Poland

 Gaelic

PL01
Puir Pedlars 

PL02
Soldiers

PL03
Merchants

Scotland and Poland have a long and established relationship, very similar to some of the Scots connections to Germany. In the middle ages Poland's main connection with the west was through the port of Danzig (Gdansk), and Scottish merchant ships were frequent visitors: in the two years from 1474 there are twenty-four vessels recorded as arriving there from Scotland, for example. As would be expected, much of the traffic was from the east coast of Scotland, and the comparative religious tolerance of Poland may have contributed to the migration of some of eastern Scotland's Episcopalian or Catholic families.

Merchants and traders established bases and communities in Poland as their trade flourished, and cities such as Krakow, Warsaw and Lublin saw considerable Scottish settlement. Many Scots communities became highly organised, with their own civil courts, and prosperous traders often also sought the protection of powerful patrons. They were clearly not universally popular! The numbers, organisation, and prosperity of some Scots communities in Poland was such that Charles II (in exile after the Civil Wars) sent an agent to Poland in 1651 to raise funds for the Royalist cause. Although the cunning agent, James Cochrane, only ever delivered £800 to the king, over £10,000 had been raised - an enormous sum for the time. By then there may have been 30-40,000 Scots living in the country. Many applied for full Polish citizenship, conditions for which could range from payment of a fee to a promise to marry.

As well as traders there were soldiers: the mid-fifteenth to mid-sixteenth centuries attracted large numbers of Scots into military service overseas, and Poland was no exception. In 1656, a highland regiment entered Polish service rather than lived under the new Commonwealth to which Scotland was subject after defeat at the Battle of Dunbar. Scottish soldiers regularly earned praise for their vigour and courage, and they fought in wars against the Russians, the Turks, the Swedes, and others.

Aside from merchants and mercenaries, there was another class of Scottish immigrant operating in Poland: the pedlar. The Scots pedlar became something of a stereotype in Poland and parts of Germany, and these travelling salesmen wandered the landscape selling all manner of goods, from cloth to kettles. They were not always popular characters, and even fellow Scots in Poland complained that too many of their countrymen migrated without proper means or contacts to establish themselves, thereby earning them all a poor reputation. After complaints from Danzig in 1624, King James VI issued a proclamation restricting migration to those who showed evidence that they had been invited by sponsors or could make their own way on arrival.

Another Stuart king, albeit one in exile, married the grand-daughter of the Polish king John Sobieski. Their son was the famous Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie), who may even have been painted in Polish dress as a youth (right).


A’ Phòlainn

Tha dàimh fada agus stèidhichte air a bhith eadar Alba agus a’ Phòlainn
, glè choltach ri cuid de na ceanglaichean eadar Alba agus a’ Ghearmailt. Anns na meadhan-aoisean, bha prìomh cheangal na Pòlainn leis an taobh an iar a’ dol tro phort Danzig (Gdansk), agus bhiodh soithichean malairt Albannach a’ tadhal ann gu tric: anns an dà bhliadhna bho 1474, tha fichead ’s a ceithir soitheach air a clàradh a’ tighinn an sin à Alba, mar eisimpleir. Mar a bhiodh dùil bha mòran den trafaig bho chosta an ear Alba, agus dh’fhaodadh gun do chuir fulangas creideamhach na Pòlainn ris an imrich a rinn cuid de theaghlaichean Easbaigeach agus Caitligeach ann an Alba.

Stèidhich marsantaich is malairtich àiteachan bunaiteach agus coimhearsnachdan sa Phòlainn  mar a bha am malairt a’ dol am meud, agus chunnaic bailtean leithid Krakow, Warsaw agus Lublin tòrr math de thuineachadh Albannach. Thàinig mòran choimhearsnachdan Albannach gu bhith air leth eagraichte le an cùirtean catharra fhèin, agus bhiodh malairtich soirbheachail gu tric a’ sireadh dìon luchd-taic le cumhachd. Tha e follaiseach nach robh meas orra anns a h-uile àite!  Bha àireamhan, eagrachadh agus soirbheachas cuid de na coimhearsnachdan Albannach anns a’ Phòlainn ann an leithid de shuidheachadh agus gun do chuir Teàrlach II (ann am fògradh an dèidh nan Cogaidhean catharra) àidseant don Phòlainn ann an 1651 gus maoinean a thogail don adhbhar Rìoghail.  Ged nach do liubhair Seumas Cochrane an t-àidseant carach ach £800 don rìgh, bha £10,000 air a thogailsùim ana-mhòr san àm. Aig an àm sin, dh’fhaodadh gun robh 30-40,000 Albannach a’ fuireach san dùthaich. Chuir mòran dhiubh a-steach airson làn saoranachd Phòlainneach, san robh cumhachan a bha a’ dol bho phàigheadh cìse gu gealladh pòsaidh.

Bha saighdearan ann a thuilleadh air malairtich: tharraing meadhan na còigeamh linn deug gu meadhan na siathamh linn deug àireamhan mòra de dh’Albannaich don t-seirbheis armailteach thall-thairis, agus bha a’ Phòlainn mar an ceudna. Ann an 1656, chaidh rèiseamaid Gàidhealach do sheirbheis na Pòlainn seach a bhith beò fon Cho-fhlaitheis ùir don robh Alba a’ dèanamh umhlachd an dèidh ruaig fhulang aig Blàr Dhùn Barra. Bhiodh saighdearan Albannach an-còmhnaidh a’ cosnadh am moladh air sgàth an spionnaidh agus am misneachd agus bha iad a’ sabaid ann an cogaidhean an aghaidh nan Ruiseanach, nan Tuirceach agus nan Suaineach am measg fheadhainn eile.

A thuilleadh air marsantaich is saighdearan-duais, bha rang eile de dh’in-imrich ag obrachadh sa Phòlainn: an ceannaiche-siubhail.  Thàinig an ceannaiche-siubhail Albannach gu bhith na sheòrsa de ghnàth-ìomhaigh anns a’ Phòlainn agus ann an ceàrnaidhean den Ghearmailt, agus bhiodh na ceannaichean-siubhail sin a’ triall tron dùthaich a’ reic gach seòrsa bathar, bho aodach gu coireachan. Cha robh meas orra mar charactaran, agus bha fiù co-Albannaich sa Phòlainn a’ gearain gun robh cus de an co-thìrich ag imrich gun an cùisean a bhith ceart no gun daoine a chuidicheadh iad gus iad fhèin a stèidheachadh, mar sin a’ cosnadh droch chliù dhaibh fhèin. An dèidh ghearanan à Danzig ann an 1624, sgaoil an Rìgh Seumas VI aithris fhollaiseach a’ cuibhreachadh imrich ach dhaibhsan a nochdadh fianais gun robh iad air am fiathachadh le luchd-urrais agus comasach air an slighe fhèin a dhèanamh nuair a ruigeadh iad.

Phòs rìgh Stiùbhartach eile, ged a bha e am fògradh, ogha don rìgh Phòlainneach, John Sobieski. B’ e am mac-san Teàrlach Èideard Stiùbhart ainmeil (Bonnie Prince Charlie), as dòcha a fhuair a dhealbh air a peantadh ann an èideadh Pòlainneach nuair a bha e òg .