History of Scottish Immigration to America: Who were the Scots?
To understand the reason for Scottish immigration it helps to have an overview of the history of the people of Scotland. The first Inhabitants date back to prehistoric times when the land was populated by a warlike tribe called the Picts, also referred to as the the Caledonians. When the Romans invaded Britain they were unable to conquer the Picts and kept the first Scottish tribe out of England by building the 73 mile Hadrians Wall in 122AD. So began the separation of the English and the people of Scotland. Other tribes and ethnic groups, notably the Celts, Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons merged with the Picts.
History of Scottish Immigration to America: The Highlanders and the Lowlanders
Scotland is separated into the northern Highlands and the southern Lowlands. The Scottish highlanders were of the Celtic race and culture, were affiliated to groups called clans and many assumed the name of the clan. Gaelic is one of the languages of the Celts. The people of the northern Highlands mainly adhered to the Roman Catholic religion. The Lowlanders were of the Anglo-Saxon race and were mainly Presbyterian, a strict and more simple form of the Protestant religion. A famous feud between the Campbell family of the Lowlands and the MacDonald clan of highlanders resulted in the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692.
History of Scottish Immigration to America: The Scots and the English
Scotland was first ruled by Scottish kings. There were continuous conflicts with the English which led to a series of bloody wars. In 1292 an English Baron called John Balliol was crowned King of Scotland. William Wallace led a Scottish rebellion but was defeated by King Edward I of England in 1298 at the Battle of Falkirk . Robert the Bruce then defeated the English in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn, gained Scottish independence and was crowned King of Scotland. The Battle of Flodden was the next major conflict between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland and resulted in a decisive English victory. When the son of Mary Queen of Scots, King James VI succeeded to the English throne in 1603, the two kingdoms of Scotland and England joined together. The House of Stuart was deposed and resulted in a series of Jacobite rebellions. In 1707 the Act of Union was passed and Scotland was formally united with England to form Great Britain. In 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie, the the Stuart heir, attempted to claim the British throne but was defeated in 1746 at the Battle of Culloden. The defeat at the Battle of Culloden prompted large scale emigration from Scotland to America and the history of Scottish Immigration to America began in earnest, although Scots had first emigrated during the Colonial era of American history.
History of Scottish Immigration to America in the 1600's: Colonial America
The earliest Scottish Immigration to America dates back to Colonial times. Robert Sproat was a Mayflower Pilgrim who emigrated from Scotland and worked to pay for his passage on the voyage. Where did Scottish immigrants settle? Scottish men and women who adhered to the Protestant faith were welcome in America and small groups of Scots made their homes in the 13 colonies. The names of the first thirteen colonies were Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Also refer to Examples of PUSH and PULL Factors of Scottish Immigration.
History of Scottish Immigration to America: Indentured Servants
Scottish Immigration to America increased as Scots gained access to America as Indentured Servants. The cost of the voyage to America was prohibitive and out of the reach of most Scottish men and women. The only way to get to America was to sign a contract as an Indentured servant and signed to work between five to seven years in exchange for transportation and the prospects of employment and a new life in America.
History of Scottish Immigration to America: Who were the Scots-Irish?
Scottish Immigration to America is strongly associated with the Scots-Irish. But who were the Scots-Irish? The people referred to as Scots-Irish trace their ancestry to Scotland and descend from the Protestant Presbyterians who originated in the lowlands of Scotland, but who emigrated to Ireland from 1609.
History of Scottish Immigration to America in the 1700's: Tobacco Trade
Scottish Immigration to America in the 1700's was undertaken by angry Scots following defeat at the hands of the English at the 1746 Battle of Culloden. The Scots settled in all of the 13 colonies, but mainly in South Carolina and Virginia. Strong trade links had already been established between the city of Glasgow in Scotland and Virginia trading in tobacco and many immigrants gained passage on the trade ships.
History of Scottish Immigration to America in the 1700's: Transportation
Scottish Immigration to America in the 1700's increased when the British passed the 1717 Transportation Act. This law established a convict bond service as punishment for various offences in the form of penal transportation to the British colonies in North America. Paupers, petty thieves and criminals were sentenced to a 7-year convict bond service in the colonies. More serious crimes, including rebellion, were punished by a 14-year convict bond service in the colonies. Convicted Scots had no choice in this forced type of Scottish Immigration to America but many preferred the option to imprisonment or execution.
History of Scottish Immigration to America in the 1700's: The American War of Independence
Scottish Immigration to America continued into the 1700's but conflict began to grow between the Britain and the colonies. American migrants demanded the same rights as the British believing their rights and liberties in America were being abused. The American War of Independence (1775 - 1783) broke out and the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. The transportation of Scots to America stopped at this point - the British no longer had colonies in North America. The signers of the Declaration of Independence included a number of Scotsmen such as Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe, James Buchanan, John K. Polk and William Drummond.
History of Scottish Immigration to America in the 1800's: Places of Origin
Scottish Immigration to America emerged as Scots escaped poverty and persecution from the towns of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayr and Inverness. Many emigrated from Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Argyll and East Lothian.
History of Scottish Immigration to America in the 1800's: US Immigration Laws and Ellis Island
Scottish Immigration to America had been un restricted but the financial Panic of 1873 saw the the level of unemployed soar. The US government responded to call to curb immigration. Immigration was restricted by the 1882 Immigration Act and a 'head tax' of 50 cents was imposed on all immigrants landing at US ports. The 1891 Immigration Act regulated the inspection and deportation of immigrants. On January 1, 1892 Ellis Island immigration center was opened and Scottish immigrants had to pass inspection at Ellis Island (1892 - 1954) before being allowed entry to the United States. Preference was shown to the "Old Immigrants" and few Scots were turned away.
History of Scottish Immigration to America in the 1900's: US Immigration Laws
Scottish Immigration to America slowed in the 1900's. There was a massive backlash against immigration and the government was forced to take action to restrict immigration still further by passing the 1907 Immigration Act. The 1921 Emergency Quota Act used of quota system to restrict the number of immigrants from a given country. The 1924 Immigration Act restricted the number of immigrants from a given country to 2% of the number of residents from that same country living in the US. 87% of permits went to immigrants from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia.
History of Scottish Immigration to America in the 1900's
Scottish Immigration to America continued to fall in the 1900's. According to the 2009 US Community Census Survey, 6.85 million Americans identified themselves as having solely Scottish ancestry. However, over 25 million Americans reported Scottish ancestry either alone or in combination with another nationality.
Scottish Immigration to America Facts Sheet and Timeline for kids
Important facts about the history of Scottish Immigration to America and US laws that effected the migrants from Scotland are contained in the following Facts Sheet and history timeline.
Scottish Immigration to America Facts Sheet and Timeline
|122AD: The Romans built Hadrian's Wall as a physical barrier between the Picts in Scotland and England|
|1292: English noble called John Balliol is crowned King of Scotland|
|1298: Scottish rebel William Wallace defeated at the Battle of Falkirk.|
|1314: Robert the Bruce defeats the English at the Battle of Bannockburn and gains Scottish independence|
|1603: The two kingdoms of Scotland and England are united when James VI becomes king|
|1609: Presbyterians from the lowlands of Scotland, emigrate to Ireland and become known as the Scots-Irish|
|1688: House of Stuart is deposed resulting in a series of Jacobite rebellions|
|1707: The Act of Union is passed and Scotland is formally united with England to form Great Britain|
|1717: The Transportation Act resulted in Scottish criminals being transported to America|
|1745: Bonnie Prince Charlie attempts to claim the British throne but is defeated at the Battle of Culloden |
|1775: The American War of Independence begins|
|1776: The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776|
|1783: Congress officially declared the end to the American Revolutionary War on April 11, 1783 |
|1783: The United States of America was created and Scottish migrants referred to themselves as Americans.|
|1891: The 1891 Immigration Act provided for the inspection and deportation of immigrants.|
|1892: The Ellis Island immigration center was opened where immigrants from Europe, including Scotland, were subjected to medical and legal examinations|
|1907: The 1907 Immigration Act was a series of reforms restricting the number of immigrants|
|1921: The 1921 Emergency Quota Act and the Immigration Act of 1924 used a percentage system to restrict the number of immigrants from a given country|
|Scottish Immigration to America has declined from this time|
Scottish Immigration to America Facts Sheet and Timeline for Kids
Push and Pull Factors of Scottish Immigration to America for kids
For specific examples and a list of political, economic, environmental and social reasons and push and pull factors of Scottish Immigration to America refer to:
Push and Pull Factors of Scottish Immigration
Scottish Immigration to America for kids
This article contains a brief overview of Scottish Immigration to America from the first Immigrants through the 1800's and 1900's. Important historical events have been highlighted which had a significant impact on Scottish Immigration to America. A brief description of the effect of the first immigrants from Scotland. Our article on Scottish Immigration to America also outlines subjects such as the highlanders and the Lowlanders, the Presbyterians, the Scots-Irish and Ellis Island immigration center. A helpful educational resource for kids on the subject of Scottish Immigration to America.
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