Impressment facts for kids

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Caricature-1780-press gang
Press gang, British caricature of 1780

Impressment (the Press) was the act of forcing men to serve in the navy. The people who were "pressed" to join the navy were usually young men. They would be attacked by naval officers and forced onto warships where they were made to work. Their families (if they had families) seldom knew where they had been taken.

Impressment was also called the Press or press ganged. The people who took the young men were the press gang. It was a normal practice in the Royal Navy during the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. Many people said that it should be stopped, but the Navy said it was a good way to get sailors who were needed to defend their country. After the Napoleonic Wars the need for sailors was less and the Navy stopped impressing them.


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