Gentleman Adventurers of Fife

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The Gentleman Adventurers of Fife or Fife Adventurers were a group of 12 Scottish Lowlander colonists awarded lands on the Isle of Lewis by King James VI in 1598 following the forfeiture of all MacLeod lands in 1597 when they failed to produce the title-deeds proving their ownership which had been demanded by Act of Parliament of all Highland chiefs.[1]

The colonisation of Lewis by the Adventurers was a project initiated by King James with the aim of beginning the "civilising" or "de-Gaelicisation" of the islands and had much in common with the Plantation of Ulster which occurred some years later. James regarded the need for civilisation as sufficiently important to employ "slauchter, mutilation, fyre-raising, or utheris inconvenieties" if necessary.[2] In fact, he had initially planned to murder all of the native inhabitants in order to facilitate settlement, but was persuaded to abandon this plan as impractical.[3]

Despite raids on Stornoway in 1598, 1605 and 1609,[2] the colonisation of Lewis was not successful, as the Adventurers were prevented from developing their land by local opposition and were eventually bought out by Kenneth Mackenzie, 1st Lord Mackenzie of Kintail in 1609 with those remaining on Lewis becoming thoroughly Gaelicised.

See also


  1. ^ Keay, John & Julia (1994). Collins Encyclopedia of Scotland. HarperCollins. p. 370. ISBN 0-00-255082-2. 
  2. ^ a b Haswell-Smith, Hamish (1996). The Scottish Islands. Canongate. pp. 240–241. ISBN 0-86241-579-9. 
  3. ^ Lenihan, Pádraig. 2008.Consolidating Conquest: Ireland 1603-1727. Harlow: Longman. Pages 43-44.
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