"Seamen on Late Eighteenth-Century European Warships"
Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, 54 (2009), pp. 67–93
For hundreds of thousands, the naval wars of the 1790s meant shock proletarianization at sea. Unprecedented numbers of men – many without previous experience of the sea, many of them foreign-born – were forced into warships and made to work under the threat of savage violence. Desertion rates reached previously unimaginable levels as men ﬂed ships and navies. The greatest wave of naval mutiny in European history followed in their wake. Hundreds of crews revolted, sometimes paralyzing whole ﬂeets in the midst of the annual ﬁghtingseason. This article considers the struggles in the French, Dutch, and British navies,concluding that the key development that precipitated the sudden explosion of mutiny was the internationalization of Europe’s lower decks.