The Highland Clearances Lasted Over One Hundred Years.
The Highland Clearances started in the 18th century and triggered waves of migrations from Scotland to North America for the next hundred years until the end of the 19th century when tenants were granted security of tenure.
James VII of Scotland (James II of England), a Roman Catholic, is exiled and protestant William III, married to Mary, James’ daughter, are crowned King and Queen. For many, James remained the true king, leading to the Jacobite Rebellions (from Jacobus Latin for James).
Treaty of Union
Scotland and England united by Treaty of Union that leads to the creation of Great Britain. All Scots now have commercial and political access to the former English colonies.
American Settlement Begins
Highlanders settle Darien, Georgia.
First recorded evictions on Skye by Macdonald of Sleat. First migrations from Scotland to Cape Fear, North Carolina.
Jacobite Uprising Fails
Last Jacobite Rebellion. Jacobites are finally defeated at Battle of Culloden April 1745.
Gaelic Identity Suppressed
Gaelic and tartan are banned.
Sheep Farming Arrives
Sheep-farming is introduced into the North of Scotland by Sir John Lockhart-Ross
Outer Hebrides Emigration Begins
Emigrations from South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.
American Independence Won
American War of Independence. Britain loses the American colonies.
Glengarry Emigration to Canada
First large clearances on Glengarry’s estate. Tenants emigrate to Glengarry County, Ontario. Countess of Sutherland marries the wealthy English landowner & industrialist, the Marquess of Stafford – later the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland.
Knoydart Emigration to Canada
Large-scale emigrations to Canada from Knoydart to Glengarry County, Ontario.
The Great Cheviot
A new breed of sheep, The Great Cheviot, is brought to Ross and Caithness. It is able to withstand harsh winters in the Highlands of Scotland and still provide plenty of meat and wool.
Year of the Sheep (Bliadhna nan Caorach)
Landlords begin moving tenants from hills onto coastal margins providing them with land insufficient to support their families. Tenants are now expected to develop fishing, kelp-farming etc. There is insurrection in Ross and sheep are “stolen.”
Sutherland Clearances Begin
First clearances in Sutherland. Clearances in the western Highlands and Islands.
Argyll Clearances Begin
Clearances in Inverness-shire and Morvern in Argyll.
Emigration to North America Increases
Glengarry people emigrate to Upper Canada (modern-day Ontario). Over 8,000 Highlanders emigrate to Canada and United States.
The Passenger Act
The Passenger Act raises the cost of emigration in an attempt to restrict the number of people emigrating.
Patrick Sellar Arrives in Sutherland
Patrick Sellar is hired to run the estate of the Duchess of Sutherland. Sutherland clearances of Dornoch, Rogart, Loth, Clyne, and Golspie. Strathglass is cleared.
Sellar clears districts in Assynt.
Sellar clears Kildonan. Tenants leave for the Red River Settlement in what is now Winniepeg, Canada.
The Year of the Burnings
Sellar clears Strathnaver. Sir Walter Scott publishes “Waverley” – the novel that made him the first best-selling author and that romanticized the Highlands.
End of Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars end and many fighting men come home. James Loch publishes an account of improvements completed on the Sutherland Estate. Alistair Ranaldson Macdonell of Glengarry forms the “Society of True Highlanders.”
Patrick Sellar is tried for murder in Inverness, but is acquitted.
Riots in Culrain, further evictions.
Inner Hebrides Clearances
Clearances on Mull.
Kelp Industry Crashes
Kelp industry is decimated by the abolition of excise duty on salt after the Napoleonic Wars ended. Some landlords begin to sell off their estates.
Inner Hebrides Clearances
Islands of Rum and Muck are cleared.
North Uist and Ardnamurchan in Argyll are cleared.
Inner Hebrides Clearances
Macleod evicts tenants on Skye. Newspaper reports a “fever of emigration is raging in Sutherland.”
Cholera outbreak in the Highlands.
Famine in the Highlands. Increase in famine amongst tenants requires landlords to provide relief. Some landlords charter ships to take tenants away, absolving themselves from further responsibility for their people.
Glencalvie is cleared. The Times newspaper sends a reporter to cover the events.
Potato Blight in the Highlands of Scotland leads to failure of the potato crop.
Food riots in villages and towns across the eastern half of the mainland Highlands.
Glenelg, Tiree, and Sollas are cleared.
Skye Emigration Society
South Uist and Barra evictions. The Skye Emigration Society is formed to help people to leave.
Highland and Island Emigration Society
Highland and Island Emigration Society is formed. The Land and Emigration Commissioners offer ships and assistance.
Hebrides and Argyll Clearances
Lord Macdonald clears Boreraig and Suishnish townships on Skye. Josephine Macdonell of Glengarry clears Knoydart in Argyll. Harriet Beecher Stowe visits Britain and meets the second Duchess of Sutherland.
The Massacre of the Rosses
Strathcarron in Ross is cleared leading to the Greenyards resistance and the “Massacre of the Rosses”. Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes “Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands” in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Crofters’ War
The Crofters’ War consist of sustained and popular protests to Highland landowners.
The Battle of the Braes
Battle of the Braes – rent strikes and land raids in the Highlands and Islands. Crofters agitate for security of tenure.
The Napier Commission
The Napier Commission hears testimony from crofters and tenants about their conditions. The Commission includes two people who can speak Gaelic.
The Scotland Act
The Scotland Act is passed, leading to the first elected Scottish Parliament legislating for its own affairs.
Referendum on Independence
The Scottish referendum on independence is held. Scotland votes to remain in the United Kingdom by 55.3%.