Why Nowe Szkoty?
Although the first Scottish travellers came to the thriving port of Gdańsk (Danzig) in the Middle Ages, it was the period from the mid-sixteenth to the end of the seventeenth century that saw the biggest influx of Scottish visitors. Renowned for its multiculturalism and religious tolerance, the city attracted many groups of Scots, from mercenary soldiers, through scholars, artists and craftsmen, to pedlars. Moreover, due to its favourable tax system, Gdańsk was an especially desirable home to those Scottish merchants who traded in hides, wool, coarse cloth, coal and fish. Some of them even became prominent citizens who contributed greatly to the city’s cultural heritage.
Scots inhabited different parts of Gdańsk and their presence has left significant traces in the city’s topography. Some names connected with Scottish settlements can still be found on the map today. One of them is Nowe Szkoty (Neuschottland, New Scotland) – the name of a district dating back to the second half of the sixteenth century and located not so far from our Institute at the University of Gdańsk. By calling our website Nowe Szkoty, we seek to both celebrate the historical links between Gdańsk and Scotland and open the way for new connections, research ideas and approaches with regard to the topic of Scottish literature and culture.
You can read more about Scots in Gdańsk in the following sources:
Biegańska, A. “The Learned Scots in Poland (From the Mid-Sixteenth to the Close of the Eighteenth Century).” Canadian Slavonic Papers. 43: 1 (2001): 1-27.
Devine, T. M. and D. Hesse, eds. Scotland and Poland: Historical Encounters, 1500-2010. Edinburgh: Donald, 2011.
Kay, B. The Scottish World: A Journey into the Scottish Diaspora. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 2006.
As well as here (if you read Polish):