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Chookie

Dance called America

I'm pretty sure that most of you have at least heard of the Highland Clearances. Basically, these Clearances were, in the opinion of the landowners, improvements. Improvements in this context meant nothing more than improved cash-flow. Landowner-ward of course.

The Clearances involved the forced removal of the tenantry. Unlike the much earlier Enclosure Acts in England which had much the same result, inasmuch as land was no longer available for the use those who had lived and worked on it...

However, emigration from the Highlands had been going on for many years before this. Sometimes this emigration was by choice, sometimes it wasn't. Cromwell had Highland prisoners transported to the Carolinas and the West Indies as slaves. Apologists for this practice tend to use the term “indentured servants”, conveniently ignoring the fact that an indenture was for a finite time – usually 7, 10 or 14 years – not for life.

Between the '15 and the '45, a great many families left the Gàidhealtachd  for fresher pastures in the Americas (which at this time wasn't the USA). The most popular destinations seem to have been Canada and the Carolinas – this eventually leads to both Jim Carrey and Country Music.

One of the primary reasons for this emigration was the attraction of so-called “virgin” land. The beauty of all this unoccupied land was that there were no landowners. Well, the natives didn't matter did they? After all they weren't civilised Europeans, were they? Incidentally Scots, whether Highland or Lowland were just as greedy and genocidal as other colonists.

In the immediate aftermath of the '45, the Hanoverian government took a page from Cromwell's  book and transported Jacobite prisoners to the Colonies (No, they didn't execute all the Jacobite prisoners they took – they didn't even execute most of them. They might have done, but the labour was needed in the Colonies).

One thing which has always puzzled me about the American War of Independence (or, if you prefer, Revolution) is the fact that, for the most part, Lowlanders favoured the “Rebels” while the Highlanders and those of Highland ancestry whose families had been out in the '45 (and had subsequently been transported) came out in support of the Government.

Bear in mind that this is little more than 30 years after the '45, also consider that us Scots are World Champions at grudge-holding (we keep them until they die, then have them stuffed and mounted – in plain view). I for one would be extremely loath to fight for the Government/ Hanoverians/ oppressors/ those bastards (but that's just me).

This series of events has been addressed in a book entitled “Dance called America”. I don't propose to review or rehearse the content of this book, I just want to point out that our history isn't all wars, battles and killing people...

James Boswell, during his Highlands and Islands voyage of discovery with Dr Johnson in  1773, came across a dance called ‘America’ in the south end of Skye.

"In the evening the company danced as usual. We performed, with much activity, a dance, which, I suppose, the emigration from Sky has occasioned. They call it America. Each of the couple, after the common involutions and evolutions, successively whirls round in a circle, till all are in motion; and the dance seems intended to show how emigration catches, till a whole neighbourhood is set afloat."

The rock group Runrig also touch on this subject in their song:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQf0BKF3Ts0
Fey Hag

Chookie fer Poet Laureate ur sum setch
Up to yir usual brilliant standard  
weejan

whaddy mean grudge holding? just because I'm still after that midwife who smacked my bottom when I was born?  Twisted Evil
Celyn

Great post, Chookie!  



I don't hold grudges - I'm that clumsy I might drop them and break them, so I keep them safe in a glass cabinet so they last long enough.
Fey Hag

Byrawey that music is bluidy fantastic.
Jist wun new experience after ra uther roond here
Heidy

Merr frae Runrig,wan o the best bauns tae come oot this driech hell hole................ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOgEZbtg7dM
notanimby

Heidy wrote:
Merr frae Runrig,wan o the best bauns tae come oot this driech hell hole................ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOgEZbtg7dM


Runrig urnae frae DUMBarton Razz
Heidy

By fuck yer affy observint fur a coo-peltuur......... Laughing

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