chapter  7
12 Pages

Austria’s penal colonies

Facts and visions 1
WithStephan Steiner

This chapter argues that the exception of the English transportation system, the European deportation practices of the early modern period and the nineteenth century have been significantly understudied and deserves greater scholarly attention. The term 'penal colony', in popular European conceptions, quite often evokes associations of islands, far-off in the Pacific or Indian Oceans, tropical heat, hardcore criminals and back-breaking chain gang labour. In the early modern period such 'internal penal colonies', as one might call them, were places of confinement, reserved for delinquents as well as those with unblemished records who were nonetheless deemed to pose a present or future threat to the public or state authorities. In search of convincing arguments to persuade Germany's ruling elite to enter into a joint venture to establish penal colonies, Austrian advocates of a common future transportation strategy were not lost for words.