The 1918 Influenza epidemic has always held fascination for me. Part of it is a great-great grandmother I have researched dies in it.
Have you ever wondered why it was called the Spanish Flu? Like may, you may have thought that is where it originated. In fact, no one has a definitive answer, though the first cases were reported in Kansas and spread as young soldiers headed to war.
The true reason for the moniker was the result of censorship. The Allied and Central Powers suppressed reports of the illness for morale reasons. Spain, a neutral power, thus became the source for in-depth reporting of the illness, in alarming detail as the population, all the way up to Spanish King Alfonso XIII, became infected.
Since countries under media blackout only received the news from Spanish sources, it was assumed Spain was ground zero, and the pandemic became commonly known as the “Spanish Flu” or the “Spanish Lady” in the United States and Europe.
Ironically, the Spanish, believing France to be the source, called it the “French Flu.”