Scotland By Hayden Pfeifer

Scotland Prehistory

People lived in Scotland for at least 8,500 years before Britain's recorded history. At times during the last interglacial period (130,000–70,000 bc) Europe had a climate warmer than today's, and early humans may have made their way to Scotland, with the possible discovery of pre-ice age axes on Orkney and mainland Scotland. Glaciers then scoured their way across most of Britain, and only after the ice retreated did Scotland again become habitable, around 9600 bc. Mesolithic hunter-gatherer encampments formed the first known settlements, and archaeologists have dated an encampment near Biggar to around 8500 bc.

Scotland Prehistory Continued

The creation of cairns and Megalithic monuments continued into the Bronze Age, which began in Scotland about 2000 bc. As elsewhere in Europe, hill forts were first introduced in this period, including the occupation of Eildon Hill near Melrose in the Scottish borders.

The Roman Invasion

The Roman invasion of Britain began in earnest in ad 43, leading to the establishment of the Roman province of Britannia in the south. By the year 71, the Roman governor Quintus Petillius Cerialis had launched an invasion of what is now Scotland. In the year 78, Gnaeus Julius Agricola arrived in Britain to take up his appointment as the new governor and began a series of major incursions. He is said to have pushed his armies to the estuary of the "River Taus" (usually assumed to be the River Tay) and established forts there, including a legionary fortress at Inchtuthil. After his victory over the northern tribes at Mons Graupius in 84, a series of forts and towers were established along the Gask Ridge, which marked the boundary between the Lowland and Highland zones, probably forming the first Roman limes or frontier in Scotland. Agricola's successors were unable or unwilling to further subdue the far north. By the year 87, the occupation was limited to the Southern Uplands and by the end of the first century the northern limit of Roman expansion was a line drawn between the Tyne and Solway Firth. The Romans eventually withdrew to a line in what is now northern England, building the fortification known as Hadrian's Wall from coast to coast.

Post Roman Scotland

In the centuries after the departure of the Romans from Britain, there were four groups within the borders of what is now Scotland. In the east were the Picts, with kingdoms between the river Forth and Shetland. In the late 6th century the dominant force was the Kingdom of Fortriu, whose lands were centred on Strathearn and Menteith and who raided along the eastern coast into modern England. In the west were the Gaelic (Goidelic)-speaking people of Dál Riata with their royal fortress at Dunadd in Argyll, with close links with the island of Ireland, from whom comes the name Scots. In the south was the British (Brythonic) Kingdom of Strathclyde, descendants of the peoples of the Roman influenced kingdoms of "Hen Ogledd" (Old north), often named Alt Clut, the Brythonic name for their capital at Dumbarton Rock. Finally, there were the English or "Angles", Germanic invaders who had overrun much of southern Britain and held the Kingdom of Bernicia, in the south-east. The first English king in the historical record is Ida, who is said to have obtained the throne and the kingdom about 547. Ida’s grandson, Æthelfrith, united his kingdom with Deira to the south to form Northumbria around the year 604. There were changes of dynasty, and the kingdom was divided, but it was re-united under Æthelfrith's son Oswald (r. 634-42). Scotland was largely converted to Christianity by Irish-Scots missions associated with figures such as St Columba, from the fifth to the seventh centuries. These missions tended to found monastic institutions and collegiate churches that served large areas. Partly as a result of these factors, some scholars have identified a distinctive form of Celtic Christianity, in which abbots were more significant than bishops, attitudes to clerical celibacy were more relaxed and there was some significant differences in practice with Roman Christianity, particularly the form of tonsure and the method of calculating Easter, although most of these issues had been resolved by the mid-7th century.

War of Independence

The death of king Alexander III in 1286, and the death of his granddaughter and heir Margaret, Maid of Norway in 1290, left 14 rivals for succession. To prevent civil war the Scottish magnates asked Edward I of England to arbitrate, for which he extracted legal recognition that the realm of Scotland was held as a feudal dependency to the throne of England before choosing John Balliol, the man with the strongest claim, who became king in 1292. Robert Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale, the next strongest claimant, accepted this outcome with reluctance. Over the next few years Edward I used the concessions he had gained to systematically undermine both the authority of King John and the independence of Scotland. In 1295 John, on the urgings of his chief councillors, entered into an alliance with France, known as the Auld Alliance.

War of Independence Continued

In 1296 Edward invaded Scotland, deposing King John. The following year William Wallace and Andrew de Moray raised forces to resist the occupation and under their joint leadership an English army was defeated at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. For a short time Wallace ruled Scotland in the name of John Balliol as Guardian of the realm. Edward came north in person and defeated Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk (1298). Wallace escaped but probably resigned as Guardian of Scotland. In 1305 he fell into the hands of the English, who executed him for treason despite the fact that he owed no allegiance to England. Rivals John Comyn and Robert the Bruce, grandson of the claimant, were appointed as joint guardians in his place. On 10 February 1306, Bruce participated in the murder of Comyn, at Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries. Less than seven weeks later, on 25 March, Bruce was crowned as King. However, Edward's forces overran the country after defeating Bruce's small army at the Battle of Methven. Despite the excommunication of Bruce and his followers by Pope Clement V, his support slowly strengthened; and by 1314 with the help of leading nobles such as Sir James Douglas and Thomas Randolph only the castles at Bothwell and Stirling remained under English control. Edward I had died in 1307. His heir Edward II moved an army north to break the siege of Stirling Castle and reassert control. Robert defeated that army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, securing de facto independence. In 1320 the Declaration of Arbroath, a remonstrance to the Pope from the nobles of Scotland, helped convince Pope John XXII to overturn the earlier excommunication and nullify the various acts of submission by Scottish kings to English ones so that Scotland's sovereignty could be recognised by the major European dynasties. The Declaration has also been seen as one of the most important documents in the development of a Scottish national identity.

Credits:

Created with images by Free Grunge Textures - www.freestock.ca - "Scotland Grunge Flag" • paperley - "sept 07 - exploring scotland - calanais - side view of altar bit" • paperley - "sept 07 - exploring scotland - calanais - side view of altar bit" • Renaud Camus - "Le Jour ni l’Heure 0452 : William Hole, 1846-1917, Arrivée, 1068, de Marguerite de Wessex, future reine d'Écosse et sainte Marguerite, 1898, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Édimbourg, samedi 14 avril 2012,12:43:56" • Moyan_Brenn - "Scotland" • FrankWinkler - "landscape scotland isle of skye" • FrankWinkler - "landscape nature mountains"

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