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September 2005
Scottish Exodus: Travels Among a Worldwide Clan

Scottish Exodus About the Author

The book is written by historian Dr Jim Hunter, the former chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who is now working for North Highland College and for the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands as director of its centre for history.
Hunter researched MacLeods across the globe
from the Scottish Herald Newspaper

In New South Wales, [Hunter] met Bobby McLeod, a poet and aboriginal activist whose dance troupe starred at the opening of Sydney's 2000 Olympics. Bobby, who is thought to be descended from a MacLeod sheep rancher who had relationships with aboriginal women, says: "When I was young I ran up against a lot of racism, a lot of prejudice. So I was glad to get the chance, back in 1997, to go to Scotland and Dunvegan Castle. I wanted to know more about the MacLeods. I need to understand why they left Scotland, what brought them here."

Bobby McLeod's forbears are thought to be from a sheep station called Orbost. The name is borrowed from an area south of Dunvegan which was cleared. In 1997, the Orbost estate was put on the market and Hunter, then chairman of the local enterprise company (LEC), persuaded Highlands and Islands Enterprise to buy it to create new smallholdings. It ran into a bit of trouble locally but [more recently] the 30 or so residents decided to pursue a community buyout. One of these is Australian Rachael Jackson, who has direct ancestral links to the chiefs of the two great MacLeod families, of Dunvegan and of Lewis. "I've studied genetics and sometimes I think there must be MacLeod genes in my body, and in our children's bodies, that were here in Skye hundreds of years ago. To me, that's a good thought."

Book Synopsis
Over the years, millions of native Scots have left their home country but, until now, they have been written about only in general terms. Scottish Exodus breaks new ground by taking a set of emigrants, by the name of MacLeod and, with the help of their descendants, investigating exactly what happened to them. These people began as Scots but became, among other things, French aristocrats, Polish resistance fighters and revolutionaries, Irish priests, Texan ranchers, New Zealand shepherds, Australian goldminers, prairie homesteaders, Aboriginal and African-American activists, Canadian mounted policemen, Confederate rebels and Nova Scotian farmers. One nineteenth-century MacLeod even went so far as to swap his Gaelic for Arabic and his Christianity for Islam before settling down comfortably in Cairo.

This groundbreaking account of Scotland's worldwide diaspora is based on unpublished documents, letters and family histories. It is also based on the author's international travels in the company of today's MacLeods - some of them still in Scotland, others in countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, England, Poland, France, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Scottish Exodus is a tale of horror and hardship, disastrous voyages, famine and dispossession: the hazards of pioneering on faraway frontiers. But it is also the moving story of how people separated from Scotland by hundreds of years and thousands of miles continue to identify with the small country where their global journeys began.


Scottish Exodus: Travels Among a Worldwide Clan
by Jim Hunter

Special signed/numbered copies with the ACMS Special Edition dust-jacket are available from the ACMS. Contact ACMS merchandising for more information.