Genocide in Modern Times: The (on-going) Scottish Highland Clearances

“In the last 270 years, more than a quarter million indigenous people were forced off their ancestral lands, burned out of their homes, sold into slavery, and forcibly assimilated into a foreign culture. But these were not Native Americans, or black Africans, or Jews; these were the white residents of the Scottish Highlands. Their crime: Occupying land that others coveted.

Highland and Island Scots lived under a clan structure based on an earlier tribal lifestyle. By pledging loyalty to a familial laird, the Highlanders gained the right to plant crops and raise cattle in the rugged hills and mountains of Scotland. These people remained close to their Keltic roots, and most spoke Gaidhlig instead of English. Culturally, the Highlanders were strongly independent, and they resented English dominion. The Highland Scots opposed the annexation of their homeland by the English. At Culloden Field, on 16 April 1746, the English Army crushed the Scottish rebellion; even the Highlander wounded were massacred. When the battle was over, the Scottish lairds were dead, and the English set out to destroy the clans once and for all.

In 1747, England passed “The Act of Proscription”, which banned (for the Scots) the wearing of tartan, the playing of bagpipes, the right to own weapons, the gathering of clans, and the teaching of the Gaidhlig language. Punishment for breaking this law: Seven years slavery in an overseas English colony. Another law that same year turned all clan lands over to the English crown. In forty years, the clan culture was largely destroyed; the young people did not know their language or culture.

As the 19th Century began, the price for wool and mutton went up. To corner the market for these valuable commodities, the English lords of the Highlands began a campaign now known as “The Clearances”. Trees were cut away, and their planting was forbidden, to make room for sheep. And the tenants of the land, of course, were in the way as well. The English began a campaign of terror, using armed enforcers to destroy Highland and Island homes, herding their inhabitants into urban ghettos or packing them onto cargo ships for the “New World” colonies. Where thousands of Scots had once lived, a few dozen shepherds now tended flocks of sheep. People were often evicted from their homes without warning, given only enough time to escape with their lives before the fires began. In many cases, the old and the young died as their houses burned; entire families froze to death without shelter. Those forced onto slave ships died enroute to America and Australia, packed like sardines. Tens of thousands died; hundreds of thousands lost their freedom and their identity.

And assaults on the Highland Scots continue to this day. Only in 1976 did the English pass a law allowing the remaining Highland tenants to buy their lands – at highly-inflated prices. It was only in 1991 that the law changed so that Highlanders were allowed to plants trees again. A few dozen people still own most of the Scottish Highlands; many of the Islands belong to corporations or individuals. In 1993, two farm families on the Isle of Arran were evicted and their houses bulldozed – to make room for more deer. That same year, absentee landlord Sheik Maktoumm of Dubai bulldozed a dozen family homes on his estate, even though there were already 800 applicants in need of housing on his lands.”

Source : The Cries of the Never Born: The Scottish Clearances, by Scott Robert Ladd.

4 thoughts on “Genocide in Modern Times: The (on-going) Scottish Highland Clearances

  1. In 1746 the _British Army_ crushed Bonny Prince Charlie’s army. It was a Catholic vs Protestant war not a Scottish vs English one. And by 1747 the Crown was British not English. You undermine the struggle for Independence by twisting history to make it a purely English/Scottish thing. Many of those “armed enforcers” were Scots, and most of the Landowners were Scottish not English. Until we take ownership of the crimes committed by Scots on other Scots we will never be free.

    1. You are right in some form… it was more so the Highland & Islanders vs the rest of (modern day) UK, the English looked upon highlanders as savages, but the Anglo-Scottish wars obviously influenced the hatred towards Highlanders around Scotland, the English did surprise Highland Culture my parents (I am 14) were beat by their teachers for speaking Gaelic, they did not know a word of English when they first started school and on the first day of school, they were beat until they’re hands and legs bled, imagine at 5 years old, not knowing why, or understanding what people around you were saying and still being beat, most of the teachers were from England as Scottish teachers were refused jobs as it was feared they would speak Gaelic, the Highlands are not recognised as an oppressed community (like African Americans) but we should be as we suffered similar experiences, fo you really think that the Clearences would happen if England wasn’t as greedy as it was/is and influenced hatred among countries towards peasant community because they didn’t get what they wanted? Think about that… have some respect for the oppressed!

    2. They were not English or British… the aristocracy were of that tribe who always use the same divisive tactics. It was MP Lord John Russell (grandfather of Lord Bertrand Russell eugenicist and adamant internationalist whose mother was Viscountess Katherine Stanley of Amberley and a suffragist pretending to be for the working people and women rights as the aristocrats have done since they started) MP John Russell was the PM at the time of the first phase of the genocide of the Irish with the so called Potato Famine.. look into the book by Chris Fogarty. Marx and Engels (front men for the Rothschilds) said they would have to remove the “racial trash” and they listed them as Scottish Highlanders, The Bretons, the Celts, the Serbs, the Basques… these are all the people that throughout history have not done well with tyranny. The Scottish we must remember were the only people that the Romans could not defeat. We know from the writings of Tacitus that they could not understand the lack of fear of death that the Celts had… this is why they built Hadrians Wall.

  2. John, very well written and might I say, wow. I had no idea and I think of a lot of others do not as well. History books are highly unreliable these days. Thank you

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