According to Professor Neil McLennan, Scotland “whitewashed” its involvement in the slave trade in history exams.
In order to “whitewash” its history and “vilify” England, a leading historian has charged that Scotland has left out from the school curriculum its crucial role in the slave trade.
Prof. Neil McLennan, a senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, claimed he frequently requested the SNP to list Glasgow among the UK cities “associated with slavery gains.”
Only Bristol and Liverpool are covered in the course The Atlantic Slave Trade, 1770–1807 for students taking National 5 history, the Scottish equivalent of GCSEs.
This despite the fact that Glasgow imported copious quantities of rum, sugar, and tobacco from the American colonies.
According to The Telegraph, Glasgow was rejected by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which receives funding from the SNP.
History teacher McLennan stated: “It is part of our reconciliation with a bloody history that England, Scotland, and other European countries, we are all guilty of.”
“We will never be able to exorcise the ghosts of the past unless we acknowledge it in our educational system.”
A real concern is that “that is a good example of the vilification of English history without presenting the entirety of it.”
In fact, according to historical records, by 1782 Glasgow, Greenock, and Port Glasgow were importing more tobacco from slaves in America than all of the English ports put together.
While Glasgow prospered from the goods imported into the city, many Scots owned, ran, and supplied plantations.
In addition, the city was loading up its port with significant quantities of rum and sugar.
Glasgow also has 62 streets with names of slave owners who made their fortunes from running tobacco plantations.
According to the course description provided by the SQA for the module on the Atlantic Slave Trade, students “should be taught the organization and nature of the slave trade: its effect on British ports, such as Liverpool and Bristol.”
Sir Tom Devine, a different historian, claimed that because Scotland “came very late” to realizing its involvement in the slave trade, it has come to feel “moral superiority” over England.
The Scottish Tory spokesman for education, Oliver Mundell, claimed that it was part of the SNP’s “insidious attempt to rewrite aspects of our history in a misleadingly partisan fashion.”
The sad reality of Scotland’s involvement in the slave trade must be taught to students, he continued, in order for them to learn about historical events accurately.
For its “apparent inability to reform,” the SQA has received criticism from McLennan in the past.
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Professor Neil McLennan said the exams ignore Scotland’s role in the slave tradeHe asked the SNP to include Glasgow in a list of UK cities that used slave importsThe Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) refused to include it in the exam Glasgow imported huge amounts of rum, sugar and tobacco in the 18th century