Tragedy of the Blood
by Beth Bristow
About the book
History tells the story of the massive slaughter of Highland men at the Battle of Culloden; however, very few histories tell of the battle’s aftermath. Known as The Clearances, there is no other event in all of Scotland’s history that can compare to the “ethnic cleansing” of the Highlands of Scotland which began shortly after the battle took place. The men, women, and children were told they had to leave their homeland, without belongings, money, or dignity.
The King of England now had ownership of lands which once belonged to clan chieftains. The Highlanders left Scotland for countries which were foreign to them: Canada’s Nova Scotia, Australia, New Zealand, and America. They brought with them the Gaelic language of the Highlands and the sadness of people who had been disowned by the English government. In the high glens of Scotland, away from English eyes and ears, surviving families gathered together. The food they shared was sparse: bannock buns, oatcakes, and a small cup of malted barley whisky. They tapped their toes and clapped their hands as a piper played forbidden tunes on the bagpipes. They knew they had to leave their beloved homeland, but for this last time, they were together. They bowed their heads, giving thanks for their lives, the food they shared, and the kinship of one another. The Clearances were shameful, hidden, not written about, and not spoken of. Tragedy of the Blood tells the stories handed down from one generation to the next. It is time for the stories to be told so that others will know of the “ethnic cleansing of Scotland” and the true meaning of those words.
December 6, 2019