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The Scottish World

The Scottish World              by Billy Kay              Mainstream Publishing

A Journey into the Scottish Diaspora

´Thaim wi a guid Scots tongue in their heid are fit tae gang ower the warld.´

In The Scottish World, renowned broadcaster Billy Kay takes us on a global journey of discovery, highlighting the extraordinary influence the Scots have had on communities and cultures on almost every continent.

While others have questioned the self-confidence of the Scots, Kay has travelled the world from Bangkok to Brazil, Warsaw to Waikiki and found ringing endorsements for the integrity and intellect, the poetry and passion of the Scottish people in every country he has visited.

He expands people´s view of Scotland by relating remarkable stories of the wealthy Scottish merchant community in Gdansk; of national geniuses of Scots descent, such as Lermontov in Russia and Grieg in Norway; of an American Civil War blamed on Sir Walter Scott and initiated in the St Andrews Society of Charleston; of inspirational missionaries in Calabar and Budapest; of Scotch Professors establishing football in soccer strongholds like Barcelona and São Paulo; of pioneers like Sandeman and Cockburn and the Scottish roots of many of the great wines of Europe; and of our amazing involvement in liberation movements in Malawi, Chile, Peru, Greece, Corsica and India.

The Scottish World is a celebration of the enormous contribution the Scots have made to the modern world.


"To sum up. If the Scottish World is not a complete cultural geography (that´s still on the horizon), what Billy Kay does and he does it well, true to his intention of adding "an open, international dimension to our sense of national identity" is weave a web of world – wide Scottishness with a weft of critical humour and a woof of knowledgeable feeling."

Kenneth White in the Scottish Review of Books

"…a well researched study of the real influence Scots have had on the modern world in which we can take a proper pride. If you feel the odd Cringe from time to time, buy this book to restore the balance every Scot can take through Kay´s words and images."

Denholm Christie in The Scots Independent

"From Sir Patrick Spens sailing "To norroway o´er the faem" to bring back a princess fated never to become Scotland´s queen, to astronaut Neil Armstrong, descended from Borderers , who took a "small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", it´s a fascinating journey and one every Scot can take through Kay´s words and images."

Helen Brown in the Courier

"Billy Kay´s The Scottish World (Mainstream, £16.99), is a ramble across the planet, and is full of revelations about the Scottish diaspora overlooked by most historians."

Neal Ascherson Sunday Herald 4/12/06 Books of the Year

"The Scottish World: A Journey into the Scottish Diaspora (Mainstream £16.99) glows with his enthusiasm for Scotland and for other counties in a lifetime of exploration."

Paul Henderson Scott Sunday Herald 24/12/06 Seven Days Cultural Review of 2006


THE SCOTTISH WORLD CONTENTS:

Prologue   Fit Tae Gang Ower the Warld

Chapter 1. To Noroway o´er the Faem. (Scandinavia)

Chapter 2. A Forgotten Diaspora (Poland, the Baltic, Prussia, Russia)

Chapter 3. Bloodstream of the Auld Alliance (France)

Chapter 4. The Peninsular Campaign (Spain and Portugal)

Chapter 5. Thistle and Shamrock Entwined (Ireland)

Chapter 6. The Scotch South (The American South)

Chapter 7. The Exile´s Lament (Canada)

Chapter 8. ´To smile in Ka´iulani´s eye´ (Hawaii, the American West)

Chapter 9. The Democratic Intellect (Scottish intellectual influence abroad)

Chapter 10. The Scottish Mission: (Malawi, Nigeria, Brazil)

Chapter 11. It Wes Us (Football - the Scottish global game) website1 website1

Chapter 12. From Darien to Don Roberto (South America)

Chapter 13. A, fredome is a noble thing (Scots influence on liberation movements)

The Scottish World Gig Photo 1 | Billy Kay | Odyssey Productions

To give you a flavour of the books contents two extracts are included below.

From Chapter 2              A Forgotten Diaspora

During the 17th century more Scots went to the Baltic lands of Poland and Prussia and from there eastwards into Lithuania and Russia than took part in the massive plantation and settlement of Ulster! Yet it remains very much a forgotten diaspora, except among historians of the region. In the History of the District of Deutsch Krone written at the turn of the 20th century, F. Schmidt described the legacy in the character of the people: The increase in strength and industrial capacity which this Scottish admixture instilled into the German was of the very highest importance, and it can scarcely be doubted that the peculiar compound of stubbornness and shrewdness which characterises the inhabitants of the small towns of Eastern Prussia has its roots in the natural disposition of the Scot.

In Poland, the Scots organised themselves into a self-help society called the Scottish Brotherhood, whose record book may have been destroyed during the war, or it may lie yet covered in stour in a deep vault somewhere in Russia. Written in Scots, English, German and Polish, it was called The Green Book of Lublin, and had detailed accounts of this prestigious organisation with branches in all the major cities of Poland. In making the series Merchants Pedlars, Mercenaries for the BBC, I experienced a late 20th century version of the Scottish Brotherhood. It began when I mentioned my forthcoming trip to Poland to the poet Douglas Dunn. He gave me the phone number of a friend, Rory Allardyce who was working through the British Council in Poznan. I called Rory, he knew my work and we had mutual friends in Dundee. A good start, but it got better. When he called me back, he gave me details of a network of Scots who would help me all over Poland. ´The person who´ll meet you off the plane in Warsaw is Drew Caldwell´ said Rory, ´he was in the year above you at Kilmarnock Academy!´

The Brotherhood, apparently is no deid yet! In its day, the Scottish Brotherhood had twelve branches throughout the region, who met at an annual parliament on the Feast of Epiphany at Thorun in Royal Prussia. It boasted members whose legacy is still visible in Poland and Scotland; Craigievar Castle, Marischall College and the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen all benefited from wealth generated by men like Danzig Willie Forbes, and Robert Gordon; the church in Krosno was endowed from the fortunes earned in the Hungarian wine trade by Robert Porteous, the masterpieces in Gdansk´s art galleries were donated by Jacob Kabrun or Cockburn, and one of the most poignant coffin paintings in the Poznan museum is of a fair headed, three year old boy, commissioned by his father, the merchant Robert Farquar. In the 17th century Poland was a European superpower stretching from the Baltic almost to the Black Sea, and our first travel writer Sir William Lithgow left us a vivid impression of the Scottish penetration of the country and the maintenance by the Scots of the convivial traditions of their homeland!

And for auspiciousness I may rather term it to be a mother and nurse for the youth and younglings of Scotland who are yearly sent hither in great numbers, than a proper Dame for her own birth, in clothing, feeding and enriching them with the fatness of her best things… And certainly Poland may be termed in this kind to be the mother of our Commons, and the first commencement of all our best merchants´ wealth….Here I found abundance of gallant rich merchants, my countreymen who were all very kind to me, and so were they by the way in every place where I came, the conclusion being ever sealed with deep draughts and ´God be with you´

Lithgow must have created quite an impression among the Scots and Poles as he travelled the country, for his nickname, Lugless Wull, was also an accurate description of his appearance. In a wayward youth, his ears had been "cuttit aff" as punishment for fornication with an unmarried lassie back in his native Lanark. "It cuid hae been muckle waur" – it could have been a lot worse, said Wull! While gallant Scots merchants thrived in the cities, more typical were the hundreds of lads who shouldered pedlars packs and set off into the Polish countryside to hawk everything from pins and needles to the finest linen. So many boarded ship for Danzig that contemporaries reckoned there were between 20,000 and 60,000 Scots in the country at that time. Better over there than over here, was the attitude of the English. When political union with Scotland was being debated in their parliament in 1606, this apocryphal warning was given of what might happen to England´s green and pleasant land should the northern hordes come over the wall. If we admit them into our liberties, we shall be overrun with them, as cattle (naturally) pent up by a slight hedge will over it into a better soyl, and a tree taken from a barren place will thrive to excessive and exuberant branches in a better, witness the multiplicities of the Scots in Polonia.

The ´multiplicities´ were a result of economic opportunities for travelling salesmen to sell goods supplied by the sizeable network of Scots merchants in all of the Baltic ports to the massive rural population in the predominantly Polish hinterland. There, a large gentry and teeming peasantry existed alongside a small German middle class in the towns. In Polish society, trade was despised by the gentry, beyond the reach of the peasantry and very much in the hands of foreigners ´ principally Germans, Jews and Scots. The Jews and Scots were frequently grouped together as people to tax, and look down upon. The German craft guilds in Prussian cities like Königsberg saw the Scots travellers usurping their trade. The tone of their complaint to the Duke of Prussia is typical: …the Scots skim the cream off the milk of the country, usurp the whole trade and are so bold and so smart withall, that nothing can happen in a nobleman´s or a common citizen´s house, be it even death, without the Scots being there at the very moment offering to supply his goods.

The Scottish World Gig Photo 3 | Billy Kay | Odyssey Productions
(Billy at a Scottish World event at the Edinburgh Folk Club with Rod Paterson, Norman Chalmers and Derek Hoy of the band Jock Tamson´s Bairns – click on picture to see bigger version)

Given what we know happened in later centuries to the Jews in the region, it is also chillingly familiar. These people have like a cancerous ulcer, grown and festered, they cling to each other, keep boarders, hire large houses, nay, sometimes oust honest citizens by offering a higher rent, furnish several stores, and this not because of their large capital – most of them are only commission merchants – but because 4 or 5 of them collude, so that if we were to admit 1 as a burgess publicly we should secretly create half a dozen of them who would prowl about the country towns from east to west and finally leave from the gate with a patched knapsack… not however without leaving in their place at home a couple of green boys who would afterwards carry on no better.

The first mention of Scots pedlars in the region appears as early as 1320, but the numbers increased dramatically throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. By taking goods direct to the consumer, of course, they were undercutting the profits and the powers of the burgesses in the towns. So common were they that the words Schotte and Szot covered both pedlars and natives of Scotland – it was the same in parts of Sweden and Denmark too – while they appear in the native folklore as the bogeyman. In both the Kashubian dialect and in German, proverbial sayings used to frighten naughty children included Warte bis der Schotte kommt – Wait till the Scot comes and gets ye! In reality, there were few cases of Scots harming the locals, in fact the reverse was a lot more common. Alone, and carrying goods and money on remote country paths, there are many cases of Scots boys being robbed and left for dead. If that was not hard enough to thole, eventually the wealthy Scots turned against them too. By the 1590´s they were becoming too numerous and embarrassing, so they wrote to James V1 asking him to intervene and stop so many of them leaving from Scottish ports. The settled Scots also wrote to the local authorities distancing themselves from ´the disgrace to our nation when such people, lazy and unwilling to work as they are, crowd the streets´. I hae this image in ma heid o puir, destitute sowels daein the 17th century equivalent o sellin the Big Issue on the brigs o Dansk! The puir pedlar image was extended to imply meanness, and the Polish language has disparaging expressions referring to the Scots and their meanness. Eventually, though the pedlars settled down all over Poland and Prussia and in specifically Scottish quarters such as Old Scotland in Gdansk, Scotlandsyde in Memel, and the Scots Vennel in Stralsund. Unlike the Jews, as Christians they could marry local girls and were gradually absorbed into German and Polish society.

The first mention of Scots pedlars in the region appears as early as 1320, but the numbers increased dramatically throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. By taking goods direct to the consumer, of course, they were undercutting the profits and the powers of the burgesses in the towns. So common were they that the words Schotte and Szot covered both pedlars and natives of Scotland – it was the same in parts of Sweden and Denmark too - while they appear in the native folklore as the bogeyman. In both the Kashubian dialect and in German, proverbial sayings used to frighten naughty children included Warte bis der Schotte kommt – Wait till the Scot comes and gets ye! In reality, there were few cases of Scots harming the locals, in fact the reverse was a lot more common. Alone, and carrying goods and money on remote country paths, there are many cases of Scots boys being robbed and left for dead. If that was not hard enough to thole, eventually the wealthy Scots turned against them too. By the 1590´s they were becoming too numerous and embarrassing, so they wrote to James V1 asking him to intervene and stop so many of them leaving from Scottish ports. The settled Scots also wrote to the local authorities distancing themselves from ´the disgrace to our nation when such people, lazy and unwilling to work as they are, crowd the streets´. I hae this image in ma heid o puir, destitute sowels daein the 17th century equivalent o sellin the Big Issue on the brigs o Dansk! The puir pedlar image was extended to imply meanness, and the Polish language has disparaging expressions referring to the Scots and their meanness. Eventually, though the pedlars settled down all over Poland and Prussia and in specifically Scottish quarters such as Old Scotland in Gdansk, Scotlandsyde in Memel, and the Scots Vennel in Stralsund. Unlike the Jews, as Christians they could marry local girls and were gradually absorbed into German and Polish society.

The Scottish World Gig Photo 4 | Billy Kay | Odyssey Productions

From Chapter 8              To Smile in Ka´iulani´s Eye

Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, February 20, 1975.

It is late in February of 1975, and my friend Bill and I are arriving in the United States on an eventful flight which has taken us from the sticky heat of Thailand to airports in Osaka in Japan, Taipei in Taiwan and an overnight stay in the deepest mid winter of Seoul, South Korea. We have about two hundred dollars between us, and no onward ticket. We badly need to find work in the States to replenish the funds, so that we can keep travelling. As we approach the line for U.S. Immigration, tired and anxious, we are aware that a visa allowing us to stay in the country for a decent length of time will make all the difference. As we approach the booths, we notice that one of the desks is staffed by a young attractive woman…. As he has always been good at communicating with members of the opposite sex, Bill decides that is the queue for him. Meanwhile, I have noticed another desk presided over by a giant, burly, male official with the name tag R. McLeod – this is definitely the queue for me! When my turn comes, I regale Mr Mcleod with an eye witness desciption of Dunvegan Castle, the beauties of Skye and the glories of Clan McLeod. The man is awe struck, and awfie happy to hear echoes of his distant ancestral home here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. While a delighted Mr McLeod grants me a nine month visa and sends me skipping into the United States, Bill has ended up with even burlier male immigration officers who are strip searching him for drugs! Significant eye contact with the young woman resulted in her noticing his dilated pupils and with his protestations of being sleepless in Seoul waved aside, he ended up in the search room. Bill was innocent, but they only granted him a three month visa. The moral of the story, my countrymen and women is this… never rely on fleeting glances and good looks, when you have the permanence of the Scottish card to play! Others had played it before me. Off the street in Waikiki where I lived was Tusitala Street – Tusitala being the Hawaiian for Teller of Tales, the name given to Robert Louis Stevenson, celebrating his gift as a storyteller and writer who spread knowledge of Hawaii and Polynesia around the world. When he arrived in the islands for a five month stay in 1889, and returned for a few weeks in 1893, he was invited to address a huge gathering at the Thistle Club of Honolulu, one of three Scottish organisations catering for a sizeable community of Caledonians who settled in Hawaii for very different reasons. Lahaina and Dundee were two of the world’s major whaling ports in the second half of the 19th century. As the Arctic became over fished, the Antarctic attracted a number of expeditions, so you had Dundonian vessels as regular visitors to the port. Quite a few Dundonian mariners came back to the islands and stayed….others never left in the first place when they saw the beauties of the place. They were augmented by a fair number of people from Kirriemuir, Glamis and Forfar who worked in the Scots–dominated sugar industry on the big island of Hawaii. There, the sugar plantaion area of Hamakua was known as the Scotch Coast. When I visited the island in 1975, I met an old man who remembered leaving Cupar Angus on a horse and trap, bound for Hawaii. Like this Ayrshireman he could recite Tam o’ Shanter from beginning to end, so we did a shared performance of it which pleased both of us greatly.

There was another strong Dundee connection. The remarkable wealth generated in the boom years of the jute industry from the 1870´s onwards, led to the city´s excess capital going west to finance American railroad expansion and land deals in Texas and Oregon. One group of jute barons formed the Hawaiian Investment & Agency Company in 1880 and proceeded to lend huge amounts in the land mortgage business and contribute to the economic development of the islands. Due to such investment, due to the whaling connection, and due to the sugar industry in the islands, Dundee for many years had a Hawaiian Consul resident in the city! The most remarkable Scottish Hawaiian connection though is one in which RLS became involved in during his time in the islands, and later on in his life in Samoa. Stevenson was intensely aware of the threat to indigenous cultures posed by imperialism, be it German and British in Samoa or American in Hawaii. The writer was always on the side of the native culture, and believed that it should have the support of an indigenous political structure as well. As a Scot, this was brought into sharp relief in Hawaii when he realised that the heiresss apparent to the Hawaiian throne was the an engaging 13 year old girl called Princess Ka´iulani. She was the daughter of the late Princess Miriam Likelike and an Edinburgh man called Archibald S. Cleghorn, a former merchant and currently Collector General of Customs in the islands. RLS was befriended by the family during his stay on the islands in 1889 – and was invited to the royal palace to partake of a meal of ´guid Scotch kau–kau´ – kau–kau being the Hawaiian word for food. He admired the beautiful Scots–Hawaiian princess, and at one point when she was due to travel to Scotland for her education, he dedicated a lovely poem to her which ends:

But our Scots islands far away
Shall glitter with unwonted day,
And cast for once their tempests by,
To smile in Ka´iulani´s eye.

Stevenson told the lassie tales of Scotland under the Banyan tree planted by her father in Waikiki, probably stories of Bruce and Bannockburn, stories of royal heroism and commitment to the people he served, models of behaviour for a future monarch who faced a similar struggle to preserve her own and her people´s independence.

Ka´iulani was not able to fulfil her destiny as the last Hawaiian queen – when RLS returned to Hawaii in 1893 the political situation had changed dramatically. Ka´iulani´s aunt, Princess Lili´uokalani had been deposed in a bloodless coup by supporters of American annexation of the islands. They proclaimed the right to set up a Republic of Hawaii that led eventually to the establishment of America´s 50th state. Ka´iulani died of pneumonia in Waikiki in March 1899, in a Hawaii newly under the American flag.

When Stevenson returned to Hawaii from Samoa in 1893, he had only just over a year left to live. When he rose to address the Scottish Thistle Club of Honolulu at their premises on Merchant Street on September 27, 1893, despite the flamboyant red sash and the dashing corduroy suit his countrymen in the packed audience could see that he was emaciated and wearin awa tae the land o the leal. But that was forgotten as they were consumed by his brilliant eloquence and passion for Scotland and her history. I would have loved to have been there, to have heard Stevenson with his deep love for Scotland reach accross the seas and the centuries to inspire the hearts of the exiles.

They would also have been touched by the poignant way he brought his speech to an end. He mentioned that he had been affected by the recent dedication to him of the novel The Stickit Minister by S. R. Crockett who wrote of those muirland places dear to the exile…

Where about the graves of the martyrs the whaups are crying. My heart remembers how.

Stevenson added: ´I feel that when I shall come to die out here among these beautiful islands, I shall have lost something that has been my due – my native, pre–destinate and forfeited grave among honest Scots sods´. Such was his reception that he was invited back to the Club on October 21, but he was too ill to attend. At its meeting on October 23, the Thistle Club elected Stevenson ´honourary chieftain´. Their silver thistle emblem was pinned onto his lapel just before his final departure from Hawaii on SS Mariposa on October 27. He promised that it would go with him to the grave, and so it did.

For the launch of the book at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August 2006, Billy created a show using story, poetry, music and song associated with the Scottish diaspora:

The Scottish World

Billy Kay with Rod Paterson, Derek Hoy and Norman Chalmers of Jock Tamson´s Bairns

An evening of music, poetry, story and song celebrating the Scottish diaspora and its influence all over the world. Among the highlights which captivated a sell-out audience in the Spiegeltent at the last Edinburgh International Book Festival were: the French romantic love song with a Scottish setting, "Garçon Malheureux"; the hymn "Alteren´s Sacrament" by 17th century Norwegian poet Petter Dass, son of Peter Dundas from Dundee, translated back into Dass´s ither mither tongue, Scots, by Kay and movingly sung by Paterson; the North East song from the Peninsular War, "The Forfar Sojer"; songs of exile like "The Sun Rises Bright in France" and the Scots Canadian classic written by a Borders shepherd, "The Scarboro Settlers Lament."

The Scottish World Gig Photo 6 | Billy Kay | Odyssey Productions

The Scottish World has been performed at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, The Pittenweem Arts Festival, the West Dumbartonshire Literature Festival and at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. This was its billing in the festival programme:

The Scottish World

Billy Kay, charismatic and eloquent, writer, performer and broadcaster, is one of the great chroniclers of Scottish language and culture. In this special musical evening, with the legendary talents of Scottish traditional musicians Rod Paterson, Norman Chalmers and Derek Hoy – members of Jock Tamson´s Bairns – Billy and the Bairns will celebrate in music, story and song the incredible influence of the Scottish diaspora in far flung countries of the world, to mark the launch of his book The Scottish World.

Some reactions to the event.

"I enjoyed your presentation at the Book Festival enormously and think your book is outstanding. It is an extremely enjoyable and informative read, well researched, beautifully and vigorously written and well produced."

Ken Munro, convener of the International Committee of the Saltire Society

"´Scottish World´ is the fruit of much research and thinking on Scotland´s contribution to the world through it´s greatest export – its people. Aided and abetted by Rod Paterson, Norman Chalmers and Derek Hoy of the band ´Jock Tamson´s Bairns´ Kay led his audience from the siege of Orleans, through Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, Africa, Canada and India, to return again to the green fields of France. Kay´s enthusiasm is infectious, and his good-humoured guided tour made for a fine ambassadorial flourish for any thinking tourists in the audience. Kay and his companions clearly have a potential touring vehicle on their hands. If it´s already wowed them elsewhere this would come as no surprise, and if it hasn´t already, it´s certainly something they ought to consider. Jam–packed with historical anecdote and appropriate songs, Kay narrated and presided over a well–tempered account of Scots men and women´s contribution in lands other than their own."

From a review by Bill Dunlop in EdinburghGuide.com

"Everyone I´ve spoken to has raved about it and, for many, it was probably the highlight of the entire fortnight (and there were many great nights to savour). So thanks for making such a brilliant contribution to the 2007 festival – almost certainly the best of the seven to date."

Ian Baillie of Booked! 07 The West Dumbartonshire Literature Festival

"Billy Kay and Rod Paterson attracted a large audience to the Kilted Skirlie restaurant at Loch Lomond Shores. The restaurant has the stunning backdrop of Loch Lomond, with Ben Lomond´s profile dominating the scene; unfortunately it was a rather dreich evening, and Bill and Rod did not see the scene in all its glory. The audience, sitting in the comfort of the coffee and cocktail lounge, soon forgot about the inclement weather, as Billy and Rod whisked us away on a musical and oral tour of the globe, from Norway to Hawaii, following in the footsteps of the Scots diaspora. Billy is a well–known broadcaster and writer, whose work mostly focuses on creating an awareness of Scottish culture, rescuing aspects of it from neglect or marginalisation. Rod is one of Scotland´s premier folk singers, being a member of Jock Tamson´s Bairns and the acclaimed group, Ceolbeg as well as being a solo artist with many recordings to his name."

In his most recent book, The Scottish World Billy explored the impact and influence the Scots have had on different cultures and communities throughout the world. Billy shared his research into this fascinating history with the audience through a combination of lecture, personal anecdote and musical accompaniment from Rod. He emphasised the role that exile has played in shaping many of the great Scots folk songs.

The whole evening was a real success. Billy´s delivery of anecdote, history lesson and song was thoroughly absorbing, whilst Rod´s clear and strong singing filled the capacious lounge, without the need for a microphone. Many members of the audience snapped up copies of Billy´s books and a large number of people said that the evening had given them a whole new perspective on being Scottish, and they could take a new pride in the achievements of their forebears.

From a review of the Scottish World by Allan Gordon of West Dumbartonshire Libraries

Billy Kay, the erudite Scottish Wordsmith and his musical partner Rod Paterson on guitar and vocals were absolutely stunning. Billy´s polished, informal and clever presentation was wonderfully offset by Rod´s plaintive and at times deeply moving virtuosity… what a superb performance by both.

R. McIntyre in a letter to the Editor of the Clydebank Post.

A link to a review of a "Scottish World" event during West Dumbartonshire´s Literature Festival Booked! 2007, with Billy and Rod Paterson

The Scottish World is available from all good bookshops in Scotland and from Amazon.

For a signed/dedicated copy of any of Billy´s books contact him at billy@billykay.co.uk