This old Prussian proverb exhorts us to be patient and wait for the right opportunity. But what does this have to do with the far north of Great Britain? The answer leads us to Gdansk. In the early modern era, the port city attracted numerous merchant ships from the Baltic region and beyond. Some even came from as far away as Scotland to seek their fortune there.
Economic relations between Gdansk and Scotland
The prehistory of Scottish settlement in 
deu. Danzig

Gdansk is a large city on the Baltic Sea in the Polish Pomeranian Voivodeship (Pomorskie) with about 470,000 inhabitants. It is lying on the Motława River (German: Mottlau) on the Gdansk Bay.

Historische Orte
 dates back to the early 14th century. In 1308, the Knights of the Teutonic Order conquered Gdansk, and the city became part of the 
State of the Teutonic Order
deu. Deutschordensstaat, deu. Staat des Deutschen Ordens

The Teutonic Order state existed between 1230 and 1561 and covered parts of today's Baltic States, Poland, the Russian Federation (Kaliningrad Oblast), as well as today's Federal Republic of Germany. The Teutonic Order State was one of the few territorial manifestations of a knightly order in Europe.

 for more than 150 years. Because the Teutonic Knights maintained trade links with the British Isles, fixed economic routes were established between England, Scotland and Gdansk, which became a member of the Hanseatic League around this time. After the end of the Order's rule over the city (1466), which together with other localities rebelled against the old rulers and placed themselves under the protection of the 
Kingdom of Poland
deu. Königreich Polen, pol. Królestwo Polskie, lat. Regnum Poloniae

The predecessor territories of the Kingdom of Poland were formed in the 9th and 10th centuries under the Piast dynasty. The kingdom was Christianized in the 10th and 11th centuries. In the 11th century, the monarchy was consolidated, whereby the kingdom was divided into several principalities in the 12th century, and from 1227 the seniority had only formal significance. In 1320, the principalities reunited to form the Kingdom of Poland. This kingdom entered into a personal union with Lithuania in 1386 and then merged with Lithuania in 1569 to form a real union.

In the 10th century, Poland was called Civitas Schinesghe (roughly "Gnesner Land"). Until 1025, partly in the 11th-13th century, the documents refer to the country as Ducatus Poloniae ("Duchy of Poland"). Between 1386 and 1795, the Kingdom of Poland was part of the dual monarchy of Poland-Lithuania.

, the trade routes remained intact. Thus, in the period between 1460 and 1498, about 60 ships from Scotland reached the port of Gdansk. This corresponds to about one percent of all cargo ships arriving there. In the 16th century, the volume of trade increased again, so that, at times, almost ten percent of Gdansk's imported goods came from Scotland. Mainly from Aberdeen and Dundee, the ships, in most cases loaded with clothing and hides, set out on the long journey, which took several weeks. Even before the 
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
lit. Abiejų Tautų Respublika, pol. Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów, deu. Polen-Litauen, deu. Erste Polnische Republik, lat. Respublica Poloniae, pol. Korona Polska i Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie, lat. Res Publica Utriusque Nationis, deu. Republik beider Völker

As early as 1386, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were united by a personal union. Poland-Lithuania existed as a multi-ethnic state and a great power in Eastern Europe from 1569 to 1795. In the state, also called Rzeczpospolita, the king was elected by the nobles.

 in 1569, Gdansk was the central pillar of Polish foreign trade. Legally, the city continued to be subject to the king after this time, but in practice it gained far-reaching privileges from the monarchs. In fact, for several centuries, Gdansk virtually became an independent city-state that governed itself. The significance of the fact that a large proportion of Poland’s imports was handled there did not change until the end of the 18th century. This was equally true for the people and goods arriving by sea from Scotland – the majority of these entered the country via the Baltic port. This is because the Vistula, Poland's longest river, flows close to Gdansk, linking many of the country's major cities. The city’s favorable location on the coast, together with lively trade, not only promoted financial strength and population growth, but also a relatively tolerant, multicultural climate for those times, which was attractive to foreigners.
The causes and extent of Scottish immigration
During the early modern period, Scottish emigrants settled many areas in the North and Baltic Sea regions, which offered them comparatively more personal and economic freedoms than their homeland. Those who came to Poland-Lithuania and Gdansk traveled along the previously established trade routes. The main cause of the exodus was an existential crisis in Scotland where many people were suffering from hardship and hunger. The situation was exacerbated by a temporary spike in population growth, attacks by the English from 1544 to 1549, emerging epidemics in the late 16th century, and the English Civil War (1642-1648) with the subsequent occupation of Scotland by Oliver Cromwell's troops. In addition, many religious refugees (mainly Calvinists) fled their homeland, which was deeply affected by religious conflicts during this period. Some Scots originally came for military reasons, for example in 1577, when Gdansk recruited 700 mercenaries from Scotland to help with war efforts. The first immigrants settled in Gdansk sporadically from the end of the 14th century, and their number increased from the second half of the 16th century and again in the middle of the 17th century. By that time, it is estimated that at least 30,000 people had arrived in Poland-Lithuania from Scotland, and Gdansk and its surroundings were particularly attractive to the newcomers. Thus, in 1651, 36 towns within the territory of 
Royal Prussia
deu. Polnisch Preußen, deu. Preußen Königlichen Anteils, pol. Prusy Polskie, pol. Prusy Królewskie, deu. Königlich Preußen

Royal Prussia is the name for those parts of the historical region of Prussia that fell from the ecclesiastical Teutonic Order to the Kingdom of Poland in the 15th century. These included large parts of Pomerania, including Danzig, Warmia and the Kulm region. The parts of Prussia that remained under the rule of the Teutonic Order formed the secular Duchy of Prussia in the 16th century, which fell to Brandenburg in 1618. It was not until the first partition of Poland-Lithuania in 1772 that Royal Prussia also came under Brandenburg-Prussian rule.

 registered Scottish-born settlers, while around 1,700 to 1,800 Scots lived in Gdansk, which equates to around 2.5 percent of the population of the port city at that time (70,000 people). During the 18th century, the number of Scottish immigrants decreased significantly.
Topographical legacies
The influx, which continued for centuries, left permanent traces in this new eastern homeland. First and foremost is the settlement of "
Stare Szkoty (Gdańsk)
deu. Altschottland (Freie Stadt Danzig)

Stare Szkoty is today a district of Gdansk. It was founded as a village of Scottish immigrants, which the name reminds to this day.

", which was most likely founded at the end of the 14th century. This was situated outside the Gdansk city walls and fortifications (Fig. 2), south of the center in what is now the Orunia-Św. Wojciech-Lipce district. The area belonged to the 
Roman Catholic Diocese of Włocławek
deu. Bistum Włocławek, deu. Bistum Kujawien, deu. Bistum Kujawien und Pommern, deu. Bistum Kujawien-Kalisz, pol. Diecezja włocławska, lat. Dioecesis Vladislaviensis, deu. Bistum Leslau

The diocese of Kujawy and Pomerania has existed since the 12th century and has been renamed and restructured several times in the course of history. In today's Poland, it is the bishopric of Włocławek. The diocese is subordinate to the Archbishopric of Gniezno.

 until the 18th century and developed into an important center for crafts and trades, partly because the Scottish immigrants brought with them a variety of manufacturing skills; they included bakers, glove makers, goldsmiths, shoemakers, tanners, button makers, haberdashers, twisters, etc. Most of the immigrant craftsmen did not form guilds like those that were established in Gdansk. From the late 15th century, Dutch Mennonites, Jews, and Catholic Jesuits also settled in Old Scotland. The latter established a middle school (Collegium) there in 1621, which continued to operate for a little over 150 years. With the partitions of Poland-Lithuania (1772, 1793, 1795) the district became part of the 
Kingdom of Prussia
dan. Kongeriget Preussen, pol. Królestwo Prus, deu. Königreich Preußen

The Kingdom of Prussia existed from 1701 to 1918 and was reigned by the Hohenzollern dynasty. The country was an absolute monarchy from its founding until 1848 and a constitutional monarchy from 1848 until its dissolution. The capital of the Kingdom of Prussia was Berlin. The land was inhabited by about 40 million people. After the November Revolution of 1918 and the abdication of Wilhelm II, the Kingdom dissolved and formed the Free State of Prussia.

, and from 1814 it belonged to the city of Gdansk. Its name "Old Scotland" only became part of common parlance in the early 18th century as a way to distinguish it from “
Gdańsk-Nowe Szkoty
deu. Danzig-Neuschottland, deu. Neu-Schottland

Nowe Szkoty (German: Neuschottland) was founded in the 16th century by Scots who arrived in Gdansk. Later Nowe Szkoty was incorporated by Gdansk.

,” another village that was established in the second half of the 16th century, located northwest between the present-day districts of Wrzeszcz and Młyniska. Today, the railway stop "Gdańsk Nowe Szkoty” still reminds of the area’s Scottish links; since 2005, the local fast train service (SKM) no longer stops here. Also situated far outside the former fortification walls, large parts of "New Scotland" came into the possession of the city in 1814 (and the remaining areas in 1877). Only a few streets and isolated (reconstructed) houses from the original historical settlement have been preserved. Apart from the two settlements, until the middle of the 20th century, the local street directory also contained the entries "Scottish Dam" and "Scottish Walk.” In addition, some villages in the vicinity bore names referring to a Scottish colony, for example, today's 
Krynica Morska-Przebrno-Borowo
deu. Pröbbernau-Schottland, pol. Sosnowo

Sosnowo is a small part of the municipality of Krynica Morska on the Vistula Spit.

 (formerly called "Scotland").
The life of the Scots in Gdansk
The arrival and settlement of the Scots in and around Gdansk had various effects on the coexistence of immigrants and locals. In the neighboring 
Duchy of Prussia
deu. Herzogtum Preußen, deu. Herzoglich Preußen, pol. Prusy Książęce, pol. Księstwo Pruskie

The Duchy of Prussia lay between the lower reaches of the Vistula and Memel rivers. The capital of the duchy was Königsberg. The Duchy existed from 1525 - 1701, it was founded by the former Grand Master of the Teutonic Order and took in many Lutheran refugees from Poland-Lithuania. The Duchy of Prussia is considered the first principality of the Lutheran faith. Until 1657, the Duchy was a fief of the Polish Crown.

, a number of injunctions were brought against Scottish beggars and simple merchants during the 16th century, and similar events took place in Gdansk. Sometimes even vagabonds and small traders from other places were contemptuously labeled "Scots" and prosecuted. In 1592, for example, a law was passed that aimed to put a stop to destitute settlers, begging children and wandering stallholders. Incidentally, the initiative for this came not from native locals, but from better-off Scots, who were allowed to live within the city walls and were concerned about their good reputation. Most newcomers from the British Isles had a hard time in their new home. They had to pay special taxes, and, in addition, were often denied the right to live in the city and to join the local guilds. As a result, they settled in the suburbs, but even this was not without consequences. The influx of craftsmen and merchants to Old Scotland created a competitive business environment there that was a thorn in the side for many established Gdansk merchants. The locals’ misgivings went so far that, in times of war, it was deemed acceptable for city troops to lay the settlement to waste in order not to leave any area in front of the city gates where the enemy soldiers could gain access to supplies. Such a fate befell Old Scotland several times.
This happened in 1520, 1576, 1656 and finally in 1807, when Napoleon's army besieged and conquered Gdansk. Wealthy immigrants, on the other hand, found it easier to gain a foothold in their new surroundings. An important step in this process was gaining citizenship, which, among other things, allowed them to have a certain political say. Those who wanted to become citizens of the city of Gdansk usually had to pay a certain sum of money and also hope for the approval of the ruling councilors. At that time, on average, only about every fourth inhabitant of the city obtained this right. Historical research has shown that between 1558 and 1709 at least 135 people from Scotland were granted the status of citizens. The proportion of immigrants was thus still below the general figure. Nevertheless, quite a few of them were able to participate in public life in the city. For the economically better off merchants, the rich port city offered favorable conditions. After 1707, when the kingdoms of Scotland and England united, more and more people of Scottish origin from Gdansk traded under the umbrella of Great Britain. 
Beyond the professional realm, the practice of religion also played a central role. Several churches opened their doors to Scots of the Reformed faith, in particular, the Church of St. Peter and Paul (Fig. 3) and the Church of St. Elizabeth. From the end of the 16th century on, both churches saw their congregations of immigrants grow noticeably – they had their own preachers and organized their own poor fund – and settlers even came from the surrounding villages and towns to Gdansk to be baptized and married here. During the 1640s and 1650s, these churches saw record numbers of baptisms and marriages of people of Scottish origin. The subsequent decline in the number of weddings, however, suggests that the descendants of the settlers became less and less culturally separate and intermingled with the native inhabitants of Gdansk. There is evidence, for example, that between 1580 and 1784 no fewer than 114 boys of Scottish background attended the academic grammar school, which was the most prestigious educational institution in the city at the time.
Kabrun und Forster – prominent Gdansk citizens of Scottish heritage
For many years, surnames such as Anderson, Clark, Davisson, Marshall, Ross, Turner, and many modified forms (Miller/Möller) continued to bear testimony to the Scottish settlers who arrived in Gdansk during the early modern period. Some of these people left significant legacies. Among them is Jakob Kabrun. Kabrun was born in Gdansk on January 9, 1759. As a major local merchant he made a huge fortune, maintained a lavish lifestyle and supported several public projects in his hometown. In the late 1790s, for example, he sponsored the construction of a playhouse and planned the opening of a commercial school, for which he donated a handsome sum of money. Kabrun was a passionate book collector and bought numerous artworks and paintings on his travels through Western Europe. Before his death on October 24, 1814, he bequeathed these to the city, where they can still be viewed today in the Gdansk National Museum (Fig. 4). Even better known than Jakob Kabrun are Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798) and his son Georg Forster (1754-1794), whose ancestors had fled Scotland in the 17th century in the face of civil war-like conditions. Johann Reinhold Forster came as a young man to Nassenhuben (Mokry Dwór) near Gdansk, where he was lured by a position as a pastor. He and his son, who was born there, became famous natural scientists and ethnologists who worked in many places and received recognition throughout Europe. A large part of this was due to an expedition from 1772 to 1775, when both accompanied James Cook on his voyage around the world.
English translation: William Connor

Siehe auch