The following will consist of a very brief summary of Scotland past, I will on the pages that follow give a more detailed decription of Scotlands past including origins, culture, battles, and other subjects. Some say that Scotland's distant past resembles its geography-fasinating, but covered in a shrouded mist. Some of the first "tourists" the Romans, wrote letters home in which they complained of the cold and endless rains, and Tacitus wrote poetry about "Caledonia stern and wild/Land of brown heath and shaggy wood/Land of the mountain and the flood." The Roman legions never advanced very far into Scotland, being discouraged by swarms of wild men with long hair and wearing little in the way of clothing who came rushing at them out of the fog. The Romans under General Agricola did stop long enough, to build a line of forts between the Forth and Clyde rivers around the year A.D. 81. Later they constructed a wall, named Hadiran's Wall, named after the Roman Emperor, that became a rough divider between Scotland and England. After that the Romans left the northeners pretty much alone. But they did give them a name which stuck-Picti, the painted ones-a name that is today known as the Picts. These people either painted their bodies with the blue wode dye (a special dye extracted from a cabbage type plant) or tattooed themselves; no one knows for sure. The true origins of the Picts is lost to time. Some say they were the same as the Celts or Gaels, others that they were the original ancients living there before the Celts or Gaels moved there from Continental Europe but I will go into this later. The settlers may have regretted the move due to the climate but as time went on they adjusted to it. The Picts were a short, dark people with long heads, who wore skins and carried rough weapons. Some of them lived in stone towers "brochs" which there is evidence of a few today in the north mainland and islands. When the Romans left the British Isles around A.D. 410 and rushed home to defend their empire, they left a very usable network of roads. Unfortunatly for the northern people, most of these roads were south of the border, which was another reason the tourist trade didn't flourish in Scotland for several hundred more years. Until King George's General Wade became roadmaker-in chief during the eighteenth century, Scottish roads were such that a rhymer said: Had you seen the roads before they were made, You would lift up your hands and bless General Wade. Another hundred years went by when a Scot named McAdam came up with the idea that tar mixed with small stones made a good covering for Scottish roads, and for roads around the world as it happened. After the Romans had gone, the Dalriad Irish started moving over to Scotland until the Irish were well settled in, because they were indeed the Scots, a red or sandy haired people of fair skin that settled all over over the southwestern area and slowly spread east and north. They mingled with the dark haired residents and fought with the blond haired Vikings, who kept paying unexpected vists to the coasts. Some of the Vikings moved in permanently also, particularly around the north and northeastern shores, and there are Scots today in the Shetland Isles who might easily have been transplanted from a street in Oslo. No one knows exactly what language these people spoke, but it is thought that the Gaelic of today is a direct descendant of the early Celtic or Gaelic, and it has a definite affinity with Erse, or Irish Gaelic. The use of Englsih crept in with the Saxons, who settled in the southwestern area of Scotland. Gradually the Gaelic tounge was confined to the north and northwest, where it survives today. Around the year A.D. 560, a Christian named Columba from Ireland landed on the tiny island of Iona, and earned the honor of being the first bearer of the Gospel to the Scottish heathen. He established a religious order on Iona, and from that western isle made determined forays into the mainland with his good news. It seems that Columba was a hard man to reject, and there are stories that make him sound as formidable as Moses. He was undoubtedly a "soldier of God" and a tough man to cross. Actually, Saint Ninian, another evangelist, who had learned his trade in Rome, had preached Christianity to the southern Picts, in Galloway, about sixty five years before, but columba is the one best remembered as the bringer of good news. Columba was not welcomed by all, a common thing then and now, but what he had to say was gradually accepted, and the Scots became Christians. That didn't mean, however, that they lived in peace. They fought a great deal, being divided into four kingdoms until the year 844, when King Kenneth McAlpin permanently united two of them, Dalriada and Pictland, making three remaining kingdoms. A mere two hundered years and many more battles later, the three kingdoms became one, and Scotland became a united geographical unit. This brought a new problem, now that the Scots were united, they decided they wanted to extend their borders, a matter which kept them and the English (who didn't like the idea) busy off and on for several hundered more years. Scotland's history now becomes very involved, with Scottish armies making forays over the border to harry English castles, and English armies headed by various irate kings stomping north to teach the rascally Scots a lesson. One of the English kings, Edward I, actually made such a habit of it that history has nicknamed him "the Hammer of the Scots." But the Scots too had their day and the most glorious one was Midsummer Day 1314, at Bannonkburn, when the Scots army under King Robert the Bruce defeated an English army many time its size and chased the son of the Hammer of the Scots over the border. This Scottish victory marked the way for Scotland's future, because if on that Midsummer Day the Scots had been defeated, it is doubtful whether Scotland would have ever been able to retain its independance and distinctive way of life. Without the victory at Bannokburn, Scotland might have become merely a northern adjunct to the English crown. Scotland also discovered fairly early that it could annoy England even more by becoming an ally of France. This the Scots proceeded to do with such regularity through the famous Auld Alliance (old alliance) that the English, who were always at war with someone, usually France, got very fed up with it. They were quite thankful when, in 1603, they could unite the crowns of Scotland and England. That way they reckoned they could keep closer tabs on their northern neighbours. The crowns came together on the head of James VI and I (VI of Scotland and I of England); when England's Queen Elizabeth died, James was next in line to succeed to the English throne. James had the dubious distinction of having the longest legs and perhaps the worst table manners of any monarch. However, he did redeem himself in part by being an intellectual in a day where there were not too many of these around. A century later, in 1707, the parliaments of Scotland and England were united, after a number of Scottish members had been bribed to vote in favor of the treaty, and together Scotland and England forged ahead towards industrialiazation, colonization, and the foundation of the old British Empire. Going back to Scottish Kings, which means kings before the union of the crowns in 1603, there's a preponderance of Jameses. And they're all Stewarts (a name derived from High Steward, or officer of the king). There are a few Roberts and Alexanders, but from 1406 until 1625, James is king (from I through VI). The Stewarts are an interesting breed. They were all intelligent, some were even intellectual. And they were all imbued with the belief that God Himself had picked them out to sit on the throne, something history books call the Divine Right of Kings. Mary Stewart, the famous Queen of Scots, the only female exception to Jameses in 219 years, made a name for herself in world hsitory by choosing bad friends and worse husbands and losing both her crown and her head. Mary's main problem really started at birth, because to many it seemed as if she had stronger claims to the throne of England, through her grandfather's marriage to Henry VII's daughter than Queen Elizabeth herself, who was considered in some circles to be illegitimate. Mary, however was a Catholic at a time when England had determined to be Protestant. John Knox, up in Scotland, wasn't too happy with a Catholic Queen either, and he and Mary Stewart had many verbal battles while he was setting about the reformation of the Scottish Church. John Knox spent most of his time shouting out against the Church of Rome, which he and many others felt needed reform. The protestant movement was basically opposed to the central church and the exercise of papal power over local matters. The Presbyterians which evolved in Scotland (coming by way of Switzerland) turned out a new rule which started at the bottom. Essentially, Presbyterianism was ruled by elders, or presbyters, elected by the congregation, with the minister guided by a group known collectively as the Kirk Session. In England, the Reformation brought Episcopalianism. It maintained rule by bishops, who were not elected but appointed by an obligarchy of their peers. Being either Catholic or Episcopalian themselves, the Stewart monarchs were always rough on the Scots Presbyterians, and the Scots likewise were determined to be akward. John Knox, an argumentative person in his late fifties, reduced young Mary, Queen of Scots, to tears on several occasions. Mary's son James got so mad at his Scottish Parliament that he is said to have shouted in temper "Nae bishop, Nae King!" And when Andrew Melville, the promoter of Presbyterianism, looked him straight in the eye and told him firmly that in God's Kingdom, he was "not a king, not a lord, but a member," James blood pressure must have risen to a typical Stewart high. James VI and I was succeeded by his son, Charles I, who lost his head in 1649. He was succeeded by Oliver Cromwell, a gentleman who was unpopular with both the Scots and Irish, not to mention many fellow Englishmen. Then the Stewarts came back into their own in 1660 with the restoration of Charles II to the throne, who was followed in 1685 by his brother James II. By 1688 James had been deposed for what the Protestant majority felt were dangerously Papist leanings, and therefore followed what is known to history as the Jacobite Rebellions. The first Jacobite Rebellion took place in 1715, and in 1745 the second rebellion ( the more significant of the two) occured. James II's grandson, Prince Charles Stewart left exile in France and landed in the Highlands with a handful of friends, but within weeks he had assembled a strong army of Highlanders. They marched on London, which they probably could have taken had they been able to agree on anything. They ended up being beaten at the last battle fought on British soil, the Battle of Culloden, in 1746. The near success of Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion pointed out to government in Westminister how inadequate their internal military forces were. This caused a shuffle throughout the island (notably in the north) and since that time there have been no widespread Scottish/English conflicts, except on the floor of the House of Commons. By the nineteenth century Sir Walter Scott's writings were fanning the fires of Scottish nationalism, and suddenly tartans, bagpipes, claymores, and heather became very popular with all Scots.
Early settlers of Scotland: