Back in August I wrote about how the payout from the emancipation of slaves in West Indies may have financed the development of the squatocracy and their landholdings in Australia.
I’ve just come across an interesting discussion paper that argues that a similar thing may have happened in Scotland.
The argument goes something like this: a number of owners of sugar estates (many of whom let us not forget, were Scottish), suddenly found themselves cash rich from their emancipation compensation payments, and saddled with suddenly unprofitable sugar estates.
The sugar estates were disposed of, and the cash used to buy land in Scotland, and where there was a crofting population that had not been cleared in the first wave of the Clearances, they were ‘encouraged’ to migrate, to free the land for the more profitable sheep.
It’s an interesting, and somewhat provocative idea …