For instance, the short lived Pharaoh Tutankhamun, died at age 18 and was found to be the product of inbreeding practices. Although he had a “clubfoot”, his physical disability did not raise much concern amongst his people as he had not been dismissed to rule Egypt nonetheless. (Than, 2010)
Tutankhamun has also been mummified and buried with a huge amount of objects that includes his sarcophage and famous mortuary mask which is a beautiful piece of art.
Another well known head of state namely the Roman Emperor Claudius , was mocked for his disability by his family members. Some historians believe that he ” may have suffered from cerebral palsy or Tourette’s syndrome”(Andrews, 2014) Despite some of his ability lessen, Claudius was an intelligent and keen historical learner.
In addition he “visited Britain during the invasion and remained for 16 days”, this was part of an annexation process that allowed the Roman Empire to expand. (Andrews, 2014)
Kings and queens of England were also suffering from disabilities. Indeed, Henry VIII had a terrible accident that made him physically and subsequently mentally ill. The then King of England suffered until his last breath with a smelly wounded leg. From that point on, he became a violent obese and rather unpleasant man, husband and king. (The jousting accident that turned Henry VIII into a tyrant, 2009)
After Henry VIII’s death, things changed for the better, although at a slow pace, for the mentally ills in England with “the appointment of the Bethlem’s first medical ‘keeper’ in 1619 “. (
Historicengland.org.uk , 2019)
The goal was to take care of those unable to look after themselves although life was” harsh and brutal”. (Historicengland.org.uk , 2019)
(Historicengland.org.uk , 2019)
Fast forward to after the second world war; the world discovered that the disabled community suffered greatly as a consequence to the Nazis’ determination to eliminate as many disabled people as possible.
The horror of the unproven Nazis “Eugenics” theory which promoted the elimination of the disabled.
(Historicengland.org.uk , 2019)
This left the disabled community with a death toll of approximately “275,000 disabled people killed by the Nazis.”
(Bbc.co.uk , 2014)
Since, many improvements were made through science. Disabled people are not hidden away and there are positive and inspirational stories about the strength of disabled around the world. This includes the political career of Joe Biden who recently became president of the United States of America. Joe Biden had to learn to be confident and effective whilst managing a speech impairment (Newsweek, 2020).
Richard Branson who is dyslexic (Egan, 2015) has proven to be an excellent business man.
Furthermore but not the least, we must acknowledge all the Paralympic professional athletes who are proof that a disability is not a death penalty and should not be the source of shameful or harsh reaction from others.
However, many issues to be solved remain around disability and mental health, albeit the positive impact of disabled people in today’s society. This includes accessing adequate health care and lessening the percentage of incarceration experiences within the disabled population.
Thanks for reading,
Than, K. (2010). King Tut Was Disabled, Malarial, and Inbred, DNA Shows. [online] Culture. Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/100216-king-tut-malaria-bones-inbred-tutankhamun. [Accessed 04 Sep. 2021].
The jousting accident that turned Henry VIII into a tyrant. (2009). The Independent. [online] 17 Apr. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/the-jousting-accident-that-turned-henry-viii-into-a-tyrant-1670421.html.
Historicengland.org.uk. (2019). Mental illness in the 16th and 17th centuries | Historic England. [online] Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/research/inclusive-heritage/disability-history/1485-1660/mental-illness-in-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/.
Science Museum. (n.d.). Medicine in the aftermath of war. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects-and-stories/medicine/medicine-aftermath-war.
Newsweek. (2020). Joe Biden’s stutter explains a lot about how he speaks. I should know: I have one too | Opinion. [online] Available at: https://www.newsweek.com/joe-bidens-stutter-explains-lot-about-how-he-speaks-i-should-knowi-have-one-too-opinion-1493176 [Accessed 17 Sep. 2021].
Egan, M. (2015). Richard Branson: Dyslexia got me where I am today. [online] CNNMoney. Available at: https://money.cnn.com/2015/05/08/investing/richard-branson-dyslexia/index.html [Accessed 17 Sep. 2021].
taylorjbeans (2014). Pharrell Williams on Synesthesia. [online] The Vibrant World of a Synesthete. Available at: https://taylorjbeans.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/pharrell-williams-on-synesthesia/ [Accessed 17 Sep. 2021].
Knight, L. (2020). Lady Gaga opens up about depression as she spent days “chain-smoking and crying.” [online] mirror. Available at: https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/lady-gaga-opens-up-depression-22702136 [Accessed 20 Sep. 2021].
www.youtube.com. (n.d.). BBC Mental A History of the Madhouse FULL DOCUMENTARY. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oswUssXzFlY&list=TLPQMTkwOTIwMjF0wgeuhBhQQA&index=7 [Accessed 19 Sep. 2021].
Science Museum. (2018). A Victorian Mental Asylum | Science Museum. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects-and-stories/medicine/victorian-mental-asylum. [Accessed 19 Sep. 2021].