Britain and its Tropical Colonies 1660-1830
Medicine in an age of Commerce and Empire explores the impact of commercial and imperial expansion on British medicine from the late seventeenth century to the early nineteenth century. Concentrating largely (though not exclusively) on India and the West Indies, it shows how medical practitioners in the colonies began to develop an empirical and experimental approach to medicine that was in many respects in advance of that in Britain. By the late eighteenth
and early nineteenth century, colonial ideas and practices had also begun to transform medicine in Britain. Medical practitioners in the Army, Navy, and East India Company used their knowledge of fevers and
other common diseases to establish themselves at the centre of British medicine, speaking to growing concerns about supposedly new diseases at home and fears about the invasion of exotic maladies. Some found employment in new institutions such as fever hospitals, while others used connections in the armed forces to acquire influence and status at home. Many also made their voice heard through religious networks such as circles of dissenting physicians and natural philosophers.