Migrant Destinations, 1500–1750

Steve Murdoch and Esther Mijers

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

Migrant Destinations, 1500–1750


Scholars of early modern Scotland have long mused over the plethora of migrant destinations utilized by Scots who either chose or were forced to leave their homeland. Their push and pull factors have long been discussed, and include economic opportunity or necessity, political considerations, coercion, conflict, and climate change. Taken together, these migration triggers have led to claims that Scotland was the country with the highest levels of migration in Europe. This in turn has implications for our understanding of the state of the Scottish economy and society, as the more inflated the migration figures are, compared to the notoriously inaccurate population statistics, the more significance is attached to such problems of economy and society. Several main locations emerge as host destinations for Scottish populations and, depending on what one believes, the nations and locations that benefited from significant Scottish immigration even by the sixteenth century might include France, Poland-Lithuania, Ireland, the Low Countries, and England. This article provides an overview of Scottish migrant destinations from the Reformation until the middle of the eighteenth century.

Keywords: Scotland; migration; Europe; Reformation; France; Ireland; Low Countries; England

Article.  9910 words. 

Subjects: History

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