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Empire and Scottish SocietyThe Impact of Foreign Missions at Home, c. 1790 to c. 1914$
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Esther Breitenbach

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748636204

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748636204.001.0001

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Empire and National Identity

Empire and National Identity

(p.6) 2 Empire and National Identity
Empire and Scottish Society

Esther Breitenbach

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the opportunities for careers for Scots in the empire which began to grow in the mid-eighteenth century, in the colonial service, the army, and commerce, while missionary careers became a possibility from the early nineteenth century. It notes that in the eighteenth century ‘Scots swarmed eagerly into the wide-open world’. It further notes that in the West Indies, Scots turned their attention to plantations, and by the late eighteenth century had acquired about a quarter of all taxable land in Jamaica. It observes that the opportunities offered to Scots to demonstrate their military prowess has been interpreted as a major reason for the failure of Scottish nationalism to emerge as a significant force in the nineteenth century, since Scots were able ‘to re-invent their national identity in ways which accommodated themselves to the British state and Empire’.

Keywords:   empire, colonial service, army, commerce, missionary careers, Scots, nationalism, national identity, British state

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