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Yes, there were white slaves and a lot of people who came to the "new world" from Europe did not come willingly.  However, the difference is that there was not a huge, systematic white-slave trade, as there was with Africans and others.  

As usual, human behavior is messy and greedy and the rationalizations for bad behavior don't hold, even while its going on, so nothing is ever clear cut.

But in general, the Scots and Irish and Welsh were not made slaves to turn a profit (although I'm sure it happened), but to control and clear them off the land, usually by criminalization.

My grandparents' families still spoke of the Highland Clearances when I was young, as though it had just happened.  I think this happens in populations, not because they like to hold grudges, but when they haven't ever recovered, economically and otherwise.  

In any case, my grandfather was from Shetland and I was always told the story of how his ancestor and his brother were run off the land in the Scottish Highlands.  How their villages were burned, their people murdered, starved, and run off to the coasts.  The brothers refused to leave and were declared criminals.  They were hunted and captured and put on a ship to Canada.  The ship stopped for supplies in Shetland and somehow the brothers escaped and were hidden by the townspeople until the ship left.

My ancestor ended up staying and marrying a girl from home, who had been shipped to Shetland earlier, by less forcible means, because she couldn't learn English and her family was afraid for her so they found her a position as a servant there with a Gaelic speaking family.

If you're prone to getting pissed-off, I wouldn't delve too deeply into your Scottish history.  We don't want you ending up painted blue.


Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 04:31:19 PM EST

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