cordon sanitaire with garrison troops comprising around 1,200 soldiers in battle gear. Moreover, in order to prevent the transmission of the infection by sea, a maritime cordon sanitaire was set up along the entire coastline of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, with a massive and very costly deployment of men and equipment. The aim of this study is to investigate the structure and efficiency of the two cordons, the measures taken within the city, and the strategy chosen by the government to try to contain the disease and prevent it from spreading in the Kingdom
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)29-43
Numero di pagine15
RivistaThe Journal of the Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2023


  • plague, cordon sanitaire, social history of medicine, Southern Italy


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