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The Plague


The village of Artà had the misfortune of being infested by the peste (plague) in 1820. Other Mallorcan pueblos such as Son Servera and Capdepera suffered a similar fate, then.

One can safely assume that there were many mortal victims at the time. A visit to the Artà parish cemetery seems to offer sufficient evidence.

Sebastián de Sant Pablo was the abbot of the Ermita de Betlem near Artà when the infestations occurred. He rushed to the village to offer help to the inflicted and the sick. When he returned to the hermitage, he had caught the contagious disease himself. His life could not be saved. Ninety years later, in 1913, the abbot’s remains were returned to the Ermita’s cemetery.

The caragols (snails) in my photo seem oblivious to the fate of us humanoids.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Betlem, Artà, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 24th, 2008. The time was 12:18:25.

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  1. Pingback: The Plague
  2. Plague hit Artà hard in 1820, with some 1,300 deaths recorded. The church, which had been used as a hospital at the height of the epidemic, was afterwards burnt as a precautinary measure, with the new one erected between 1825-32. The facade was added in 1870. Also hit was nearby Capdepera, with 112 deaths. A military cordon was placed around the whole Arta peninsua to keep infection from spreading. The lifting of the cordon in 1821 is still celebrated to this day in the town of Son Servera.

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