Pandemics Across History That Changed The World

Smallpox Epidemic - Japan, 735 CE

#5 Smallpox Epidemic – Japan, 735 CE

The smallpox epidemic occurred in 735 in Japan and lasted for two years until 737. It is said to have destroyed almost one-third population of Japan, crippling the country both economically and socially.

The index patient of the epidemic was a Japanese fisherman who caught the infection while being stuck in the Korean Peninsula. The infection then spread across northern Kyushu and further into mainland Asia due to active trade between countries.

The smallpox epidemic took a toll on the Japanese economy, as both the agriculture and construction industries were brought to a standstill. The Japanese Empire tried to revive the economy by offering tax waivers and taking unprecedented actions like offering private lands to farmers for cultivation.

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