[History of Scotland Contents]
1. The History of Scotland, previous to the reign of Robert Bruce, is involved in much obscurity. We know, however, that the Romans first appeared in Scotland about the year 80 B.C., that they were opposed by the Caledonians, whom, in the year 85, they defeated in the battle of Mons Grampius, and against whom a line of forts called Agricola’s Wall was erected across the country between the friths of Forth and Clyde. We know also that the Caledonians could not be confined within the northern limits of this wall, and that Hadrian, in the year 120, and Antoninus in 139, made a wall between the Tyne and Solway which formed the northern limit of the Roman Empire.
2. Towards the end of the Roman occupation of Britain the Caledonians cease to be mentioned, and the Scots and Picts are spoken of as occupying the northern part of the country. The Scots, who came from Ireland, formed in Argyle and the Isles a kingdom called Dalriada, and the Picts, probably the Caledonians under a new name, occupied the country north of the Forth. On the departure of the Romans from Britain, the Saxon, territories extended as far north as the Frith of Forth, near which Edwin, Prince of Northumbria, built Edwin’s-burgh or Edinburgh. The Saxons pushed northward along the east coast, the Scots spread eastwards, and the Strathclyde Britons held Clydesdale and the west as far as the Solway. The Picts with difficulty held their own against these neighbours and against the Danes and Northmen who made frequent landings on the east coasts.
3. In 843 Kenneth Macalpin, King of the Scots, united the Picts under his sway. He and his successors went on consolidating their territories until Malcolm II., in 1018, gained a victory over the Northumbrians at Carham, and made the Tweed the southern boundary of his kingdom. The last king of Strathclyde fought on Malcolm’s side at Carham, but his domain soon became part of the larger state, and then all the country north of the Tweed and the Cheviots began to be called Scotland. Malcolm was succeeded by Duncan and Macbeth, whose story has been powerfully but not quite truly dramatized by Shakespere.
4. Malcolm Canmore was crowned in 1057. In his reign occurred the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy, called the Conqueror (1066). This caused Edgar the Atheling, the heir of the Saxon kings, to take refuge in Scotland accompanied by his sister Margaret, whom Malcolm Canmore married, thus uniting the Scottish and Saxon royal families. Malcolm was slain at Alnwick in 1093, and Margaret was so afflicted at his loss that she died the same year. There was a struggle between Donald Bane, the elder brother of Malcolm, and Duncan, Malcolm’s illegitimate son, during which Matilda, the daughter of Malcolm and Margaret, was sent to England, where she was married in 1100 to Henry I., son of the Conqueror, thus uniting the Norman, Saxon, and Scottish royal lines. Donald Bane was deposed and Edgar, the son of Malcolm, placed on the throne in 1097.
5. Edgar was succeeded in 1107 by Alexander I., whose son, David I., became king in 1124. When Stephen usurped the crown of England, David invaded that country in support of the rights of Maud, the daughter of Matilda, and was defeated at the Battle of the Standard in 1139. David died in 1153 and was succeeded by Malcolm IV., who died in 1165. His son, William the Lion, reigned in his stead. He was captured at Alnwick, and kept a prisoner at Falaise in France by Henry II. until he consented to acknowledge the feudal superiority of England. This acknowledgment was annulled by Richard Cœur de Lion in 1189 when he was setting out on a crusade to deliver the Holy Land from the Saracens. William the Lion died in 1214, and was succeeded by Alexander II., in whose reign the Border line between the two countries was fixed almost precisely as it is now.
6. He died in 1249 and was succeeded by his son, Alexander III., a boy of eight years. At the age of ten he was married to Margaret, daughter of Henry III. of England. In his reign Haco, King of Norway, attacked the Scots with a great fleet and was defeated at Largs in 1253. Alexander’s daughter, Margaret, was married to Eric, King of Norway, in 1281, but she died in the following year, leaving an infant daughter, Margaret, who, on the death of Alexander, the Scottish king’s only son, a few months after, became heiress to the Scottish crown. in 1286 Alexander III., when riding one dark night between Burntisland and Kinghorn, fell with his horse over a precipice, and was killed.
7. Scotland, previous to his death, had attained to a high degree of prosperity, but this prosperity was checked by the events which followed. Edward I. was desirous of uniting Scotland to England by the marriage of his son to the “Maid of Norway,” and the Scottish Estates agreed to the marriage. The young queen, however, died at Orkney on her way home. A number of competitors for the Scottish crown now came forward, chief of whom were John Baliol, a grandson of the eldest daughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon, John Comyn, Baliol’s cousin, and Robert Bruce, the son of Earl David’s second daughter. They submitted their claims to Edward I., who decided in favour of John Baliol. Edward assumed to be Overlord of Scotland, and so harassed his vassal that Baliol rebelled. The English king invaded Scotland, forced Baliol to submit, and deprived him of his kingdom. Edward carried away the “Stone of Destiny” from Scone and tried to unite the two countries by force. When he thought he had completed the conquest William Wallace arose and became the deliverer of his country.
8. Wallace gathered an army around him in name of King John, drove the English out of the Scottish castles, defeated them at Stirling Bridge in 1297, and was made Governor of Scotland. Edward, who had been absent in Flanders, returned to England, invaded Scotland, and defeated Wallace at Falkirk in 1298. The Scots struggled for a few years against the might of Edward, but they all at length submitted to him except Sir William Wallace. The Scottish hero, however, was in 1305 betrayed by Sir John Menteith and taken to Westminster, where he was tried, condemned to death, and executed.
Questions:- When did the Romans first appear in Scotland? Tell how they were opposed by the Caledonians. What is said of the Picts, Scots, Danes, and Northmen? How and when did the country north of the Tweed come to be called Scotland? What led to the connection by marriage of the Norman, Saxon, and Scottish royal families? How did it come about that a Scottish king acknowledged the feudal superiority of England? When was the Border line fixed? Mention the principal events of Alexander III.’s reign. What were the designs of Edward I. with respect to the Maid of Norway? Relate the events that followed her death. Give a brief account of the career of William Wallace.
|in-volved’, wrapt up in.||de-prived’, took from.|
|ob-scur’-i-ty, partial darkness.||dra-ma-tized’, turned into a play.|
|ap-peared’, came in sight.||oc-curred’, happened.|
|op-posed’, resisted.||con’-quest, getting by victory.|
|de-feat’-ed, beaten.||ac-com’-pan-ied, attended by.|
|e-rect’-ed, built.||strug’-gle, fight.|
|oc-cu-pa’-tion, holding, possession.||il-le-git’-i-mate, not born in wedlock.|
|men’-tioned, spoken of.||de-posed, put off.|
|prob’-ab-ly, perhaps.||u-surped’, took by force without right.|
|ter’-ri-tor-ies, lands, domains.||reigned’, ruled as king.|
|ex-tend’-ed, stretched.||ac-know’-ledged, owned, confessed.|
|neigh’-bours, those living near.||feu’-dal su-pe-ri-or’-i-ty, the right to exact military service for lands or territories.|
|suc-ces’-sors, those coming after.||an-nulled’, given up, made nought.|
|con-sol’-i-dat-ing, making firm, uniting.||pre-cise’-ly, exactly.|
|do-main’, land that one is master of, estate.||prec’-i-pice, steep rock.|
|com-pet’-i-tor, rival.||vas’-sal, one who holds land from a superior on condition of service.|