Scots of Egypt

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The original Scots of Egypt came to Egypt from Ireland in the 5th century or thereabouts, according to their own records. This was a period of considerable tumult in Europe, during which populations travelled in sometimes surprising ways. The Scots--initially a large band of mercenaries who travelled with relatives--mixed with the Coptic population and imposed a creolized form of Old Irish on them. The name "Scot(s)" and the language have been adopted by a significant segment of the population of Lower Egypt. However, the invaders adopted in turn most of the local cultural traits including the Alexandrian version of Christianity (not surprising, as they made that city their capital). Although their period of rule was brief, the Scots of Egypt put down firm roots and continue to be a major subculture to this day. They speak Coptic Creole Irish along with Arabic and Berber. In terms of faith, they are about 80% Muslim, 20% Oriental Orthodox. Sometimes persecuted but always surviving, in modern times they are mostly congregated in and around Alexandria, although nearly every major Egyptian city has a "Scottish Quarter." The Khedivic family of modern Egypt includes Scots blood (more than one has had blue eyes).

In Arabic, the Scots are called "Banu Qunari", after their legendary founder Šawn al-Qunarī (Modern Irish: Séan O Conaire).

Notes from the List

The original Scots of Egypt came to Egypt from Ireland in the 5th century or thereabouts, according to their own records, about the same time their relatives were settling Scotland. They mixed with the Coptic population and imposed a creolized form of Old Irish on them. The name "Scot(s)" and the language have been adopted by the entire population. However, the invaders adopted in turn most of the local cultural traits including the Alexandrian version of Christianity (not surprising, as they made that city their capital).

Egypt resisted military conquest by the Arabs under the successors of Muhammad, but many Scots adopted the new religion over time. Whatever other groups there are in Egypt (Jews, surely), I don't know anything about them. There are no political connections with Ireland, though there are probably sentimental ones. John Cowan

Maybe the Scots of Egypt were only able to keep the newborn Islamic Empire out of their major cities; the Arab Muslim armies swept across the countryside and into North Africa, etc. After a while, the Egyptians eventually reconquered the rest of their country, splitting the Islamic Empire into pieces (and inspiring the revolt that leads to the Third Commonwealth in Judea).

As I suggested, in my opinion we should retain Egypt's history broadly as it is *here*, but retaining a Scotto-Egyptian *minority* (perhaps in the Nile Delta? One relatively inaccessible area where they would be able to preserve their linguistic integrity anyway). In that way we don't create any butterfly-effects on the rest of the world's history. Deiniol Jones

I see no reason why the Arabs couldn't have conquered a new Copto-Irish state. They would have their grainfields almost no matter what. Perhaps, given that so many Egyptians have ended up Moslem anyway, perhaps the newly arrived Irish saw the writing on the wall and converted early (to Islam), in order to preserve their newly won leadership position? Padraic

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