Friday, May 17, 2013

Why Scotland and Ireland?

People may be wondering why I posted information about Scottish and Irish history on a blog that is oriented towards local history. It's not just because I was just there and have pictures. Many citizens of the South and elsewhere in America have ancestors from those two countries.

The most important group of  immigrants is known as the Scots-Irish. (Often called 'Scotch'-Irish but Scotch refers to whiskey and Scots means people.) These folks originally lived in the southern part of Scotland along the English border, an area of conflict and fighting for centuries. They moved to Northern Ireland, another place that was in constant turmoil. They were (and still are) Protestants rather than Catholic. Large numbers of them came to America in the 1700s and settled mostly along the frontier which at the time was the Appalachian Mountains. Their history really is our history too, just longer ago.

James Webb has written an excellent book titled Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, and even if you don't want to buy it, I recommend you read the description on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Born-Fighting-Scots-Irish-Shaped-America/dp/0767916891/ref=la_B000APBB1C_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368791514&sr=1-1
It's very interesting.

The Scots-Irish are a distinct group but many other people emigrated directly from Scotland and a lot of Irish Catholics came from southern Ireland too. Two Irish brigades fought in the Civil War, one on each side (against each other at the battle of Fredericksburg).

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