FOREIGN SAILORS IN NELSON’S NAVY: A forgotten story
- 03 Apr 2018
During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars against France (1793-1815), the Royal Navy recruited thousands of foreign sailors. New research by Sara Caputo of the University of Cambridge reconstructs these men’s experiences for the first time, as well as giving an indication of the size of the phenomenon.
Her quantitative study conducted on a sample of crews – chosen among those serving the furthest away from Britain and thus most likely to include foreigners – reveals that around one in seven of the seamen (616 out of 4,392) were born outside Britain or Ireland. Aboard one of the ships stationed in Jamaica in 1813, the proportion rose from 14% to 23%.