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Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs #14707937 03/26/20
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interesting read

sorry for the graphic format
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Re: Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs [Re: KFWA] #14708090 03/26/20
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I'm currently re-reading O'Brian's Master and Commander 20-volume novel about the British Navy in the Napoleonic years 1800-1815 or so. The search for antiscorbutics was a very important task for voyages that lasted up to a year. Whalers could be out even longer, btw, so it wasn't just Navy ships that had to worry about scurvy. One of the most important supplies was kegs of inspissated lime juice (meaning concentrated) and the daily serving of grog was how they administered it. Grog was rum, lime juice, and water. Rum was what tempted the sailors to ingest the lime juice. Fruit and vegetables were bought whenever possible at port calls, and those probably had more effect than the lime juice, but the lime was still critical. And to this day, British sailors are known as Limeys.


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Re: Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs [Re: KFWA] #14708277 03/26/20
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I read a bit more about it, once they realized the importance of fruit in whatever format, they couldn't figure out why people close to the artic never developed scurvy on a diet that consisted almost solely on meat. The people that ate liver and such were getting a sizeable dose of vitamin C that was either created or ingested by the animal and passed on thru the meat consumed.


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Re: Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs [Re: KFWA] #14708369 03/26/20
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And, it's been said that the sailors would take their daily ration of rum, mix it with the juice from the ever present limes, add a bit of sugar & water.

Nowadays the water is replaced with ice & it's the original Daiquiri.

Re: Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs [Re: gunzo] #14708378 03/26/20
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Not quite, gunzo. Left to themselves, sailors would guzzle the rum straight. Grog was ALWAYS mixed by an officer to make sure that didn't happen. It was mixed one part lime juice, two parts rum, and three parts water. The official British ration was one pint of rum per day to each sailor, and the grog was mixed in bulk to that amount. They got grog twice a day. They also could receive one gallon of "small beer" per day which was about what we'd call 3.2 beer.

They were a fairly sloshed lot most of the time.


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Re: Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs [Re: KFWA] #14708484 03/26/20
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Thanks Rocky.

Mixed by an officer makes more sense for the control of the crew. Yo ho ho.

Re: Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs [Re: KFWA] #14708534 03/26/20
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las Offline
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Probably the rum also killed all kinds of stuff in contaminated water also. Win, win.

In the 70's I spent 4 years in Pt Hope, a remote Arctic village, on a spit with sea nearby on 3 sides, at an elevation of about 10 feet. In the summer water was brackish from wherever they got it from - I didn't spend much time there then, and in winter we hauled ice from an inland lake 8 miles away.

In the time I was here I was the only person to my knowledge that never came down with Hepatitus and jaundice. I never drank water that wasn't boiled, or without a shot of booze in it and left sitting for a minute or more.

My wife claims I was Hepatitus Larry, however..... smile

Last edited by las; 03/26/20.

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Re: Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs [Re: KFWA] #14708554 03/26/20
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And the greatest English explorer Capt James Cook used sauerkraut. And he knew he couldn’t make his crewmen eat it—so he served it in the Officiers Mess—made his officers eat it at every meal. The crewmen then thought it a delicacy and ate theirs too.

Re: Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs [Re: KFWA] #14708576 03/26/20
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And while not nautical in nature, let's not forget the British bureaucrats and such who were dropping like flies in the malarial portions of Her Majesty's empire until they found that regular doses of quinine would help stave off the disease. And since quinine is such bitter stuff, a dash of gin with your "tonic" helped the medicine go down.


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Re: Scurvy, British Naval Dominance, Lime Juice and Guinea Pigs [Re: KFWA] #14709062 03/26/20
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The Dutch “Golden Age” in the 1600’s was fueled by their dominance of the Equatorial Spice Islands and slave running. No other seafaring nation could make the trip to Indonesia and back with any reasonable chance of returning. One of the keys was indeed sauerkraut as a food staple, the other was the rest and provisioning stops in South Africa. Ships were run with a more egalitarian model than those of the Portuguese and British, and the sailors were afforded a considerably better diet.


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