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Toiling in the Vale of Tears: Everyday Life and Resistance in South Uist, Outer Hebrides, 1760—1860

James Symonds
International Journal of Historical Archaeology
Vol. 3, No. 2, Archaeologies of Resistance in Britain and Ireland, Part II (June 1999), pp. 101-122
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20852924
Page Count: 22
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Toiling in the Vale of Tears: Everyday Life and Resistance in South Uist, Outer Hebrides, 1760—1860
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Abstract

Following the 1745 rebellion, agrarian capitalism rapidly transformed subsistence practices in the Outer Hebrides. Landowners increased rents, enclosed common lands, and replaced crofters and cattle with sheep-ranges. Population growth, the demise of the kelp industry, and crop failures compounded the problems of the peasantry. Widespread emigration commenced in the 1770s and peaked in the 1850s, when entire communities were exiled to British North America—the so-called Highland Clearances. This article traces the development of agrarian capitalism on the Isle of South Uist, explores the agricultural "improvements" undertaken by successive landlords, and considers modes of resistance adopted by the island's population.

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