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Highlander Immigration Helped Build America

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The Highlands of Scotland proved to be a natural recruiting ground for emigrants that were to help build North America during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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The Highlander immigrants who helped build America

The Highlands of Scotland proved to be a natural recruiting ground for emigrants that were to help build North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. The breakdown of Highland society and culture created bleak prospects on home soil for ordinary folk while the revered fighting powers of the clans made their men sought after recruits for the British Army fighting the American Revolution.

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The breakdown of Highland society and culture created bleak prospects on home soil for ordinary folk while the revered fighting powers of the clans made their men sought after recruits for the British Army fighting the American Revolution.

Highlander migration to America in the 18th century.

Highlands Immigration to America

From Georgia to North Carolina and New York, here we look at those from the North of Scotland who were tempted across the Atlantic – whether through desperate need or the dream of a better life. THE FIRST ARRIVALS Wanted: Industrious, laborious and brave Gaelic speaking Highlanders to populate the newly established colony of Georgia.

THE FIRST ARRIVALS

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Wanted: Industrious, laborious and brave Gaelic speaking Highlanders to populate the newly established colony of Georgia.

It was 1735 with two Scots, Lieutenant Hugh Mackay and Captain George Dunbar, issuing the rallying call after being hired by Georgia’s trustees to find men suitable to defend frontiers against Spain and France and to make their 20-acre lands productive. The Highlands, whose men had been both feared and lauded for their strength and fighting power, was a natural hunting ground for the soldiers.

The Provost of Inverness, John Hossack – also a merchant and trader – was to help fund the boats to transport the men with Mackay launching a successful recruitment campaign in his home patch of Caithness and Sutherland. Dunbar successfully recruited from Clan Chattan.

Professor Marjory Harper, author and historian, said 260 men sailed to North America in three contingents between 1735 and 1741 with the first lot setting up the township of Darien on the Altamaha River – named possibly in defiance of the failed Panama scheme.

Professor Harper said; “The Highlanders did pretty well there and the trustees were pleased with what they did. A second contingent went in 1737 and a third in 1741.

“This all helped to publicise opportunity in this magical new land across the Atlantic.”

CAPE FEAR – OR THE ARGYLL COLONY

Cape Fear in North Carolina become home to around 1,200 Jacobite prisoners following the 1715 and 1745 uprisings. The fighters were the bedrock of this new community later to be known as the Argyll Colony, which attracted an estimated 20,000 Scots in the eight years before the American Revolution.

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