Niklas Thode Jensen: For the Health of the Enslaved: Slaves, Medicine and Power in the Danish West Indies, 1803-1848

By Wright, David | Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies, July 2011 | Go to article overview

Niklas Thode Jensen: For the Health of the Enslaved: Slaves, Medicine and Power in the Danish West Indies, 1803-1848


Wright, David, Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies


Niklas Thode Jensen

For the Health of the Enslaved: Slaves, Medicine and Power in the Danish West Indies, 1803-1848

Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2012, xi + 352 pp.

Of the many colonial outposts in the 19th-century Caribbean, the Danish West Indies was perhaps one of the most obscure, occupying as it did only a small handful of islands east of Puerto Rico that were ultimately ceded to American hegemony, becoming the US Virgin Islands. In this comprehensive and detailed monograph, Niklas Thode Jensen analyzes the medical history of this colony during the four decades leading up to emancipation (in 1848), illuminating the ways in which "the health of enslaved workers became a central concern for the Danish West Indian plantation owners and colonial administrators" (1). This twilight era of slavery witnessed a steady decline in the population of enslaved workers, as mortality rates were so high that the enslaved population could not reproduce itself. This demographic state of affairs, not unknown in the Caribbean, threatened the future of the sugar plantations. As a consequence, it forced the Danish colonial administrators to respond with public health measures aimed at stabilizing the working population for fear of social and economic implosion.

Jensen focuses on St. Croix (aka Santa Cruz), an island dominated by private and "Royal" sugar plantations. Indeed, it was the Royal plantations--ones that had been taken over by the crown due to insolvency--that yielded some of the richest primary material, ultimately preserved in the national archives in Copenhagen. The author's sources are wide ranging, including doctors' annual medical reports, the admission registers of plantation hospitals, church records, legislation of various public authorities, and the correspondence of diverse authors and visitors to the island. Jensen adopts a largely quantitative approach in mapping out the morbidity and mortality of the enslaved, comparing his results for St. Croix with published literature on the British and French West Indies. The book is divided into two parts, one dedicated to providing a background to disease and healing in the West Indies, as well as the epidemiological, economic, and environmental climate of St. Croix. The second part is devoted to detailed case studies of three domains: nutrition, smallpox vaccination, and midwifery.

A brief review cannot do justice to the diverse findings that Jensen presents, but suffice it to say that life was exceedingly precarious for the enslaved of St. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Niklas Thode Jensen: For the Health of the Enslaved: Slaves, Medicine and Power in the Danish West Indies, 1803-1848
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.