SCOTTISH HISTORY & HERITAGE
Scotland is renowned the world over for the friendliness of its people and the warmth of its welcome. A reputation that we Scots modestly agree with (well, why not?). However, we also admit to being an unruly bunch that over the course of history has caused numerous battles, not to mention the odd war. Not only were we prepared to take on all comers, we were quite happy to have regular 'punch ups' amongst ourselves.
Scotland is a rich and fertile land and the earliest inhabitants were content to farm, fish and look after their livestock. These early European settlers soon came under pressure from new arrivals that were prepared to fight and die for possession of the land. Through necessity they became skilled warriors and by the time the Romans arrived the locals were well capable of defending what was theirs.
Having already conquered England and Wales the Romans took the road north to sort out the Scots. Although outnumbered, the Scots by using guerilla tactics, withstood the Roman interest in occupying their land. The end result was the building of a 73-mile long wall by the Roman emperor Hadrian to keep the Scots at bay.
During the period after the departure of the Romans Scotland was loosely split into four regions. The Highlands ruled by the Picts. The west, called Dalriada, was run by Irish Picts who were known as the Scotti. The southern area named Strathclyde was the territory of another group of Celts known as Britons. The southeast, called Lothian, was firmly in the hands of the Angles. Needless to say these four groups found it impossible to live in harmony and there were frequent territorial battles.
An invasion by the Vikings culminated with the Battle of Largs in 1263. In the early thirteenth century the English King, Edward l, engineered the occupation of Scotland. As a result of the efforts of warriors like William Wallace, and after his brutal execution in London, Robert the Bruce, Scotland regained her freedom in 1314.
Scottish independence from England existed until the Act of Union 1707. During this period Scotland saw the regal power pass from Robert the Bruce to his grandson Robert Stewart. After the death of King James V in 1542 his daughter Mary Stuart was made queen. As Mary, Queen of Scots, she went on to become one of the most outstanding figures in Scottish history.
What a life this lady had. By the time she was eighteen her father had died, she had been crowned queen, through no fault of her own she had caused a war between Scotland and England, she had been sent to France, was married and become a widow. In later life she married Lord Darnley who died under suspicious circumstances. She then went on to marry the Earl of Bothwell, who it turned out was involved in the plot to kill Darnley.
She abdicated to be succeeded by her son JamesVl. In the battle of Langside in May 1568 she lost to the army of Elizabeth l and after being held prisoner for nineteen years was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle, Northhamptonshire on February 8, 1587.
Sixteen years later JamesVl of Scotland also became James l of England. He died in 1625. Charles l took over and after a turbulent reign was beheaded by the Puritans in 1649. In 1707, during the reign of Queen Anne, the Act of Union between Scotland and England was brought into being thereby forming the United Kingdom.
If there is only one country you can only have one king and England had decided that this would be George of Hanover who was to rule supreme over Great Britain. This led the Jacobites, supporters of the Scottish King James Vll, to rebel under the leadership of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Charles Edward Stuart, who wanted to put his family back into power. Despite the courageous efforts of his army he failed and fled back to France with his tail very much between his legs.
Since the Act of Union Scotland has, by and large, prospered although in some peoples minds independence from England is still a priority!.