Convicts In The 17th Century

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Most convicts in the 17th Century England consisted of thieves, murders or people who have committed moral crimes. Transportation to other colonies, including harsh labour was an integral part of the English and Irish systems of punishment. It was a way to deal with increased poverty. Simple larceny (Crime involving someone taking another person's personal property) , or robbery, could mean transportation for seven years. Compound larceny – stealing goods worth more than a shilling (about $50 in today's money) – meant death by hanging. The British government began transporting criminals to overseas colonies in the 17th century. However transportation to the American colonies was declined, an alternative was needed to avoid further overcrowding

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