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Was a form of punishment devised in England to exile convicted criminals to the American colonies from c.1650 and after the War of Independence to Australia between 1788 and 1868, when it was abolished. The system arose out of England's lack of state‐organized prisons and the overcrowding of what few prisons there were, including converted warships (hulks) anchored in the river Thames. It is estimated that some 210,000 convicts were exiled between 1650 and 1868; 50,000 to the American colonies, the remainder to Australia.

Subjects: Literature — History.

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