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The height of Irishmen and Englishmen in the 1770's: some evidence from the East India Company Army records

Joel Mokyr and Cormac Ó Gráda ()

Open Access publications from School of Economics, University College Dublin

Abstract: This article compares the heights of 1,000 Irish and English men recruited for service in India by the East India Company in the late 1770s and early 1780s. The height data serves as a guide to determining the economic conditions of various regions in Ireland and England. Despite the law against Irish recruitment, Robert Brooke, an Irish soldier, entrepreneur and administrator, "turned a blind eye" to recruiting Irish men for the East India Company. Many had native Irish surnames, suggesting a "strong catholic representation" among Brooke’s recruits. Included are various tables and graphs, which show the Irish in each age group to be taller and to have reached adult height at an earlier age than the English. Furthermore, the height data suggests that despite coming from a conventionally poorer socio-economic background, the Irish recruits were healthier than the English recruits. The article includes biographical background on Brooke, a letter from the East India Company to the British government asking for Irish recruitment, and statistics of deaths, desertion and transfers among Brooke’s men.

Keywords: Stature--British Isles--History; Soldiers--British Isles--Statistics; British Isles--Economic conditions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1989
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Published in: Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr, 4() 1989

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http://hdl.handle.net/10197/389 Open Access version, 1989 (application/pdf)

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Working Paper: The height of Irishmen and Englishmen in the 1770's: some evidence from the East India Company Army records (1988) Downloads
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