The Scottish Diaspora since 1815

Angela McCarthy

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199563692
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191750687 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 The Scottish Diaspora since 1815

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During the nineteenth and twentieth century, an estimated 3.25 million Scots left their homeland. Teasing out the volume, chronology, and profile of Scottish emigration, along with the causes of this movement, characterizes the work of many historians based in Scotland. Typically emphasizing a grim Scottish economy, such works have spawned overarching depictions of Scottish migrants as adventurers or exiles. These interpretations also appear in the countries where Scots settled and are connected to issues of migrant adjustment, including ethnic retention, assimilation, and contribution histories. Although a few studies incorporate the experiences of Scottish migrants in several destinations, these efforts are rarely explicitly comparative and fail to explicate differences between the countries of settlement. Indeed, the general impression of the historiography of the Scottish diaspora is that it is lacklustre, under-developed, and under-theorized. This article surveys the literature according to three overarching concerns evident from the extant historiography: the profile and pattern of emigration, its causes, and its consequences. Comparison is made with emigration from Ireland.

Keywords: Scotland; emigration; Scottish diaspora; ethnic retention; assimilation; migrants; historiography; Ireland

Article.  9693 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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