The Highland Clearances was the forced eviction of inhabitants of the Highlands and western islands of Scotland, beginning in the mid-to-late 18th century and continuing intermittently into the mid-19th century.
Tens of thousands of people were evicted from the lands which their families had held for generations by ruthless factors of landlords who were often absentees. In many cases, terrified Highlanders were burned out of their homes and entire glens emptied.
The removals cleared the land of people primarily to allow for the introduction of sheep pastoralism. The Highland Clearances resulted in the destruction of the traditional clan society and began a pattern of rural depopulation and immigration from Scotland.