Saturday, September 27, 2014

Seventeenth Century Scotland

Killiecrankie, site of the 1689 Battle
BBC History Magazine has published a brief history of Scotland in the seventeenth century written by Karin Bowie of Glasgow University.

This century saw many momentous political events as well as the shift of Scottish migration westward to Ireland and North America and away from countries surrounding the North Sea.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Scottish Referendum on Independence: What Next?



After an historic vote on Independence, in which almost 85% of the electorate participated, Scotland will remain in the United Kingdom. Good news for many; expected, but unwelcome, news for others. While the run-up the the referendum was terribly exciting, what happens next - from a constitutional perspective - may be even more interesting. David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, promised to devolve more powers (commonly called Devo-Max) to the Scottish Parliament if Scotland voted No. See a timetable for this process in a Better Together Leaflet here. What makes this promise interesting from a constitutional perspective is that the devolution of power to Scotland may be coupled with a reworking of government to allow more powers to the rest of the country. Read more about nationwide change here and here.

Read insight on the vote from four historians, including Karin Bowie of Glasgow University, at BBC History magazine here.

Analysis from Irvine Welsh at The Guardian here.

Follow relevant Scottish politics from The Scotsman, The Herald, The Guardian, and the BBC.

For those of you interested in what the #VoteYes movement is up to after their defeat, search Twitter for #the45 or the #new45. The number 45 is a reference to the percentage of people who voted for Independence; 1745 is the year of the final Jacobite Uprising, known as "the '45".

I am sure that those who voted No, but are worried that the devolution of powers may not occur as promised are also active on Twitter, but if they have a catchy hashtag I don't know about it.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Scots in Switzerland County, Indiana

Switzerland County, Indiana

While looking for something else, I tripped across a Scottish immigrant community in Indiana located on the Ohio River in Switzerland and Jefferson Counties. Most of the families appear to have come from the Central Belt; Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Paisley were mentioned a handful of times in a county history (search for Scotland).  Scottish Immigrants in the Caledonia Settlement by Robert W. Scott at the INGenWeb Project lists biographical details for upwards of 50 immigrants from Scotland to Indiana. In 1945, Effa Danner, published a brief history of the Caledonia Presbyterian Church and Cemetery.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Scottish Referendum on Independence - A Cavalcade of Articles


In twelve days, on 18 September, the Scots will vote on a Referendum of Independence. Here is a cavalcade of  articles I've collected over the past several weeks. It has long been assumed that the "No" would win handily; however, "Yes" has been gaining ground in recent weeks.

The articles are in no particular order and include views from both sides. Each article likely provides links to further articles, so get a mug of tea, find a comfy chair, and find out what going on in the homeland.

The Scottish Referendum page from the Scottish Government

The Better Together Campaign.

The Yes Campaign.

Historian Simon Schama in the Financial Times.

Watch the second debate on independence at C-SPAN.

GOTV efforts in Glasgow.

From The Guardian: Something incredible is happening in Scotland, 5 Reasons 'Yes' is winning in the polls, collection of Independence articlesbook club seeks a Scottish book to read for September, Historian Tom Devine will vote 'yes', and the art of no.

Historian Chris Whatley on Tom Devine's 'yes' decision at the Conversation.

From USA Today: polls show surge for independence, thoughts from Shetland, independence fever in Europe, spiders and the 'no' vote, celebrities are on both sides.

From the Scotsman: An independent Scotland and NATO, collection of independence articles, Historian Jim Hunter on the Highlandsthe undecideds, a general's concerns.

The Scotland page at the Economist.com has several articles relating to independence

Thoughts on Scottish identity in the New Statesman

Preparing for a nail-biter vote from Time.

Scotland Decides from The Herald

Is it Braveheart's fault? from The Telegraph

A view from an expat in America from The Drum

Historian Michael Graham in the Akron Beacon Journal

Journalist Neal Ascherson in the New York Times


Search #indyref on Twitter for more. I expect that there will be increased coverage of the Referendum in the national (US) media nearer the 18th and definitely on the 19th.

Happy Reading

6 Sept Update: More good Twitter searchers - #BetterTogether, #VoteYes, #VoteNo, and #ScotlandDecides


12 Sept Update: The Guardian's Reading Group has chosen The Bridge by Iain Banks. More information here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

21st Century Immigrant Stories (Cross Posted from The Historian's Family)



(I posted this to the The Historian's Family in July since it wasn't specifically Scottish, but it is about immigration which is one of the themes of this blog, so I decided I would post it here too)

The July 4th episode of NPR's Alt.Latino features a discussion with Achy Obejas, co-editor of Immigrant Voices. 21st Century Stories and readings from several of the stories. I like that Obejas points out that the immigrant experience actually begins in the home county, something we tend to forget about in America. She makes a further point that immigranting in the 21st century is much different than in previous times: much more is known about America now, it is easier to keep in touch with the home country, and it is easier to return.

The stories evoke the experiences of immigrants from a range of countries including Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Iran. Maybe listening to these modern stories will inspire you to learn about one of your immigrant ancestors, how their immigration story began, and how they adjusted (or not) to America.

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