More Info

Scots Abroad

Search by category

Choose a language

BAIRD, Charles (1766-1843) Russia’s First Steamship Builder

Baird was born at Westerton, Stirlingshire. He served an apprenticeship at Carron Iron Works and in 1786 went to Russia. It was there in 1792 that he founded what became known as the Baird Works specialising in steam-driven machinery and in 1815 launched the Elizaveta, Russia’s first steamship.

BARCLAY de TOLLY, Michael Andreas (1761-1818) Russian Field Marshall & Minister of War.


A member of the Scottish Clan Barclay from Towie, Aberdeenshire. He was born in Lithuania  and raised in what is now Estonia. His grandfather became Mayor of Riga and his father was admitted into the ranks of the Russian nobility. A hugely successful military leader over many campaigns, his scorched-earth policy led to the eventual defeat of Napoleon in Russia. During the invasion of France in 1814 he took Paris and was made up to Field Marshall. At the end of that campaign was made a Russian prince.

BROWN, George (1818-1880) Politician, Newspaper Proprietor and a founding Father of Canada

Born in Alloa, Scotland and educated in Edinburgh, he emigrated to then Province of Canada in 1837. In 1844 he founded the “Toronto Globe” newspaper which eventually boasted the largest circulation in the country. As a Canadian politician he is counted as one of the Fathers of the confederation which eventually brought the various separately run Canadian territories together from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

BRUNTON, Richard Henry FRGS MICE (1841-1901) Father of Japanese Lighthouse Service

Born Muchalls, Kincardineshire, Scotland. He was sent from Edinburgh to Japan in 1868, on the recommendation of the Stephenson brothers, to head a project to install a series of western style lighthouses and light vessels around its coast. He established a system for lighthouse keepers modeled on the that used by the Northern Lighthouse Board in Scotland, and a school to train them, along with engineers and craftsmen. This was Japan’s first school of Civil Engineering and it eventually became the  renowned University of Yokohama. He made an immense contribution to the city and its port through his civil engineering skills. He was also consulted by the Japanese on the country’s first railway which he said should, and did eventually run between Tokyo and Yokohama. His insistence in the use of sound mathematics eventually led to him creating Japan’s first school specialising in maths and closely associated subjects.

BUCHANAN, James (1791-1868) 15th US President

Scots-Irish descent.

BUICK, David Dunbar (1854-1929) Founder of the Buick Motor Company

Born Arbroath, Angus, Scotland. Buick cars became a cornerstone of the General Motors leviathan and over 35,000,000 cars were built in his name. He also invented the overhead valve (OHV) engine which is still used in the vast majority of cars produced today. He was also responsible for the invention of the technique for coating cast iron baths with vitreous enamel.

BURNSIDE, Ambrose Everett (1824-1881) US General



CAMERON, Charles (1745-1812) Architect

Scottish pioneer of Greek revival with an illustrious career as Catherine II of Russia’s favourite architect.

Canadian People of Scottish Descent.


Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania, US.

Formed by merger of Carnegie Institute of Technology, founded by Scottish industrialist  Andrew Carnegie in 1900, and the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, founded in 1913 by Andrew and Richard Mellon.

CARNEGIE, Andrew (1835 – 1918)

Born Dunfermline, Scotland. U.S. iron and steel magnate. Gave a considerable proportion of his fortune to educational endowments, including libraries and over 10,000 church organs. He funded the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace which went on to found the Hague Academy of International Law, and the Peace Palace at The Hague to house the Permanent Court of Arbitration.


CARTER, Jimmy (b. 1924) 39th US President

Scots-Irish and English descent.

DAVIDSON, Arthur, Walter & Willam with William S Harley (Founders of Harley Davidson motorcycles)


Their father Alexander “Sandy” Davidson emigrated to the US from an estate near Brechin, Scotland, with his wife and six children in 1858

DYER Henry (1848-1918) Scottish Mechanical Engineer in Japan

Born in what is now Bellshill in Lanarkshire, he studied engineering at Anderson’s College, now Strathclyde University, and at Glasgow University. In 1873, on the recommendation of his professor, he was awarded the post of first Principal and professor of engineering at the newly constructed Imperial College of Engineering (ICE) in Japan, where he played a major part in revolutionising the Japanese engineering education system. He greatly contributed to the progress Japan made to become an industrial giant, and contributed much to Scottish and Anglo-Japanese relations.

FARKHVARSON (FARQUHARSON), Andrei Danilovich (1675-1739)

Henry (Harry) Farquharson was a Scottish mathematician and astronomer at the University of Aberdeen. At the start of the 18th century, he was employed by Peter the Great to establish and administer a mathematics and navigation school, principally for the Russian Navy. Under his guidance, and with his assistance, Tsar Peter wrote the curriculum for the school.

FILLMORE, Millard (1800-1874) 13th US President

Scots-English Descent.

GLOVER, Thomas Blake (1838-1911)

Born in Fraserburgh, Scotland, he went to Japan in 1859. He made a massive contribution to the modernization and industrialization of Japan,  playing a major part in the foundation of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Kirin Brewery. His Nagasaki mansion, which has links to the setting for Madam Butterfly, was presented to the Japanese nation by Mitsubishi and is a very popular tourist destination, and, in an act of further homage , Mitsubishi acquired the Glover family home in Scotland and presented it to the Grampian-Japan Trust.

GORDON, Patrick (1635-1699) Imperial Russian Admiral and General-in-Chief Russian Army

Born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, he rose to become general-in-chief of the Russian army under Peter the Great. Peter has been credited with dragging his country from medieval mediocrity to become a major European power. Few are aware however that Gordon was the driving force behind him.

GORDON,Thomas (c.1658-1741) Commodore Royal Scots Navy. Admiral and Commander-in-Chief Imperial Russian Navy

He was a commodore of the Royal Scots Navy when it merged with the Royal Navy. In 1714 he refused to swear an oath of allegiance to King George I on his succession to the throne, and resigned his commission. In 1717 he joined the Imperial Russian Navy and was promoted to admiral early in May 1727. Later that year he became Commander-in-Chief and remained in that position until his death in 1741.

GRANT, Ulysses S (1822-1885) 18th US President

Scottish descent.

GREIG, Aleksy Samuilovich (1775-1845) Admiral Imperial Russian Navy

He was the son of Admiral Samuel Greig and part of his education took place at the High School of Edinburgh. His naval career commenced with the Royal Navy 1785 to 1796. He then returned to Russia and joined the Imperial Russian Navy. In 1816 he was appointed Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, and by 1828 was in full command of the Russian Navy. In 1833 the Tsar asked him to superintend construction of the Pulkovo Observatory.

GREIG, Samuel FRS (1735-1788) Admiral of the Russian Empire.Imperial RN.

He was born in Inverkeithing, Fife, and spent some time the the Royal Navy, before transferring to its Russian counterpart. He spent much energy in transforming that navy into a disciplined and effective fighting force, and is sometimes referred to as Father of the modern Russian Navy.

HAMILTON, Alexander (1755 or 1757-1804) Bank of New York

Diaspora. Born in Charlestown, capital of the island of Nevis in the Leeward Islands. His father, James A Hamilton was the fourth son of Scottish laird Alexander Hamilton of Grange, Ayrshire. Alexander the younger was a founding father of the United States and one of the most influential men of his generation. Among his many achievements he established the nation’s financial system including the US Mint, and founded the Bank of New York.

HASTIE, William (c.1763-1832) Architect and Civil Engineer.

He was born and educated in Scotland and left for Russia in 1784 never to return. He became influential at court and was responsible for the design of many individual buildings throughout Russia. He built the first cast-iron bridges over rivers in St Petersburg and ultimately was playing a major part in most urban developments in Russia including villages and whole towns.

HUME, Allan Octavian CB (1829-1912) Founder of Indian National Congress, Father of Indian Ornithology

Born Montrose, Forfarshire, Scotland, son of the Scottish doctor and radical MP Joseph Hume. Allan entered the Indian civil service in 1849 and held a number of executive positions until his retirement in 1882. During those years his interest in ornithology led him to produce several important works on the birds of India leading to him being called father of Indian ornithology. Following his retirement he put forward proposals giving Indians a more democratic representational government and this eventually led to the foundation of the Indian National Congress, which today remains a potent political force in India. For the first 22 years of its existence he served as General Secretary of the Congress and he has been named as its founding father.

Scottish Achievement, Influence & Heritage is a work in progress