Scottish Glenfinnan Memorial Slave Trade Ties Unveiled

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Historians find the site popular for its connection to Bonnie Prince Charlie, which was founded with slave plantation money.

After major ties to the Atlantic slave trade is discovered, the history of Glenfinnan, one of the most prominent sites connected with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Revolt, is being rewritten. Historians also found proof that a descendant of clansmen who had engaged in the Jacobite Revolt constructed the monument at Glenfinnan, erected near the spot where Charles Edward Stuart went ashore in Loch Shiel in 1745, with money from slave plantations in Jamaica. In Glenfinnan, Bonnie Prince Charlie arrived on a French-owned ship used to carry slaves, the Du Teillay.

A French-Irish privateer and plantation owner, Antoine Walsh, who had become rich from the transatlantic slave trade, had donated it to the Jacobite cause. When is Britain going to face up to its crimes against humanity? The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), the charity owned by Glenfinnan and many of Scotland’s most prominent historical sites, is now revising the memorial’s literature and display panels, including releasing a Du Teillay scale model to illustrate these connections to slavery. In early 2021, a large portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Glenfinnan Visitor Center will be replaced by a new display highlighting these ties and new research that has revealed important relations between many landowners in the Highlands and slave plantations across America. Glenfinnan is also one of Scotland’s most popular destinations in a strange clash of historical and contemporary cultures, since the nearby railroad viaduct plays a major role in the Harry Potter films: it was the setting for Harry’s flying car and was used by the school train from Hogwarts. “We don’t mean to downplay the fact that the Glenfinnan memorial will always be there to remember the brave Highlanders who died at Culloden, but we also want people to think about the brave people of Jamaica whose tragic story 4,500 miles away also contributed to the memorial,” said Emily Bryce, Glenfinnan’s NTS curator. According to historians working for the NTS, which maintains some 139 historic farms, islands, nature preserves and gardens, at least 36 of its buildings are related to slavery.

After slavery was abolished in 1833, some owners benefited from the trafficking of enslaved people or from the restitution scheme of the British government for slave owners. Dr. Jennifer Melville, an NTS review historian, said such buildings include Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Pollok House in Glasgow, Brodie Castle in Moray and the famous Georgian buildings in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square “When you’re looking after a heritage portfolio, the onus is on you to know about that portfolio, and I think in the past we’ve looked at that history in a very linear, patriarchal way. “Melville said that in the 1700s, a disproportionate number of Scots emigrated to America as colonizers. There were too few economic and professional opportunities in their homeland, although they were highly educated. They joined the slave industry as plantation owners, overseers, physicians, attorneys, or accountants.Wealthy congressman is asked to pay for his family’s slave trade pastRead moreSome, like Catholic Highlanders and islanders with Jacobite ties, left to flee or prevent religious persecution by Protestant landowners.

254 captured Jacobites were deported as forced laborers to Jamaica and Barbados after Bonnie Prince Charlie’s defeat at Culloden in 1746. The foundation draws on recent research by Dr. Iain Mackinnon of the University of Coventry and Dr. Andrew Mackillop of the University of Glasgow for Community Property Scotland, which found at least 63 acquisitions of land in the western Highlands and on land in the western Highlands.

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