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Paper, 'Observations of the plague in Copenhagen' by John Chamberlayne

Reference number: CLP/14ii/3

Date: 1712


Chamberlayne describes how the [Great Northern War] plague outbreak spread through Copenhagen in 1711 from the beginning of July through to the end of the year, with an estimated 25,000 fatalities. He observes that the disease affected nearly every household in the city, and that the disease was especially fatal within impoverished communities, linking this to their 'nasty manner of living', cramped living quarters, proximity to corpses, and their general belief in 'Predestination'. He suggests that coffin-makers, surgeons and shoe-makers were also disproportionately affected by the disease. He mentions that theriaca [theriac] was used as a medicine but that it proved ineffective.

Subject: Epidemiology / Communicable diseases

Published in Philosophical Transactions as 'Remarks upon the plague at Copenhagen in the year 1711'

Read to the Royal Society on 11 December 1712

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Ink on paper
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6 pages

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John Chamberlayne

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John Chamberlayne, Paper, 'Observations of the plague in Copenhagen' by John Chamberlayne, 1712, CLP/14ii/3, The Royal Society Archives, London,, accessed on 14 July 2024

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  • Classified Papers

    Dates: 1592-1741

    The 'Classified Papers' of the Royal Society are papers from British and international natural philosophers and scholars categorised according to subject areas.

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