The Foreign Mission Committee (later Overseas Council then Board of World Mission and Unity) of the Church of Scotland was responsible for the Church's mission work around the world. In 1824, the Church's General Assembly resolved to send its first missionary to India and appointed Alexander Duff who arrived in Bombay in 1830. Other missionaries were sent to Calcutta (1830), Poona (1834), and Madras (1837). The Disruption of 1843 which saw the separation of the Free Church of Scotland from the main Church caused the loss of most missionaries and the missionary spirit, as the work continued but under the umbrella of the Free Church. The United Presbyterian Church, formed in 1847, inherited some existing missionaries in the West Indies and in Calabar, Nigeria and by the 1870s was active in Jamaica, India, South Africa, Japan and Manchuria, China. The Church of Scotland resumed its missionary work in 1857 in the Punjab and in the 1870s established its first stations in Nyasaland (Malawi, 1876) and China (1878).
In 1900 the Free Church joined with the United Presbyterians to form the United Free Church but remained separate from the Church of Scotland. Co-operation between the two Churches was secured in some areas, in India, for example, joint colleges were formed in Madras and Calcutta. However it was not until 1929 that the Free Church and the Church of Scotland joined as the Church of Scotland.