Recovering Scotland's Slavery Past: The Caribbean Connection

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The first book to strip away the myths and write the real history of Scotland’s slavery past

For more than a century and a half the real story of Scotland’s connections to transatlantic slavery has been lost to history and shrouded in myth.


There was even denial that the Scots unlike the English had any significant involvement in slavery. Scotland saw itself as a pioneering abolitionist nation untainted by a slavery past.

This book is the first detailed attempt to challenge these beliefs. Written by the foremost scholars in the field, with findings based on sustained archival research, the volume systematically peels away the mythology and radically revises the traditional picture. In doing so the contributors come to a number of surprising conclusions.

Topics covered include national amnesia and slavery, the impact of profits from slavery on Scotland, Scots in the Caribbean sugar islands, compensation paid to Scottish owners when slavery was abolished, domestic controversies on the slave trade, the role of Scots in slave trading from English ports and much else.

The book is a major contribution to Scottish history, to studies of the Scots global diaspora and to the history of slavery within the British Empire. It will have wide appeal not only to scholars and students but to all readers interested in discovering an untold aspect of Scotland’s past.

Key Features

  • The first ever systematic study of Scotland’s slavery past
  • Contains many new research conclusions on a controversial subject
  • Written by the most active scholars in the field


David Alston is an independent researcher living in the Highlands

Sir Thomas Martin Devine is Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography Emeritus in the University of Edinburgh 
Nicholas Draper is Co-Director of the Structure and Significance of British Caribbean Slave-ownership 1763–1833 project at University College London 
Eric J. Graham is an Honorary Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Edinburgh 
Catherine Hallis Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at University College London 
Philip D. Morgan is Harry C. Black Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University Baltimore USA 
Michael Morris is Lecturer in English Literature and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University
Stephen Mullen is Research Associate in History, University of Glasgow
Stuart M. Nisbet is a freelance researcher and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Humanities, University of Glasgow 
Suzanne Schwarz is Professor of History at the University of Worcester 
Iain Whyte is an Honorary Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Edinburgh