Skip to main content
Spirit Logo

Clearance Communities Have Global Stories to Tell

The Clearances remain a controversial period in the history of the Highlands and Islands.

The forced eviction and poverty-driven emigration of tens of thousands in the 18th and 19th centuries changed many communities from north Sutherland to south Argyll forever. The history of the Clearances is retold in visitor centres across the area, which look both at the impact on the land and the people evicted from it, and at the impact that many displaced Highlanders and Islanders had in their new homes from Canada to New Zealand.

For example, separated from Mull by a narrow straight, Ulva is a community-owned island noteworthy today for its abundant wildlife, but celebrated on the other side of the world as the birthplace of one Lachlan MacQuarrie. Born in 1762, as the Clearances post-Culloden began to dismantle the traditional clan structures, McQuarrie was one of myriad men and women from across the Highlands and Islands forced to build a new life overseas. However, not many found the fame and fortune that he did. Known as the ‘Father of Australia’, MacQuarrie is credited with shaping the destiny of that southern continent while overseeing its transformation from a British penal colony into a prosperous 18th century society.

Discover More

Learn about the history of The Clearances on your visit