Important Events in Scotland's History Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Important Events in Scotland's History

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The St Andrew's Cross, adopted as the flag of Scotland from the 16th Century, on its side

For details from 500 BC of the people that came to inhabit Scotland check out the History of the Celts.

503 AD
The Scots left Ireland and built their kingdom of Dalriada in Argyll on the west coast of Scotland.

843 AD
Kenneth MacAlpin united the Scots and Picts as one nation. This was the first step in creating a united Scotland.

1005 AD
Malcolm II killed Kenneth III and became King.

1018 AD
Malcolm II gained Lothian after defeating the Saxons at the Battle of Carham. Death of Owen-the-Bald, King of Strathclyde.

1034 AD
Duncan, already ruler of Strathclyde, killed his grandfather Malcolm II and became King of a largely united Scotland.

1040 AD
MacBeth, immortalised by Shakespeare, killed Duncan and became King.

1057 AD
Malcolm III (or Malcolm Canmore) killed MacBeth and became King.

1107 AD
On the death of Edgar, Scotland became disunited. Alexander I became King of Scots, but David I became King in Lothian and Strathclyde.

1124 AD
Unity was restored when, on Alexander's death, David became King of Scots. His reign was one of the most important in Scotland's history, extending Scottish borders to the River Tees, including all of Northumberland.

1295 AD
The 'Auld Alliance' between Scotland and France was signed - one of the world's oldest mutual defence treaties.

1296 AD
Annexation of Scotland by England. Scotland's Coronation Stone - the 'Stone of Destiny' or 'Stone of Scone'1 - was removed to Westminster Abbey in London by the English King Edward I. The stone was temporarily returned to Scotland in 1950 and permanently returned in 1996. Much contention still exists over whether or not this is the original stone.

1314 AD
Battle of Bannockburn where the Scots, under Robert the Bruce, routed the English led by Edward II which resulted in Scottish independence.

1320 AD
The Declaration of Arbroath was drawn up to urge the Pope to recognise Scottish independence from England. The Pope accepted the Declaration.

1460 AD
King James II was killed by an exploding cannon during the siege of Roxburgh.

1488 AD
King James III was murdered after being accused of surrounding himself with evil advisors who encouraged him to bring Englishmen into Scottish affairs.

1502 AD
King Henry VII of England gave his daughter Margaret Tudor in marriage to James IV of Scotland. This gave rise to the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

1512 AD
Under the terms of the 'Auld Alliance' all Scottish citizens became French and vice versa.

1559 AD
John Knox gave his sermon at Perth which is regarded as the start of the Reformation in Scotland.

1603 AD
Following the death of Elizabeth I, James VI of Scotland became James I of England bringing about another Union of the Crowns.

1617 AD
James VI returned briefly to Scotland2 to extol the benefits of English culture.

1618 AD
James VI imposed Bishops on the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in an attempt to integrate it with the Church of England. This move was deeply unpopular with the Scots.

1625 AD
Charles I became King on the death of his father. Although born in Scotland, Charles had no interest in the country and dealt with Scottish affairs with even less tact than his father, causing discontent.

1637 AD
Charles attempted to further Anglicise the Church of Scotland by introducing a new prayer book, which caused riots at St Giles in Edinburgh. Jenny Geddes throws a stool in St Giles in protest.

1638 AD
Charles regarded protests against the prayer book as treason, forcing Scots to choose between their church and the King. A covenant, swearing to resist these changes to the death, was signed in Greyfriars Church in Edinburgh. The covenant was accepted by hundreds of thousands of Scots.

1639 AD
Charles called a General Assembly, effectively abolishing the unpopular Scottish Bishops. Agreement was reached through the Treaty of Berwick.

1640 AD
Charles' peace collapsed and the Scots showed force by marching on Newcastle.

1641 AD
Having no realistic chance of opposing the Scots, Charles negotiated a truce at Ripon.

1642 AD
Civil war broke out in England. The Scottish Covenanters sided with the English rebels who took power. The Earl of Montrose had sided with King Charles so civil strife also spilled into Scotland.

1692 AD
The massacre of Glencoe. Clan Campbell sided with the King and murdered members of Clan Macdonald.

1707 AD
Act of Union was passed; Scotland formally united with England to form Great Britain. In so doing, the Scottish Parliament voted itself out of existence.

1744 AD
The world's first Golf Club - the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers - was founded.

1745 AD
Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) returned to Scotland; Scottish victory at the Battle of Prestonpans; Scottish army advanced as far south as Derby but then retreated.

1746 AD
Battle of Culloden, Charles escaped to France and the wearing of the kilt was prohibited.

1768 AD
The first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica was published in Edinburgh by William Smellie.

1826 AD
Scotland's first commercial railway was opened between Edinburgh and Dalkeith.

1860 AD
Scotland hosted the first Open Golf Championship.

1879 AD
The Tay Bridge Disaster. The bridge collapsed in a storm taking the train with it - an enquiry revealed corners had been cut during construction to reduce costs.

1890 AD
Forth Rail Bridge opened, it had taken six years to build.

1896 AD
Opening of the Underground Railway the 'Shooglie' in Glasgow. It remains the only underground in Scotland.

1915 AD
Britain's worst train disaster took place near Gretna Green, south of Dumfries, killing 227 people.

1937 AD
The largest ocean liner ever built, the Queen Elizabeth, was launched in Clydebank.

1943 AD
More than 1,000 people were killed over two days in Clydebank and Southern Glasgow during the only sustained German Luftwaffe attack on Scotland during the Second World War.

1950 AD
Scottish Nationalists steal the 'Stone of Destiny' from Westminster Abbey. This was Scotland's Coronation Stone, taken by the English in 1296. By tradition all British Monarchs have to be crowned while sitting on it. It was eventually recovered from Arbroath Abbey, although some claim this was a copy, and the original remains in Scotland.

1964 AD
Forth Road Bridge opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II. It was the longest suspension bridge in Europe.

1965 AD
Tay Road Bridge opened - for a short time the longest bridge in the world at just over one mile.

1967 AD
The Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) was launched in Clydebank. It was the last of the great Clyde-built passenger liners.

1975 AD
The first oil was piped ashore from the North Sea at Peterhead.

1996 AD
A gunman kills 16 five-year-old children, their teacher and himself in the Primary School at Dunblane in Perthshire. This is the worst tragedy of its type in the UK.

The 'Stone of Destiny', Scotland's Coronation Stone, was returned from London to Edinburgh Castle, 700 years after being stolen by Edward I.

1999 AD
A Scottish Parliament was re-instated after 292 years, following the devolution of powers from London through the Scotland Act, 1997.

1Legend has it that Jacob rested his head on the stone when he had the vision of angels ascending and descending the ladder to heaven.2And this was the only time he did so!

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