AS rugby’s Six Nations championship continues, the Scottish team might want to reflect on how a star player for the All Blacks could well have pulled on a blue jersey instead if things had been different.

Here at Glasgow City Archives, our collection includes many references to Scots who have emigrated across the world.

In 1839, 89 adults and 33 children were selected to be part of the first Scottish colony in New Zealand. The Bengal Merchant left Port Glasgow in the October of that year, and arrived at Port Nicholson, Wellington, in February 1840.

Glasgow Times:

In the 1870s, on a subsequent trip, Alexander McCaw was travelling from Girvan in Ayrshire with his wife and daughter. The 280 passengers on that trip included 62 children and one dog.

Alexander’s great-great-great-grandson is Ritchie McCaw, former captain of the All Blacks rugby union team.

In 2014, Ritchie was presented with his family tree by VisitScotland after research done here at the City Archives traced one of the few surviving passenger lists from Glasgow to New Zealand in the 1870s.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Glasgow and Scotland made a unique contribution to countries around the globe with an outpouring of ideas and expertise. The west of Scotland in particular became world-renowned for its shipbuilding and engineering products.

Glasgow Times:

Scotland is probably best known throughout the world for its products, mainly of the heavy engineering industries which thrived between 1850 and 1914.

Ships, locomotives cranes, bridges, pumps, textile, mining and hydraulic machinery poured from the Scottish foundries and engineering shops to every country in the world.

For instance, many of the ships which worked the route between UK and South Africa were Clydebuilt, including the Castle Line’s fleet of ships all named after castles in the UK.

And the North British Locomotive Company supplied a wide variety of locomotives to every continent - to Asia, Africa, and Australia in vast numbers, but also to North and South America and to many countries in Europe.

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The ever-increasing British Empire presented many opportunities to enterprising Scots who were willing to travel and take risks.

The City Archives holds the archives for many of them, including the Bogle family, “Colonial Engineer” John McNair, and the Baillies of Lamington, Lanarkshire.

George Bogle (1746-1781) was from a prosperous family of Glasgow merchants. He joined the East India Company and arrived in Calcutta in 1770. One of the large number of letters written by him shortly after his arrival demonstrates a keen observance of Indian culture.

Glasgow Times:

“They visit this Temple from all the parts of India where the Gentoo Religion is known in the same manner as the Mahometans go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, or the Roman Catholics to Loretta,” he wrote.

John McNair (1828-1910) held the Siamese Order of the White Elephant. After retiring from the army in 1870, he became an Indian and Colonial official, and was deputy governor in Penang and superintendent of the penal colony.

He was the “Colonial Engineer”, in which post he built many of the state buildings of Singapore including St Andrew’s Cathedral and the Istana, and the Governor’s residence.  He also carried out diplomatic missions to Siam and Perak between 1868 and 1878 before retiring in 1884.

Glasgow Times:

Sir Charles Cochrane-Baillie of Lamington (1860-1940), Lanarkshire, was Governor of Queensland, 1895-1901, and Governor of Bombay, 1903-1907.

In 1796 the Scottish Missionary Society and the Glasgow Missionary Society were formed and initiated evangelisation in West Africa, the Caribbean and India. This heralded missionary service by Scots over the next centuries.

In 1821 The Glasgow Missionary Society began a mission in Kafraria (named Lovedale) which has been, ever since, one of the most powerful Christian agencies at work in South Africa.

In 1840 William Govan, was licensed and ordained by Glasgow Presbytery to establish a seminary for the training of pupils to be preachers and teachers to their own people.

President Mbeki of South Africa attended Lovedale in 1955. In his address to the Scottish Parliament in June 2001, he paid tribute to the significant contribution of Scottish missionaries in particular to education and non-racial traditions in South Africa.