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"Life and Death at sea in the 1870s" Topic

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18th Century
19th Century

217 hits since 10 Dec 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2018 8:58 p.m. PST

"It is easy, at this remove, to be entranced by the "romance" of the seaborne trade in the 19th Century, when the numbers of ships grew explosively to satisfy the needs of the first era of commercial globalisation. Images immediately come to mind of clippers racing under full sail to carry tea from China, of square-riggers rising to the challenge of Cape Horn, of the tens of thousands of brigs and schooners which carried oceanic as well as coastal trade, of the early steamers and other ships that were to be immortalised in the writing of Joseph Conrad. The beauty of so many of these ships, even the humblest, and the skill with which they were handled in the absence of any modern aids to navigation, do however tend to blind us to the fact that life on so many of these ships was brutal in the extreme. Looking at life and death at sea in the 1870s, a single decades, reinforces this view…."
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