This article argues that information about child laborers in mining industries outside of Britain greatly informed ideas about British childhood in the mid-nineteenth century, the period of much legislation and activation against child labor in mining in the UK. The Atlantic World, and particularly Brazil, was a major crucible for cultural formation in global mining industries and therefore ideas about "British childhood," especially with reference to mining, inhered racialized notions of white privilege. In addition, the article shows how the contexts of mid-century gold rushes and East India Company (EIC) activity in the Punjab also factored into notions of British childhood. "Childhood" was one category through which British imperial culture developed and worked to assert imperial authority at home and abroad within a global and ever-more-globalizing context. The article is based on English travel-writing on Brazil, surveys of the British press, and the records of the EIC.

Brazil, Britain, Childhood, Gold rushes, India, Mining
Atlantic Studies Global Currents
Department of History

Kinsey, D.C. (2014). Atlantic World mining, child labor, and the transnational construction of childhood in Imperial Britain in the mid-nineteenth century. Atlantic Studies Global Currents, 11(4), 449–472. doi:10.1080/14788810.2014.960994