Lowland Clearances

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The Lowland Clearances (Scottish Gaelic: Fuadaich nan Sasunnach) in Scotland were one of the results of the British Agricultural Revolution, which changed the traditional system of agriculture which had existed in Lowland Scotland for hundreds of years. Hundreds of thousands of cottars and tenant farmers from the southern counties of Scotland were forcibly moved from the farms and small holdings they had occupied.

Many small settlements were torn down, their occupants forced to new, purposely-built villages. John Cockburn of Ormiston, for example, displaced cottars to the outskirts of his new ranch. Other displaced farmers moved to the new industrial centres of Glasgow, Edinburgh and northern England.

As a result, between 1760 and 1830, many tens of thousands of Lowland Scots emigrated, taking advantage of the many new opportunities offered in Canada and the United States after 1776 to own and farm their own land.

Some chose to remain, either by choice or out of sheer necessity, but rents were increased to the extent that tenant or sub-tenant were eventually forced to sell. Consequently, the cottars and their way of life disappeared altogether in many parts of southern Scotland.

Although the causes were different, the lowland Agricultural Revolution is being seen as the forerunner of the Highland Clearances, which started around the same time but continued to the 1870s. New research (20032004) about the destruction of Lowland culture has led historians such as Tom Devine to dub this period of time the Lowland Clearances.

[edit] See also

[edit] Further reading

  • Smout, T.C. A History of the Scottish People: 1560-1830, TC Smout, 1969
  • Devine, Prof. Tom. The Scottish Nation: 1700–2000, 2001
  • Aitchison, Pete and Cassell, Andrew. The Lowland Clearances, Scotland's Silent Revolution: 1760–1830, 2003

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