Saturday, October 3, 2015


It was very fitting that this high profile overview of Scotlands role in the "nefarious trade" at this years Glasgow Black History Month was hosted in what was once a Mansion built and owned by one of Glasgows Tobacco Lords.

It was quite a privilege to be addressed in a small setting by a World class academic who gave a talk virtually along the same lines to the assembled ranks of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament in the video below to a small intimate audience of less than 30 persons.

The title of the talk was Amnesia and Denial: Scotland and Transatlantic Slavery.This addresses the great paradox of Scotland being the main beneficiary of slave exploitation and yet also being in the forefront to abolish Slavery not only in British controlled areas but also non-British run parts of the New world.When compensation claims were made to provide reparations for the loss of slave-run businesses Scotland ( with about 10% of the population) accounted for 15% of the claims.Yet , consistently, petitions to end slavery at parliament in London prior to it being abolished amounted to a third of them coming from Scotland.More tobacco went to Glasgows ports than all the rest of the UK put together.

3.2 Million slaves were transported from Africa to the Caribbean and North America , though Scotland was only directly involved in 4,500 it run plantations and syndicated that exploited over half of them and their descendants , so though the participation of accruing the raw Human material was slight the vast infrastructures that absorbed then was vast.

Only recently is Scottish academic scholarship beginning to piece together the story in the last few years that brings shame , though ultimately a proper atonement, for Scotland in the 21st century.Scotland was not a victim but a main participant in the creation of the British Empire and Colonial project and all its excesses to the World suffered and still endures today and only by recognising its role can it help heals the scars and deep wounds that must be healed.

After the 46 minute mark a panel , including Stephen Mullan who conducts walking tours of the landmarks associated with Glasgows slave trading links ,discusses and adds more detail to the topics discussed.

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