Embassy in London commemorated Seton-Watson, a proponent of the Slovak people

The ceremony held in the Scottish village of Abernethy was attended by several guests.

Slovak Ambassador to the UK Ľubomír Rehák in Abernethy, Scotland.Slovak Ambassador to the UK Ľubomír Rehák in Abernethy, Scotland. (Source: Courtesy of the Slovak Embassy in London)

Robert William Seton-Watson, a British historian also known under the pseudonym Scotus Viator, significantly contributed to stopping the Magyarisation of Slovak people, protecting their national identity.

A celebratory event commemorating the 140th anniversary of his birth was held on August 20 in Abernethy, Scotland, organised by Slovak Ambassador to the UK Ľubomír Rehák in cooperation with Honorary Consul of Slovakia in Glasgow, Craig Murray. It combined a church service and ceremonial bouquet placing.

Among the invited guests were the granddaughter of Senton-Watson; Ursula Sims – William, a representative of the Scottish government; Graeme Dey, a member of the Scottish parliament, the minister for parliamentary business and veterans; as well as general consul of Romania in Edinburgh and the representatives of local authorities, the Slovak Embassy in London informed.

“Seton-Watson was instrumental in the recognition of the idea of a new Republic of Czechoslovakia by the British establishment during WWI,” Rehák pointed out in his speech.

As he reminded those present, the historian was advising the leaders of Czechoslovakia right up until his retirement.

The Slovak Embassy in London frequently commemorates this important proponent of the Slovak nation.

“The fact that the year 2019, which the Slovak government proclaimed to be the year of M. R. Štefánik, we also will be remembering the 140th anniversary of the birth of R. W. Seton-Watson, gives us the perfect opportunity to commemorate both of these influential figures, that continue to unite Slovakia and Great Britain,” the Slovak Embassy in London wrote in a press release.

Who was Seton-Watson?

Robert William Seton-Watson was the most recognized English-speaking expert on national matters in the Kingdom of Hungary. He is directly quoted in the Encyclopaedia Britannica from the year 1911. Even during his studies, he was already interested in the history of the eastern part of Austria-Hungary.

He wanted to personally experience how minorities were treated and he visited the parts of the Empire inhabited by Slovaks. He was introduced to Pavol Orságh Hviezdoslav, Svetozár Hurban Vajanský, Milan Rastislav Štefánik and he became a proponent of the Slovak people.

During World War I, he was employed as an expert of the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs for central Europe and the Balkans, and he was in direct support of the Czechoslovak nationalist battle and the programme for creating an independent Czechoslovakia. He founded and later edited the weekly political newspaper, The New Europe, in 1918, which focused on solving the national and political concerns of central and south-east Europe.

From 1922 he lectured on central European history at the School of Slavonic Studies near London’s King’s College and published the newspaper Slavonic Review, which is still published today. He dedicated studies to Slovaks within Czechoslovakia, including expansive works such as New Slovakia and Slovakia Then and Now. In 1928 he was awarded a commemorative medal and diploma by Comenius University.

Slovaks revealed his bust at the city hall in Ružomberok in 1937.

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