After the famine
in Clanship to crofters’ war
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Between 1846 and the early 1850s, the Highlands escaped a calamity on the Irish scale, but at the expense of a huge increase in emigration and a profound weakening of the crofting economy. Crofting townships which had grown up to service the labour needs of the kelp manufacture were especially vulnerable to clearance and consolidation. The clearances and emigrations of the famine speeded up the invasion of the last bastions of the crofting population by the Cheviot and the Blackface. Indeed in an economic sense, many west Highland and Hebridean estates probably emerged from the famine in a leaner and fitter economic condition than they had been before 1846. The period from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the potato famine had been one of contracting income and falling employment opportunities.

Clanship to crofters’ war

The social transformation of the Scottish Highlands

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