Kenneth MacAlpin I (843-859)
Kenneth was the first king of the united Scots of Dalriada and the
Picts and so of Scotland north of a line between the Forth and Clyde
Of his father, Alpin, little is known, though tradition credits him
with a signal victory over the Picts by whom he was killed three months
later (c. 834). Kenneth succeeded him in Dalriada and ruled in Pictavia
also, ruling for 16 years. The period is obscure. The gradual union of the
two kingdoms from 843 doubtless owes much to intermarriage. By the Pictish
marriage custom, inheritance passed through the female. Nevertheless,
Kenneth probably made some conquests among the eastern Picts and possibly
invaded Lothian and burned Dunbar and Melrose. After attacks on Iona by
Vikings he removed relics of St. Columba, probably in 849 or 850, to
Dunkeld, which became the headquarters of the Scottish Columban church. He
died at Forteviot, not far from Scone in Pictish territory, and was buried
on the island of Iona.
Donald I (858-862)
King of Alba, the united kingdom of the Picts and Scots (858-862),
brother and successor of Kenneth I MacAlpin. Donald established an ancient
corpus of laws and rights (known as the laws of Aed, or Aedh) that
apparently included the custom of tanistry. According to this custom, the
successor of a king was elected during his lifetime from the eldest and
worthiest of his kin, often a collateral (brother or cousin) in preference
to a descendant (son). The next king, Donald's nephew Constantine I,
succeeded in accordance with this custom.
Constantine I (862-877)
King of Scotland or Alba, the united kingdom of the Picts and Scots
(862-877), who succeeded his uncle Donald I. Constantine's reign was occupied with conflicts with the Norsemen.
Olaf the White, the Danish king of Dublin, laid waste the country of the
Picts and Britons year after year; in the south the Danish leader Halfdan
devastated Northumberland and Galloway. Constantine was slain at a battle
at Inverdovat in Fife, at the hands of another band of northern marauders.
His heir was his brother Aed, who was killed by the Scots after a year and
was succeeded by a nephew, Eochaid.
Little is known about King Aed except he was the son of Kenneth I
and the brother of Constantine. He was killed shortly after becoming king
Eochain & Giric (878-889)
These two Kings ruled jointly because of both men having claims to
the Pictish throne, so they both ruled from their respective territories.
Donald II (889-900)
King of the Scots (from 889), son of Constantine I and successor to
Eochaid and Giric (reigned 878-889). His reign coincided with renewed
invasions by the Danes, who came less to plunder and more to occupy the
lands bordering Scotland and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. He was also
embroiled in efforts to reduce the highland robber tribes. By one account
he was slain at Dunnottar, meeting a Danish invasion; by another he died
of infirmity brought on by his campaigns against the highlanders. He was
succeeded by his cousin Constantine II.
Constantine II (900-943)
Constantine was the son of King Aed. One of the greatest of early
Scottish kings, his long reign (900-943) being proof of his power during a
period of dynastic conflicts and foreign invasions.
During the first part of his reign the kingdom was still beset by
the Norsemen. In his third year they wasted Dunkeld and all of Alba. They
were repulsed, however, in Strathearn the following year. In his eighth
year Rognwald, the Danish king of Dublin, with earls Ottir and Oswle
Crakaban, ravaged Dunblane. Six years later the same leaders were defeated
on the Tyne by Constantine in a battle whose site and incidents are told
in conflicting stories; it appears certain, however, that Constantine
saved his dominions from further serious attacks by the Vikings.
In spite of his wars, Constantine found time in the early part of
his reign for two important reforms, one ecclesiastical and the other
civil. In his sixth year (906) he established the Scottish church, which
the Pictish kings had earlier suppressed. Two years later, on the death of
Donald, king of the Britons of Strathclyde, Constantine procured the
election of his own brother Donald to that kingdom.
He had now to meet a more formidable foe, the West Saxons, whose
kings were steadily moving northward. In league with other northern kings,
Constantine was decisively defeated at the Battle of Brunanburh (937) by
King Athelstan. The slaughter was devastating. A son of Constantine was
slain, as were four kings and seven earls. Constantine himself escaped to
Scotland, where in old age he resigned the crown for the tonsure and
became abbot of the Culdees of St. Andrews. He was succeeded by a cousin,
Malcolm I (943-954)
Also called MALCOLM MACDONALD king of the Picts and Scots (Alba).
Malcolm succeeded to the crown when his cousin Constantine II
entered a monastery (943). He annexed Moray to the kingdom for the first
time. After driving the Danes from York, the English king Edmund turned
Cumbria over to Malcolm, apparently as a fief or seal of alliance. Later,
when Norsemen again invaded the land, the Scots sent raids against the
English, and in 954 the West Saxon king Eadred reunited the northern
counties to his dominions. Malcolm was slain the same year.
Indulf was the son of Constantine II and under his rule Edinburgh
was brought under Scots rule he died in battle against the Danes.
Dubh (The Black) was the son of Malcolm I. Twice challenged by
Cullen, Dubh was killed in the second battle and Cullen succeded him as
Son of Indulf, Cullen was killed for kidnapping the daughter of the
King of Strathclyde.
Kenneth II (971-995)
King of the united Picts and Scots (from 971), son of Malcolm I.
He began his reign by ravaging the Britons, probably as an act of
vengeance, but his name is also included among a group of northern and
western kings said to have made submission to the Anglo-Saxon king Edgar
in 973, perhaps at Chester; and the chronicler Roger of Wendover (Flores
Historiarum, under the year 975) states that shortly afterward Kenneth
received from Edgar all the land called Lothian (i.e., between the Tweed
and the Forth rivers). This is the first mention of the River Tweed as the
recognized border between England and Scotland. Kenneth was slain,
apparently by his own subjects, at Fettercairn in the Mearns.
Constantine III (995-997)
King of the Scots (995-997), who succeeded to the crown after the
murder of his cousin, Kenneth II, son of Malcolm I. After a brief reign of
two years he was himself killed, perhaps by an illegitimate son (named
Kenneth) of Malcolm I or by his successor, Kenneth III.
Kenneth III (997-1005)
King of the Scots (from 997), son of Dubh and grandson of Malcolm I.
He succeeded to the throne perhaps after killing his cousin Constantine
III (reigned 995-997); he was himself killed at Monzievaird by Malcolm
(son of Kenneth II), who became Malcolm II. Gruoch, wife of the future
King Macbeth, was apparently a granddaughter of Kenneth III.
Malcolm II (1005-1034)
King of Scotland from 1005 to 1034, the first to reign over an
extent of land roughly corresponding to much of modern Scotland.
Malcolm succeeded to the throne after killing his predecessor,
Kenneth III, and allegedly secured his territory by defeating a
Northumbrian army at the battle of Carham (c. 1016); he not only confirmed
the Scottish hold over the land between the rivers Forth and Tweed but
also secured Strathclyde about the same time. Eager to secure the royal
succession for his daughter's son Duncan, he tried to eliminate possible
rival claimants; but Macbeth, with royal connections to both Kenneth II
and Kenneth III, survived to challenge the succession.
Duncan I (1034-1040)
King of the Scots from 1034 to 1040.
Duncan was the grandson of King Malcolm II (ruled 1005-34), who
irregularly made him ruler of Strathclyde when that region was absorbed
into the Scottish kingdom (probably shortly before 1034). Malcolm violated
the established system of succession whereby the kingship alternated
between two branches of the royal family. Upon Malcolm's death, Duncan
succeeded peacefully, but he soon faced the rivalry of Macbeth, Mormaor (subking)
of Moray, who probably had a better claim to the throne. Duncan besieged
Durham unsuccessfully in 1039 and in the following year was murdered by
Macbeth. Duncan's elder son later killed Macbeth and ruled as King Malcolm
III Canmore (1058-93).
King of Scots from 1040, the legend of whose life was the basis of
Shakespeare's Macbeth. He was probably a grandson of King Kenneth II
(ruled 971-995), and he married Gruoch, a descendant of King Kenneth III
(ruled 997-1005). About 1031 Macbeth succeeded his father, Findlaech (Sinel
in Shakespeare), as mormaer, or chief, in the province of Moray, in
northern Scotland. Macbeth established himself on the throne after killing
his cousin King Duncan I in battle near Elgin--not, as in Shakespeare, by
murdering Duncan in bed--on Aug. 14, 1040. Both Duncan and Macbeth derived
their rights to the crown through their mothers.
Macbeth's victory in 1045 over a rebel army, near Dunkeld (in modern
Tayside region) may account for the later references (in Shakespeare and
others) to Birnam Wood, for the village of Birnam is near Dunkeld. In 1046
Siward, Earl of Northumbria, unsuccessfully attempted to dethrone Macbeth
in favour of Malcolm (afterward King Malcolm III Canmore), eldest son of
Duncan I. By 1050 Macbeth felt secure enough to leave Scotland for a
pilgrimage to Rome. But in 1054 he was apparently forced by Siward to
yield part of southern Scotland to Malcolm. Three years later Macbeth was
killed in battle by Malcolm, with assistance from the English.
Macbeth was buried on the island of Iona, regarded as the resting
place of lawful kings but not of usurpers. His followers installed his
stepson, Lulach, as king; when Lulach was killed on March 17, 1058,
Malcolm III was left supreme in Scotland.
Lulach was killed by Malcolm III after a few short months of rule.
Malcolm Canmore III (1058-1093)
King of Scotland from 1058 to 1093, founder of the dynasty that
consolidated royal power in the Scottish kingdom.
The son of King Duncan I (reigned 1034-40), Malcolm lived in exile
in England during part of the reign of his father's murderer, Macbeth
(reigned 1040-57). Malcolm killed Macbeth in battle in 1057 and then
ascended the throne. After the conquest of England by William the
Conqueror, in 1066, Malcolm gave refuge to the Anglo-Saxon prince Edgar
the Aetheling and his sisters, one of whom, Margaret (later St. Margaret),
became his second wife. Malcolm acknowledged the overlordship of William
in 1072 but nevertheless soon violated his feudal obligations and made
five raids into England. During the last of these invasions he was killed
by the forces of King William II Rufus (reigned 1087-1100). Except for a
brief interval after Malcolm's death, the Scottish throne remained in his
family until the death of Queen Margaret, the Maid of Norway, in 1290. Of
Malcolm's six sons by Margaret, three succeeded to the throne: Edgar
(reigned 1097-1107), Alexander I (1107-24), and David I (1124-53).
Donald Bane (1093-1094)
Also spelled DONALDBANE, OR DONALBANE, BANE also spelled BAN OR
BAIN, king of Scotland from November 1093 to May 1094 and from November
1094 to October 1097, son of Duncan I.
Upon the death of his brother Malcolm III Canmore (1093) there was a
fierce contest for the crown. Donald Bane besieged Edinburgh Castle, took
it, and, with the support of the Celtic Scots and the custom of tanistry
(the Celtic system of electing kings or chiefs), he was king nominally for
at least six months. He was expelled by Duncan II, son of Malcolm,
assisted by English and Normans and some Saxons. Duncan's reign was
equally short, for Donald Bane had his nephew slain and again reigned for
These years saw the last attempt of the Celts to maintain a king of
their race and a kingdom governed according to their customs. Edgar the
Aetheling, who had newly befriended the Norman king of England, led an
army into Scotland, dispossessed Donald Bane, and advanced his nephew
Edgar, son of Malcolm III, as sole king of the Scots.
Duncan II (1093-1094)
King of Scotland (1093-94), son of Malcolm III and grandson of
Duncan I. For many years (1072?-87) Duncan lived as a hostage of the
Norman English, allegedly as a confirmation of his father's homage to
William I of England. He became king of the Scots while driving out his
uncle, Donald Bane, in 1094, an enterprise in which he was helped by some
English and Normans. He was killed at the instigation of Donald Bane,
possibly at Monthechin, making way for the restoration of Donald Bane.
Edgar the fourth son of Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret was
subserviant to England, he gave the western islands to the King of Norway
to establish peace. As a result of this peace many Anglo-Normans came to
Alexander I (1107-1124)
The son of King Malcolm III Canmore (reigned 1058-93), Alexander
succeeded to the throne upon the death of his brother King Edgar (ruled
1097-1107). In accordance with Edgar's instructions, Alexander allowed his
younger brother and heir, David, to rule southern Scotland.
Alexander probably acknowledged King Henry I of England as his
overlord. He married Henry's illegitimate daughter, Sibylla, and in 1114
he led a Scottish contingent in Henry's Welsh campaigns. Nevertheless,
Alexander strove to preserve the independence of the Scottish Church from
the English Church and to assert his will over the Scottish bishops. The
outcome of these struggles was inconclusive at his death. He was succeeded
by David (David I, 1124-53), who ruled over the whole of Scotland.
David I (1124-1153)
One of the most powerful Scottish kings (reigned from 1124). He
admitted into Scotland an Anglo-French (Norman) aristocracy that played a
major part in the later history of the kingdom. He also reorganized
Scottish Christianity to conform with continental European and English
usages and founded many religious communities, mostly for Cistercian monks
and Augustinian canons.
The youngest of the six sons of the Scottish king Malcolm III
Canmore and Queen Margaret (afterward St. Margaret), David spent much of
his early life at the court of his brother-in-law King Henry I of England.
Through David's marriage (1113) to a daughter of Waltheof, earl of
Northumbria, he acquired the English earldom of Huntingdon and obtained
much land in that county and in Northamptonshire. With Anglo-Norman help,
David secured from his brother Alexander I, king of Scots from 1107, the
right to rule Cumbria, Strathclyde, and part of Lothian. In April 1124, on
the death of Alexander, David became king of Scots.
David recognized his niece, the Holy Roman empress Matilda (died
1167), as heir to Henry I in England, and from 1136 he fought for her
against King Stephen (crowned as Henry's successor in December 1135),
hoping thereby to gain Northumberland for himself. A brief peace made with
Stephen in 1136 resulted in the cession of Cumberland to David and the
transfer of Huntingdon to his son Earl Henry. David, however, continued to
switch sides. While fighting for Matilda again, he was defeated in the
Battle of the Standard, near Northallerton, Yorkshire (Aug. 22, 1138). He
then made peace once more with Stephen, who in 1139 granted Northumberland
(as an English fief) to Earl Henry. In 1141 David reentered the war on
Matilda's behalf, and in 1149 he knighted her son Henry Plantagenet
(afterward King Henry II of England), who acknowledged David's right to
In Scotland, David created a rudimentary central administration,
issued the first Scottish royal coinage, and built or rebuilt the castles
around which grew the first Scottish burghs: Edinburgh, Stirling, Berwick,
Roxburgh, and perhaps Perth. As ruler of Cumbria he had taken
Anglo-Normans into his service, and during his kingship many others
settled in Scotland, founding important families and intermarrying with
the older Scottish aristocracy. Bruce, Stewart, Comyn, and Oliphant are
among the noted names whose bearers went from northern France to England
during the Norman Conquest in 1066 and then to Scotland in the reign of
David I. To these and other French-speaking immigrants, David granted land
in return for specified military service or contributions of money, as had
been done in England from the time of the Conquest.
Malcolm IV (1153-1165)
MALCOLM THE MAIDEN king of Scotland (1153-65).
Malcolm ascended the throne at the age of 11. He was the eldest son
of Henry, Earl of Huntingdon and of Northumberland (d. 1152), and
succeeded his grandfather King David I. Under Malcolm's predecessors, the
kingdom of Scotland had been extended to embrace the modern English
counties of Northumberland and Cumbria. In 1157, by a treaty signed at
Chester, England's King Henry II forced the boy king Malcolm to surrender
these counties in return for confirming Malcolm's rights to the earldom of
Malcolm died young, unmarried (thus his nickname, the Maiden) and
without issue, and was succeeded by his brother, William I the Lion.
William The Lion (1165-1214)
King of Scotland from 1165 to 1214; although he submitted to English
overlordship for 15 years (1174-89) of his reign, he ultimately obtained
independence for his kingdom.
William was the second son of the Scottish Henry, Earl of
Northumberland, whose title he inherited in 1152. He was forced, however,
to relinquish this earldom to King Henry II of England (reigned 1154-89)
in 1157. Succeeding to the throne of his elder brother, King Malcolm IV,
in 1165, William joined a revolt of Henry's sons (1173) in an attempt to
regain Northumberland. He was captured near Alnwick, Northumberland, in
1174 and released after agreeing to recognize the overlordship of the king
of England and the supremacy of the English church over the Scottish
Upon Henry's death in 1189, William obtained release from his feudal
subjection by paying a large sum of money to England's new king, Richard I
(reigned 1189-99). In addition, although William had quarreled bitterly
with the papacy over a church appointment, Pope Celestine III ruled in
1192 that the Scottish church owed obedience only to Rome, not to England.
During the reign of King John in England, relations between England and
Scotland deteriorated over the issue of Northumberland until finally, in
1209, John forced William to renounce his claims.
In his effort to consolidate his authority throughout Scotland,
William developed a small but efficient central administrative
bureaucracy. He chartered many of the major burghs of modern Scotland and
in 1178 founded Arbroath Abbey, which had become probably the wealthiest
monastery in Scotland by the time of his death. William was succeeded by
his son Alexander II.
Alexander II (1214-1249)
king of Scotland from 1214 to 1249; he maintained peace with England
and greatly strengthened the Scottish monarchy.
Alexander came to the throne on the death of his father, William I
the Lion (reigned 1165-1214). When the English barons rebelled against
King John (reigned 1199-1216) in 1215, Alexander sided with the insurgents
in the hope of regaining territory he claimed in northern England. After
the rebellion collapsed in 1217, he did homage to King Henry III (reigned
1216-72), and in 1221 he married Henry's sister, Joan (d. 1238). In 1237
Henry and Alexander concluded an agreement (Peace of York) by which the
Scots king abandoned his claim to land in England but received in exchange
several English estates. The boundary of Scotland was fixed approximately
at its present location.
Meanwhile, Alexander was suppressing rebellious Scots lords and
consolidating his rule over parts of Scotland that had hitherto only
nominally acknowledged royal authority. In 1222 he subjugated Argyll. He
died as he was preparing to conquer the Norwegian-held islands along
Scotland's west coast.
Alexander III (1249-1286)
King of Scotland from 1249 to 1286, the last major ruler of the
dynasty of kings descended from Malcolm III Canmore (reigned 1058-93), who
consolidated royal power in Scotland. Alexander left his kingdom
independent, united, and prosperous, and his reign was viewed as a golden
age by Scots caught up in the long, bloody conflict with England after his
The only son of King Alexander II (reigned 1214-49), Alexander III
was seven years old when he came to the throne. In 1251 he was married to
Margaret (d. 1275), the 11-year-old daughter of England's King Henry III.
Henry immediately began plotting to obtain suzerainty over Scotland. In
1255 a pro-English party in Scotland seized Alexander, but two years later
the anti-English party gained the upper hand and controlled the government
until Alexander came of age the year 1262.
In 1263 Alexander repulsed an invasion by the Norwegian king Haakon
IV, who ruled the islands along Scotland's west coast. Haakon's son, King
Magnus V, in 1266 ceded to Alexander the Hebrides and the Isle of Man.
Alexander was killed in 1286 when his horse fell over a cliff. Because his
children were all dead, his infant grandchild Margaret "the Maid of
Norway" (d. 1290) succeeded to the throne.
Margaret Maid of Norway (1286-1290)
Queen of Scotland from 1286 to 1290, the last of the line of
Scottish rulers descended from King Malcolm III Canmore (ruled 1058-93).
Margaret's father was Eric II, king of Norway; her mother, Margaret,
a daughter of King Alexander III of Scotland (ruled 1249-86), died in
1283. Because none of Alexander III's other children were alive at the
time of his death (March 1286), the Scottish lords proclaimed the infant
Margaret as their queen. In 1290 her great-uncle, King Edward I of
England, arranged a marriage between Margaret and his son Edward, later
King Edward II of England. On the voyage from Norway to England, however,
Margaret fell ill and died. Although the marriage treaty had specified
that Scotland was to maintain its independence of England, Edward now
proclaimed himself overlord of Scotland; the Scots resisted, and for more
than 20 years Scotland suffered foreign domination and civil war.
John Baliol (1291-1296)
also called JOHN DE BALLIOL, OR BALIOL, king of Scotland from 1292
to 1296, the youngest son of John de Balliol and his wife Dervorguilla,
daughter and heiress of the lord of Galloway.
His brothers dying childless, he inherited the Balliol lands in
England and France in 1278 and succeeded to Galloway in 1290. In that
year, when the heiress to the kingdom of Scotland, Margaret, the Maid of
Norway, died, Balliol became one of 13 competitors for the crown. He at
once designated himself "heir of the kingdom of Scotland," clearly
anticipating the vindication of his claim, which was derived from his
mother, daughter of Margaret, eldest daughter of David, earl of
Huntingdon, brother to kings Malcolm IV and William I the Lion. His chief
rival was Robert de Bruce (grandfather of King Robert I).
The English king Edward I met the Scottish baronage at Norham in
Northumberland and insisted that as adjudicator between the claimants he
should be recognized as overlord of Scotland. His court of 104 persons
discussed the rival titles for more than a year, but Balliol's simple
claim by primogeniture ultimately prevailed. Edward I confirmed the
decision on Nov. 17, 1292, and Balliol was enthroned at Scone on November
30, doing homage to Edward at Newcastle on December 26. John, however,
soon proved rebellious; and when in June 1294 Edward demanded military aid
from Scotland for his projected war in Gascony, the Scottish reaction was
to conclude a treaty of mutual aid with the French. When Edward I sent an
army to Gascony in January 1296, the Scots raided northern England. Edward
reacted quickly; he took Berwick on March 30. Castle after castle fell to
the English king, and at Montrose, John resigned his kingdom to Edward. He
was stripped of his arms and knightly dignity in a ceremony which later
earned him the nickname "Toom (empty) Tabard." John was a prisoner in the
Tower of London until July 1299, when papal intervention secured his
release. Thereafter, he lived in Normandy.
John Baliol was in fact the last Scottish king crowned upon the
Stone of Scone.
Robert I (1306-1329)
ROBERT VIII DE BRUCE, OR ROBERT THE BRUCE King of Scotland
(1306-29), who freed Scotland from English rule, winning the decisive
Battle of Bannockburn (1314) and ultimately confirming Scottish
independence in the Treaty of Northampton (1328).
David II (1329-1371)
King of Scots from 1329, although he spent 18 years in exile or in
prison. His reign was marked by costly intermittent warfare with England
(a stage in the Scottish Wars of Independence), a decline in the prestige
of the monarchy, and an increase in the power of the barons.
On July 17, 1328, in accordance with the Anglo-Scottish peace treaty
of Northampton, the four-year-old David was married to Joanna, sister of
King Edward III of England. The boy succeeded his father, Robert I the
Bruce, as king of Scots on June 7, 1329. A rival claimant to the Scottish
throne, Edward de Balliol, a vassal of Edward III, became de facto king
after Edward's victory over Sir Archibald Douglas, regent since 1332, at
Halidon Hill, Northumberland (July 19, 1333). In 1334 David went into
exile in France, where he was maintained generously by King Philip VI. In
1339 and 1340 he fought in Philip's fruitless campaigns against Edward
III. By 1341 he was able to return to Scotland, but he did little as king
except to make futile raids into England. During the French siege of
English-held Calais he attempted a diversion on behalf of Philip VI but
was defeated, wounded, and captured at Neville's Cross, County Durham
(Oct. 17, 1346).
Held prisoner by the English, David was released in 1357 in return
for a promised ransom that proved to be more than the Scottish government
could pay. In 1363 David, now on cordial terms with Edward III, proposed
that a son of the English king should succeed to the throne of Scotland in
return for the cancellation of the ransom. The arrangement, which made an
enemy of his nephew and lawful successor, the future Robert II, was
repudiated by the Scottish Parliament. In his last years David inspired
further opposition by his financial extravagance.
Robert II (1371-1390)
also called ROBERT THE STEWARD, OR (1357-71) ROBERT STEWART, EARL OF
STRATHEARN king of Scots from 1371, first of the Stewart (Stuart)
sovereigns in Scotland. Heir presumptive for more than 50 years, he had
little effect on Scottish political and military affairs when he finally
acceded to the throne.
On the death (1326) of his father, Walter the Steward, in 1326,
Robert became seventh hereditary steward of Scotland at age 10. From 1318
he was heir presumptive to his maternal grandfather, King Robert I the
Bruce (died 1329). He lost this position in 1324 when the Bruce's son,
afterward King David II, was born; but two years later the Scottish
Parliament confirmed Robert the Steward as heir apparent to David.
During David's periods of exile and of imprisonment by the English,
Robert the Steward was joint regent (1334-35; with John Randolph, 3rd earl
of Moray) and sole regent (1338-41, 1346-57). After David had been
ransomed from the English, Robert led an unsuccessful rebellion (1362-63).
He succeeded in defending his own right as heir apparent against David's
abortive proposal to commute his remaining ransom payments to the English
by making a son of King Edward III of England heir to the Scottish throne.
On the death of David (Feb. 22, 1371), Robert succeeded to the
throne, his reign proving largely an anticlimax to his career. He took no
active part in the renewed war with England (from 1378 to 1388). From 1384
the kingdom was administered by Robert's eldest son, John, earl of Carrick
(afterward King Robert III), and from 1388, by his next surviving son,
Robert, earl of Fife (afterward 1st duke of Albany).
Robert's marriage (c. 1348) to Elizabeth Mure followed the birth of
their four sons and five daughters, whose legitimation by the subsequent
marriage did not give any of them an undisputed right of succession to the
crown. A superior claim was asserted on behalf of Robert's two sons and
two daughters by his second wife, Euphemia Ross, whom he married in 1355.
Partly because of this dispute, Walter, earl of Atholl, one of Robert's
sons by Euphemia, instigated the murder (1437) of James I, king of Scots,
grandson of Robert and Elizabeth Mure. Robert also had at least eight
Robert III (1390-1406)
also called JOHN STEWART, EARL OF CARRICK king of Scots from 1390,
after having ruled Scotland in the name of his father, Robert II, from
1384 to 1388. Physically disabled by a kick from a horse, he was never the
real ruler of Scotland during the years of his kingship.
The eldest son of Robert the Steward (the future Robert II) and
Elizabeth Mure, he was legitimated by their marriage several years after
his birth. In 1362-63 he joined his father in a futile revolt against King
David II, who both imprisoned him and created him earl of Carrick in 1368.
(He had been created earl of Atholl in 1367.) Robert II became king in
1371; in 1384, because of his advanced age, he turned over the government
to Carrick. After his injury in 1388, however, Carrick was supplanted by
his brother Robert, earl of Fife.
On his accession, probably on April 19, 1390, he changed his name to
Robert (III) from John, to avoid reminding others of John de Balliol, king
of Scotland from 1292 to 1296, who was not favourably remembered. Fife,
created duke of Albany in 1398, continued to govern throughout this reign,
except for three years (1399-1402) when Robert III's eldest son, David,
duke of Rothesay, took his place. The dissolute Rothesay died in March
1402 while imprisoned in Albany's castle of Falkland, Fife. Perhaps in an
attempt to save his remaining son, James (afterward James I, king of
Scots), from death at Albany's hands, Robert III sent the boy to France,
but James was captured by English sailors, a shock to the aging king.
James I (1406-1437)
Son of Robert III and held prisoner by the English for over 18
years. After being considered nobility by the Scottish Parliment, he was
released from Prison and returned to Scotland to claim the throne. He was
later murdered by dissident nobles and is buried at Perth where he died.
James II (1437-1460)
The coronation of James broke an ancient tradition of Kings being
crowned at Scone, all previous Kings of Scotland since Kenneth MacAlpin
had been crowned at Scone.
During his attempts at liberating castles from England in almost
constant warfare, James introduced Cannons to warfare, and during the
siege of Roxburg he was killed as a cannon exploded that was under his
James III (1460-1488)
King of Scots from 1460 to 1488. A weak monarch, he was confronted
with two major rebellions because he failed to win the respect of the
James received the crown at the age of eight upon the death of his
father, King James II. Scotland was governed first by James's mother, Mary
of Gueldres (d. 1463), and James Kennedy, bishop of St. Andrews (d. 1465),
and then by a group of nobles headed by the Boyds of Kilmarnock, who
seized the king in 1466. In 1469 James overthrew the Boyds and began to
govern for himself. Unlike his father, he was, however, unable to restore
strong central government after his long minority. He evidently offended
his nobles by his interest in the arts and by taking artists for his
favourites. In 1479 he arrested his brothers, Alexander, Duke of Albany,
and John, Earl of Mar, on suspicion of treason. Albany escaped to England,
and in 1482 English troops entered Scotland and forced James to restore
Albany to his domains. During this invasion dissident Scottish nobles
hanged James's favourites. By March 1483 the king had recovered enough
power to expel Albany.
Nevertheless, even without English aid to his discontented subjects,
James was unable to ward off revolts. In 1488 two powerful border
families, the Homes and the Hepburns, raised a rebellion and won to their
cause his 15-year-old son, the future king James IV. James III was
captured and killed after his defeat at the Battle of Sauchieburn,
Stirling, on June 11.
James IV (1488-1513)
King of Scotland from 1488 to 1513. An energetic and popular ruler,
he unified Scotland under royal control, strengthened royal finances, and
improved Scotland's position in European politics.
James succeeded to the throne after his father, James III, was
killed in a battle against rebels on June 11, 1488. The 15-year-old
monarch immediately began to take an active part in government. He
extended his authority to the sparsely populated areas of western and
northern Scotland and by 1493 had humbled the last lord of the Isles.
Although his reign was internally peaceful, it was disturbed by wars with
England. Breaking a truce with England in 1495, James prepared an invasion
in support of Perkin Warbeck, a pretender to the English throne. The war
was confined to a few border forays, and a seven-year peace was negotiated
in December 1497, though border raids continued. Relations between England
and Scotland were further stabilized in 1503, when James married Margaret
Tudor, the eldest daughter of the English king Henry VII; this match
resulted, a century later, in the accession of James's great-grandson, the
Stuart monarch James VI of Scotland, to the English throne as King James
James IV's growing prestige enabled him to negotiate as an equal
with the rulers of continental Europe, but his position was weakened as he
came into conflict with King Henry VIII of England (ruled 1509-47). In
1512 James allied with France against England and the major continental
powers. When Henry invaded France in 1513, James decided, against the
counsel of his advisers, to aid his ally by advancing into England. He
captured four castles in northern England in August 1513, but his army was
disastrously defeated at the Battle of Flodden, near Branxton, on Sept. 9,
1513. The king was killed while fighting on foot, and most of his nobles
perished. James left one legitimate child, his successor, James V (ruled
1513-42); in addition, he had many illegitimate children, several of whom
became prominent figures in Scotland.
True to the ideal of the Renaissance prince, James strove to make
his court a centre of refinement and learning. He patronized literature,
licensed Scotland's first printers, and improved education.
James V (1513-1542)
During the period of his minority, which lasted throughout the first
half of his reign, James was a pawn in the struggle between pro-French and
pro-English factions; after he assumed personal control of the government,
he upheld Roman Catholicism against the Protestant nobles and allied his
country with France.
James was 17 months old when he succeeded to the throne of his
father, James IV (ruled 1488-1513). In the power struggle that developed
between the pro-French regent, John Stewart, duke of Albany, and the head
of the English party, Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus, each side sought
to gain possession of the young ruler. James's mother, Margaret Tudor,
complicated events by shifting her allegiance from her husband, Angus, to
Albany. Albany retired to France in 1524, and Angus kept James in
confinement from 1526 until 1528, when the King escaped and forced Angus
to flee to England. By 1530 James had consolidated his power in Scotland.
He signed a treaty with his uncle, King Henry VIII of England, in 1534,
but in 1538 he married the French noblewoman Marie de Guise and thereafter
allied with France against England. A cruel man, he instituted in his
later years a near reign of terror in Scotland, and his financial
exactions did not endear him to his subjects.
When Henry VIII's forces attacked Scotland in 1542, James's small
army, weakened by the disaffection of the Protestant nobles, crossed into
England and was easily routed near the border at Solway Moss on Nov. 24,
1542. The disaster caused the King to suffer a mental breakdown; he died
on Dec. 14, 1542, a week after the birth of his daughter--his only
surviving legitimate child--Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots). Among his
several illegitimate children was James, earl of Moray (died 1570), who
became regent of Scotland when Mary Stuart abdicated her throne in 1567.
Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587)
original name MARY STUART, OR STEWART queen of Scotland (1542-67)
and queen consort of France (1559-60). Her unwise marital and political
actions provoked rebellion among the Scottish nobles, forcing her to flee
to England, where she was eventually beheaded as a Roman Catholic threat
to the English throne.
James VI of Scotland and James I of
King of Scotland (as James VI) from 1567 to 1625 and first Stuart
king of England from 1603 to 1625, who styled himself "king of Great
Britain." James was a strong advocate of royal absolutism, and his
conflicts with an increasingly self-assertive Parliament set the stage for
the rebellion against his successor, Charles I.