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Medicine in an age of Commerce and EmpireBritain and its Tropical Colonies 1660-1830$
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Mark Harrison

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577736

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577736.001.0001

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Climate, fever, and medicine before 1700

Climate, fever, and medicine before 1700

1 Climate, fever, and medicine before 1700
Medicine in an age of Commerce and Empire

Mark Harrison (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The first chapter of Part I begins by taking stock of European theories of fever, and of the importance of the work of the Hippocratic revival, particularly as reflected in the work of Sydenham, Boerhaave, and Hoffman. The discussion then turns to medical work in the tropical colonies during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, placing British medicine in the context of earlier work by the Portuguese and Dutch. The chapter examines both the East and the West Indies. It shows the growing importance of climate and morbid anatomy in theories of disease and how ideas about disease had a bearing on concepts of race. The strongly natural‐historical orientation of colonial practice is emphasized, along with its connections to the politics of medical reform in Britain.

Keywords:   Herman Boerhaave, climate, Dutch East India Company, Hippocrates, morbid anatomy, natural history, Portuguese, race, Thomas Sydenham

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