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09 November 2018'Scottish Slave-owners in Suriname: 1651–1863' in Northern Scotland, Volume 9.

'Scottish Slave-owners in Suriname: 1651–1863' in Northern Scotland, Volume 9.


This is an account of Scots in the Dutch colony of Suriname from 1651 until the emancipation of slaves in the Dutch Empire in 1863, when Scottish owners of slaves received nine per cent of the compensation paid to slave-owners in the colony by the Dutch Government. Before 1790 the small Scots presence in Suriname was a product of the outward looking nature of the Dutch Atlantic and the willingness of some Scots, most with with family, religious or military ties to the Netherlands, to seize the opportunities this offered. After 1790 the British presence in Suriname expanded, with a significant involvement of Highland Scots who came to work new plantations in the colony from the neighbouring British controlled colonies of Berbice and Demerara.


After the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, a number of these Scottish slave-owners campaigned against emancipation in the Dutch Empire. Despite buying and selling slaves in breach of British law, and despite public criticism, none of these British-based slave-owners were prosecuted. The article concludes with an examination of the legacies of this Scottish slave-ownership, both in Scotland and in Suriname.





Illustrations accompanying John Stedman's account of his service in Suriname as part of the Scots Brigade in the Dutch Army.

09 November 2018Dornoch Cathedral's memorial to a slave owneer

In 1891 Elizabeth Hoyes (Mrs Taylor) had a window placed in Dornoch Cathedral as a memorial to her father, mother, brothers and sister. Elizabeth was born on the Caribbean island of Grenada. Her father, Lewis Hoyes (1784-1842), born in Forres, had been a merchant in Grenada and Speaker of the colony's House of Assembly. He had also been a slave owner and agent, attorney or executor for twenty-one slave plantations.

Image from Dornoch Historylinks


08 June 2016Behavioral economics and the paradox of Scottish emigration

Article is now in print.

‘You have only seen the fortunate few and drawn your conclusion accordingly’: Behavioural economics and the paradox of Scottish emigration in Angela McCarthy & John Mackenzie (eds), Global Migrations: The Scottish Diaspora since 1600 (EUP, 2016): A tribute to Professor Sir Tom Devine, FBA, the leading historian of modern Scotland and its diaspora.

In this article I apply the insights of behavioural economics - especially the work of Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler - to the study of migration.

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