Scottish Clearances Cultural Genocide?

Sep 2008
268
Orkney, United Kingdom
#1
During the 17th century:

1) The clan system failed because the upper classes were out for themselves. There was money in sheep farming than in rent from their workers/tenants. So, in came the profitable business of sheep farming in the highands.

As a result the workers were pushed out to the poorer soil areas, given small strips of poor land to grow crops mostly potatoes, to add to their problems most would have had to build their own houses/crofts. To make up their money (for rent etc) they turned to kelp and whenever possible fishing, this would help to subsidise their poor potato crops.

2) If these crofters/workers were not economically viable they were sent off abroad and at times with only the clothes on their backs. Their condition was so poor that when the ships arrived in Canada they were often met and kitted out and given a little money to give them a start in ther new life.

The journey proved to be so harduous and the conditions were often squalid that many did even survive the voyage. But for those survived they would take their language,cultural identity and traditions which for most part has survived today in many parts of the world.

With these events in mind (they being a very brief synopsis, as it goes much deeper and there was more than one clearance) could this be considered a form of cultural genocide? And at whose instigation English, Scots or both?
 
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Jul 2007
9,098
Canada
#2
I don't really think you can call it cultural genocide because it wasn't some new practice devised especially for Scots ... England had been doing the Enclosures and clearing English people off the land for a long time by then. It was just that the private property system of land management took a bit longer to begin replacing feudal systems of land management in Scotland.

In that sense, it wasn't really instigated either by the English or the Scottish, but by the private landowner classes (many of whom happened to be English, but there were many Scots too).
 
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Chookie

Ad Honorem
Nov 2007
7,628
Alba
#3
Robin57, it was actually the 18th century. The earliest recorded was in 1732 on the MacLeod lands in Skye. The Year of the Sheep (1792) saw a wave of mass emigration (much of it forced).

You'll find more information in the thread titled "Patrick Sellar".
 
Oct 2008
147
#4
But for those survived they would take their language,cultural identity and traditions which for most part has survived today in many parts of the world.

... could this be considered a form of cultural genocide? And at whose instigation English, Scots or both?
If these people were transported with their culture, how does this constitute cultural genocide?
 
Sep 2008
268
Orkney, United Kingdom
#5
If these people were transported with their culture, how does this constitute cultural genocide?
I think that genocide could be considered as internal. True they took the culture out with them which was good or else a lot of rich Scottish culture such as music may have been lost. But, because it was taken out, was it nearly lost within Scotand itself?
 
Sep 2008
268
Orkney, United Kingdom
#6
Robin57, it was actually the 18th century. The earliest recorded was in 1732 on the MacLeod lands in Skye. The Year of the Sheep (1792) saw a wave of mass emigration (much of it forced).

You'll find more information in the thread titled "Patrick Sellar".
Chookie, sorry my error with the typing, I'm glad my wife hasn't read this thread as it is more her subject! Perhaps I should pinch her books for a good read:eek:
 
Sep 2008
268
Orkney, United Kingdom
#7
I don't really think you can call it cultural genocide because it wasn't some new practice devised especially for Scots ... England had been doing the Enclosures and clearing English people off the land for a long time by then. It was just that the private property system of land management took a bit longer to begin replacing feudal systems of land management in Scotland.

In that sense, it wasn't really instigated either by the English or the Scottish, but by the private landowner classes (many of whom happened to be English, but there were many Scots too).

Perhaps history books/historians made Scotland more prominant in their writings?
 
Nov 2008
69
Lincoln,UK
#9
But it just isn't British history unless you blame the English for everything.

I think the books highlight it more so due to the fact that it is better documented and it ties in nicely with the rise of industrialism. I understand the view of 'cultural genocide' as it appears like that to me as well. How would this be seen these day's? would you lable the workers refugees?
 
Sep 2008
268
Orkney, United Kingdom
#10
No problem Robin, it's just that the Clearances are one of my hot buttons.
It's a pity I wasn't a member during the Spring term this year, I could have asked some questions on the subject, my wife covered the subject last year, she managed an 'A' and she hates history!:)
 

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