Scotland Timeline

C.450mil BC – Northern Highland and Grampian mountains formed

C.4000 BC – Neolithic farmers arrived and built stone circles and burial chambers

Early Scotland

C.2000 BC – Bronze Age

C.500 BC – Iron Age

60 AD – Boadicea – Queen of the Iceni in Britain revolts against the Roman rule.

84 AD – Battle of Mons Graupius.

Celtic tribes unite and battle against the Roman army. The earliest battle in Scottish history between the Romans and the united tribes of Caledonia.

123 AD - The Roman Emperor Hadrian starts work on building a border wall.

Roman Scotland

501 – 503 AD – The Scots form Dalriada.  

The Scots from Ireland form the Kingdom of Dalriada on the west coast – it encompasses all the Isles.

People of Scotland

563 AD – St Columba sails from Ireland to Argyll to found monasteries and spread Christianity.

794 AD – Viking invasions start in Scotland

Viking Scotland

823 AD - The Saltire is Born

In 832AD an army of Pictish soldiers under their leader Angus MacFergus the High King of Alba and a detachment of Scots led by Eochaidh, King of Dalriada found themselves surrounded by a much larger force of Angles led by their leader Athelstan. King Angus prayed to God that he might lead his smaller army into victory. That day his prayers were answered. In the clear blue sky a cloud formation of white diagonal crosses could be seen - the very cross-shape on which Andrew, the first disciple of Christ, was put to death. King Angus made a promise that if victory were granted to him in battle through the help of Andrew, then his name would forever be adopted as the patron saint. The sight rallied the Scots and Picts spirits and they won the battle.

1018 – The Kingdom of Scotland is born.

Battle of Carham – King Malcolm II Mackenneth and Owen King of Strathclyde defeated the Northumbrians. 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.

1138 - The Battle of the Standard

King David I of Scotland, staked a claim to the lands at the north of England. He rallied all the clans from all over Scotland, including the isles to come down and fight. They wasted the English border and Prince Stephen of Northumbria gave in.

1174 – William the Lion – Treaty of Falaise

Scotland’s Struggles

1263 - Vikings of Largs 1st October

Since the reign of King Kenneth MacAlpin (843-937) the Vikings have been raiding Scotland. However, in 1260 Alexander III was feed up with them and after several spectacular raids against them, the Vikings only possessed the Orkney and Shetland Isles. Angered at this King Haakon of Norway decided to attack the mainland, however he was not expecting such a ferocious assault from the Scots. The fighting went on after nightfall and King Haakon asked for a truce to enable him to bury his dead. That was the last time Vikings raided Scotland.

1272 – William Wallace was born

1290 – Treaty of Birgham

Edward I of England arranges for his son to marry the "Maid of the north" the heir of Scotland.

English Oppression

Scotland’s Freedom – William Wallace

1297 - Stirling Bridge

William Wallace positioned his men in the hills around a bridge crossing the Forth, north of Stirling. Not all the Scots felt confident about the confrontation and James Stewart approached the English warlord with an offer of peace. De Warrenne refused and his mounted knights began to advance across the narrow bridge two by two. This caused a funnel neck at the end of the bridge and the Scots under the leadership of William Wallace and Moray gave the signal to attack and they picked them off as they struggled to clear the bridge. A unit of Scots soldiers were sent to the bridge head to cut away the timber supports and the heavy horse and riders fell in the mire. It was a massacre for the English. It was the first time commoners had defeated mounted knights.

William Wallace supped that night in a grand victory feast with his companions in the castle of Stirling. All except one - Sir Andrew de Moray, Wallace's most able friend was mortally wounded and never recovered from injuries he received in the battle. William Wallace was knighted, by Robert the Bruce, in the forests of Selkirk and appointed "Guardian of the realm of Scotland"

1298 - Battle of Falkirk

The Scots were led by the Guardian of Scotland (William Wallace) – but the Scots were greatly outnumbered. Edward I had an army of 87,500 troops – Scotland could only raise a third of that. The Scottish army was slaughtered, with many of the Scottish Noble men taking the bribe from the English King and leaving the battlefield.

1305 – Capture and Execution of William Wallace

Taken to London Wallace was hung drawn and quartered. His dismembered body sent to the four corners of Britain to serve as a warning.

1306 – Robert the Bruce - Crowned King

1303 - Battle of Roslin

1303 The Battle of Roslin

On the 23rd of February 1303, a great and famous engagement took place between the Scots and English. It was the battle of Roslin, where the English were defeated. The English numbered 30,000 and the Scots only 8,000. The Scots vastly numbered fought not one, but three battles that day.

The first was a stealth attack, while English were sleeping, they crept up and slaughtered them. Weary, but jubilant the Scots only suffered minor losses. However, they did not have long to wait before the second battle. The Scots formed a battle line at the top of Langhill, the English charged towards them not realising that there was a ravine, the majority of the soldiers plunged down to their deaths. On hearing that a third section of the English force was on its way, the Scots had no option but to kill their English prisoners.

The third part of the English army made its way to Roslin unaware of the destruction of the other forces. The Scots troops now so exhausted, that their spirits need to be picked up - a rousing speech was made and they laid aside all cowardice, and got back their strength. Again the Scots army made use of the physical geography of Roslin Glen and ran through the final and fiercest troop. The day was one of jubilation for the fighting Scots, three strong waves of English who vastly outnumbered them were slain.  So total was the victory it was later stated that only ten per cent of the entire English force ever made it back to the safe haven of English soil

1314 - Bannockburn 23rd & 24th June

1320 – Declaration of Arbroath

1326 – The First Scottish Parliament met

1329 – Robert the Bruce died

1332 – Dupplin Moor – Edward Balliol invades Scotland

Edward Balliol son of John, invaded Scotland with English backing. The Scots were defeated.

1349-50 – The Bubonic Plague (Black Death) begins in Scotland

1388 – Battle of Otterburn

1406 – James I captured by the English

King of Scots (1424--37), born in Dunfermline, Fife, the second son of Robert III. After his elder brother David was murdered at Falkland (1402), allegedly by his uncle, the Duke of Albany. James was sent to France for safety, but was captured by the English and was imprisoned for 18 years. The Duke of Albany meanwhile ruled Scotland as governor until his death in 1420, when his son, Murdoch, assumed the regency and the country fell into disorder.

1410 – University of St Andrews founded

1424 – James I allowed to return to Scotland

1437 – Assassination of James I at Perth

1451 – Glasgow University founded

1513 - Flodden Fields 9th September

The auld alliance between Scotland and France had been recently renewed, also there had been English attacks made upon Scottish ships at the time when Henry VIII, on behalf of the papacy, invaded France. James IV declared war. With the whole nation behind him, James amassed twenty thousand men with ease, both Highlanders and Lowlanders. The Scots took the advantageous high ground. With slightly fewer numbers but superior equipment and artillery, the English moved around the Scots on their west and opened with cannon fire. They struck their target with great success at this James dropped strategic tactics and ordered all to attack.

It was said that the slaughter struck every farm and household throughout lowland Scotland - they bled the Flodden fields red, even the King himself was slain.

1547 – Battle of Pinkie

The Duke of Somerset destroyed the Scots.

1559 – John Knox denounces the Roman Catholic Church

1587 – Execution of Mary Queen of Scots

1603 – James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England

Queen Elizabeth died with James of Scotland declared as rightful heir. He greatly favoured a union of the two kingdoms and the new national flag, the Union Jack, bore the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George. Although the Estates passed an Act of Union in 1607, it took 100 years before a treaty was signed.

1676 – Birth of Alexander Selkirk - "Robinson Crusoe"

He first went to sea in 1695. While on an expedition near the Juan Fernández Islands, off the coast of Chile, Selkirk had a dispute with the captain of his ship. At his own request, he was put ashore in October 1704 on one of the islands, he lived alone there until rescued in February 1709. Stories have been passed down through sailors about his adventures.

1689 - Battle of Killicrankie – 27th July

The first Jacobite wars, fought in a vain attempt to restore the deposed Stuart Kings (in this case James VIII of Scotland). The Jacobite were stationed at the pass of Killicrankie waiting for King Williams men. They used the famous "Highland Charge" and routed the English. Unfortunately, Viscount Dundee (Bonnie Dundee) was killed whilst ordering the charge.

1689 – Battle of Dunkeld – 21st August

The Jacobites are defeated.

1692 – Massacre at Glencoe

In August, 1691, King William III offered a pardon to all the Highland clans who had risen against him in earlier years but only if they took an oath of allegiance before 1 January, 1692. Alastair MacIan, 12th Chief of Glen Coe, despite the four months notice, left it to the last minute to take the oath. But he had mistakenly gone to the wrong place to take the oath and arrived at Inveraray, after a dreadful journey through the snow, too late to take the oath by the deadline. The government had been waiting for just such an opportunity to "make an example". Robert Campbell and his troops were given food and shelter by the MacDonalds of Glencoe and treated most hospitably as was the highland custom. It was the unforgivable sin that Campbell and his men had enjoyed the traditional Highland hospitality before turning on their hosts (who included his own niece and her husband) Campbell had held a grudge against the MacDonalds and was  under English orders to kill all members of the settlement under 70yrs of age. As planned, at 5 a.m. on the morning of 13 February, he and his redcoats set about carrying out their orders. Whether due to incompetence "only" 38 men, women and children out of the 200 of the clan were killed (though others perished later on the snow-swept hills as they tried to escape).

1715 - Battle of Sherriffmuir

Jacobites rise again for King James VIII and meet the English. Both sides retreat with casualties.

1745 - Battle of Prestonpans - 19th September

Bonnie Prince Charlie’s arrival in Scotland sparked a rebellion against the Hanoverian oppressors. The Jacobite army routed the Hanoverians at Prestonpans. Within a month Scotland was a Jacobite stronghold.

1746 - Culloden – 16th April

Bonnie Prince Charlie’s exhausted and near starving Jacobite forces were out numbered by the Duke of Cumberland’s Hanoverian army. The Jacobite's displayed reckless bravery but it was not enough to win the day. In just over an hour, it was over, the hopes and dreams of one man and 5,000 followers lay in ruin on the blood soaked fields of Culloden Moor. The Highland way of life was lost forever.

1746 – Flora MacDonald helps Bonnie Prince Charlie escape

Dressed as a woman he was taken by boat across to Skye where he lay in hiding.

1759 – Birth of Robert Burns – 25th January

One of Scotland’s greatest poets and songwriters. His songs have inspired Scots a few of his collection: "Auld Lang Syne," "Scots Wha Hae," "A Red, Red Rose". Scots from all over the world celebrate his birthday every year. Reading of poems and piping in the haggis is a much-celebrated tradition.

1771 – Sir Walter Scott was born

A great Scots writer with titles such as Waverley, Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. His work is still celebrated throughout the world. His monument stands in East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.

1800 - 1850 - The Highland Clearances

During what became known as the ''Highland Clearances'', tens of were evicted, often violently, from their homes to make way for large-scale sheep farming. Homes were burnt and tenants forced to leave at the point of a musket, carrying little or nothing as they headed towards a life of poverty and hunger.

Farmers were forced to settle on barren land near the sea with very little agricultural potential. With hundreds of people forced to the coast, there became a problem with over-fishing, this led to starvation and with no money to pay for rent, there were further eviction. The final straw was the potato famine, many left for the colonies or moved down south.

1813 – David Livingstone is born

Dr. David Livingstone was one of the greatest explorers of the African continent, and for his pioneering efforts for the abolition of the slave trade.

1847 – Alexander Graham Bell is born

Alexander Graham Bell became the pioneer in the field of telecommunications.

1890 – The Forth Road Bridge is opened

The Forth Bridge was started in 1882 and finished in 1890. The bridge is made up of so many iron girders that once painting work is finished, its time to start all over again. 

1925 - John Logie Baird demonstrates the T.V

He is remembered as the inventor of mechanical television he tested in a laboratory in late 1925 and unveiled it in London in 1926.

1928 – Discovery of Penicillin

Sir Alexander Flemming noticed that the blue mould he saw in his dish destroying bacteria was penicillin.

1996 – Dolly the Sheep

Scientists have managed to clone a sheep at a research centre in Roslin (Lothian)

1996 – Return of the Stone of Destiny

The Stone of Destiny is returned to Scotland 7000 years after it was taken to Westminster by the English to crown English Kings and Queens. On St Andrews day the Stone was taken to Edinburgh castle for public viewing.

1997 – "YES" vote gained for a Scottish Parliament

1999 – Scottish Parliament – 1st July

The Scottish Parliament is opened by the Queen. It is housed in the Church of Scotland General Assembly, while work is carried out on the new Parliament building at Holyrood. Donald Dewar was made First Minister of Scotland.

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