Scottish associational culture in Africa in the early 20th century

Screen-Shot-2015-08-14-at-11.12.33In Africa, like elsehwere around the globe, Scottish clubs and societies were a common development soon after the first foot fall of Scots on the continent. Contrary to popular assumption, and while there was a strong concentration, such associations were not restricted to southern Africa. By the early twentieth century we find societies in Salisbury (now Harare) and Bulawayo, the latter Society’s activities firmly recognized on St Andrew’s Day in 1902, when it received telegrams from sister societies in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Salisbury, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Umtali, Gwelo, Mafeking, Kroonstad, Simonstown, Queenstown, Pietermaritzburg, Newcastle, Lourenço Marques (present-day Maputo) and East London; there was also a telegram from the Diamond Fields Scottish Association.

In 1898 the Chieftain of the Salisbury Caledonian Society was Dr Leander Starr Jameson. Born in Edinburgh in …

Scottish Missionaries in Africa and Education

africeduWhile a significant number of Scots went to Africa with the London Missionary Society prior to the mid-nineteenth century, it was then that a notable change took place. This was triggered by the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843. After its formation, the Free Church began to keenly promote foreign missions. This had the effect that the Established Church, perhaps sensing an air of competition, followed suit quickly, also increasing its missionary activities overseas. As Esther Breitenbach has noted, the Disruption ‘released an evangelical energy reflected in the growth of the foreign mission movement’. In South Africa, and by the mid-1800s, the Free Church alone had 13 missions in Kaffraria, 14 missions in the Transkei, and five missions in Natal, with a total of 144 Scottish missionaries. There …

Scots and the Slave Trade

slaveryAs Tom Devine has recently emphasised, the role of Scots in the slave trade has largely been ignored in traditional scholarship—a result too of the fact that prominent eighteenth-century Scots, including some of the leading thinkers of the Enlightenment, were opposed to it. For David Hume, slavery was ‘more cruel and oppressive than any civil subjection whatsoever’, while Adam Smith wrote about the destructive effects of slavery in his The Wealth of Nations. Another reason for the neglect of the Scots’ participation in the slave trade lies in the relative unimportance of Scottish ports in the trade: the circular slave trade was concentrated in the ports of Bristol, Liverpool and London—ports already well-established in the trade with Africa, and specializing in the slave trade. As a result, there was …

The Scots Guards

ScotsGuards28 March 1642 saw the formation of the Scots Guards regiment, when King Charles I commissioned the Marquess of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell, to raise a regiment of 1,500 men in Scotland for service in Ireland. The regiment was to become the King’s so-called ‘Lyfe Guard of Foot’, which  eventually became the Scots Guards in 1877 under Queen Victoria. Initially the regiment was involved in a number of internal disputes in the British Isles, and then also in Europe.

When the American Revolutionary War broke out between Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, Scots Guards made their first venture into the New World as part of a composite battalion of Foot Guards.This took part in a number of battles, including, for instance, the Battle of Germantown (Pennsylvania) in early October …