Transportees and Adoption

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For many years from 1597 the British government exported its criminals, including some children, to its colonies as exiles, as an alternative to imprisonment or hanging. Even children convicted of offenses which today might merit no more than a severe ticking off from the local police could be transported (a type of banishment or exile), usually to America or Australia.

About 50,000 people (mostly adults) were transported to the American colonies between 1614 and 1775, and about 160,000 to Australia from 1788 to 1866.


Coldham, Peter W. Emigrants in Chains: A Social History of Forced Emigration to the Americas of Felons, Destitute Children, Political and Religious Nonconformists, Vagabonds, Beggars and Other Undesirables, 1607-1776. (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1992) Oldham, Wilfrid. Britain's Convicts to the Colonies. (Syney: Library of Australian History, 1990) Robson, L.L. The Convict Settlers of Australia. (London: Cambridge University Press, 1965)