Cape Breton Island & Scottish Gaelic Culture

The majority of tracks on Tobar an Dualchais were of course recorded in Scotland, but some were recorded in other locations such as Cape Breton Island such as the examples below 🎙

Cape Breton Island is the home of the First Nations Mi’kmaq people, & after being colonised a significant Scottish Gaelic speaking community, mostly due to the Highland Clearances 🐑

🎧 Old customs in Cape Breton: https://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/track/103734?l=en

🎧 An emigrant song: https://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/track/104709?l=en

🎧 A love song to a brown haired girl, composed by Malcolm Gillies of Cape Breton: https://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/track/99848?l=en

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel

From Guyana to Scotland in 1816 – 14 year old Eliza Junor’s story

Highlighting this lesser known story as part of Black History Month UK 2021 – for more please see The Adder’s Den Facebook page, the Empire & Slavery topic tag & the Scotland’s Role in the British Empire & the Slave Trade section of this site’s Resource pages.

Sadly not much is known about Eliza’s Mum – it’s thought that she was either a descendant of enslaved people in Guyana or possibly an enslaved woman herself – but it is known that her Dad had been a Scottish enslaver in Guyana, then when he returned to Scotland in 1816 her brought 14 year old Eliza & her brother William back to live in Scotland with him.

Read more about Eliza’s life in Scotland here: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-55001490

Information on a Scottish Gaelic film based on Eliza’s life: https://www.blas.scot/events/eliza

A Scottish Gaelic song, Òran Eliza, was also released: https://www.feisean.org/en/blog/2020/11/26/a-new-single-from-feisean-nan-gaidheal-raising-money-to-feed-children-in-guyana-to-be-released-friday-27-11-20/

Details of an informative lecture on Slavery in Suriname & Guyana, particularly the involvement of Highland Scots as slave owners: https://theaddersden.wordpress.com/2021/06/29/slavery-in-suriname-guyana/

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel

“1745 – An Untold Story of Slavery”

**TW: sexual violence as one of the film’s themes**


This article about the Scottish short film “1745 – An Untold Story of Slavery” (available to watch on Vimeo) is well worth the read – it has plenty of sources such as disturbing real adverts placed for enslaved people in Scotland who had run away, which inspired the film*, and further reading recommendations at the end. This is a great resource for learning about Scotland’s role in the Empire in general too: http://empiremuseum.scot/jacobite-rebellion-of-1745-and-slavery/

Please watch (it’s free) and share the 18 min film developed by Morayo and Moyo Akandé, sisters from Glasgow, on: https://vimeo.com/267991581 – let’s get this Scottish film out there & these stories told 🎥 See also: film website

*Example of adverts mentioned above:

“RUN away on the 7th Instant from Dr. Gustavus Brown’s Lodgings in Glasgow, a Negro Woman, named Ann, being about 18 Years of Age, with a green Gown and a Brass Collar about her Neck, on which are engraved these Words [“Gustavus Brown in Dalkeith his Negro.”] Whoever apprehends her, so as she may be recovered, shall have two Guineas Reward, and necessary Charges allowed by Laurence Dinwiddie Junior Merchant in Glasgow, or by James Mitchelson, Jeweller in Edinburgh.”

Printed in Edinburgh Evening Courant, (Edinburgh), 13 February 1727 & collected by the Runaway Slaves in Britain database – https://www.runaways.gla.ac.uk/database/table/


Lastly, I feel this quote from the article rings very true & is something we all need to address:
“Hamilton’s cries of freedom and invoking of slave imagery; ‘slavish reigns and chains’ is ironic in light of the fact that persons such as Ann, Cato, Caesar and countless others, captives of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, were at the time of Jacobite Rebellion denied their freedom in Scotland, England and the British Empire.
While the year 1745 and the Jacobite Rebellion would then go on to be memorialized in Scottish history, captured in the works of the Scottish Romantic poets and embedded in the national narrative, a narrative that situates Scots as the oppressed freedom-fighters, the story of these slaves were all but forgotten, a casualty of a national identity based on being the oppressed not the oppressor, the colonized not the colonizer, and the story of their involvement in slavery was suppressed and rather than collaborators in the enslavement of people, they fashioned themselves as great abolitionists an image that still persists today.”

💻 See the “Scotland’s Role in the British Empire & the Slave Trade” section of the Resource pages for more reading & resources here.

(📸 Featured Photo credit: Me, the Three Sisters, Glencoe)

Slavery in Suriname & Guyana

I’d like to share a lecture I watched recently on Scotland’s involvement in slavery in Suriname & Guyana, plus a couple of links to further resources on Scotland’s involvement in the slave trade as well.

I’ll put a brief summary of the lecture & a screenshot of the main points below.

Summary of lecture:

I thought this was a good, comprehensive lecture on Scotland’s (particularly Highland Scots) involvement with slavery in Suriname & Guyana, both before the Acts of Union & after slavery was made illegal in the British Empire (these were Dutch colonies, so of course Dutch involvement mentioned too). It also mentions indentured labourers from countries like India & the British Government’s role in forcefully removing Guyana’s left wing government in the 1950s as well as the stoking of racial tensions.

💻 Watch the lecture on YouTube

Lecture topics covered – I’m informed that David Alston does great work in sharing his research with the Caribbean community in Scotland which is really good to know

The Empire Museum

Slavery Artefacts, Documents etc in Glasgow Museums

(📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel)