Germany

 Gaelic

DE01
Regensburg:
Schottenkloster 

DE02
Regensburg:
Schottenportal

DE03
Scholars of Ratisbon

 

 

 

DE04
A German Love Story

 

Scotland's earliest links to Germany focus around trade. In the medieval period, long before Germany was a single nation, Scottish traders had a keen interest in doing business with the northern ports of Germany. The powerful German trading confederation, the Hanseatic League, controlled much of the trade across the southern shores of the North and Baltic Seas, and so it was inevitable that merchants from eastern Scotland would deal with it. So significant was the trade to medieval Scotland that, after his victory at Stirling Bridge in 1297, William Wallace wrote to the governments of Lubeck and Hamburg thanking them for their support of Scottish enterprise and reassuring them that now the English army had been beaten German merchants would find it safe to trade in Scotland again. Robert the Bruce wrote to Lubeck again in 1321 to strengthen trade between Scotland and the towns of "Alemannia".

But the success of Scottish merchant houses did not always earn them the love of their neighbours and competition! Laws restricting Scottish (and English) trade were introduced in the fifteenth century, prompting letters of complaint from Scotland. In 1442 the city of Stralsund passed a law stating "No Scotsman nor any other man outside the Hansa shall keep an open shop," and Scottish settlers were often identified as an unwelcome minority group. Many continued to prosper however, and Prussian harbours in particular drew many Scottish merchants. Some moved on into Poland, but many remained here. As the power of the Staple ports (such as Veere in Holland) weakened in the sixteenth century, trade and profits could be distributed more evenly along the coast. Most Scots emigration to Germany came through the east coast ports of Leith, Dundee, and in particular, Aberdeen. Not all came as prosperous maritime merchants, and the Duke of Prussia complains in 1558 of pedlars and vagabonds from Scotland causing "the ruin of our own poor subjects" with their travelling trade! As happened in Poland, the Scots communities in Germany often became self-policing in an effort to protect their reputation and maintain a sense of brotherhood.

The Thirty Years War which ravaged Germany and eastern Europe in the early seventeenth century saw another large scale influx of Scots, this time bearing arms. Scottish soldiers served in their thousands during this conflict, on all sides and for all nations. There was also a very strong flow of academics into Germany from Scotland. Germany's religious divisions made it possible for both Calvinists and Catholics to seek it out as a place of both refuge and learning. Ratisbon was particularly popular with students from Scottish Catholic families.

 A’ Ghearmailt

B’ ann tro mhalairt a thòisich na ciad cheanglaichean eadar Alba ’s a’ Ghearmailt. Anns na meadhan-aoisean, fada mus robh a’ Ghearmailt na h-aon nàisean, bha ùidh mhòr aig luchd-malairt na h-Alba a bhith a’ ruith gnothachas leis na puirt ann an ceann a tuath na Gearmailt. Bha smachd aig an Lìog Hanseatic, co-chaidreachas malairt cumhachdach anns a’ Ghearmailt, air mòran den mhalairt a bha a’ dol air adhart tarsainn chladaichean a deas a’ Chuain a Tuath agus am Baltic agus mar sin bha e do-sheachanta nach biodh marsantaich bho thaobh an ear na h-Alba a’ dèiligeadh leis. Bha a’ mhalairt cho cudromach do dh’Alba sna meadhan-aoisean agus, an dèidh buaidh a thoirt aig Drochaid Shruighle ann an 1297, gun do sgrìobh Uilleam Uallas gu na riaghaltasan ann an Lubeck agus Hamburg (clì) a’ toirt taing dhaibh airson an cuid taic don iomairt Albannach agus a’ cinnteachadh dhaibh on bha an t-arm Sasannach a-nis fo smachd, gum biodh e sàbhailte do mharsantaich Gearmailteach a bhith a’ malairt le Alba uair eile. Sgrìobh Raibeart am Brusach gu Lubeck a-rithist ann an 1321 gus malairt a neartachadh eadar Alba agus bailtean "Alemannia".

Ach cha robh soirbheachadh nan taighean malairt Albannach an-còmhnaidh a’ cosnadh dhaibh spèis bho an nàbaidhean agus farpais! Chaidh laghan a’ cuingealachadh malairt Albannach (agus Sasannach) a thoirt a-steach sa chòigeamh linn deug, a’ spreagadh litrichean gearain à Alba. Ann an 1442, chuir baile Stralsund lagh troimhe "Cha bhi Albannach sam bith no duine sam bith eile taobh a-muigh an Hansa a’ cumail bùthaidh fhosgailte" agus bha an luchd-tuineachaidh Albannach glè thric air an comharrachadh mar mhion-bhuidheann ris nach dèanaist toileachadh sam bith. Lean mòran air adhart a’ soirbheachadh ge-tà, agus bha calaidhean Phruisia gu h-àraid a’ tàladh mòran mharsantach Albannach.  Ghluais cuid don Phòlainn ach dh’fhuirich mòran an seo. Mar a bha cumhachd nam port àbhaisteach a’ lagachadh (leithid Veere san Òlaind) anns an t-siathamh linn deug, dh’fhaodadh malairt is prothaid a bhith air an sgaoileadh nas cothromaiche sìos fad a’ chosta. Thàinig a’ mhòr-chuid de in-imrich nan Albannach don Ghearmailt tro na puirt air an taobh an ear leithid Lìte, Dùn Deagh agus gu h-àraid Obar Dheathain. Cha tàinig iad uile nam marsantaich mara shoirbheachail, agus tha Diùc Phruisia a’ gearan ann an 1558 mu dheidhinn ceannaichean-siubhail agus fògraich à Alba ag adhbhrachadh "sgrios nan daoine bochd againn fhìn” le an cuid malairt siubhail! Mar a thachair sa Phòlainn, thàinig na coimhearsnachdan Albannach sa Ghearmailt glè thric gu bhith nan luchd-faire orra fhèin ann an oidhirp air an cliù a dhìon agus tomhais de bhràithreachas a ghleidheadh.


Chunnaic Cogadh nan Trithead Bliadhna a rinn sgrios uabhasach anns a’ Ghearmailt agus taobh an ear na h-Eòrpa san t-seachdamh linn deug, in-shruthadh mòr eile de dh’Albannaich, ach an turas seo armaichte. Bha saighdearan Albannach a’ frithealadh nam mìltean sa chòmhrag seo, air gach taobh agus do gach nàisean. Bha sruthadh làidir ann cuideachd de dhaoine foghlamaichte (sgoilearan) à Alba don Ghearmailt  Bha roinnean creideamhach na Gearmailt  ga dhèanamh comasach don dà chuid Calbhanaich agus Caitligich a lorg a-mach mar àite tèarmainn is ionnsachaidh. Bha meas gu h-àraid air Ratisbon le oileanaich bho theaghlaichean Caitligeach à Alba.