Monday, April 30, 2018

Edinburgh's Slavers

People in Edinburgh were at one time twice as likely to own a slave as someone in Glasgow or London.

 By the late 1700s, a third of Jamaican plantations were owned by Scots, some of whom liked to dress their slaves in their clan tartan.

 In 1790, the combined worth of exports and imports between the West Indies and Scotland totalled at least £50 million in today’s currency. 

Among those to receive a share of the £20m in compensation paid out in the wake of the emancipation of slaves were Peter McClagan of Great King Street, John Blackburn of Queen Street, John Gordon of St Andrew Square and James Auchinleck Cheyne of South St Andrew Street.

One of Edinburgh’s most prominent landmarks, the Melville Monument in St Andrew Square, was erected in honour of Henry Dundas, the 1st Viscount Melville, who is widely blamed for delaying the abolition of slavery in the 18th century.

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