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Global Migrations

The Scottish Diaspora since 1600

Edited by Angela McCarthy, John M MacKenzie

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A tribute to Professor Sir Tom Devine, FBA, the leading historian of modern Scotland and its diaspora

The impact of Scottish migration since 1600 at home and abroad

From the seventeenth century to the current day, more than 2.5 million Scots have sought new lives elsewhere. This book of essays from established and emerging scholars examines the impact since 1600 of out migration from Scotland on the homeland, the migrants and the destinations in which they settled, and their descendants and ‘affinity’ Scots. It does so through a focus on the under-researched themes of slavery, cross-cultural encounters, economics, war, tourism, and the modern diaspora since 1945. It spans diverse destinations including Europe, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Hong Kong, Guyana and the British World more broadly. A key objective is to consider whether the Scottish factor mattered.

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List of Illustrations and Tables
Contributor Biographies
Preface: A Tribute to Sir Tom Devine, John M. MacKenzie
1.Introduction, Angela McCarthy and John M. MacKenzie
2. ‘As hewers of wood and drawers of water’: Scotland as an emigrant nation, c.1600-c.1800, Andrew Mackillop
3. Behavioural economics and the paradox of Scottish emigration: ‘You have only seen the fortunate few and drawn your conclusion accordingly’, David Alston
4. Scottish diasporas and Africa, John M. MacKenzie
5. ‘Have the Scotch no claim upon the Cherokee?’, Colin Calloway
6. Right across the spectrum: Scots and indigenous peoples in the Australian colonies, Ann Curthoys, 7. The importance of ethnicity? James Taylor and Ceylon tea, Angela McCarthy
8. Common cause: Commonwealth Scots and the Great War, Stuart Allan and Dr David Forsyth
9. ‘Part of my heritage’: Ladies’ pipe bands, associational culture and ‘homeland’ identities in the Scottish diaspora, Erin Grant
10. The modern Scottish diaspora in Hong Kong and New Zealand and their understanding of Scottishness, Iain Watson
11. Encountering an imaginary heritage: Roots tourism and Scotland’s young diaspora, Tawny Paul
12. Home is where the heart is: Affinity Scots and the Scottish diaspora, David Hesse
13. What Scottish diaspora?, David Fitzpatrick
Afterword, Eric Richards

About the Author

Angela McCarthy is Professor of Scottish and Irish History at the University of Otago, New Zealand. She is the editor of A Global Clan (2006) and author of Personal Narratives of Irish and Scottish Migration, 1921-65 (2007) and Scottishness and Irishness in New Zealand since 1840 (2011).

John M. MacKenzie is Emeritus Professor of Imperial History at Lancaster University and holds honorary professorships of Aberdeen and St Andrews universities. He is the author of The Scots in South Africa (2007), Museums and Empire (2009) and co-editor with T.M. Devine of Scotland and the British Empire (2011).


‘Among Sir Tom Devine’s many historical achievements is his lifelong effort to draw attention to the outward-looking nature of Scotland and the Scots. From his earliest to his most recent major works, Devine has shown how Scotland shaped the world and how the wider world formed Scotland. So great is his accomplishment in this field that it deserves both fulsome celebration and critical attention: The Global Migrations of the Scottish People since 1600 is just such a wide-ranging tribute.’

- David Armitage, Harvard University

'This volume is indeed a welcome contribution furthering studies of the complex task of defining Scottish diaspora, and the relationships between those that emigrated, their descendants and Scotland. More than this, however, the volume raises the challenging question of what it means to be Scottish, an issue that is not merely historical but of current concern for the nation.'

- Dr Scott Spurlock, University of Glasgow, History Scotland
'The coherence of such a volume is really down to the judicious editing, selection, sequencing and co-ordination of the editors, and in all these respects McCarthy and MacKenzie are to be commended … A history book ought to be judged as much by the questions it raises as by the answers it offers: that is the ultimate motor of a mature historiographical tradition. In this regard, this volume is exemplary'.
- Catriona M.M. Macdonald, Britain and the World
‘This top-notch collection questions its share of assumptions, notably the idea that everyone took to the seas because of poverty when, in fact, "most Scots who migrated did so to pursue new opportunities rather than escape oppression.” The methodological scope is equally impressive…The volume's bench of contributors (from the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand) has a pleasingly global complexion, and the range of subjects covered certainly makes for a compelling read.’
- Jonathan Wright, The Herald