The Highland Clearances: People, Landlords and Rural Turmoil
The Highland Clearances were one of the most devastating events in Scotland's history: brutal evictions, burning, starvation, and barren wastes. This ... Show synopsis The Highland Clearances were one of the most devastating events in Scotland's history: brutal evictions, burning, starvation, and barren wastes. This new study shows how much deeper and more complex the subject is than had been previously thought. Eric Roberts tracks the origins of the Clearances from the 18th century to their culmination in the crofting legislation of the 1880s. He shows how the process of clearance was part of a European movement of rural depopulation, describes the gross overcrowding and appalling conditions of the Highland population and shows how invidious and difficult were the choices that faced even the most benevolent of landlords in the face of the harsh tide of economic change. In no way is the brutality and horror of the Clearances diminished by time. The Clearances created a terrible scar in the Highland and Gaelic imagination, but it must be remembered, that they were simply one amongst many attempted "solutions" to a problem -- a problem that remains today -- of how to maintain a population on marginal and infertile land. As we enter the 21st century, the question of the Clearances is still with us and still unanswered.