Scurvy in the 18th Century Pacific

March 21, 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Sakamaki A201

Professor Matthew Romaniello (UHM History) will present "Roots of Treatment, Routes of Knowledge: Scurvy in the 18th-Century North Pacific" as part of the History Workshop series, "Roots & Routes: Mobility, Migration, and Diaspora." Finding an effective treatment of scurvy was one of the essential developments for European exploration in the Pacific Ocean. It was no less important a cure for the Russian Empire, which suffered recurring epidemics of the disease throughout its history. One British doctor, John Cook, treated an outbreak in Riga in the 1730s as part of his long career in Russia. He provided information from his case study to James Lind, who relied on this outbreak as evidence that land and sea scurvy were in fact one disease in his Treatise on Scurvy (1753). Lind’s study was utilized by James Cook on his voyages across the Pacific to develop the prophylactic treatments (later “the Cook method”) that were adopted as standards for the British navy by the end of the eighteenth century. When Adam Johann von Krusenstern and Iuri Lisianskii led Russia’s first circumnavigatory voyages early in the nineteenth century, they in turn relied upon the scurvy treatments developed in the British navy. Knowledge of scurvy created a pan-European network that in an attempt to resolve a global crisis.

Event Sponsor
History, Mānoa Campus

More Information
History Workshop, 808-956-7407,

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