How far can you trust documents?

Date: August 24, 2015 posted by: highland in: Uncategorized

All history-writing, certainly all history-writing dealing with events before the twentieth century, is based on documents.   From the late nineteenth century onwards there are many more aids – sound-recordings, films and so on – but for events before these new inventions, historians have to depend on written documents.   But to say written documents are invaluable […]

What is a Clearance?

Date: May 8, 2015 posted by: highland in: Uncategorized

I think I ought to define “clearance” – I should say what I mean by the word, since some writers apparently mean something different.   A “clearance” was what it was called when a landlord cleared all his small tenants off all the good land on his estate.   Sometimes he then tried to encourage or even […]

The Highlanders – Catholic or Protestant?

Date: February 19, 2015 posted by: highland in: Uncategorized

Everyone writing history, or what is claimed to be history, presumably believes that he or she is writing the truth.   Even people churning out what is basically propaganda for this or that set of rulers (democratic or dictatorial) have probably convinced themselves that what they write is true.   So when I find it necessary to […]

Where are the Highlands?

Date: January 18, 2015 posted by: highland in: Scottish Highland Clearances

In my last blog I said something about how important it is to define your terms before having any discussion: otherwise you may find that disagreements have been caused not by any actual differences, but because the people in the discussion were simply talking about different things.   So if we are going to disagree about […]

The “population explosion” in the Highlands

Date: December 11, 2014 posted by: highland in: Scottish Highland Clearances

  According to the standard account of Highland history, there was a “unparalleled, prodigious, stupendous” etc “population explosion” in the Highlands either from 1750 to 1800, or from 1750 to 1850).1   I am reluctant to keep emphasizing how much I disagree with many of those who have written about the Highlands, because I realize I […]