History of Britain - Nations & Empire


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1800 - 1850

The story of how emigration fuelled the growth of the British Empire, with a focus on the Highland Clearances. (5 mins)

7.Rule Britannia
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1857 next video 7/11next

iconChapter Breakdown

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1. "In search of a better life" - another motivation for the spread of 'Britishness' abroad.
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2. A tragic story of forced emigration - the Scottish Clearances.
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3. Scottish crofters are forced off the land - and make their way to the docks.
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4. Where did they go? The British 'dominions' - Canada, Australia, New Zealand.
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5. An irony: native peoples in the dominions cleared off the land.

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iconLocation details


The Highland Clearance sequence was shot on a rainy but wonderfully atmospheric day in Glen Coe, in Argyll. It's one of the most spectacular and beautiful places in Scotland, surrounded by wild and precipitous mountains. I envied the rangers who showed us around - what a great place to work.


The second half of the module was shot in Albert Dock in Liverpool. It's a great place to visit: the Beatles Experience; the Slavery Museum (strongly recommended); Tate Liverpool. And the dock itself is so evocative. What I'd give to have seen it its heyday when tall ships filled the harbour.


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