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Issue 50 - Shaping a nation

History & Heritage

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Scotland Magazine Issue 50
April 2010


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Shaping a nation

We look at some of the historic events that helped create Scotland.

1The Picts Known as the ‘Painted People’, they were the dominant force in the North of Scotland for hundreds of years. Their disappearance in the first millennium is a complete mystery.

2Roman invasion of Scotland The Roman invasion of lowland Scotland lasted until 100AD. Although they penetrated as far north as Aberfeldy, they were defeated in a great battle against the tribes of Caledonia and forced to retreat over the border.

3Battle of Largs 1263 King Haakon of Norway sailed from Bergen in 1263 and invaded the coasts of Scotland. He landed in North Ayrshire, but was beaten back by the Scots under Alexander III.

4Death of Alexander III On 19th March 1286, Alexander III was returning to his wife at Kinghorne in Fife.

Travelling on horseback in bad weather, it is believed that his horse stumbled and the King fell to his death over the cliffs.

5The Auld Alliance This relationship between France and Scotland was drawn up in 1295 as a way of curtailing the belligerent expansion of England. It marked the most famous connection of Scotland with Europe.

6Stone of Destiny removed from Scone Abbey Stolen during Edward I’s invasion of Scotland in 1296 it was taken from Scone to the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, where all British monarchs have been crowned since.

7Battle of Stirling Bridge 1297 After years of conflict with the English, the 7th Earl of Surrey marched a force into Scotland to confront William Wallace, and was severely defeated.

8Execution of Sir William Wallace 1305 Wallace was betrayed by one of his compatriots in Glasgow and taken prisoner to be put on trial in Westminster.

Condemned as a traitor to the English King, who had appointed himself Over-Lord of Scotland, William suffered a brutal execution watched by the crowds of London. He was hanged and quartered with his body parts put on display in in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling and Aberdeen.

9Declaration of Arbroath 1320 In a war of independence with England, Scotland had hit a crisis and its nobles wrote a letter in Latin to the Pope in 1320. The letter was prepared as a Scottish declaration for independence against England and to show the Scottish perspective on current matters.

10Treaty of Edinburgh 1328 A peace treaty between Scotland and England was signed by Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, and later ratified by the English Parliament.

11Battle of Dupplin Moor 1332 In 1329, Robert the Bruce passed away leaving the throne to his 4 year old son David II. Opposed by his rival claimant, Edward Balliol, a battle commenced and ended in the defeat of David. Balliol was crowned King of Scots, but driven south into England two years later.

12Battle Of Harlaw 1411 To assert his claim to the earldom of Ross, Donald of the Isles invaded the Scottish mainland. At Harlaw, a few miles from Aberdeen, he was met by the Earl of Mar, Alexander Stewart. Known as the most brutal battle between highlanders and lowlanders, it is often referred to as ‘Red Harlaw’.

13Treaty Of London 1423 As successor to the Scottish throne, and for a sum of 60,000 marks , the treaty secured the release of James I from the Tower of London after an imprisonment of 18 years.

14Glasgow University Founded 1451 One of the four ancient universities in Scotland, founded in 1451 by a papal bull.

15Orkney and Shetland 1472 The King of Scotland, James III, was set to marry Princess Margaret, daughter of the King of Norway. Unable to pay a dowry for his daughter, Christian I of Norway pledged his royal estates in Shetland and Orkney as security.

16Marriage of The Thistle and The Rose 1503 The marriage of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor of England brought about a period of peace between the two countries until James found himself at odds with his brother-inlaw, Henry VIII of England.

17Earliest known book in Scotland 1508 James IV granted Edinburgh merchant Walter Chapman and bookseller Androw Myllar the first printing license in Scotland.

On 4th April, the first book went to press in Edinburgh, a poem The Complaint of the Black Knight by John Lydgate.

18Battle of Flodden 1513 Regarded as Scotland’s most devastating military defeat. In support of the Auld Alliance, James IV marched into England at the head of a considerable body of troops on an invasion of England. Within a few days , 10,000 Scottish soldiers lay slaughtered, together with James himself.

19Treaties of Greenwich - The ‘Rough Wooing’ 1542-1551 Determined to gain control of Scotland, Henry VIII proposed a marriage agreement between his six year old son and the one year old Mary Queen of Scots. Following the Scots rejection in December 1543, Henry started a four year war after invading Scotland in an attempt to capture Mary before she was sent to France.

20Murder of Lord Darnley 1567 One of history’s most notorious unsolved crimes. Lord Darnley, the husband of Mary Queen of Scots, was murdered in a massive explosion in Kirk O’ Fields, beside Holyrood, while he slept.

21Battle of Langside 1568 On May 13th, Mary, Queen of Scots’ troops marched towards Langside, where they were attacked by an army led by her half-brother. Mary’s supporters retreated and the Queen was captured after crossing the border into England where she was and held as a prisoner for 19 years.

22Execution of Mary Queen of Scots 1587 Increasingly paranoid that her cousin Mary was plotting to overthrow her, Elizabeth I of England ordered the execution of Mary Queen of Scots on February 7th. On Elizabeth’s death, Mary’s son, James VI of Scotland, became King of England.

23College of new Aberdeen 1593 Although King’s College in Aberdeen dates from 1495, just under one hundred years later George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal, founded Marischal College, the second largest granite building in the world.

24Battle of Dunbar 1650 Oliver Cromwell’s greatest victory in Scotland was fought against his former allies at the Battle of Marston Moor. Nearing defeat, Cromwell surprised the Scottish commander Sir David Leslie, winning outright with few casualties while capturing 10,000 prisoners.

25Battle of Drumclog 1679 Fought on the 1st June between the forces of John Graham of Claverhouse and a group of Covenanters in South Lanarkshire. It followed the assassination of Archbishop James Sharp, but the Covenanter’s delight was short lived as three weeks later Claverhouse crushed the rebellion at the Battle of Bothwell Brig.

26Act of Union 1707 This momentous piece of political legislation saw the amalgamation of the Scottish and English parliaments to form the Parliament of Great Britain.

27Jacobites Rising 1715 Following the Act of Union, the Jacobite supporters of the Old Pretender, the exiled “King over the Water”, rose up against the British government. Led by John Erskine, 11th Earl of Mar, the rebels were incisively defeated that same year by the 2nd Duke of Argyll at the Battle of Sheriffmuir.

28Rob Roy MacGregor captured 1717 After the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, Rob Roy MacGregor, an avowed Jacobite and dealer in illicit cattle, was captured in 1717 at Balquhidder; escaping his captors twice, he was eventually pardoned and died peacefully in his home in 1734.

291745 Jacobite Rebellion Determined to win back his grandfather’s throne, the 25 year old Bonnie Prince Charlie landed on the west coast of Scotland and raised a Highland army to invade England.

30Battle of Culloden 1746 With the battle fought on Drumossie Moor on April 16th, the last of the Jacobite uprisings for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s attempt to reclaim the Stuart line to the British throne ended in disaster. The Highland army was decimated and the subsequent repercussions for the Highlands of Scotland were traumatic.

31The First release of Robert Burns’ poems 1786 The first edition of Burns’ poems, known as the Kilmarnock Edition and written in Scots, was released and cost three shillings.

Its print run of 612 copies sold out within a month.

32First Lighthouse 1787 Fraserborough lighthouse at Kinnaird Head, was built by Thomas Smith and Robert Stevenson.

33Rising Proclamation 1820 In an attempt to popularise the radical movement, a group of artisans, in particular west of Scotland weavers, produced a proclamation to incite revolt.

34Radicals Rising The Scottish radicals were skilled men and highly literate. Their aim was to overthrow the government, to regain Scotland for the people.

35Radicals Execution Following their arrest after the 1820 rising, John Baird, Andrew Hardie and James Wilson were executed. The remaining radicals were transported to New South Wales, Australia.

36Caledonian Canal 1822 The 60 mile long canal was built to provide a short cut between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

37Tay Rail Bridge disaster 1879 The bridge over the Firth of Tay, a design by Thomas Bouch, was opened for use in February 1878. The following year it collapsed during a freak storm under the weight of a train traveling to Dundee.

38Highland Railway formed 1865 The Highland Railway Company was formed to create a continuous service throughout the North of Scotland.

39Education (Scotland) Act 1872 Compulsory education to all children from the age of 5 to 13.

40Forth Bridge 1890 The Prince of Wales , later Edward VII,opened the world’s first major steel bridge on 4th March 1890. It was constructed by Sir William Arrol and stretched 1.5 miles in length.

41Donibristle Mining Disaster 1901 On the 26th August in Fife, a Mossmorran peat bog collapsed on 16 miners, who were working 360 ft underground.

42Zeppelins bombed Edinburgh 1916 On 2nd April, the German Navy Zeppelin bombed Edinburgh in early hours of the morning, killing 11 people and injuring 24.

The city was left in turmoil as buildings were turned to rubble.

43Scottish National Party 1934 The Scottish National Party was formed by the combination of The National Party Of Scotland and The Scottish Party.

44Clydebank Bombed 1941 On the 13th March the town’s industrial areas were bombed during a nine hour raid. The following day a new attack hit the town, bringing the total fatalities to 2,000 with more than 48,000 left homeless.

45Edinburgh International Festival 1947 The opening of the the first post-war festival of music and arts in Europe took place in Edinburgh on 17th August and has been an annual event ever since.

46Stone of Destiny stolen 1950 Four nationalist students stole the iconic stone from under the coronation throne at Westminster and returned it to Scotland. The stone remained in Scotland until 1953 when it was returned to Westminster for the coronation.

471952 Television Broadcast The first television programme to be broadcast in Scotland showed the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society performing.

48Lockerbie Air Disaster 1988 On 21st December, Pan Am Flight 103 bound for New York exploded resulting in the death of all 243 passengers, 13 crew members and 11 Lockerbie residents.

49Dolly the sheep 1997 Dolly the ewe was born on 22nd February at the Roslin Institute in Midlothian.

5010,000 pipers and drummers 2000 To celebrate the Millennium, drummers and pipers from all over the world marched through Edinburgh and straight into the world record books as the largest pipe band gathering of all time.