Sir Donald McLean

On this day in 1820, Sir Donald McLean was born at Kilmaluag on Tiree (Inner Hebrides). McLean undoubtedly was one of the most prominent New Zealand Scots. He came out to the Antipodes aged 18, first settling in New South Wales. Employment brought McLean to Auckland in 1840, from where he eventually found his way Read More

Home Rule for Scotland: An early 20th century view from New Zealand

Blenheim was the birthplace of one of the few Scots in New Zealand who actively promoted home rule for Scotland: Richard McCallum. His name, as was stated by the New Zealand Truth in 1927, ‘implies something of a fine old “Hieland” strain.’ And indeed, though born in Blenheim, Marlborough, in the South Island in 1863, Read More

Exploring Africa: Mungo Park

Early September 1771 saw the birth, in Selkirkshire, of one of Scotland’s most famous explorers: Mungo Park. After being apprenticed to a surgeon in Selkirk, Park attended Edinburgh University between 1789-91, receiving a surgical diploma at the end. It was not, however, as a surgeon that Park would leave the most lasting mark, but as Read More

The Scottish Diaspora and the Story of St Kilda

On 29 August 1930 the remaining residents of St Kilda were evacuated from the island on economic grounds at the islanders’ own request as the population had dwindled from 73 in 1920 to only 37 in 1928. There is, however, a much longer history of departures from the island, and one directly connected to the Read More

Burns Centenary Celebrations: Honouring the Poet’s Death in the Scottish Diaspora

Burns, and the commemorations in his name, entrenched what might suitably be described as a memory community, and one effective in maintaining links globally. The Burns centenary celebrations held in 1896, honouring the poet’s death on 21 July, serve as a useful case study. Managed by various committees in connection with the Dumfries Burns Club Read More

Early Scottish Imperial Ventures: The Darien Scheme

Fuelled partly by the success of the London-based East India Company, Scottish imperial aspirations gathered momentum towards the end of the seventeenth century. While several Scots were engaged in the East India Company in London, or worked for it in India itself, demands for Scotland to have its own imperial venture grew in the late Read More

The Scottish Samurai

On 6 June 1838 Thomas Blake Glover was born in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. It was from the north east of Scotland that he ventured out to the Far East in the late 1850s, leaving a lasting legacy in Japan that provided the foundation for the enduring connections between Scotland and Japan. In nineteenth-century Japan Scots were Read More

Royal Jubilees and the Scots Abroad

This year’s Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne marks an important moment not only in the history of the United Kingdom, but also in that of the many countries overseas where, whether officially or unofficially, the Queen is an important public symbol. Republican tendencies there may be in many a place, and Read More

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