The Clearances

After the Jacobite Rebellion, the way of life in the Highlands and Islands came under close scrutiny by the government. Skye became subjugated with the wearing of tartan and the native Gaelic language being outlawed. The people had survived for many years living off of a stretch of land for which they paid rent to a landlord (often the previous clan chiefs) - these landlords began to raise rents to unaffordable amounts to get rid of their tenants; they wanted to concentrate on the more profitable farming of deer and sheep.

This became known as The Clearances, with landlords becoming more and more ruthless. Tenants were ordered out of their homes and they were set alight. if anyone returned to retrieve possessions, the fire was started with them inside. The land was then cleared and leveled so that the tenants had nowhere to return to or to take shelter within.

Between the years of 1840-1880 over 40,000 people were cleared from the island of Skye. Some left to start new lives in Central Scotland, while others took emigration boats that were provided by the government to take them to Canada or America.

in 1882 the remaining crofters on the island rebelled against Lord MacDonald when they were denied access to Ben Lee to graze their stock. MacDonald called in extra police to evict them and what became known as the Battle of the Braes ensued.

The government took action after this, and in 1885 the Crofter's Act was passed, bringing the crofting community substantial benefits. Fair rents were set and with this came the security that they could now pass on their land to family members.

After 100 years of evictions, grief and finally rebellion, the last remaining crofters on Skye now had the right to live in their own country.

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