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At Home Abroad: Ethnicity and Enclave in the World of Scots Traders in Northern Europe, c. 1600-1800

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This article examines the formation of Scots ethnicity from the perspective of the corporate, ethnic enclave and treats Scots migrants as boundary-crossers, members of an ethnic group that could operate independently of a state-driven agenda. Beginning with the reaction in a particular Scots network to the mid-18th-century bankruptcy of a Scots merchant and progressing to an overview of Scots enclaves from the Netherlands to Poland-Lithuania, it argues that Scots traders in the North and Baltic Sea zones depended on and in turn deferred to enclaves of their fellow countrymen in conducting their lives and careers. Moreover, because they tended to provide poor relief on the basis of ethnicity and promote non-denominational codes of behavior, northern Europe's Scots enclaves could accommodate an ethnic identity somewhat shorn of confessional division. In this regard, the piece concludes, Scots seem to have operated like other boundary-crossers such as the Sephardim of northern Europe or the Armenians of New Julfa.


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