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FRANCE 24 takes viewers back to the biggest pandemics in history, which decimated entire populations. From the Plague of Athens in 430 BC to modern-day HIV/AIDS, FRANCE 24 journalist Florence Gaillard takes a look at the deadliest pandemics ever faced by humanity.






Author: Florence Gaillard
Design and development: Creative Department, France Médias Monde
Managing Editor: Ghassan Basile

All rights reserved France 24 © April 2020
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In the 14th century, the bubonic plague from Asia travelled along the Silk Road and reached the Mediterranean. Within five years, it killed between more than a third of the European population.



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In 430 BC, the city-state of Athens was thriving when the pandemic hit. Thucydides, author of The History of the Peloponnesian War, caught it and described his symptoms. We call it a 'plague', but nobody actually knows what the virus was.



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In the 19th century, parts of Asia were devastated by a disease which then entered Europe through Russia. Nobody, from the poorest to the most well-off, was immune to its ravages.



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We still don't know where the Spanish Flu came from, but it became a pandemic when it reached Europe in 1918. Some estimates put the death toll at more than 50 million people worldwide.



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Forty years ago, a mysterious virus emerged in the gay community in the United States. Identified in 1983 by the Institut Pasteur, HIV/AIDS has killed millions of people around the world, and continues to do so...