10 Shocking Facts About Quarantines

10. The Middle Ages

The formal system of quarantine began in the 14th century as a “state of enforced isolation” to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics. During the height of the Black Death, ships arriving in Venice were required to sit at anchor for 40 days before passengers and crew could go ashore. The word quarantine comes from the Italian words, quaranta giorni, which means forty days. Nevertheless, as early as the writing of the Old Testament, informal rules existed for isolating lepers.
10. The Middle Ages