Why are English sailors called “Limeys?
” It is documented that James Lancaster, an English ship’s captain of the Elizabethan era issued an order for his crew to drink a spoonful of lemon juice daily upon the pain of death. While the crews of other ships became feeble, gums bleeding, teeth falling out, this fellow’s crew remained healthy. This showed that as early as 1601 it was known that citrus juice would ward off a disease that would cripple sailing crews. Incomprehensibly , the English navy waited until 1789 to make the drinking of lime juice a standard requirement in their fleet. There are connections between the popularity and availability of sugar (again with the rum!) and the increased occurrences of scurvy on land as people switched from citrus-as-sweeteners (vitamin C was an unknown benefit) to cane sugar (with no dietary benefits whatsoever). This social change may be what triggered an official rule being required to enforce that crews drank their juice. Incidentally, German ships’ crews never got scurvy. A diet