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Influential historian celebrated

Published: 20 Aug 2019 12:06

Professor’s influence marked in Perthshire event.

The life and work of an important historian known as the ‘Travelling Scot’ will be honoured in a ceremony in Perthshire today, August 20, 2019.

Professor Robert William Seton-Watson’s contribution to the history of Slovakia will be marked by the laying of a wreath at his grave in Abernethy.

The event will be attended by Veterans Minister Graeme Dey and the Slovakian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Lubomir Rehak.

Professor Seton-Watson, who was born in London to Scottish parents in 1879, was one of the first British historians of central and south eastern Europe, and an expert on tensions within the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

His academic and political work helped prepare the ground for the recognition of several central European states, including Czechoslovakia, at the end of the First World War.

The historian died on the Isle of Skye in 1951, and was buried in Abernethy’s Kirk of St. Bride.

More than 2500 people born in Slovakia live in Scotland, and a Slovakian consular office opened in Glasgow in January 2016 to help develop trade, investment and cultural links.

Mr Dey said:

“It is an honour to celebrate the life of Professor Seton-Watson, and recognise his contribution to the history of Slovakia.

“I take great pride that ‘Scotus Viator’, or ‘the Travelling Scot’, as he was known, had an instrumental role to play in the Slovakia of the present day.

“The Scottish Government is committed to deepening its relations with Slovakia and our other European neighbours, in spite of the challenges posed by Brexit, and the needless damage it threatens to impose.

“This is also a great opportunity to emphasise that Slovakian nationals remain warmly welcome in Scotland, and their contribution to our economy, culture and society is greatly appreciated.