Major Antedating of "Concentration Camp"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Feb 3 17:44:15 UTC 2013

>It is not often that an antedating removes a significant stain from the
tory of a major nation, ...

Gee, I thought everybody knew this about the Spanish in Cuba.  I learned it
in high-school American history.

The claim that the British invented the "concentration camp" originally
came from the Germans, AFAIK..


On Sun, Feb 3, 2013 at 10:57 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Major Antedating of "Concentration Camp"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> It is not often that an antedating removes a significant stain from the
> his=
> tory of a major nation, but this one does that (not that it improves the
> Br=
> itish record in the Boer War, but at least it can no longer be said that
> th=
> e British invented the "concentration camp").
> concentration camp (OED 1901)
> 1897 _Louisville Courier-Journal_ 17 July 9 (ProQuest Historical
> Newspapers=
> )  "If the United States does not come to the help of this people more
> than=
>  100,000 of them will perish in a month."  This is from a letter written
> by=
>  an American citizen living in the province of Santa Clara, Cuba.  The
> horr=
> ors of Weyler's concentration policy have been pictured in strong colors,
> b=
> ut it seems as if the worst has not yet been realized.  "In the beginning
> o=
> f the concentration," this American writes, "the people driven into the;
> to=
> wns were occasionally allowed to go to the country on passes and search
> for=
>  food to bring back to camp.   Having such passes, they sometimes escaped
> t=
> he notice of the scouting parties.  Now, however, the Spanish columns have
> =
> received orders from Weyler to shoot any one, whether furnished with a
> pass=
>  or not, wherever found outside of the concentration camp.
> [NOTE: This article appears to be reprinted from the St. Louis
> Globe-Democr=
> at]
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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