Death by Migration: Europe's Encounter with the Tropical World in the Nineteenth Century

  • Publish Date: 1989-11-24
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Philip D. Curtin
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From the beginning of European trade and conquest overseas, Europeans have known they died from the effect of the strange climate. Later, they came to understand that it was disease, not climate, that killed, but the fact remained that every trading voyage, every military expedition beyond Europe, had its price in European lives lost. For European soldiers in the tropics at the beginning of the nineteenth century, this added cost in deaths from disease--the relocation cost --meant a death rate at least twice that of soldiers who stayed home. This book is partly a statistical exposition of the changing death rates of European Algeria, the British West Indies, and southern India--by cause of death from disease--set against the comparable figures for those who stayed at home in France or Great Britain. About two-thirds of the book is devoted to a discussion of what Europeans at the time thought about the possible causes of relocation costs and what they did to remedy them in actual medical practice in the colonies.