Fred at the Daily Blatt has pointed out a number of fascinating Scottish articles. Particularly interesting is this article on the role of Glasgow in the American colonial tobacco trade. My knowledge of colonial economic history is as shallow as the Missouri before the Army Corps of Engineers overdredged it, and it's always cool to get a little depth in a previously shallow channel. Except, I suppose, for wildlife.
The article basically argues that the 1707 Union Treaty led to the rise of Scotland and Glasgow in particular as a great commercial entrepot, as Glasgow came to dominate the tobacco trade in the 18th century. It also notes that the Scottish domination of the tobacco trade came about during a shift from a haphazard system of commissions and chartered shipping to a heavily-capitalized direct-purchase system featuring owned, dedicated shipping.
The Sunday Herald is apparently pushing the author, Tom Devine, and his new book, Scotlandâ€™s Empire 1600-1815 . There's also an article in which he makes the quite reasonable argument that Scottish identity, in the Highlander sense of kilts, sporrans, claymores and so on, is a product of Great Britain's first imperial project, in the late 18th century and first half of the 19th. It certainly jibes with what I've always heard, at least.
Fred also points out an account of Devine's feuds with a Scottish nationalist/revisionist historian named Fry.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
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