The portrayal of Scots as abolitionists and liberal champions has hidden a long history of profiting from slavery in the Caribbean.
The mangrove-fringed coast of Guyana, at the north-eastern tip of South America, does not immediately bring to mind the Highlands of Scotland, in the northernmost part of Great Britain. Guyana’s mudflats and silty brown coastal water have little in common with the lush green mountains and glens of the Highlands. If these landscapes share anything, it is their remoteness – one on the edge of a former empire burnished by the relentless equatorial sun and one on the edge of Europe whipped mercilessly by the Atlantic winds.
But look closer and the links are there: Alness, Ankerville, Belladrum, Borlum, Cromarty, Culcairn, Dingwall, Dunrobin, Fyrish, Glastullich, Inverness, Kintail, Kintyre, Rosehall, Tain, Tarlogie, a join-the-dots list of placenames (30 in all) south of Guyana’s capital Georgetown that hint of a hidden association with the Scottish Highlands some 5,000 miles away.