Sir Tom Devine, Scotland’s most eminent historian, said Scotland had developed a sense of “moral superiority” over England because Glasgow did not directly involve itself in the immediate “immorality of slavery”.
He said: “Scotland came very late, only in recent years, to understand its participation in these activities, not the trade but its connections to the slave colonies.
“Glasgow’s role was hidden from plain sight. Everybody knew that cotton, before the end of slavery in the British Empire, tobacco and sugar was coming from the colonies across the Atlantic and the USA.
“But there was precious little connection at that time with the fact these products could not have existed in such massive quantities but for chattel black slave labor.”
By 1762, Glasgow and the towns of Greenock and Port Glasgow were importing more tobacco leaf harvested by slaves in the American colonies than London and the English ports combined.
By 1800, 62 percent of all imports into the country were rum, sugar and cotton made on Caribbean plantations.
The document from SQA, which is partially funded by the SNP government, says in its course description of The Atlantic Slave Trade, 1770–1807, that pupils “should be taught the organization and nature of the slave trade: its effect on British ports, eg Liverpool, Bristol”.
No other ports are mentioned.