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Issue 64 - Shaping the Future

Scotland Magazine Issue 64
August 2012


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Shaping the Future

There are moments in a country's history, monumental shifts in political direction or acts of God, which irrevocably define the future. The Scotland that we know today, previously in existence as seperate kingdoms, first evolved into a unified nation with a strong sense of its own identity in the 11th century. Pictish, Celtic, Viking, Saxon, and Norman influences have combined to create the Scottish people, moulded by religion, territory, and ethical persuasion. In more recent years, migration from France, Lithuania, Italy, Pakistan, India, China, Russia and Poland has added to the mix.

The Marriage of Saint Margaret Atheling and Malcolm III of Scots.
Born in exile in Hungary, the devoutly religious granddaughter of Edmond Ironside, King of England, was escaping from the Norman Conquest when she arrived in Scotland and married King Malcolm III. Her influence in bringing the practices of the existing Church of Scotland in line with the Church of Rome was enormously significant. Through her husband and children (three of whom became kings of Scotland) she made Scotland aware of contemporary European enlightenment.

2nd October 1263
The Battle of Largs
Although an indecisive engagement in itself, this confrontation between the army of Alexander III and the invasion fleet of King Hakon of Norway effectively marked the end of Norway's claim to sovereignty over Scotland's western seaboard, the Hebrides and Isle of Man. Three years after the battle, terms of peace were finally agreed upon with the Treaty of Perth in which the Hebrides and Isle of Man were ceded to the King of Scots for a payment of 4000 merks in four instalments and 100 merks in perpetuity, and in this way a centuries-old territorial dispute was at last settled.

26th September 1290
The death of The Maid of Norway
With the death of the forty five year old Alexander III in a riding accident, the Scottish throne passed to his three year old granddaughter Princess Margaret, known as The Maid of Norway. She was the daughter of King Eric II of Norway and Alexander's daughter, also Princess Margaret. When the small princess was taken ill and died on the sea voyage to Scotland, there was no obvious heir to the throne of Scotland and the Guardians of Scotland called upon Edwad I of England to decide between fourteen candidates. Edward presumed “overlordship” of Scotland and the ensuing events led to the Scottish Wars of Independence which began with Edward's invasion of 1296.

24th June 1314
The Battle of Bannockburn
The decisive battle of the Scottish Wars took place when Edward II of England's army was roundly defeated by Robert the Bruce, who had been crowned King of Scots in 1306. The English king had marched his army north intent on crushing Bruce's forces, but a combination of tactical skill and sheer determination on behalf of the Scots led to the English being driven across the River Forth, where they were massacred.

9th September 1514
The Battle of Flodden
Scotland’s greatest military defeat took place at Branxton Moor in England. James IV had proved himself to be one of Scotland's ablest rulers, and had married the sister of Henry VIII of England. However, Scotland and France were allied under the Auld Alliance of 1295, and James felt compelled to support the French King Louis XII against Pope Julius II in the Italian Wars. When Henry sailed to France to support the League of Cambrai, James invaded England to create a diversion but Queen Catherine sent a force under Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey to confront him. The Scottish army was decimated and James killed. Almost every family in Scotland lost sons in the carnage.

24th March 1603
The Union of the Crowns
Following the death of the childless Queen Elizabeth I, the English throne was inherited by James VI of Scotland, her first cousin twice removed. Despite sharing a hereditary Monarch, however, England and Scotland remained independent Sovereign state crowns until 1707.

The late 1690s
The Darien Scheme Disaster
To compete with England, Scotland had world ambitions to become a trading nation and when the opportunity arose to create a colony called “New Caledonia” on the Isthimus of Panama, Scottish investors raised 400,000 pounds sterling, approximately a fifth of the wealth of Scotland. Over 2,500 people sailed from Leith to the Bay of Darien in two expeditions, but the climate, disease and constant aggression from Spanish traders led to a calamitous failure and the majorty of the Scottish investors bankrupt.

1st May 1707
The Act of Union
With its economy in tatters after the Darien debacle, and England's determination to formalise the Act of Settlement to ensure the Protestant Succession of the House of Hanover, a deal was struck to amalgamate the parliaments of England and Scotland into a single United Kingdom parliament based in London.

16th April 1746
The Battle of Culloden Moor
The final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising in support of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his claim to the British throne took place near Inverness and ended in carnage. The British Government army led by the Duke of Cumberland soundly defeated the Highland army of the Young Pretender, and the repercussions were to reverberate around Scotland for years to come. Although the Prince escaped to France, the clan infrastructure that had supported his cause was thereafter ruthlessly suppressed.

1st July 1999
Scottish Devolution and the re-opening of the Scottish Parliament
In a Referendum held in 1997, the Scottish people voted for the creation of a devolved parliamentary system. However, the actions of the Scottish Parliament, reconstituted in 1999, do not affect the powers and authority of the UK Parliament to make laws for Scotland, but it currently exercises power to make laws over home affairs issues. The Scottish National Party, first elected to power in the Scottish Parliament in 2007, has promised a Referendum on full independence in 2014.

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