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Scottish history and people are set out here, this is not a full writing of it but a taste.

I hope you get a small insight into the many things Scotland has lived through.


Think you have a Scottish " Clan " name but can't find any mention of it ?

It could be you have a " Sept " name look HERE


The region comprising present-day Scotland was known after the Roman invasion of Britain as Caledonia. With the sole exception of the Picts, the ancient Caledonians do not figure in historical  records.


 Roman Caledonia The Picts, a fierce and warlike people, successfully resisted conquest by the  Romans, whose great  general, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, led the first invasion of Caledonia late in the  1st century AD. Agricola  and his legions pushed northward to the Firth of Forth. The border Picts,  probably joined by rebellious  Britons, strenuously contested Roman sovereignty in the region  between the firths of Forth and Clyde.  In AD 122, to ward off the Pictish threat to the imperial  positions in northern Britain, the Roman  emperor Hadrian ordered construction of a rampart from  Solway Firth to the mouth of the Tyne River.  Remnants of this rampart, known in history as Hadrian’s  Wall, are still extant. Two decades later  another rampart, called the Antonine Wall, was constructed  from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of  Clyde. The territory between the two walls served as a defense  area against the Caledonians during  Roman occupation.

 Early Scottish Kingdoms After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in 409, the Picts systematically  raided the territories of their  southern neighbors. The latter, however, soon put an end to these raids,  probably with the assistance  of the Saxons, one of the Germanic tribes that subsequently subjugated  the Britons. In the course of  the Germanic conquest many Britons withdrew into the Caledonian  region between the Firth of Clyde  and Solway Firth, and there laid the foundations of what became  the kingdom of Strathclyde. The  adjacent region to the north was occupied toward the beginning of  the 6th century by the Scots, Celtic  invaders from northern Ireland, who established the kingdom that  became known in history as  Dalriada. About the middle of the 6th century the Angles, a people who  were related to the Saxons,  overran most of Caledonia south of the Firth of Forth and east of  Strathclyde. Together with the  extensive Angle holdings in the north of what is now England, this  region became the kingdom of  Northumbria. During the period of Angle penetration in Caledonia,  Christianity was widely  disseminated among the Picts by Saint Columba, an Irish missionary who  came to Dalriada from  northern Ireland in 563. Strathclyde and various parts of Pictland had been  converted to Christianity  before the time of Columba. Between 655 and 664, Scottish missionaries  were active in Northumbria,  which was then the center of a pagan revival.

 The Unification of Scotland In 685 Pictish territory north of the Firth of Forth was invaded by a large Northumbrian army. An  overwhelming Pictish victory permanently weakened Northumbrian  power in Caledonia. About 730  Angus MacFergus, king of the Picts, subjugated Strathclyde and  Dalriada. Relative peace followed  until the late 8th century, when Vikings from Scandinavia began to  raid the Caledonian coasts. Taking  advantage of Pictish preoccupation with the invaders, the Scots  and Britons soon regained their  independence. In 844 Kenneth MacAlpine, king of Dalriada, and later  king of Scotland, who was a  descendant of the Pictish royal family, obtained the crown of Pictland,  probably with the assent of the  harassed Picts. The united kingdoms, officially known as Alban,  comprised all the territory north of the  firths of Forth and Clyde. Kenneth and several of his  successors vainly attempted to subdue the  remaining Northumbrian possessions in Caledonia and, in  alliance with Strathclyde, tried to halt the  raids of the Vikings. Although, with the help of the  Northumbrians, the Vikings were prevented from  securing a foothold in Dalriada, they seized various  coastal areas in the north, east, and west and  occupied the Orkney and Shetland islands and the  Hebrides. In later times the rulers of England  claimed the Scottish domain on the basis of the aid  their forebears had given to Alban. In the 10th  century the Alban kings, having repulsed the Vikings,  repeatedly attacked the Northumbrian  strongholds south of the Firth of Clyde. All these attacks  ended in failure. During the reign (1005-34) of  Malcolm II Mackenneth, the Northumbrians were  decisively defeated in the Battle of Carham (1018).  With this event and as a result of the inheritance  of the crown of Strathclyde by Malcolm’s grandson  and successor, Duncan I, the Scottish domains,  thereafter known as Scotland, embraced all the  territory north of Solway Firth and the Tweed River.  Duncan’s reign, a period of disastrous wars and  internal strife, ended in 1040 with his assassination  by Macbeth, mormaor (great steward) of Ross and  Moray, who then became king of Scotland.  Macbeth, according to history a successful king, held the  throne until 1057, when he was defeated  and killed by Duncan’s son Malcolm Canmore.

 The Anglicization of Scotland The accession in 1057 of Malcolm Canmore, as Malcolm III  MacDuncan, introduced a new era in  Scotland, an era marked by fundamental transformations of the  ancient Celtic culture and institutions.  Long an exile among the English, Malcolm had acquired a  profound interest in their customs and  affairs. The consequent trend toward Anglicization of his realm  was sharply accelerated when, in  1067, he married Margaret, an English princess later canonized as  Saint Margaret, who had been  forced into exile in Scotland by the Norman Conquest in 1066. Under  the influence of Margaret, a  devout communicant of the church of Rome, many of the teachings of the  Celtic church were brought  into harmony with the Roman ritual. The hostility engendered among  many of the Scottish chieftains  by Margaret’s activities flared into rebellion after Malcolm’s death.  Margaret, her stepson Duncan (later  Duncan II, king of Scotland), and their English retainers were  then driven from the country. With  Anglo- Norman help, the rebellion, which had been led by Donald  Bane, a brother of Malcolm III, was  crushed. In 1097 Edgar, one of the six sons of Malcolm and  Margaret, ascended the Scottish throne.  The Anglicization of Scotland acquired tremendous  momentum during the reign of Edgar and those of  his brothers Alexander I and David I. Under these  monarchs, all of whom had been deeply influenced  by their mother’s religious and cultural views, the  Anglo-Norman feudal system was established in  Scotland. The reorganization was confined at first to vecclesiastical reforms but gradually affected all  sectors of Scottish life. Celtic religious orders were  suppressed, English ecclesiastics replaced  Scottish monks, numerous monasteries were founded,  and the Celtic church was remodeled in  conformity with Catholic practice. Norman French supplanted  the Gaelic language in court circles,  while English was spoken in the border areas and many parts of  the Lowlands. The traditional system  of tribal land tenure was abolished during the reign of David.  Claiming universal ownership of the land,  he conveyed huge grants, particularly in central and  southern Scotland, to Anglo-Norman and Scottish  nobles, who thereby became loyal vassals of the  Crown. David I also instituted various judicial,  legislative, and administrative reforms, all based on  English models, encouraged the development of  commerce with England, and granted extensive  privileges to the Scottish burghs.

 Relations with England Political relations with England were disturbed during David’s reign by  disputes over certain border  areas, notably that portion of Northumbria south of the Tweed. In 1138  and again in 1149 the Scottish  king, seeking to extend his dominions southward, supported abortive  attempts to dethrone the  reigning monarch of England. As a result of the intervention of 1149,  Northumbria, which had been  granted previously to Scotland, reverted to English ownership. David’s  grandson William the Lion, who  was crowned king of Scotland in 1165, attempted to regain  Northumbria by giving military aid to a  rebellion in 1173 and 1174 against Henry II of England. In 1174  William was taken prisoner and  compelled, by the provisions of the Treaty of Falaise, to swear fealty  to the English king. Although  Richard I of England annulled the treaty, in 1189, in exchange for  10,000 marks of silver, English  claims to sovereignty over Scotland were based thereafter on  precedent as well as the 10th-century  alliances against the Vikings. Alexander II, William’s son and  successor, renounced Scottish claims  to Northumbria and other territories in northern England in  1237, beginning a period of friendly relations  between the two nations. In 1266, following a victorious  war against Norway, Alexander III recovered  the Hebrides. Alexander III died in 1286, leaving the  throne to Margaret, known as the Maid of Norway,  his infant granddaughter and only living  descendant. Margaret’s death produced a political crisis in  Scotland, with no less than 13  descendants of former monarchs laying claim to the throne. In this  situation Edward I of England,  proclaiming suzerainty over Scotland, intervened on behalf of John de  Baliol, a grandson of David I.  Certain sections of the Scottish nobility formally recognized the English  king’s overlordship in  Scotland. In November 1292, after leading an army into his vassal realm, Edward  I proclaimed John  de Baliol king of Scotland.

 The War for Independence  Many Scottish nobles and the overwhelming majority of the Scottish  people bitterly resented English  interference in their national affairs. Acceding to popular demand for  termination of English control,  Baliol in 1295 formed an alliance with France, which was then at war  with England, and summoned  his people to revolt. The first phase of the Scottish war of  independence ended victoriously for Edward,  who crushed Baliol’s army at Dunbar in April 1296 and  decreed the annexation of Scotland to  England. Baliol was deposed, and his kingdom was placed  under military occupation.

 William Wallace The Scottish struggle against England was resumed in 1297, under the  leadership of the Scottish patriot Sir William Wallace. With soldiers recruited from all sections of the  nation, Wallace destroyed an English army at Stirling in September and, acting as the agent of John  de Baliol, reinstituted Scottish rule. The following year Edward led a huge army into Scotland and in  July won a decisive victory at Falkirk. After this setback Wallace waged incessant guerrilla warfare  against the English. He was outlawed by Edward in 1304, following another large-scale English  invasion. The year after, Wallace was betrayed to the English, convicted of treason, and executed.

 Robert the Bruce After Wallace’s death, Robert Bruce, a descendant of David I, assumed the  leadership of the resistance movement. Although Bruce had opposed Wallace, most of the Scottish  nobility and clergy rallied to his support. He was crowned Robert I, king of Scotland, in March 1306.  During the first year of his reign Bruce suffered several reverses at the hands of the English. In 1307,  on the accession to the English throne of Edward II, who abandoned his father’s plan to subjugate  Scotland, Bruce began a systematic guerrilla campaign against the pro-English section of the  Scottish nobility and against English garrisons in Scotland. Between 1307 and 1314 he won  numerous battles against his enemies and, on a number of occasions, even invaded northern England.  Edward II finally led a punitive expedition into Scotland in the spring of 1314. Meeting this invasion  force at Bannockburn on June 24, the Scottish army inflicted on it one of the most disastrous defeats  in the military annals of England . Edward II refused to grant  independence to Scotland, however, and the war between the two nations continued for more than a  decade. During this phase of the struggle, the common people of Scotland secured representation, for  the first time, in the Scottish Parliament in 1326. The war against England ended victoriously in 1328,  when the regents of the young Edward III of England approved the Treaty of Northampton. By the  terms of this document, Scotland obtained recognition as an independent kingdom.

 David II For more than 200 years after Bruce’s death in 1329 and the accession of his infant son as David II,  Scotland was the scene of almost continuous strife among the nobility. The feudal anarchy was  especially pronounced because of the prevalence of the clan system in the Highlands and various    other areas. In these regions, where close personal relations existed among the clan members and  their chiefs, the latter were powerful and contemptuous of royal authority. The period was also marked  by almost uninterrupted warfare with England and the development of Scotland’s Parliament.

 Within four years after the conclusion of the Treaty of Northampton, Edward III renewed the struggle to  reduce Scotland to vassalage. Initially, this venture took the form of support to Edward de Baliol, a son  of John de Baliol and a pretender to the Scottish crown. Baliol invaded Scotland from England in 1332  and, after winning a victory at Dupplin Moor, had himself crowned king. He was quickly driven out of  the country. In 1333 Edward III led an army northward and routed the Scots near Berwick-upon-Tweed.  The English king thereupon occupied a large part of southeastern Scotland. In 1337, after he became  involved in the Hundred Years’ War, he abandoned Baliol and neglected his Scottish possessions; by  1341 the Scots had liberated several of the more important occupied areas, including Edinburgh. In  1346 David II, allied with France, led an invasion of northern England but was defeated near Durham  and taken prisoner. A large section of southern Scotland was immediately reoccupied by the English.  David was not released until 1357, after the Scots had agreed to pay an enormous ransom.

 The Stuart Kings  Under the first two kings of the Stuart dynasty, Robert II (reigned 1371-1390)  and Robert III (reigned  1390-1406), the country was further devastated by the war with England, and  royal authority was  weak. James I (reigned 1406-1437) attempted to restore order in the strife-torn  country. He imposed  various curbs on the nobility and secured parliamentary approval of many  legislative reforms. Without  the cooperation of the feudal barons, however, these reforms were  unenforceable. James I was  murdered in 1437. During the remainder of the 15th century the  successors of James I-namely, James  II, James III, and James IV-sought to impose restraints on the  turbulent nobility, but only James IV  accomplished significant results. The alliance with France was  maintained, and by 1460 the English  had been expelled from southern Scotland. Among other  outstanding developments of the 15th  century was the recovery, through the marriage of James III to a  Danish princess, of the Orkney and  Shetland islands. Shortly after the turn of the century James IV  married Margaret Tudor, daughter of  Henry VII of England, but friction between the two nations  continued. In 1513, after Henry VIII invaded  France, James IV led an army into England. The Scots  and English met at Flodden Field, where  James was killed and his army routed. Following the rupture  between Henry VIII and the Roman  Catholic church in the 1530s, Henry tried in vain to enlist James V  on the side of fundamental  ecclesiastical reform and to secure an end to the Franco-Scottish  alliance. The Protestant  Reformation shortly began to gain headway in Scotland, and the Protestants  tended to oppose the  connection with France. In 1538 James V married Mary of Guise, a member of  the French royal  family, and, in another war with England, was defeated at Solway Moss in 1542. He  died a few weeks  after the battle.

 Mary, Queen of Scots James’s daughter Mary, still a child, was sent abroad to be raised at the  French court in 1548, and her mother, Mary of Guise, assumed the regency in 1554. The regent’s  policies, which seemed designed to transform Scotland into a colony of France, provoked the spread  of anti-French sentiment in the kingdom. The return to Scotland, in 1559, of John Knox, a Protestant  leader who had been exiled, added to the political ferment and gave impetus to the Reformation. The  general hostility to Mary of Guise was deepened by the marriage, in April 1558, of her daughter to the  Dauphin of France. In 1559, following the queen mother’s denunciation of Protestants as heretics,  Knox and his followers resorted to open rebellion. Elizabeth I of England began at once to provide the  insurgents with financial and military aid. Mary of Guise died in June 1560. In that same year, the  Scottish Protestant leaders, assembled in a special parliament, abolished the Roman Catholic church  in Scotland and adopted a Calvinistic Confession of Faith. In August 1561 Queen Mary returned to  Scotland; her husband, Francis II, had died in December 1560, just 17 months after becoming king of  France. A loyal Roman Catholic and the heir presumptive to the English crown, Mary became the  central figure of the Counter Reformation in Scotland and, later, in England. The final contest between  Scottish Protestantism and Roman Catholicism was marked by conspiracy, murder, rebellion, and  civil war. In 1567, after Mary’s army was defeated in battle, she was forced to abdicate in favor of her  infant son, James VI, born in 1566 of her union with Lord Darnley. Imprisoned in Scotland, Mary  escaped in May 1568, but failed to regain her throne. She then fled to England, only to become the  captive of Queen Elizabeth.

 James VI Until 1578 Scotland was ruled by successive regents, all staunchly Protestant and  pro English, and later by factions capable of dominating the young king. By 1586, however, James VI  had  control of his government and had concluded a military alliance with Elizabeth. He subsequently  refused to intercede on behalf of his mother, who was executed in England in 1587. In religion, he tried  to steer a middle course, allowing a Presbyterian form of church government at the local level, but  appointing bishops who represented royal authority over the church as a whole. He was a capable  administrator and made the power of the monarchy dominant in Scotland. On the death of Elizabeth,  in March 1603, James VI inherited the crown of England as James I.

 Scotland in the 17th Century James lived on until 1625, and Scotland remained largely tranquil  under his rule. Relations with England grew closer, but the two kingdoms remained distinct, each with  its own government. Under James’s son, Charles I (reigned 1625-1649), high taxes, and especially  royal attempts to impose Anglican forms of worship, led to conflicts known as the Bishops’ Wars  (1639-1640). These in turn helped to spark the great English Revolution, which ended in Charles’s  execution. During the revolution, many Scots supported Parliament against the king in return for a  promise that Presbyterianism would be established in both realms. This promise was not kept, and  after Charles’s execution, England’s Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, defeated Scottish uprisings on  behalf of the royal heir, Charles II. Cromwell also temporarily imposed a single government on England  and Scotland. When Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, Scotland was again separated from  England. Charles reintroduced a limited form of episcopacy in the northern kingdom, and several  abortive Presbyterian rebellions occurred during his reign. Scotland played no part in the overthrow of  Charles’s successor, James VII (James II of England) in 1688, but the Scottish Parliament  immediately recognized the new king, William III, as William II of Scotland. William abolished the  Scottish episcopate in 1690. This made him popular among the Lowland Scots, but in the Highlands  support for the exiled King James remained strong.

 Scotland in The United Kingdom  In 1707 the Scottish Parliament voted itself out of existence, and Scotland became part of the United  Kingdom of Great Britain with guarantees of its own legal system and church polity. Thereafter,  Scottish representatives sat in the British Parliament at Westminster. The union, like the Revolution of  1688, was opposed by many of the Highland Scots, who rose in support of James VII’s son in the  Jacobite rebellions of 1708, 1715, and 1745 to 1746. Following the defeat of the 1745 Rebellion, the  government forced the breakup of the clan system in the Highlands.

 At the same time, Edinburgh, home of the "Scottish Enlightenment," was becoming one of the most  important cultural centers of 18th-century Europe. Among the outstanding Scottish thinkers of the  time were the economist Adam Smith and the philosopher David Hume. Literary figures included  Tobias Smollett, James Boswell, Robert Burns, and, somewhat later, Sir Walter Scott.  Industrialization began in the late 1700s, and in the course of the 19th century, Scotland was  transformed from an agricultural into an industrial nation. Its textile, steel, and shipbuilding industries  made major contributions to Britain’s commercial greatness during this period, while Scottish  statesmen and administrators helped govern the British Empire, and Scottish soldiers helped defend  it. With the decline of Britain as a world power in the second half of the 20th century, Scottish  nationalism once again became a significant political force. Strident calls for independence were heard  in the general elections in the mid-1970s. In 1974 the Scottish Nationalist Party garnered 11 of  Scotland’s 72 seats in Parliament. In 1979 a Labour Party plan to devolve some powers to an elected  assembly in Scotland was voted down by the Scottish people. The Conservative Party that was  elected later that year dropped any further plans for a Scottish government. Scottish dissatisfaction  with the British government continued to grow, especially under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher,  who was prime minister until 1990. In 1997 the Labour Party took control of the British government for  the first time in 18 years. Prime Minister Tony Blair supported the idea of devolving some of  Parliament’s powers to national legislatures in Scotland and Wales. A referendum was held in  September 1997 in which more than 75 percent of the people of Scotland voted to create their own  parliament. In 1999 elections were held and the Scottish parliament members were elected. The  Labour Party won the elections, and the Conservative Party and Scottish Nationalist Party obtained  the second and third places respectively.

scottish history