Cookies?
Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Surprisingly gentle confinement: British treatment of Danish and Norwegian prisoners of war during the napoleonic wars

Leunig, Tim, van Lottum, Jelle and Poulsen, Bo (2018) Surprisingly gentle confinement: British treatment of Danish and Norwegian prisoners of war during the napoleonic wars. Scandinavian Economic History Review. pp. 1-16. ISSN 0358-5522

[img] Text - Accepted Version
Repository staff only until 5 March 2020.

Download (490kB) | Request a copy
Identification Number: 10.1080/03585522.2018.1516235

Abstract

The Napoleonic Wars saw the British capture and incarcerate thousands of sailors in disused Royal Navy ships, the so-called prison hulks. Many Danes and Norwegians – navy personnel, privateers and merchant sailors – were thus interred. This article uses a new data source, the official record books kept in the National Archive at Kew, to test whether the prison hulks were as bad as popular perception might suggest. In doing so, we provide the first rigorous quantitative assessment of the Danish and Norwegian sailors’ prisoner experience. We find that death rates were surprisingly low, suggesting the quantity and quality of food and medical care was reasonable. Prison hulks were not ‘floating tombs’. The records also show which prisoners were released and exchanged, and when. Officers did well, reflecting the age old system of a gentleman’s honour. Privateers did worse than merchant sailors: those who took up arms were likely to serve longer as prisoners.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/sehr20/current
Additional Information: © 2018 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2018 15:00
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2019 19:20
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/90491

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics