17th November 1796

Birth of James Matheson, owner of Lewis

Born near Lairg, James Matheson travelled to India, and later founded China’s first English Language newspaper, the Canton Register, while still in his early thirties. Five years later, he co-founded Jardine, Matheson and Company, which today employs more than 400,000 people and has extensive business interests in the Far East, including hotels, land, and car dealerships.

He traded in tea and opium, and built his business into a small empire based in both Hong Kong and mainland China. He married later in life, retired in the 1840s and, in 1844, he returned to Scotland. There, he bought the Isle of Lewis, built Lews Castle, and earned himself a reputation as a benign landowner and landlord.

Isle of Lewis
Isle of Lewis



Other events that occured in November

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