Lessons in History

If we can't learn from History, then we're set to repeat the same mistakes
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Scottish Highlander Way of Life


While the rebellion of 1745/6 was not ultimately responsible for the loss of the Highland way of life it was a very important stage. The process that began with the Massacre at Glencoe, and continued with the Jacobite rebellion was finally completed with the Highland Clearances.


When the British Army under the Duke of Cumberland banned the wearing of kilts and the bearing of arms they inadvertently destroyed the Highland way of life. The clan chiefs allowed the Highlanders the right to farm their land based on the understanding that they would be able to call on them when they needed fighting men. By removing the right to bear arms they made the Highlanders useless to the chiefs. As a result the landowners tried to charge rents for the land that had previously been granted in return for their support during times of conflict. The rents were invariably in default. What happened next was that the landowners looked to alternate ways of using their land and what they found were sheep. The sheep proved extremely profitable and when the very hardy Cheviot sheep was introduced this was the end for the Highlanders. The only remaining choice for the Highlanders was to emigrate - Scotland's loss was North America's gain as most landed in Canada (Pictou, Nova Scotia [New Scotland]), and the fledgling United States. The first trip from Loch Broom (left July 10th, 1773) to Pictou on board the Dutch ship the Hector landed on September 15th, 1773 - here is the passenger list



Over 20,000 emigrants followed these original 189 (many did not survive the trip due to cholera, smallpox, and dysentry).


Those that landed in Geelong, Australia would get their revenge years later. The children's children of the emigrants finally paid back the Scottish landowners when inexpensive Australian mutton would drive them out of business.