Article ID: CBB283439358

Malaria, Water Management, and Identity in the English Lowlands (July 2018)


Much of the eastern seaboard of England lying between East Yorkshire and the Pevensey Levels in Kent constitutes an English Lowlands, a distinctive region characterized by large areas of marsh and fen, and a subculture borne out of the vicissitudes and travails of living with the constant risk of flood and storm surge. But this was a landscape where dangers lurked not only in the unstable ground but also in the air, where it was considered that the miasmic vapors laid low even the locals with the ague or marsh fever that had popularly begun to be called after the Italian “bad air” (mal-aria), or malaria. Together water and air defined the English Lowlands as separate and apart from the rest of the country. However, this was also a changing environment, one that underwent a profound transformation as the land was drained and its soils made arable. As the water receded, so too did the incidence of Plasmodium vivax. This article examines the puzzling relationship between water and malaria, especially in the nineteenth century: how as the former was drained from the land so the latter apparently disappeared from the human bloodstream, and how, in the absence of both, the English Lowlands began to fade from the national consciousness.

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Authors & Contributors
Ingold, Alice
Taylor, Vanessa
Trentmann, Frank
Rao, B. Eswara
Melosi, Martin V.
Cookson-Hills, Claire
French Historical Studies
Past and Present
Radical History Review
Social Studies of Science
Environment and History
Economic History Review
Franco Angeli
University of Pittsburgh Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Texas State Historical Association
Cambridge University Press
Water resource management
Drainage; irrigation
Environmental history
Water supply
Technology and politics
Cotton, Arthur, Sir
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
17th century
16th century
20th century, early
18th century
United States
Great Britain

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