Exploring Scotland’s slavery past in 5 locations

Key facts

  • Cost: £100
  • Credits: 5


Glasgow gained enormous profits from the tobacco trade with the Americas. These riches, derived from the unpaid labour of enslaved people and their brutal treatment, powered the city’s unprecedented growth into the “second city of the Empire” transforming buildings, industry and trade in central Scotland. But where can the evidence of this relationship be found today? What does it mean for how Scotland faces this past? 

Join this course to explore five locations with significant and often overlooked links to slavery. These are the Merchant City; Greenock and Port Glasgow; the Clyde; the New Town of Edinburgh; and the Gilmorehill campus of the University of Glasgow.  

Whether you are interested in the history of slavery, the development of Glasgow, the economic and social history of central Scotland, human rights and racial equality, or in connections between Scotland and the Americas, take this course to see the bigger picture of how Scotland’s relationship to slavery contributed to the world we see today. 

Over a series of talks our expert tutor will explain: 

  • how New World slavery contributed towards the industrialisation of Scotland between 1750 to 1850 
  • how five sites in central Scotland were directly impacted by the profits and demands of the slave economy 
  • how the legacies of slavery are still visible in the built environment in Scotland 

You will also have the chance to discuss and reflect on what you learn with other students and the tutor in seminars. 

Choose this course if you want to learn: 

  • the historical importance of slavery to Scotland 
  • the links between the slave economy and the industrial development of central Scotland 
  • how to “read” the legacy of the slave economy in the industrial  landscape 

Who is this course for?

Anyone new to studying history and interested in: 

  • The slave economy in the New World and Scotland. 
  • How the slave economy shaped the industrial landscape of central Scotland and industrialisation 
  • History of human rights and racial equality 


No credits are offered by this course. 

Mode of study

This 5-week course will be delivered via 2-hour seminars led by a tutor.

Course materials will be provided via our online learning platform Moodle. Maps and notes will be provided for students who wish to visit the five locations. 


  • Can begin your study of history at university level  
  • contribute towards a Certificate or Diploma in Higher Education 

Find out more

The University holds open days throughout the year where you can meet with staff to discuss our short course provision. Find out more about Univery of Glasgow open dayssit