During the Highland Clearances of the nineteenth century, Scotland experienced one of the darkest periods in its history with the near destruction of its highland clansmen, their culture and language.
Economic circumstances led the landowners of the time to the conclusion that sheep rearing was one of the few ways of making good use of the vast area of the Scottish Highlands, but sheep also needed the richer grassland of the valley floors and could not co-exist with all the little crofts and settlements in the glens. To many landowners, the answer was clear-the people had to go.
Despite an immemorial attachment to their land and a deep loyalty to their chief or landowner, many Highlanders were driven in the most merciless and cruel manner from the homes of their fathers and the land that they loved.
The vivid, in some cases firsthand, experiences described in the near contemporary writings to be found in The Highland Clearances, bring to life those terrible times and remind us that to this day most of the lands that were once populous clan territories are still owned by alien or absentee landlords. (pb)