Rooting through the "Gezinsreconstructie gemeente Pamel 1622 - 1799" it becomes clear that the bubonic plague has killed a significant part of the population in the 17th century and that the Napoleonic wars came a close second.
The plague came to Pamel in 1634-1635, but the major epidemy ravaged in 1667-1669.
Let me give one exemple of the ravages of that pestilence (the following people are no relations of mine - although I have both family names in my ascendancy). And think about the human suffering and misery behind these simple facts.
Judocus De Doncker, "officier" (some kind of official), married Petronella Van Eesbeeck in Meerbeke on September 9 1660. They had three children :
Joanna was born in Pamel on June 3 1663 ; Catharina was born in Pamel on June 15 1665 ; Petronella was born in Pamel on March 19 1667.
The mother and her three kids died of the plague : Petronella, not even two years old, on November 3 1668 ; her mother on November 9 1668 ; and both Joanna and Catharina on December 15 1668. Four deaths in a family in just over a month ...
Suffering and misery : and this family was not really an exception.
Poor Judocus remarried and had another child with his second spouse. The girl, Elisabeth, lived for 80 years and was married twice. Judocus himself passed away on July 12 1698 in Pamel Poelkeveld.