Brief Scottish History

There has been no war in Scotland for over 250 years. Fierce warriors and Clans are no longer important and Clan Chiefs have no authority. Kilts are worn only for ceremonial purposes and no Scottish king dwells in Edinburgh Castle.

More than four thousand years ago the first people settled in Scotland. Like the Celts, who arrived about 300 BC, they came from Europe. The Picts arrived around 1000 BC. The Roman Army came in 55 BC. Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Governor of Britain (77-84), invaded Caledonia, i. e., Scotland, in an effort to bring it under Roman control.

The people of Caledona, called Picts, because they painted their bodies, were defeated, but not conquered. The Picts continued to harass and encumber the Romans, which caused them to build a northern defensive wall (Hadrian's Wall) across England. The Romans vacated the country by AD 410.

The Scots, a Celtic Tribe from Northern Ireland, settled on Scotland's west coast about AD. 500. Through a series of battles, 841-846, Kenneth I, son of Alpine, King of Scots, conquered the Picts and expanded his kingdom to become Scotland.

There were many violent struggles for the Scottish Throne in the 900's and later. Kenneth III became king in 997 by killing Constantine III. In 1005 Malcolm II killed Kenneth III. Duncan I, who followed Malcolm II, was murdered in 1040 by Macbeth, one of his generals. Macbeth ruled Scotland until 1057 when he was killed in battle, by a son of Duncan I, who later became, King Malcolm III.

After the 1066 Norman Conquest, Malcolm allowed Englishmen who opposed William the Conqueror, to settle in Scotland. He gave some of them land and thereby introduced feudalism into Scotland. William I invaded Scotland in 1072 and forced Malcolm III MacDuncan to pay him homage.

England wished to control the entire land, which forced the independent Scots to fight them for the next 150 years. The Scots, determined to remain independent, frequently sided with France, England's enemy.

Alexander II (1214-1249) and Henry of England established a permanent boundary between England and Scotland and for a few years the two countries subsisted in peace.

Disorder in the royal line fostered a struggle for the Scottish throne. Edward I of England, arbitrated the dispute and recognized John de Baliol as King in 1292. Baliol later allied himself with France against England. Edward invaded Scotland in 1296 and seized the Stone of Scone, used in Scottish coronation rites, and declared himself king of Scotland.

Robert Bruce proclaimed himself king in 1306, but was deposed by Edward I of England. About two years later he had taken most of Scotland from the English and defeated Edward at the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn and twice invaded England. He negotiated a treaty recognizing Scotland's independence, and Bruce's right as King Robert I of Scotland.

After the death of Robert's son, David II, in 1371, Robert II became king and established the House of Stuart as the ruling family in Scotland and England. Scotland was invaded twice by the English during his reign.

The Stuarts, closely associated with France, fought continually with England. During this time James IV invaded England in 1513 and was defeated and killed at the Battle of Flodden Field. The Scots, led by James V, were again defeated by the English in 1542. James died shortly afterward and his infant daughter, Mary, became Queen of the Scots.

Until the Protestant Reformation the Roman Catholic Church controlled religious matters in Scotland. Many Scottish leaders resented its power and France's influence in the Roman Church. Subject to the influence of John Knox, a Scottish cleric, the Scottish parliament abolished the Roman Catholic form of worship in 1560. Later that year the Presbyterian Church was recognized as the established religion of Scotland.

Mary, a Roman Catholic, was therefore forced to abdicate in favor of her infant son, James VI, who was raised as a Protestant. The Presbyterian Church was then firmly established as Scotland's national church.

James' cousin, Elizabeth I of England, died in 1603 and James moved to London, took the title of James I, and ruled Scotland and England as separate kingdoms. (He also authorized a new Bible translation that bears his name.)

James' son and successor, Charles I, who was opposed by the Scottish nobility, attempted to impose Anglican liturgy in Scotland. In 1638 the Suplicants, later known as Covenanters, abolished the Anglican episcopacy leading to more civil conflicts. Civil war erupted in England: Charles versus the Puritan controlled Parliament and Cromwell. The King's army was destroyed in 1645. Charles escaped and made an alliance with the Scots. Cromwell crushed the revolt, convicted Charles of treason and executed him in 1649.

His son, Charles II, agreed with the Covenanters and was declared king in 1660. Charles terminated the union between Scotland and England and ruled the countries separately.

In an attempt to preserve peace between the two countries the Scottish and English Parliaments passed the Act of Union in 1707. The Act of Union bound England, Wales, and Scotland, into the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Scottish parliament then combined with England's, but Scottish law and the Presbyterian Church remained the same.

The last monarch of the House of Stuart, Queen Anne, died in 1714. During her reign England and Scotland were united. She was succeeded by her German cousin, George I, and the House of Hanover came to the throne in Great Britain.

But many Highlanders remained loyal to the Stuarts. They were called Jacobites, from the Latin name of their leader, James Edward Stuart, the grand son of James II of England, known as the Old Pretender. James Francis Edward Stuart, son of James II, led a futile rebellion in 1715 to restore the Stuarts as rulers of Great Britain.

His older son, Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender and claimant to the British throne, led the Scottish Highland army in the futile rebellion of 1745. The Highlanders called him, "Bonnie Prince Charlie."

With the assistance of the Highland Clans Bonnie Prince Charlie took Edinburgh, defeated the British at Prestonpans and advanced as far as Darby, England before he was forced to retreat and do battle at Culloden Moor, near Inverness.

On Wednesday, April 16, 1746 the hopelessly outnumbered Highland force was confronted by the nine thousand man army of the Duke of Cumberland. Over one thousand clansmen lost their lives in the ensuing battle that ended the Jacobite Rebellion. English casualties in comparison were about 310. Bonnie Prince Charlie fled the Highlands and escaped to France.

After the battle the English hunted down and imprisoned, tortured, and executed many clansmen for the revolt. The Highlanders were disarmed and kilts and bagpipes were outlawed. Many among the Clans were deported or emigrated to other countries including America, Australia, Canada, England and New Zealand.

The defeat at Culloden ended Scottish independence. Scottish history has since become part of the history of Great Britain.

More history and graphic details on the Battle of Culloden Moor can be read in The Inverness Courier.
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