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Iris Bruijn, "Ship's Surgeons of the Dutch East India Company: Commerce and the Progress of Medicine in the Eighteenth Century"
Amsterdam University Press | 2009-07-15 | ISBN: 9087280513 | 396 pages | PDF | 10,1 MB
During the eighteenth century, the surgeons of ships employed by the Dutch East India Company were responsible not only for the health of sailors on board, but also of those in company hospitals throughout a vast geographical empire that extended from South Africa to Japan. Regarded by their contemporaries as little more than illiterate and opportunistic barbers, these early medical practitioners engaged in a complex working life as varied as the geographical terrain they covered.
This volume offers a fascinating exploration of the reality of their profession, drawing on data and firsthand accounts from over 3,000 of the surgeons in the company’s service, and spanning topics as diverse as the recruitment policy of the company, the career trajectory of the surgeons in its employ, their geographical origins, and their life expectancy. Demonstrating that the image of these surgeons as uneducated apprentices is little more than a myth, Iris Bruijn portrays them more appropriately as fairly well-educated men subject to the risks of life at sea, including incurable diseases otherwise unknown in their European homeland.
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