The Good, the Bad, and the Ague: Defining Healthful Airs in Early Modern England

Combating malaria through travel, diet, natural remedies, and architecture in early modern England. From standing PoolesFrom boggs; from ranck and dampish Fenns,From Moorish breaths, and nasty Denns,The sun drawes up contagious fumes. Thomas Dekker, News from Graves End (1604) In 1664, Nathaniel Henshaw, a founding fellow of the Royal Society, conceived of an invention which, he thought,[…]

City Sanitation Regulations in the Coventry Mayor’s Proclamation of 1421

In 1421, the newly elected mayor of Coventry, England issued a proclamation that gives us insights into medieval urban sanitation concerns and their regulation in the later medieval period. On 25 January 1421, John Leeder, the newly elected mayor of Coventry, England, issued a mayoral proclamation outlining how the city would be run. He began[…]

Entomology and Empire: Settler Colonial Science and the Campaign for Hawaiian Annexation

Pest control was a political act in late-nineteenth-century Hawaiʻi, helping sugarcane planters pursue annexation to the United States. By Dr. Lawrence H. KesslerProgram Coordinator and Fellow-in-ResidenceConsortium for History of Science, Technology, and MedicineUniversity of Pennsylvania Pest control can sometimes be a political act, with ramifications reaching far beyond the targeted fields and farms. Such was[…]

Droughts and Agricultural Scarcity before Independence in the Viceroyalty of New Granada, 1800–1810

The crisis affected all kind of people: whites, mestizos, and indigenous people; herders, large cattle owners, and croppers of plantain. In May 1807, a group of farmers and ranchers from the lands around Santafe, the capital city of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (today Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia), wrote a complaint about meat[…]

Fishing for Souls: Water Technology and the Dutch Baroque

Examining how issues of representation and aesthetics impacted the environmental history of early modern Europe. Early modern interaction with water, be it through coastal flooding, stranded sea-life, or trial by ordeal, was one of the totemic means of decoding and countering divine power. Water was woven into the fabric of cultural life: it was an active[…]

The Riot that Destroyed an Abbey’s Salmon Weir in Medieval Scotland

The sheriff of Stirling was ordered by the king to make the perpetrators reconstruct the abbey’s infrastructure within forty days and reimburse its losses. In summer 1365 armed inhabitants of the royal Scottish burgh of Stirling “violently and unjustly attacked and demolished the weirs and fisheries” belonging to Cambuskenneth, a convent of Augustinian canons located across[…]