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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why DID Scotland go to War?

It's hard to believe that the death of a seven year old child could plunge a country into a 57 year long war to defend their borders and their freedom. But that's exactly what happened when King Alexander III of Scotland's granddaughter and recognised heir Margaret (the Maid of Norway) passed away in 1290.

The problem was that King Edward I (also known as Edward the Longshanks) had betrothed his son to this young Scottish Queen. He had sought to rule Scotland through this marriage and he was not prepared to give this power just because the bride's untimely death meant the marriage would never go ahead. This was the ultimate chance to reclaim the country he saw as his God-given right. So when Scotland called upon Edward to arbitrate between the multitude of claimants to the throne, Edward took advantage of the opportunity. He agreed to determine the rightful King of Scotland but in exchange he would be declared Lord Paramount of Scotland and all nobles (including the new elected King) would be required to swear fealty to him. What followed was a period where the Scots felt the hand of English oppression despite the fact that King John had been elected to rule them.

A number of years later, after increasing civil tension, things really began to escalate when Edward discovered that his elected King has gone behind his back and made an alliance with the French. This was the Franco-Scottish Alliance (also known as the Auld Alliance) and ensured that if England invaded Scotland, France would invade England and vice versa. After a series of events (which you can read more about here) Edward I sacked Berwick Castle in 1296 and began the Scottish Wars of Independence.

The 57 years of war that followed included some of the greatest military victories and warriors Scotland has ever seen. This was a period of time where national heroes were drawn and quartered and brave warrior women were locked in a small cage on the side of a castle for over four years to repent their actions against the English Sovereign.

This was a period of time that authors love to breathe life into!

Tomorrow we'll explore the man behind the legend - Robert the Bruce.

Suggested Reading:

A History of Scotland by J.D. Mackie

Quest for a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry
The Hammer of the Scots by Jean Plaidy
Kindgom of Shadows by Barbara Erskine
Rivals for the Crown by Kathleen Givens

Princess Signature


Susie Tudor Daughter said...

Great post Annie!!! I loved it. The suggested reading looks very interesting and a couple of them already on my TBR list.
Good Job!

Sharon said...

I'm going to love this series of yours! and thanks for the suggested reads.

Annie - The Fussy Princess said...

Aww thanks guys! Your comments mean a lot. I've just found out so many fascinating facts researching this week - it's been a blast! I'm not really good at writing these sorts of posts so I just thought I'd try to summarise some of the information I'd learnt.

ibeeeg said...

Great post Annie!! I love learning so many great facts. I really love history but my breadth of understanding (world history) is rather small.

Thanks for list of suggested reading.

Blodeuedd said...

I have read that Erskine book, sad :(
But I do love the Scots

Ladybug said...

Great post(and series!!), Annie! I've learned a lot and I'm looking forward to learn more during this week :D

Ladybug said...

I've taken the liberty to download your Braveheart logo and written a post about this series. I hope you don't mind me doing it:)

Bridget said...

Just posted this on Win A Book. Very interesting

pattirose4 said...

I just saw this link on Win a Book and came over to check it out. I will definitely pick up History of Scotland, and see if I can find a couple of the others, thanks for the heads up!