In Harlots, Hussies, and Poor Unfortunate Women, Edith M. Ziegler recounts the history of British convict women involuntarily transported to Maryland in the 18th century.
Great Britain's forced transportation of convicts to colonial Australia is well known. Less widely known is Britain's earlier program of sending convicts - including women - to North America. Many of these women were assigned as servants in Maryland. Contemporary readers and scholars will be fascinated by Ziegler's explanation of how gender-influenced punishments were meted out to women and often ensnared them in Britain's system of convict labor.
Ziegler depicts the methods and operation of the convict trade and sale procedures in colonial markets. She describes the places where convict servants were deployed and highlights the roles these women played in colonial Maryland and their contributions to the region's society and economy. Ziegler's research also sheds light on escape attempts and the lives that awaited those who survived servitude.
Ziegler has masterfully researched the penumbra of associated documents and accounts to reconstruct the worlds of 18th-century Britain and colonial Maryland and the lives of these unwilling American settlers.
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