Scottish Wars of Independence

Historical date: 
1296 - 1357

 Scottish Kings were selected by a council of nobles. Anyone whose great-grandfather, grandfather or father had been a King was eligible. Also, unlike many other European countries, the Scots accepted descent through the female line as valid.

In 1291, after the sudden death of Alexander III, the nobles of Scotland could not agree on who should be the next king? They asked Edward I of England for advice, and he chose John Balliol.

Balliol then accepted Edward as his overlord. Edward was at war with France, but the Scots had a treaty with them, (It was called the Auld Alliance) so when Edward asked the Scots to send troops to help him in his war with France, in 1295, the Scots refused, and this led to the Scottish Wars of Independence. During this turbulent time some of Scotland’s greatest heroes emerged.

William Wallace the son of a farmer and Andrew De Moray the son of a noble man who was captured at the battle of Dunbar, were to become Guardians of Scotland after they defeated the English army at the battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Andrew De Moray was wounded at the battle and died a few months later he was to be missed during the following year. Wallace gained the support of the nobles but without Moray he was defeated at the battle of Falkirk 1298. Sir William managed to evade capture by the English until May 1305, when he was captured near Glasgow, by Sir John de Menteith, He was taken to London for execution at a place called Smithfield where he was executed in the traditional manner for a traitor. He was hanged, then cut down to be disembowelled while still alive and his head placed on a spike on London Bridge. His limbs were displayed in a grisly fashion in Newcastle, Berwick, Edinburgh, and Perth.

After Wallace we have Robert the Bruce, he was the grandson of the Robert Bruce who tried to get the throne after the death of Alexander III. He was descended from the great King David 1, since he was the great-grandson of Isabel, the daughter of the Earl of Huntingdon who in turn was the grandson of David I.
Despite somewhat wavering loyalty in his earlier years, Bruce became a hero of the Wars of Independence, eventually being crowned King of Scots at Scone in 1306. He defeated the English King Edward II at Bannockburn on the 24th June 1314. Bruce secured Scottish independence from England.

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