George Rainy

1790 - 1863

Merchant and plantation owner. Born in Bonar Bridge (Sutherland), where is father was the minister of the Parish of Creich, Rainy's family roots were in Aberdeenshire. Rainy followed his brother into the sugar trade in Demerara (British Guyana) and rose to become a partner in Sandbach, Tinne & Company, based in Liverpool and Glasgow. This company ran extensive sugar plantations which were worked by slaves, and shipped sugar back to Britain. Rainy became a wealthy man, but added to his fortune after the end of slavery by submitting some of the largest claims for compensation to the British Government. Rainy went on to purchase the islands of Raasay, Rona and Eilean Fladday in the Inner Hebrides, and set about clearing the islands of people to make way for sheep. This was undertaken with cruelty; Rainy is said to have banned his tenants from marriage to ensure no children were born and the population fell. Rainy married three times, but had only one son, who died in 1872 without any children, perhaps a rightful judgement for a man with such a terrible reputation. His nephew was Robert Rainy (1826 - 1906), Principal of New College in Edinburgh.

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