swuklink: Scotland about the time of the Norman Conquest  
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The kingdom of Scotland had arrisen by the unification of Dalriada, the first Celtic kingdom of the Scots, with the Pictish kingdom in the Highlands. As England and Scotland vied for territory, the English had never absorbed the Scots to the north of the Solway and the Scottish kingdom had acquired the eastern lowlands which had been part of Northumbria. At the time of Knut (or Canute), the border between England and Scotland was the river Tweed.

Malcolm Canmore had secured the crown of Scotland a little before The Norman Conquest and had married the sister of Edgar the Atheling. She did much to Anglicise the Lowlands. The Vikings had established themselvs in the far north of Scotland and in the Western Isles but, had it not been for this, the Highlands would have remained completely Celtic.

The Kings of Scotland ruled the Lowlands but they had little real power in the Celtic Highlands.

Malcolm Canmore's daughter married Henry I of England and the grandmother of Henry II, the first of the long line of Plantagenet Kings of England.

Canmore's third son became King of Scotland as David I and, apart from his benefactions to the Church in Scotland, he bestowed large estates in the Lowlands on the Norman barons of England.

The powerful Alexander III, David's direct descendant, held the throne of Scotland during the reign of Edward I of England who attempted to secure English dominion over Wales and Scotland during his reign. On the death of Alexander, there were no strong contenders for the throne of Scotland other than John Baliol, John Comyn and Robert the Bruce - all three were Noramn barons of England as well as Scotland and descended from the daughters of William the Lion, Alexander III's grandfather. The Scottish barons asked Edward I to arbitrate between the contenders for the throne.

Edward I agreed to arbitrate between the contenders but only on condition that, previous Scottish Kings having done homage to the Kings of England, the successful candidate for the Scottish Crown must do likewise. Understanding Edward's claim to suzerianty over Scotland to be a formality, the Scots agreed and the decision fell in favour of John Baliol.

The Scots soon found to their surprise that Edward I had intended his claim as no formality but expected a very real acceptance of his authority over Scotland and John Baliol rebelled. Baliol's revolt was crushed by Edward who resumed the Scottish Crown as his right by forfeit of his vassal's rebellion. The lands of Baliol's supporters were also forfeited and English officers and garrisons were sent to Scotland were they behaved as rulers of a vanquished foe, much as the Normans had done following their conquest of England in 1066.

With no king to lead them, the Scots followed William Wallace who raised an army of followers and, for a time, drove the English from Sctoland. Edward vowed vengeance for the revolt and Wallace's army was overwhelmed by the skill of the English archers at the battle of Falkirk. Wallace himself was taken to England as a captive to die a traitor's death. The Scots again found themselves under the harsh rule of the English.

Robert Bruce, grandson of the claimant to the Scottish throne, committed a murder for which he could have no hope of pardon and made his own bid to liberate Scotland from the grip of the English and the Scottish crown which had been forfeited by Baliol. The aged Edward I assembled a great host to crush the new rebellion but died before he could reach Scotland and his army of invasion was disbanded.

During the following six years, Edward II was too preoccupied by quarrels with his English barons to turn his attention north of the border with Scotland and Robert ousted the English from stronghold after Stronghold in Scotland until none were left save for Stirling.

Robert Bruce's victory at Bannockburn in 1314 ensured Scottish independence until the Act of Union in 1707.

Edward II sought to put down the rebellion by marching into Scotland with the largest English army to have ever gone into battle. Despite this, the English were utterly defeated at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 and the independance of the Scots was trully established although the English did not concede the fact until the treaty of Northampton in 1329, fifteen years later and two years after Edward's death.


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