Uses of quarantine in the nineteenth century until the Crimean War
Examples from south-east Europe
in Medicalising borders
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In the mid nineteenth century the traditional system of quarantines as a precaution against plague was undergoing extensive modification. Shortly before this transformation took place, quarantines were introduced in the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire. The chapter first deals with contemporary assessments of the efficacy of the time-proven sanitary cordon at the southern border of the Habsburg Empire in the 1820s, before touching on the establishment of similar cordons in the Danubian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia (the predecessors of modern Romania) and Serbia, as well as the foundation of a system of quarantines in the Ottoman Empire. After the disappearance of the plague in the 1840s, the Ottoman quarantines conduced a protracted trade war with the Kingdom of Greece. The latter circumstance demonstrates that the individual polities in the region also used quarantines for other purposes than sanitary ones. Up to the Crimean War, Russia, in particular, employed its quarantine station at the mouth of the Danube to block this riverine artery vis-à-vis the commercial interests of Austria and the British Empire. After the general transformation of the system of quarantines in the 1850s under the auspices of anticontagionism, the loophole for such diverse uses of quarantine would be closed.

Medicalising borders

Selection, containment and quarantine since 1800


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