This essay will try to answer the question and describe the different interpretations of historians regarding the ‘Highland Clearances’.
The decline of the highland society started with the end of the Jacobean uprising of 1745 after the battle of Culloden, this was to prove to be the final battle of war but the beginning of many years of a systematic approach to removing highland and lowland Scotts from their land.
The clearances definitely show a connection to the agricultural and industrial revolution of the late 18th and 19th century which was sweeping all across Europe at this time, but although this may be true this a far too simplistic view and does not account for the evidence supporting many historians views that the highland clearances were an early version of ‘ethnic cleansing’.
The British government at this time were looking to destroy the clan system in the highlands as they perceived the highlanders as a threat to the establishment, but many saw the highland ruling class just as much to blame for the situation as they were seen to supporting this clearance as a way to retain their wealth and lands by sacrificing the people, this left a bitter taste especially when it was expressed as economic and social reform.
The most brutal part of the clearances began in 1760 with the introduction of sheep farming which was due to the soaring prices from wool and perceived as the new economic miracle which led to many farmers being forcibly removed from their homes forcing them from inland to coastal areas, the removed farmer was now provided with a small piece of land mostly in coastal areas as these were areas which were of no use to a sheep farmer and forced the coastal farmers to turn to other ways to make a living such as kelping for the manufacture of soap etc. This industry was able to absorb the excess population as it was very labour... [continues]
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