It may be our national drink, Scotland’s biggest export and worth billions of pounds to the UK’s economy but whisky’s rise to reverence and adoration has been nothing short of tumultuous with a fair bit of luck thrown in along the way.
When the Phylloxera bug devastated the grape harvests across Europe in the late 1800s, an opportunity for Scotch to fill the void left by Brandy couldn’t have come at a more fortuitous time. Renowned as being a refined, sophisticated spirit consumed by the rich and the powerful, French Brandy was the choice of the aristocracy in Europe for centuries.
Read the rest of the story at A history of Scotch whisky – Arts – Scotsman.com.
Story by Darroch Ramsey – Scotsman; Photo by Nicor – Wikimedia
A LETTER written by a suffragette that kick-started higher education for women in the UK has been discovered by historians.
The 140-year-old document, which pleads with the University of St Andrews to allow women to study medicine, was found in the University’s archives.
Written by Sophia Jex-Blake, who went on to become one of the UK’s first registered woman doctors, the letter gave impetus to the foundation of the first degree level certificate for women in the UK, at St Andrews.
Read the rest of the article at Historic plea to study medicine discovered at Scots university | Deadline News.
Story by Kristy Topping
The Vatican Secret Archives have been the holder of many important historical documents. Now and exhibition will be held at the Capitoline Museums in Rome from February to September 2012. The exhibit, titled “Lux in arcana – The Vatican Secret Archives reveals itself” will have 100 original documents dating from the 8th to the 20th century on display. Gavin Madeley of the Daily Mail reports on the upcoming exhibition and one letter from Mary, Queen of Scots to Pope Sixtus V asking for help in particular.
The fragile parchment text, bearing royal insignia, was sent in hope to a pope by a deposed monarch begging for her life.
Yet while the letter addressed to Sixtus V failed to save Mary, Queen of Scots, from the executioner’s axe, the document itself did survive buried in the depths of the Vatican’s so-called Secret Archives.
Jealously guarded for centuries, it is now among 100 of the most historically significant items of confidential correspondence due to go on public display for the first time in a special exhibition in Rome.
The priceless collection spans more than a millennium, from the 8th century to modern times and features a cast of historical characters who have crossed swords with a succession of Pontiffs, from Knights Templar to Galileo, Martin Luther and Henry VIII.
Read more of the article at Mary Queen of Scots sent letter begging for her life to Vatican before execution | Mail Online.
As the first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald saw Canada reach the Pacific with completion of the Canadian Pacific railroad. Macdonald was instrumental in the formation of the new nation and a lot is owed to him for uniting the northern half of North America. Macdonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland and emigrated to the colonies with his family at the age of 5. Randy Boswel of the Montreal Gazette reports about the construction plans for Sir John A. Macdonald’s last home in Scotland.
While a major fire in Ottawa earlier this month did serious damage to Sir John A. Macdonald’s last home, a derelict building in Glasgow that’s the possible birthplace of Canada’s first prime minister has been edging closer to the wrecking ball — to make way, according to new plans being debated in the Scottish city, for a downtown plaza and statue to be built in Macdonald’s honour.
The proposed “Macdonald Square” and its sculpted likeness of Canada’s preeminent Father of Confederation are part of a regeneration plan for Glasgow’s historic Merchant City district, site of the last extant building — the former Fox and Hound pub in its latest guise — with clear links to Macdonald’s family at the time of his birth in January 1815.
“The recent version of the proposed design incorporates the formation of a small open space to be known as Macdonald Square, located close to his birthplace,” Glasgow planning official Jim Patrick told Postmedia News.
Read the rest of the article at Sir John A’s birthplace may be torn down to make room for his statue.
In his new book, , T.M. Devine tackles the topic of the Scottish diaspora in his follow-up to The Scottish Nation. Today Scotland has a population of over 5.2 million people and although it is difficult to calculate the total number of Scots who emigrated, between 1840 and 1940 over two million people left the country. Colin Kidd review’s Devine book for The Guardian.
The impresarios of white identity politics in the American south have found much to envy in the troubled pasts of other groups. The wider world seems to care more about the historic sufferings of black people, Jews and Irish Catholics than it does about their own modest reverses. If history used to be written by the winners, this no longer seems to be the case. Nowadays there is a ready audience for maudlin narratives of dispossession and exile.
Yet white Protestant Republicans are confronted with serious problems of self-presentation. For a start, do they have an ethnic identity distinct from their race? And is there a compelling tale of loss that they might tell about their own ancestors? The modern south has discovered the respectable answer to its ethnic needs in the traumatic heritage of Scotland’s Highland clearances.
While there was indeed some Highland emigration to North Carolina in the 18th century, the bulk of Scottish emigration to the United States, as Tom Devine shows in his rigorous and unsentimental history of Scotland’s global diaspora, came from the Lowlands to the industrial states of the north during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Read the more of the review at To the Ends of the Earth by TM Devine – review | Books | The Guardian.