Black History in Scotland: The Slave Trade
It’s important that we learn about and acknowledge this history so that we can better understand where modern day anti-black racism stems from, and its impact on current race issues across Scotland.
Scotland was a major player in the Slave Trade and the country benefited greatly from it. Much of the country as it stands today was built by slave labour. In the big cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh especially, there remain statues and street signs that point to its often ignored past of slavery.
Scotland’s role in the historic slave trade is still only starting to become common knowledge, and it’s important that we learn about and acknowledge this history so that we can better understand where modern day anti-black racism stems from, and its impact on current race issues across Scotland.
A few key facts:
- In 1796, Scots owned almost 30 per cent of the estates in Jamaica; By 1817 Scots owned 32 per cent of the slaves there
- It wasn’t just the big cities that benefited; towns across Scotland were involved in the slave trade
- Scottish surnames continue to be common in the Caribbean, especially in Jamaica
- Bunce Island, off the coast of Sierra Leone, was run by Scot slave owners from 1728-1807
- UK taxpayers were paying the descendants of slave owners compensation for the abolition of slavery until 2015 but the descendants of slaves in the UK have never been compensated
- The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was started by Scottish immigrants
- Glasgow University is thought to be one of the first historic academic institutions to acknowledge that it benefited from the financial backing of merchants who profited from slavery
Coalition for Race Equality and Rights – https://www.crer.scot/
Books on Slavery and Scotland
It Wisnae Us – The Truth about Glasgow and Slavery
Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past: The Caribbean Connection
Scotland and the Abolition of Black Slavery, 1756-183