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The Scottish Wars of Independence, 1286-1329

To many, this period of Scottish history means William Wallace and Robert Bruce, but it is much more than the lives of these two men alone. It involves relationships between Scotland, England, France and the Papacy, and the various alliances and treaties made and broken between them in the pursuit of kingship, power and authority.

The Scottish Wars of Independence highlight the impact of the development of Scotlandís identity as a nation prepared to consolidate a rightful successor to the throne, to improve the effectiveness of government and to maintain its position and influence in European politics, trade and religion.

It was a time of conflict between rival factions in Scotland and beyond. Loyalties were frequently put to the test as a result of cross border marriages between Scottish and English noble families, and as a result of marriage treaties between European royal families. It was also a time of military campaigns and diplomatic missions to harness support for claims of sovereignty and overlordship. The kings of England attempted to occupy and govern Scotland and went to war with France over control of lands in Gascony. In addition, the papacy did not want conflict between these countries to interfere with plans to mount crusades in the Holy Land.

The Declaration of Arbroath and the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton set out Scotlandís demands for recognition as an independent nation governed by its own rightful monarch. The succession to the Scottish throne was safeguarded after the death of Robert I in 1329 but relations between Scotland and England remained difficult for years to come.

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Timeline

1286

March: Death of Alexander III
April: Six Guardians of Scotland selected at Scone

1290

Sept: Maid of Norway dies on her way to Orkney

1291

Aug: The Great Cause begins

1292

Nov: John Balliol chosen and inaugurated King of Scots

1294

Edward I summons Scots to fight in France

1295

Scots seek alliance with King Philip IV of France

1296

March: Scots attack England
April: Battle of Dunbar
July: King John surrenders to Edward I

1297

William Wallace and Andrew Murray rebel
Sept: Scottish victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge
Nov: Death of Andrew Murray

1298

Scottish defeat at the Battle of Falkirk

1300-1301

Edward I and son campaign in south Scotland

1301

After Papal urging, John Balliol released into custody of King Philip of France

1303

King Philip forced into treaty with Edward I. Scotland now isolated

1303-1304

Edward I invades Scotland again. John Comyn and nobles surrender to English king

1305

Aug: William Wallace captured and executed

1306

Feb: Robert Bruce murders John Comyn at Dumfries Abbey
March: Robert I inaugurated at Scone

1307

May: Battle of Loudon Hill
July: Death of Edward I, succeeded by Edward II

1308

Aug: King Robert's campaigns in Scotland; wins the Battle of the Pass of Brander

1309

King Robert's first parliament in St Andrews

1310-1311

Edward II invades Scotland

1314

Scottish victory at the Battle of Bannockburn

1318

Death of Edward Bruce
Robert I excommunicated by Pope John XXII

1320

April: Declaration of Arbroath

1322

Edward II's last invasion of Scotland fails

1327

Jan: Edward II deposed and murdered by English opposition
Feb: Coronation of Edward III

1328

March: Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton

1329

June: Death of Robert I

 

 

 

 
 
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