*** Scotland Scottish history

Scottish History

Scootish history
Figure 1.--Scottish history is dominated by its relarionship to the south. There are many bloody incidents in that relationship, one of the most infamous is the Massacre at Glen Coe in the Highlands. It was the aftermath Glorious Revolution (1688) and the subsequent Jacobite uprising (1689). The Scotts at Glen Coe in the Highlands gave a unit of English troops hospitality. Than in the morning of February 13, 1692, the English troops acting under orders fell on their hists and massacered men, wonmen, and children. Some 88 Scotts were either killed or died of exposuretring to escape the English in the dead if winter. You can see their buning homes in the distnce. Put your cursor on the image to see the rest of the survivor group depicted in this painting by James Hamilton in 1882.

The British isles has over time time been populated by many different people. It has never until modern times been populated by by a single united people. Many different people have inhabited the northern part of Britain. The Romans called the northern area Caladonia and after failing to subdue the fierce norther tribes built Hadrians Wall to keep them out of their prosperous new province. Scotland in the modern sence did not emerge until the Roman departure from Britain. It was an almallgum of native Picrs, Irish, Cektic Britons fleeing north from the Anglo-Saxon invaders, and others. Much of the rest of Scottish history is the struggle to remain independent from the more powerful English kingdom to the south. The Anglo -Saxons were unable to get a foothold north of Northumbria. This changed with the Advent of the Normans. Edward I conquered Wales and seem posed to quickly conquer Scotland. William Wallace made it a much more difficult proposition. Robert the Bruce firmly established Scottish indepedence. Scotland was swept by the Reformation. Scotland was joined in a personal union in the person of King James I. Scotland played a major role in launching the English Civil War. The personal union in the person of the monarchy was followed by the Act of Union under Queen Anne (1707). Scotland played an important role in the Industrial Revolution. The final Highland effort to break with England was the Jacobin rising of 1745 led by Bonnie Prince Charlie--the Stuart pretender. This led to the Higland enclosures and immigration, especially to America. While the Scotts failed to break away from England, the backwoods Scott-Irish played a major role in the American success during the Revolutionary War.

Neolithic Era

Little is known of the early inhabitants of Scotland. Human habitation of Scotland appears to date from about 8,500 BC. This coisided with the end of Devensian glaciation, the latest ice age. The appear to have been a mixed group of aborigines and unidentified European tribes of the Indo-European lingistic stock. Archeologists have found Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age artefacts remain, but without written records, a coherent historical assessment is imposible, only a general cultural history. The original population were hunter-gatheres. They hunted and fished and gathered fruits and berries from the plentiful forrests. This began to change about 4,000 BC when the nomadic people began to settle in productive and sheltered river valleys and farm and raise livestock. It is at this time they begin to clear the primal forrests. Neolithic people from modern Spain and France are believed to have first settled Scotland. Some archeologists report a definite Iberian influence. Archeologists speculate that these built the great chambered cairns which have been found in the Scottish countryside. The Beaker people probably originating in northern Europe later moved into Scotland. The mingling of these two groups probably formed the pre-Celtic stock of Scotland and the Iron Age tribes that enbter ancient history.

Ancient History

Scotland in antiquity was known by the Romans as Caledoinia. Little is known of the early inhabitants of Scotland. Human habitation of cotland appears to date from about 8500 BC. The appear to have been a mixed group of aborigines and unidentified European tribes of the Indo-Euroipean lingistic stock. Some archeologists believe that Scotland was settled by Iberians. The one group which is know is the Picts, a war-like people who were able to resist the Roman invasion. The term Pict is Roman in origin. The Romans called the pre-Celtic people in northern Britain "Pictii", meaning painted people. This appears to have referred the Pict pratice of tatooing their bodies. Roman General Gnaeus Julius Agricola invaded Caledonia and reached the Firth of Forth late 1st century AD. The Picts and rebelious Britons pushed north by the Romans appeared to have successfully resisted the Romans in the area between the Firth of Fourth and the Clyde (late-1st century AD). Resistance was so successful that the Emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of a defensive wall from Solvay Firth to the mouth of the River Tyne which is today known as Hadrian's Wall (122 AD). Another wall was subsequently constructed further north which became known as the Wall of Pius (140s). This wall extended from the Firth of Fourth to the Firth of Clyde. The area between the two walls became the Roman first line of defense against the ancient Caledonians. The area south of the Wall of Pius became partially Romanized and this endured into Medieval and modern times as the Wall of Pius is roughly the dividing line between the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands. Litte information is available on the clothing worn by the ancient Picts.

Medieval Era

The Medieval era can be said to have begun with the recall of the Roman Legions from Britain (409). With the withdrawl of the legions, the Picts intensified y their raids south. It is at this time that waves of migrating German tribes, the Saxons, sweep over Britain. Many Celtic Britons retreating from the Saxon invasions settle in Caledonia between the Firth of Clyde and the Solway Firth which eventually collaseses in to the Kingdom of Strathclyde. To the north at the beginning of the 6th century, Celtic invaders from Ireland establish the Kingdom of Dalriada. The pagan Angles, another invading Germanic tribe settled in what is now northern England founding the kingdom of Northumbria. The Angles in the mid-6th century moved north seizing much of the land south of the Firth of Fourth and east of Strathclyde. Strathclyde and some Picts were converted to Christianity and Columba came to Dalriada froim Ireland (563). He largely converted the remaing Picts. Conflicts develop between the Celts and Picts who fuse into the Scotts on one suide and the Angles in Northumbria. Keneth MacAlpine in the mid-9th century rules over all of Scotland, but faces incessent warfare with the Norse. The conflict between the Scotts and English continues when the the Normon William the Conqueror defeats the Saxons at hastings (1066). Malcomb's son, Edgar, with Norman assistance is crowned (1097). The Anglization of Scotland accelerated during Edgar's reign (1097-1107) and that of his two brothers, Alexander I (1107-24) and David I (1124-53). Edward I also succeeds in annexing Scotland to England, but is thwarted first by William Wallace anf finally by Robert the Bruce. The feuding Scottish nobility, however, prevents the establishment of a strong royal Government. After Robert there is a decline of royal authority and further English encroachments. The Stuart dynasty was founded by Robert II. The Stuarts were unable to overcome the Scottish nobility and impose strng royal authority in Scotland. As a result, Scotland under the Stuarts were unable to resist English encroachments. While the Reformnation was initaited by the English monarchy, in Scotland in occurred in spite of the opposition of the monarchy, although supported by the English. Ironically, although Queen Elizabeth executed her Catholic rival Mary Queen of Scotts, her Protestant son James V of Scotland succeeded her as King James I of England, launching the English Stuart dynasty.

The Reformation

While the Reformation in England was initaited by the monarchy, in Scotland in occurred in spite of the opposition of the monarchy, although supported by the English.The Reformation was preceeded by a rising sence of popular disatisgaction with the Catholic clergy. Both Lollardy and Wycliffe in England had influenced some. Merchants and the minor nobility were the first to embrace the Reformation, not only for religius reasons, but as a vehicle for independe from both England and France. Protestant teaching reached Scotland only a few years after Martin Lurther launched tghe Reformation. As early as 1522 the Royal Government was attempting to stop the circulation of Luthern books. Early Reformation leaders like Patrick Hamilton were adherents of Luther, but John Knox led the Scottish Reformation to a Calvinist confession. John Knox lived for a time in Geneva and was influenced by John Calvin. He became the driving force of the Reformation in Scotland. Know was the first spokesman for Presbyterianism. Knox persuaded the Scottish Parliament to adopt a confession and book of discipline modeled on those develooped by Calvin in Geneva (1560). Parliament created the Scottish Presbyterian Church governed by local kirks. Mary Queen of Scotts attempted to attempted to reinstate the Catholic Church, but was friven to exile in England. Her infant son James, the future James I of England, was kept in Scotland and eventually tutored by Presbyterian scholars. The Catholic Church was reduced to minor importance, except for a few disticys in the north.

Union of the Crowns: James I (1603)

Scotland was joined in a personal union in the person of King James I. One-year old James was crowned King James VI of Scotland 5-days after his mothers abdication. His mother's fierce adversary, famed Scottish Reformation leader John Knox, preached the sermon at his coronation celebration. James in 1603 following Elizabeth's death became the first Stuart king of England. In a great irony of history, Elizabeth who had ordered albeit reluctantly Mary's Stuart's execution, was replaced by her son James. He referred to himself as "king of Great Britain." He believed strongly in royal absolutism. The principle of royal absolutism was a firmly establish docrine in France and other European countries. James was prepared to support this principle in the face of English tradiions of limited royal authority. This was a Stuart tradition that was eventually to cost his son's head and a grandson's crown. James'conflicts with a Parliament insistent on its perogatives set in motion the English Civil War in which Parlimentary forces rebelled against his son Charles I.

English Civil War (1642-51)

Scotland played a major role in launching the English Civil War. It was the Scotts who in large measure precipitated the English Civil War. Scotland had become strongly Protestant, but the Scottish Presbyterian Church did not confrom to Anglican practice. Charles I was determined to enforce the Anglican reforms tghroughout his realm and this included the Scottish church. Not only were the Scots opposed to this, they wanted to destroy the power of the Anglican bishops over the church in Scotland. The Assembly of the Scottish Church at Glasgow rejected Charles' reforms (1638). The Scootish rejection of the reforms enraged Charles. He hastily gathered a military force and marched north to Scotland. Parliament never approved funds for a sanding English army and Charles did not have the funds to ammass a major army on his own. The Scotts did not relent. Cromwell after the Civil War dealt with the Scotts in a way that Charles could not (1850s).

Jacobite Rising (1689)

The Scottish Jacobite Rishings began with the Glorious Revolution in England. The Jacobites were the supporters of King James VII (of Scotland) and II (of England) and his heirs, including most promently Bonny Prince Charlie. James VII/II reigned for only a brief oeriod (1685-89). Even when he declared himsel a Roman Catholic, he may well have held is throne. The problem arosed not only with his reckles, behavior, but when a Catholic heir was born. He was replaced by his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband, the Dutch Prince William of Orange in the Glorious Revolution (1688). James fled into exile. Those who remained loyal to James (�Jacobus� in Latin) became known as �Jacobites�. In 1689, the Jacobites opposed the Williamites (Whigs). They were the Britons (primarily English) who supported the Protestant estanlishment were not tolerate the imposition of a Catholic kingdom. Thee were three major Jacobite risings. The first or the Rishing of 1689 was led by 'Bonnie Dundee' - John Graham of Claverhouse. It was quickly quelled. Dundee's forces defeated William's Scittish forces in a with a devastating highland charge at the battle of Killiecrankie (1689). Dunde was, hoever, killed. This left the Rising. The rising thus petered out and most Scotts decided to ccept a royal amnesty. The tragic Massacre at Glen Coe occured at the endof the rebellion (Figure 1).

Acts of Union (1706-07)

A union between England and Scotland was what Edward I had in mind when he proposed marriage with his 6-year old son and the 3-year old Maid of Norway after she became queen of Scotland. The heroism of Wallace abd Robert the Bruce helped to prevent union in the medieval era. After the personal union in the name of James I and his successors, talk of union grew. It was repeated proposed in Parliament (1606, 1667, 1670 and 1689). Even so, an agreement made with William II (1689) recognized even greater autonomy for Scotland than it had under Jemes I. A massacre at Glencoe inflamed opinion in Scotland, complicating union. The two countries for over 100 years had shared the same minarch, but had separate parliaments. Gradually the idea of union gained support on both sides of the border. The British were primarily concerned with security. A different monrch in Scotland could pose a great threat, especially becuse of lingering ties with France. The Scotts tended to see economic advantages. The Acts of Union were two separate Parliamentary Acts (1706 and 1707). First, a Treaty of Union had to be negotiated between the two still independent countries. This permitted the preparation of Bills (proposed laws submitted to Parliament). Queen Anne was reportedly not enthusiastic about union, but the bills were enthusiastically passed by both parliaments. The Acts joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland into the single Kingdom of Great Britain. The Acts became effective (May 1, 1707). The Scots and English Parliament merged to form the Parliament of Great Britain seated at the Palace of Westminster in London,

Jacobin Revolt (1745)

The final Highland effort to break with England was the Jacobin rising of 1745 led by Bonnie Prince Charlry--the Stuart pretender. he Prince has becomer for ever associated with Scotland, but was in fact not a Scot. His father conceived of seizing the British Crown from Hanovarian King George II. The Prince landed in Scotland in 1745 with a handful of men and launched the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. He raised a force of Highlanders which seized Scotland and pushed deep into the English Midlands, but decided to withdraw to the Highlands and was defeated at Culloden Moor in 1746. After 5 months of evading capture. Charles himself escaped by ship to France. A Flora MacDonald on the Scottish island of Benbecula is credited with helping him finally escape. Many of his Highland followers were no so lucky.

Highland Clearances (18th century)

The failure of the Jacobin risings led to the Higland clearances. The lasting effect of the Jaconite Rebellion Highlands clans was enormous. Despite the fact that many if not most Highland clansmen hadn't supported the Prince, Highland culture, language, and dress was supressed for decades to come. The Highland clearances begun before Culloden, continued unabated, destroying the economic base of the clans. English and Scottish landlords evicted tens of thousands of Higland men, women and children from the homes where they and their ancestors had lived for centuries. In many cases this was done brutally with violence. The objective was to clear the land for large scale sheep raising to fill the growing demand for wool. Not infrequently whole glens were cleared and people have not returned to this day. Driving up from England one is impressed even oday with the vast swath of uninhabited hills filled with graising sheep. Homes were burned to make sure the tennants would not return. They were forced to the sea with little or no belongings, often at the point of bayonet and sword. Some clearances involvef forced settlement on barren land usually along the coast. There they survived on crofts, small plots of land. The soil was not well suited for agriculture, but they grew potatos. This was supplemented by fishing and seaweed harvesting called kelping. Many of the crofters failed. The numbers of Highlsnders driven to the coast resulted in over fishing and kelp harvesting. And then in the 1840s, the potato harvest failed.


Highland Scotts driven off the land began to emigrate. The destitution of the crofters resulted in more emigration. One of the major destinations was America which until the Revolutionary war was a British colony. The Scotts appeared throughout the British Empire from Barbados to Australia. Nowehere were they more important, however, than in America. And no where would they have a greater impact on Britain.

Scotts-Irish in America

A question arises as to how the English colonists, most fervently attached to Britain, came to see themselves as Americans. There were many reasons for this, but one important reason was there was in America an important group which had grown up looking as the British as invaders and suppressors--the Scotts-Irish. Most ardently embraced the Patriot cause in greater proportion than any other group in America and proved to be a major factor in the Revolutionary War. Their importance on the Western frontier made the western frontier areas a strong supporter of independence. A good example here is Andrew Jackson. It has been estimated that as much as a third of Washington's Continental Army was composed of the Scotts-Irish. There were reportedly 1,400 officers. The father of the American Navy, Commodore John Beary, was Irish. There were eight Irish signers of the Declaration of Independence--three born in Ireland and five in America. The Declaration was printed by an Irish printer. It should be stressed that the Irish in the Revolution were primarily the Protestant Scotts-Irish from Ulster and the Scotts affected by the Higland Clearances. The contribution of Catholic Irish would come later. While the English had thoroughly suppressed the Irish and Scotts by the late 18th century, in no small measure, the resentment that caused along with migration to America was a key factor in their loss of the American.. The Scott-Irish proved to be a mainstay of the Continental cause. Ironically the Scotts who had been so brutally treated by the Crown in Scotland were divided many feared that without the monarchy, they would be exposed to the domibation of the English majority. The Scotts-Irish not only played an imprtant role in the major campaigns, but they were also prominant in the West, seizing control of Kentucky. Many of the settlers Daniel Boone led into Kentucky were Scotts-Irish. This helped America in the peace neotiatins tomlay claim to the frontier beyond the Aplachains. colonies.

Industrial Revolution

Scotland played an important role in the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution began in England during the mid-18th century. Most of the early developments centered in the textile industry, primarily cotton textiles. The developments gradually spread to other countries, the first was Scotland. This was of coursr Scotland and England were joined in tghe United Kingdom. The common language and the fact that the English midlands where the Industrial Revolution began were relatively close to Scotland. The early Industrial Revolution centering on the textile industry centered on the Clyde Valley.

The Scottish Revival

The English victory at Culloden (1746) and the defeat of the Jacibins led to Highland clearances the destruction of traditional Scotland. The Scotts were looked dien on if not reviled by the English. But this gradually chnaged. The bravery of the Scottish regiments at Waterloo was widely discussed. King George IV traveled to Ireland and appeared in a kilt. Literary giants like Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott began to write romantic poems and books about a now disappeared Scotland. The literature charmed the English. One young lady particularly charmed was the Princess Victoria who upon becoming queen began dressing the princes in kilts--a step that would have huge repercussions for boys, including Amrican boys throughout the 19th century.

19th-20th Century

Throughout the 19th and 20th century Scottish history, especially foreign affairs and war becomes basically British history. There is little since in discussing the major international developments separately. One interesying result is that unemployed Highlanders found a rare area of opportunity became the British Army. And English troops which once faced the Highlanders were now led by bagpipes and Scottish regiments. The Scotts in essence became the shock troops of empire.


Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to an authority at a sub-national level, such as a regional, local, or state level. It is a type of centralization. In modern times, the trend has been toward centralization. That has been the trend in America as state powes have eroded over time, usually by court interpretatiins of the Cobstitution. It has also been the trend in Europ, and continues in modern times with the European Union. Devolved territories have the power to make legislation relevant to the area under termns created by the national government. This can ultimately take the form of granting independence to the sun-national authority. Devolution is similar, but different from federalism in that the devolved powers of the sub-national authority may be temporary. At the onset, power resides in the central or national government. Thus the state remains, de jure unitary. Depending on the legal frame work, the legislation creating devolved legislative bodies can be repealed or amended by central government. Federal systems have arrangements which specify in formal constitutions the powers of the national and state/proivincial authorities. The decision of the Parliament of Scotland, at the time an independent country, to ratify the Treaty of Union was not unanimous (1707). There were strongly held felings of scottish nationalism resulkting in the Jacobian uprising (1745). Since then individuals and groups have advocated the reinstatement of a Scottish Parliament. Some have supported devolution, the creation of a Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom. Others have have advocated complete independence from the United Kingdom. The Scottish people after three centuries got an opportunity to vote in a referendum on devolution propsals (1979). A majority approved devolution. A second referendum on a strong proposal resulted in overwhelming approval (1979). The Scotland Act 1998 was passed and a Scottish Parliament was established (1999). A range of powers have been devolved. Scotland is now considering actual independence.


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Created: 5:43 AM 11/25/2007
Last updated: 6:52 PM 10/25/2020