‘Proverbially Inclined to Roam Abroad’: Empire, Identity, and Scottish Emigration to New Zealand

Tanja Bueltmann

in Scottish Ethnicity and the Making of New Zealand Society, 1850-1930

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780748641550
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653553 | DOI:
‘Proverbially Inclined to Roam Abroad’: Empire, Identity, and Scottish Emigration to New Zealand

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This chapter surveys the Scottish mindset at the point of departure and demonstrates how the Empire strengthened a distinctive sense of Scottishness. It was the Union of 1707 that facilitated access for Scots to the Empire within a new constitutional framework. It did so by enshrining Scottish civil society, which in turn provided important opportunities for Scotland’s elite to govern many areas of civic life despite the loss of the parliament. Within this context, the Scots’ role as Empire builders, bound and transported by popular imperialism, was crucial in that it powerfully underpinned Scottishness at home and abroad. Although Scots could also be exiles, the prevailing mindset at the time Scottish emigration to New Zealand commenced on a large scale was positive, in stark contrast to the generally negative popular portrayal. The chapter also emphasises that Scots throughout the period studied were highly mobile; they had long since roamed the globe in pursuit of work, wealth and opportunities.

Keywords: Scots; emigration; Scottishness; Empire; civil society; imperialism

Chapter.  10517 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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