The rise of the asylum constitutes one of the most profound, and controversial, events in the history of medicine. Recently, academics around the world have begun to direct their attention to the origins of the confinement of those deemed 'insane', exploring patient records in an attempt to understand the rise of the asylum within the wider context of social and economic change of nations undergoing modernisation. This edited volume brings together thirteen original research papers to answer key questions in the history of asylums. What forces led to the emergence of mental hospitals in different national contexts? To what extent did patient populations vary in terms of their psychiatric profile and socio-economic background? What was the role of families, communities and the medical profession in the confinement process? This volume therefore represents a landmark study in the history of psychiatry by examining asylum confinement in a global context.