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Highlanders and Lowlanders

Over the years Scotland became a divided kingdom.

The Highlanders and the Lowlanders did not trust one another.

The Lowlanders looked down on the Highlanders, but they were also frightened of the weapon power the Highland chiefs had.

Clansmen

Many of the people in the Gaelic communities in the Highlands and Islands were not able to read or write, and the English and the Lowlanders thought it was a rebellious, barbaric region.

King James VI showed a lack of understanding when he said the Highlanders were a barbaric people.

‘As for the Highlanders, I see two kinds: the kind who live on the mainland are barbaric, but a little bit civilised; the other kind who live in the islands are totally barbaric.’

Changes in the areas in which Gaelic was spoken 1020-1981
Changes in the areas in which Gaelic was spoken 1020-1981

Early in the seventeenth century at the time of the Clearances, laws were passed to control the Highlanders.

The clan chiefs had to send their sons to school in the Lowlands so that they would be taught through English.

This was one of the things which would change the world of the Highlanders. The Highlanders were disappointed that the important people were not using Gaelic. The Reverend John Maclean wrote about Gaelic:

‘In the court of kings it reigned for a thousand years and more, before the dark Lowlander’s tongue raised its head.’

Highlanders leaving their homes because of the Clearances.
Highlanders leaving their homes because of the Clearances.
Learning English
Learning English