A History of Quinine Drug Hype Since the 19th Century

The purpose was to sell more quinine and to remind the world that the Dutch empire was the provider of indispensable medicine. Big pharmaceutical companies have long over-promised the efficacy of their antimalarial drugs. This started a century ago, when European antimalarial producers began aggressively touting the curative effects of quinine on all manner of[…]

Smallpox and After: An Early History of the Treatment and Prevention of Infections

Introduction The scientific work that led to the discovery of the causes of infections was possibly the major biomedical advance of the nineteenth century. From it was derived the aseptic technique of Lister, the use of antitoxins and immunisation, and the ultimately successful search for chemicals selectively toxic to bacterial cells. The conquest of most[…]

Politics of Yellow Fever in Alexander Hamilton’s America

Yellow fever ravaged Philadelphia in 1793. “A new order of things is rising in medicine, as well as in government.” Dr. Benjamin Rush The deadly disease touched nearly everyone in the city: young and old, white and African American, wealthy and poor, religious and secular. No one really knew what caused the disease or how[…]

‘Hand of Glory’: Gallows Tradition and Healing in Early Modern England

It was sought after post-execution to cure a variety of swellings, wens in particular. Abstract From the eighteenth century through to the abolition of public executions in England in 1868, the touch of a freshly hanged man’s hand was sought after to cure a variety of swellings, wens in particular. While the healing properties of[…]

The Wyatt Rebellion and Nationalism in Late Medieval England

The growing sense of nationalism in England was one of the underlying causes of the Wyatt Rebellion. Introduction The Wyatt Rebellion of January-February 1554 CE saw Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger lead a group of several thousand Kent rebels in a march on London with the primary aim of preventing Mary I of England (r.[…]

Patriotism and Nationalism in the Ancient Roman Character

The Law, not the State, was the citadel of Roman sovereignty. I Others shall beat out the breathing bronze to softer it well; shall draw living lineaments from the marble; the cause shall be more eloquent on their lips; their pencil shall portray the pathways of heaven, and tell the stars in their arising: be[…]