Safeguarding Slaves: Smallpox, Vaccination, and Governmental Health Policies among the Enslaved Population in the Danish West Indies, 1803–1848
- Bulletin of the History of Medicine
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 83, Number 1, Spring 2009
- pp. 95-124
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During the first half of the nineteenth century, a unique system of vaccination against smallpox was developed in the island of St. Croix in the Danish West Indies. The primary intention was to protect the population of enslaved workers, which was of fundamental importance to the economy of the colony. However, because the Danish abolition of the slave trade in 1803 had stopped the imports of new enslaved workers from Africa, the population was also decreasing. The vaccination system's success was due to a high degree of governmental control of the enslaved population that was virtually unseen anywhere else in the Caribbean.