A Global Diaspora

T. M. Devine

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199563692
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

A Global Diaspora


In 2010, the Scottish government announced a ‘Diaspora Engagement Plan’ outlining an ambitious strategy for connecting with Scots emigrants overseas. The Scottish diaspora of the last 700 years or more has had several distinctive features. While it has been suggested that, by the later twentieth century, an estimated 15 million people of Scottish descent lived outside Scotland, the longevity of Scottish emigration, stretching back to the thirteenth century, might indicate that the estimate could still err on the conservative side. Considerable outward movement from Scotland, often on a substantial scale, occurred from the 1400s through to the 1990s. This article examines the Scottish experience of emigration, focusing on the great migrations between c.1830 and c.1939 and the reasons for movement. It also looks at the more recent outward movement since 1945.

Keywords: Scotland; Scottish diaspora; emigrants; emigration; migrations

Article.  12255 words. 

Subjects: History ; Colonialism and Imperialism

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