Historical Timeline

Timeline: Prehistory to 1000

7000 BC The date of the oldest human settlement yet found in Scotland, near Kinloch on Rum.
3000 BC Maes Howe chambered tomb is built on Orkney.
3000 BC Alleged date of origin of the Fortingall yew, probably the world’s oldest living thing.
2500 BC to 2000 BC Stone village of Skara Brae on Orkney in occupation.
500 BC Crannogs, stilt houses, begin to appear on Scottish lochs.
200 BC to AD 200 Building and occupation of Brochs, circular stone defensive towers.
AD 80 Agricola, Roman Governor of Britain, invades Scotland, reaching a line between the Rivers Clyde and Forth by AD 82.
AD 83 Agricola invades northern Scotland.
AD 84 Battle of Mons Graupius, site unclear, but probably in Moray. The Romans convincingly defeat the Caledonians and other northern tribes. They establish a defensive line of forts extending north east from Loch Lomond to Stonehaven to guard the exits from the main highland glens.
AD 105 The Romans withdraw from Scotland to a defensive line between the Rivers Solway and Tyne. This is fortified as Hadrian’s Wall from AD 121.
AD 139 The Romans advance again, to a line between the Forth and Clyde and build the Antonine Wall.
AD 170 The Romans withdraw to Hadrian’s Wall once more.
AD 209 The Romans push north again, though only temporarily.
AD 250 The first raids take place in western Scotland by the strong Irish tribe, the Scots.
AD 367 The Picti, or the Picts, push the Romans back from Hadrian’s Wall. "Picti" is the Romans’ disparaging slang for their northern neighbours, meaning the painted (or tattooed) ones.
AD 430 Saint Ninian’s followers build the first Christian church in Scotland at Whithorn.
AD 500 Increased migration of Scoti or Scots from Ireland to Scotland leads to the establishment of the kingdom of Dalriada in what is now Argyll, with its capital at Dunadd in Kilmartin Glen.
AD 500 King of the Scots of Dalriada, Fergus Mor fights both the Picts to the east and the Britons of Strathclyde to the south for land.
AD 550 The Angles establish Bernicia, later called Northumbria, with boundaries extending south to Yorkshire.
AD 570 St Columba founds a settlement on the island of Iona, off the western tip of Mull.
AD 590 St Mungo or St Kentigern founds a church in a green hollow or "glascu", on part of the site that later became Glasgow Cathedral.
AD 638 Edinburgh – Din Eidyn – is overrun by the Angles of the Kingdom of Northumbria.
AD 672 A Pictish uprising against the Kingdom of Northumbria is suppressed.
20 May 685 The Battle of Dunnichen or Nechtansmere, near Forfar. King Ecgfrith of Northumbria is decisively defeated by the Picts, paving the way for the development of a separate Scottish nation.
750 King Unust of the Picts defeats the Northumbrians at Athelstanford in East Lothian after a visitation in a dream by St Andrew and the appearance of a diagonal cross of cloud against the blue sky. Scotland thus acquires its patron saint and its flag, the Saltire.
795 First recorded Viking raid (probably from Orkney), on Iona, which is raided twice more in the following decade.
843 Kenneth MacAlpin becomes King of the Scots of Dalriada; and later becomes King of the Picts of Pictland as well, unifying the main groups in Scotland north of the Forth-Clyde line for the first time within the Kingdom of Alba.
850 Viking pressure leads to the relocation of the capital of Alba from Argyll to Scone, near Perth. The religious centre, and the relics of St Columba, moves from Iona to Dunkeld.
850 Kenneth MacAlpin, also known as Kenneth I, raids Northumbria six times in the 850s.
870 Following a 15 week siege the Vikings capture the fortress at Dumbarton Rock guarding the entrance to the Clyde and the British Kingdom of Strathclyde.
890 The Vikings capture the Pictish fortress at Dunottar, near Stonehaven.
900 Constantin II comes to power and helps incorporate Viking settlers into the emerging Kingdom of Scotland.
945 Edmund, a Danish King ruling Northumbria, gives Cumbria to Malcolm I of Scotland in return for military support.

Timeline: 1000 to 1200

1018 Malcolm II defeats the Northumbrians at the Battle of Carham, near the River Tweed. This leads to the first demarcation of the modern border between Scotland and England. He also incorporates the British Kingdom of Strathclyde into what is increasingly known as Scotland.
1034 Malcolm II is succeeded by Duncan I.
10 August 1040 King Duncan I tries to impose his will on northern Scotland, but loses to MacBeth of Moray at the Battle of Pitgaveny, near Elgin. Duncan is killed during the battle, and King Macbeth is crowned at Scone later in 1040.
27 July 1057 Duncan I’s son Malcolm Canmore defeats Macbeth at the Battle of Dunsinane in Perthshire.
25 April 1058 Malcolm Canmore becomes King Malcolm III, founder of the Canmore Dynasty.
1065 Malcolm III marries Ingibjorg, daughter of Thorfinn the Mighty, Viking Earl of Orkney, bringing stability in the north of Alba.
1070 Malcolm III, now a widower, marries his second wife, Margaret – later St Margaret – a Saxon princess in Dunfermline. She is part of the English royal family fleeing the Normans after 1066.
1072 Malcolm III’s incursions into Northumbria provoke an invasion of Scotland by the Normans. This ended with the Treaty of Abernethy, in English eyes a submission that gives rise to later claims of dominance of the English throne over the Scots throne.
1079 Another Norman/English invasion of Scotland following further raids into Northumbria by Malcolm III. The Treaty of Abernethy is reimposed.
13 November 1093 Malcolm Canmore is killed, along with his eldest son by Margaret, in yet another raid on Northumbria.
16 November 1093 Margaret dies of grief and is buried in the church she has founded in Dunfermline. She later becomes St Margaret and Dunfermline becomes a centre of pilgrimage.
1093 Malcolm is succeeded by his younger brother, Donald, who becomes Donald III. The Scots evict the many English who have gathered around the Anglicised court of Malcolm and Margaret, including their surviving children.
1093 Duncan, eldest son of Malcolm III and Ingibjorg, who has been a hostage with the English court since Abernethy, becomes Duncan II after defeating Donald III with Norman/English help.
12 November 1094 Duncan II is killed at Battle of Monthechin, near Kincardine. Donald III returns to the throne.
1097 Edgar, a son of Malcolm III and Margaret, invades at the head of another Norman/English army and becomes King Edgar. Donald III is killed.
8 January 1107 Alexander, Edgar’s younger brother, succeeds to the throne on Edgar’s death as Alexander I.
23 April 1124 On Alexander’s death he is succeeded by his younger brother, who becomes David I, and the third of the sons of Malcolm III and Margaret to become King of Scots.
22 August 1138 The Scots army under David I is defeated at the Battle of the Standard at Northallerton in Yorkshire in an attempt to capitalise on unrest in England to extend his kingdom. Despite the defeat, the Treaty of Durham that follows in 1139 gives David I effective control over Northumbria and Cumbria.
24 May 1153 David I dies, and is succeeded by his grandson, Malcolm IV, aged 12.
6 January 1156 Somerled defeats the Norse and subsequently becomes Lord of the Isles, leader of a Gaelic state centred on Loch Finlaggan on Islay.
1157 Henry II of England rips up a promise given to David I in 1149 to allow the Scots all the land North of the River Tees. He summons the 16 year old Malcolm IV to Chester and persuades him to sign a treaty giving up Cumbria and Northumbria to the English.
9 December 1165 Malcolm dies, aged 24 and unmarried, and is succeeded by his younger brother William I or William the Lion after his symbol, a red lion rampant on a yellow field that becomes the basis of one of Scotland’s two flags.
13 July 1174 William I is captured by the English at Alnwick while trying to retake Northumbria.
December 1174 In the Treaty of Falaise, where William is being held captive, he agrees that the King of Scots will henceforth be subordinate to the King of England, and that key Scottish castles would be occupied by the English.
1186 Henry II of England forces William I to marry Ermengard, from a Norman family and gives her Edinburgh Castle as a wedding present.
1189 The Treaty of Falaise is nullified in return for a payment of £6,500 to Henry’s son Richard I.

Timeline: 1200 to 1300

1204 The Scots attack the newly built English fort at Tweedmouth, overlooking the key Scots port of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
1209 The Treaty of Norham between William I and King John of England stops the building of the Tweedmouth fort, but at the cost of a £10,000 payment to the English and William’s two oldest daughters, who John later marries to English nobles.
4 December 1214 William I dies after a reign of 49 years. He is succeeded by his son, Alexander II.
1215 Alexander II takes advantage of King John’s weakness after the signing of the Magna Carta to try to capture Northumberland. He is beaten back and a period of cross border warfare follows until John’s death in 1216.
1221 Alexander II marries King John’s daughter Joan (and the young Henry III of England’s elder sister) and a period of peace ensues.
1230 Håkon the Old of Norway tries to reimpose direct Norwegian rule over the Viking-descended Lords of the Isles in the Hebrides. This includes a successful attack on Rothesay Castle.
1237 Alexander II freely signs the Treaty of York, giving up future claims to lands south of the modern border between England and Scotland.
1240 Alexander II marries Marie de Coucy, a member of the French royal family, following the death of Joan in 1238.
1244 Cross border tension with the English leads to the betrothal of the three year old future Alexander III, and four year old Margaret, daughter of Henry III.
1244 Alexander II opens negotiations with Norway over the sovereignty of the Hebrides. King Håkon is unyielding and unprepared to sell.
1249 The Scots invade the Norse territories in Western Scotland and the Hebrides. The first objective is Dunstaffnage Castle, the stronghold of the Macdougalls, appointed Lords of the Isles by Håkon.
8 July 1249 Alexander II dies on the island of Kerrera, in Oban Bay, after a premonition while on board his fleet. The military action dissipates on his death.
13 July 1249 Alexander III succeeds his father at the age of 8.
December 1251 Alexander III, aged 10, goes to York to meet Henry III and marry his daughter, Margaret. Alexander evades Henry’s efforts to have him do homage for the Kingdom of Scotland.
July 1263 King Håkon of Norway responds to Scots raids on the Hebrides with a major invasion force that sails to the Firth of Clyde. A series of negotiations ensue, with the Scots playing for time.
2 October 1263 Håkon’s fleet is damaged by a storm on the night of 30 September and this leads to the inconclusive skirmishes along the beach now known as the Battle of Largs. Håkon takes his battered fleet back to Orkney and later dies there.
2 July 1266 In the Treaty of Perth the Norwegians cede the Western Isles and the Isle of Man to the Scots in return for £2,500 and guarantees about future Norwegian rights over Orkney and Shetland.
17 January 1284 Alexander III’s eldest son, also named Alexander, dies aged 20 without children. Alexander III’s younger son had died in 1281, and his daughter, Margaret, in 1283, leaving him with an infant granddaughter, also called Margaret, living in Norway. Alexander’s wife Margaret had died in 1275.
14 October 1285 Alexander III remarries.
19 March 1286 Alexander III, aged 44, dies in a fall from his horse en route to be with his new bride in Fife. Once his young wife’s claims to pregnancy turn out not to be true, his granddaughter Margaret, "The Maid of Norway" becomes Queen of Scots at the age of three.
September 1290 Margaret, Queen of Scots, sails from Bergen for Leith and an arranged marriage with Edward the young heir to the English throne. This will ensure a stable future relationship between England and Scotland. She dies of sea sickness en route, still aged only seven. With her dies the Canmore dynasty that has ruled Scotland since 1058.
November 1292 Edward I of England oversees the selection between competing claims to the Scottish throne, on condition he is acknowledged as Lord Superior of Scotland. 13 competitors are narrowed down to two. John Balliol is selected over Robert Bruce and is crowned King of Scotland on 30 November 1292.
1295 The Treaty of Paris offers military support for Scotland by France. It is taken by Edward I as a declaration of war and is, in effect, the start of the Wars of Independence.
30 March 1296 Edward I attacks Berwick-upon-Tweed two-thirds of the 12,000 residents are massacred. The Scots retaliate with a raid on 8 April and atrocities of their own in Hexham.
27 April 1296 Edward I defeats the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar.
8 July 1296 John Balliol resigns his kingdom to Edward I at Montrose. Edward takes the Stone of Scone back to London after the Scottish nobility have signed their loyalty to him. He appoints the Earl of Surrey as Governor of Scotland.
May 1297 William Wallace sacks Lanark Castle, killing the Sheriff and other English in the town. It is the spark for more widespread rebellion.
7 July 1297 An "official" or nobles’ rebellion surrenders to the English at Irvine.
Summer 1297 Sir Andrew Murray captures a series of English castles in the Highlands and the north east, including Urquhart Castle.
11 September 1297 William Wallace and Sir Andrew Murray comprehensively defeat the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Murray subsequently dies of wounds suffered during the battle.
29 March 1298 Wallace is titled "Guardian of Scotland", but still acting in the name of King John Balliol.
22 July 1298 Wallace is badly defeated by Edward I at the Battle of Falkirk after the Scottish cavalry flee the field without a fight. Wallace subsequently resigns as Guardian and returns to a guerilla existence.

Timeline: 1300 to 1400

May 1303 Edward invades Scotland once more, with a view to subjugating the country once and for all.
3 February 1304 The Community of Scotland surrenders to Edward I.
22 April 1304 Edward besieges the last Scottish stronghold, Stirling Castle. It surrenders three months later when the food runs out.
3 August 1305 William Wallace is captured near Glasgow after periods as guerrilla and diplomat. He is tried in London on 23 August, then executed.
10 February 1306 Robert the Bruce, the grandson of the Robert Bruce who had competed with John Balliol for the crown in 1292, murders the Red Comyn, head of one of the most powerful clans in Scotland in an argument about power in a church in Dumfries.
25 March 1306 Robert the Bruce moves to fill the power vacuum in Scotland and crowns himself King Robert I.
10 May 1307 At the Battle of Loudon Hill in Ayrshire, Robert the Bruce defeats forces loyal to the English.
7 July 1307 King Edward I of England dies.
November 1307 Robert the Bruce secures his power base by taking Comyn castles at Urquhart and Balvenie.
24 June 1314 An English army under King Edward II sent to relieve Stirling Castle is defeated by Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn. Edward II only narrowly escapes with his life. It is the most important single military victory in Scottish history.
1315 Robert the Bruce invades Ireland and his brother is declared King.
1318 Bruce captures Berwick Castle.
6 April 1320 The Declaration of Arbroath is addressed to the Pope in an effort to have him recognise Robert the Bruce as King of Scotland (and remove the excommunication that followed his murder of the Red Comyn in a church). It defines the relationship between the Scottish King and the Scots people.
17 March 1328 The Wars of Independence finally end with the Treaty of Edinburgh and Northampton.
July 1328 Robert the Bruce’s four year old son David is married to Joan, the seven year old sister of Edward III of England.
7 June 1329 Robert the Bruce dies aged 55. He is succeeded by his five year old son, David II.
8 August 1332 The Scots are defeated by the English led by Edward Balliol (son of John Balliol) at the battle of Duppin Moor, near Perth.
24 September 1332 Edward Balliol is crowned King of Scots at Scone.
17 December 1332 Edward Balliol is surprised by Sir Andrew Murray on behalf of David II (son of the Sir Andrew Murray who had fought alongside William Wallace at Stirling Castle) and flees the country.
May 1333 Edward III invades Scotland in support of Edward Balliol and besieges Berwick Castle.
19 July 1333 The Scots are heavily defeated by Edward III at the Battle of Haildon Hill as they try to relieve Berwick Castle. David II, still a boy, goes to France for safety.
30 November 1335 The Battle of Culblean, near Ballater, sees the defeat of Balliol’s forces by Sir Andrew Murray.
1338 Sir Andrew Murray dies and his role as Guardian of King David II passes to Robert Stewart, who is King David’s nephew, but eight years older than him at 22.
16 June 1338 The English give up their siege of Dunbar after six months.
June 1341 King David II returns to Scotland from France, aged 17.
17 October 1346 David II responds to a French request to help take the English military pressure off them in France by raiding Northumberland. At the Battle of Neville’s Cross, near Durham, David II is captured by the English under Edward Balliol and taken to London.
1349 The Black Death reaches Scotland, killing as many as 200,000 people out of a population of 1 million over the following two years.
1356 Although Edward Balliol has been in possession of large parts of the south of Scotland since Neville’s Cross, he realises his lack of general support and sells the Balliol claim to the Scottish throne to Edward II of England for a pension.
October 1357 David II is released in return for a ransom of £65,000. He returns to a country heavily under the influence of Robert Stewart, who has been acting as "King’s Lieutenant" for eleven years.
23 February 1371 David II dies at Edinburgh Castle. He is succeeded by his nephew, Robert Stewart who becomes King Robert II, and the founder of the Stewart dynasty that is to rule Scotland for most of the next three hundred years. Robert II is the grandson of Robert the Bruce by his daughter Marjory.
November 1384 An ailing Robert II is sidelined in favour of his own eldest son and heir, John, Earl of Carrick, who becomes Guardian of the Kingdom.
June 1385 The Scots under the Earl of Carrick, supported by a French army, invade northern England but are pushed back as far as Edinburgh, which is destroyed in retaliation by the English.
August 1388 The Earl of Carrick leads the Scots into Cumberland and Northumberland. This culminates with the Battle of Otterburn, a victory for the Scots but with the loss of their battlefield commander James, Earl of Douglas, the Earl of Carrick’s most powerful ally in southern Scotland.
December 1388 John, Earl of Carrick, who has been injured while riding, is replaced as Guardian of the Kingdom by his younger brother Robert, Earl of Fife.
April 1390 Robert II dies, and is succeeded by his eldest son John, Earl of Carrick. He becomes, confusingly, King Robert III because the Scots feel John is an unlucky name for a King and because for him to become John II would acknowledge John Balliol as John I, and so revive a claim to the throne that had been sold to Edward III of England in 1356.
17 June 1390 Alexander Stewart, youngest son of Robert II and younger brother of John, Earl of Carrick (now Robert III) and Robert, Earl of Fife, destroys Elgin Cathedral. He is better remembered as the "Wolf of Badenoch".
September 1396 In an effort to halt one of the many clan feuds dividing the Highlands, Robert III arranged a fight to the death between 30 warriors from each of the Clans Kay and Chattan on the edge of Perth in front of spectators. 11 Clan Chattan emerge alive and one man of Clan Kay escapes by swimming the River Tay. This is later called the Battle of the Inch.
1398 Robert III’s eldest son, David, is created Duke of Rothesay, and Robert III’s younger brother, Robert, Earl of Fife, is created Duke of Albany.
1399 The General Council takes power from Robert III, now in poor health, and gives it instead to David, Duke of Rothesay, who they make the King’s Lieutenant.

Timeline: 1400 to 1500

1400 The Duke of Rothesay bigamously marries Mary Douglas. The father of his spurned first wife gains support from Henry IV of England and an English army easily takes Edinburgh, except for the castle, before withdrawing.
1401 David, Duke of Rothesay is captured by his uncle Robert, Duke of Albany and imprisoned in St Andrews Castle. He is subsequently moved to the Duke of Albany’s home at Falkland Castle in Fife.
March 1402 David, Duke of Rothesay dies at Falkland Castle as a result, the General Council decides, of "Divine Providence". Others say the cause is starvation. This leaves David’s 7 year-old brother James as heir to the throne still held by Robert III. There are fears that James in turn will not be safe from the ambitions of his uncle Robert.
February 1406 An army of James’ supporters is defeated by the Duke of Albany at Edinburgh. James is taken for safety to Bass Rock, off North Berwick.
22 March 1406 James is captured by pirates off Flamborough Head in Yorkshire while en route to sanctuary in France. They then hand him over to Henry IV of England.
4 April 1406 King Robert III dies in Rothesay Castle after hearing the news of James’ capture. James therefore succeeds to the throne as James I at the age of 11 and as a prisoner of the English.
1406 Robert, Duke of Albany becomes Governor of Scotland in his nephew’s absence and moves his base to Doune Castle.
1407 The Duke of Albany negotiates a renewal of the long standing treaty of mutual support against England with France.
24 July 1411 At the Battle of Harlaw, 20 miles north of Aberdeen, the highland army of Donald, the Lord of the Isles meets the lowland army of Alexander, Earl of Mar, son of the Wolf of Badenoch. At stake is the control of northern Scotland and the isles. After an inconclusive day of heavy fighting and heavy casualties, Donald retires to Inverness and Alexander to Aberdeen.
1411 The University of St. Andrews is founded as a center for learning and the arts.
1420 Robert, Duke of Albany, dies and is succeeded as Governor of Scotland by his son, Murdoch.
December 1423 The Treaty of London provides for the release of King James I by Henry VI of England in return for a King’s ransom of £40,000, plus £4,000 for the expenses incurred during James’ 18 years of captivity.
February 1424 James I marries Lady Joan Beaufort, a close relative of Henry VI, in London.
21 May 1424 James I is crowned at Scone.
April 1425 James I arrests many members of the Albany family, descendents of his uncle, Robert. James Albany evades long enough to attack Dumbarton and destroy the castle, so justifying a charge of treason against the family.
May 1425 The Scottish Parliament meets in Stirling to try the Albany family for treason. Murdoch and three others are executed and the family is virtually extinguished.
1428 James I summons Alexander, Lord of the Isles and other highland clan chiefs to a meeting in Inverness, and has them arrested. Three are executed as an example, but others including Alexander are later released.
1429 Alexander, Lord of the Isles, attacks and destroys Inverness. James I retaliates and captures Alexander on Islay, releasing him again two years later.
16 October 1430 Twin sons, James and Alexander, are born to James I and Joan. Alexander dies as a baby, but James survives.
August 1436 James I loses considerably credibility after his efforts to besiege the English in Roxburgh Castle fail miserably.
21 February 1437 James I is assassinated while staying at the Abbey of Black Friars in Perth. Queen Joan is injured but escapes with her son James. She arranged for the conspirators, including relatives of James I, to be caught and executed.
25 March 1437 James II is crowned in Edinburgh, aged 6.
24 November 1440 The Livingston and Crichton families seek to secure their joint influence over the young King James II by killing the Earl of Douglas and his brother in the presence of the King at Edinburgh Castle.
3 July 1449 King James I takes formal control of his kingdom following his marriage to Marie, niece of the Duke of Burgundy in Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh.
1450 James II demonstrates his power by executing two members of the Livingston family.
7 January 1451 Glasgow University is founded.
22 February 1452 James II invites the dangerously powerful Earl of Douglas to Stirling Castle where he personally murders him. Followers of the Earl subsequently sack the town of Stirling.
1455 James II completes his subjugation of the Black Douglas family by taking their land and castles in south west Scotland.
1457 In an effort to ensure the population practice military skills, and archery in particular, James II decrees that "futeball and golfe be utterly cried down." He is widely ignored.
3 August 1460 James II is killed during his siege of Roxburgh Castle when an artillery piece explodes. A week later his 9 year old son James is crowned James III of Scotland.
1461 In return for a promise of support from James III’s mother against the House of York, Henry VI of Lancaster gives Berwick-upon-Tweed back to Scotland, and offers Carlisle.
1464 Bishop Kennedy of St Andrews, acting for the King after the death of his mother, signs a truce with the English.
July 1466 The Boyd family kidnap James III, now 14, and use his influence to enhance their own power, including a marriage to the King’s sister.
10 July 1469 James III, now 18, marries 10 year old Margrethe, Princess of Norway and Denmark and assumes his full powers over Scotland. Part of her dowry is mortgaged against Orkney and Shetland.
November 1469 Parliament upholds charges of treason against the Boyd family for their kidnap of King James III in 1466. The head of the family, Sir Alexander Boyd, is executed and family land and property is seized.
1472 Shetland and Orkney formally become part of Scotland under an Act of Parliament, so settling the northern extent of the Kingdom.
October 1474 Marriage is arranged between James III’s one year old son James and Lady Cecilia, Edward IV’s three year old daughter.
1479 James III is worried by unrest amongst Scottish nobles who want him replaced, and arrests and imprisons his brothers Alexander and John. John subsequently dies in suspicious circumstances, but Alexander escapes via France to England.
November 1479 The arranged marriage between James III’ younger sister Margaret and Edward IV’s brother in law collapses when it emerges she is pregnant by someone else. A period of peace between England and Scotland comes to an end.
1482 The English, on behalf of James III’s exiled brother Alexander, invade southern Scotland. At Lauder the Scottish nobles kill many of King James III’s advisers and arrest the King, returning him to captivity in Edinburgh Castle. The English take Edinburgh, but then withdraw, keeping both Berwick-upon-Tweed and Berwick Castle, which will now remain English. James III is released following apparent reconciliation with his brother Alexander, Duke of Albany. It is only temporary, further plotting sees him leave for France in 1484.
June 1488 James III seeks to capture his eldest son, James, Duke of Rothesay, who at 15 is becoming a focus for dissent in the kingdom. Following a fight between their supporters near Stirling, on the site of the earlier Battle of Bannockburn, the injured James III is murdered by persons unknown on 11 June. James IV is crowned at Scone on 26 June.
1489 A serious rebellion by supporters of James III is followed by reconciliation with James IV in the 1490 Parliament.
1492 Blind Harry dies. He is the minstrel whose verses have preserved the story of William Wallace, and which help shape Scottish views of the English for the rest of the millennium.
1493 John II, Lord of the Isles is tried by James IV and the lordship destroyed, ending a "kingdom" that has ruled much of Western Scotland and the Isles for nearly 350 years.
1494 Aberdeen University is founded.
1494 The first written reference appears to the art of distillation of whisky in Scotland.
September 1496 James IV launches major raids on Northumberland.

Timeline: 1500 to 1600

8 August 1503 A "Treaty of Perpetual Peace" with England is followed by the marriage between James IV and Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII of England at Holyrood. This does little to interrupt James IV’s succession of mistresses and illegitimate children.
1 July 1505 The Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh are granted a charter by the City Council enabling them to practise surgery within the city. This marks the beginnings of the Royal College of Surgeons.
October 1511 The launch of the "Great Michael" the flagship of the rapidly growing Royal Scottish Navy.
10 April 1512 After three children who die in infancy, Margaret gives birth to a son, James.
26 July 1513 James IV responds to pleas for assistance from France and gives notice to his brother in law, Henry VIII, that he is going to invade Northumberland.
22 August 1513 The Scottish army crosses the border with England, taking Norham Castle amongst others.
9 September 1513 At the Battle of Flodden, near Coldstream, 5,000 Scots are killed, including James IV himself and many Scots nobles. This compares with losses of just 1,700 on the English side. It is a decisive victory for the English.
21 September 1513 King James V is crowned at Stirling at the age of just one.
May 1515 John, Duke of Albany, son of James III’s exiled brother Alexander, accepts the Scottish Parliament’s invitation to become Governor of Scotland during James V’s childhood. He brings from France, where he has been brought up, French troops and support.
May 1524 The Duke of Albany returns to France with his supporting troops. This leaves the way clear for Margaret Tudor, mother of James V, to have her son crowned at the age of twelve.
April 1526 James V’s assumes his full powers at the age of 14, but is taken captive by Margaret Tudor’s second – but by now estranged – husband, the Earl of Angus.
29 February 1528 Patrick Hamilton is tried and found guilty for heresy and burned in St Andrews. He is the first of eleven Protestant martyrs in Scotland.
1528 James V escapes and commences his true period of rule. His first act is to exile the Earl of Douglas to England and seize his lands.
5 July 1530 The King imposes order on the bandit country in the Scottish Borders by capturing and hanging Johnnie Armstrong and 50 other border reivers or raiders.
1 January 1537 Although she is in ill health, James V marries Madeleine, daughter of King Francois of France, in Paris. By July her health has worsened and she dies at Holyrood Palace.
17 July 1537 Janet, Countess of Glamis, and the sister in law of James V’s exiled stepfather, the Earl of Angus, is tried on charges including trying to poison the King. She is burned at the stake outside Edinburgh Castle and her – extremely rich – estate is forfeited to the James V.
June 1538 James marries again, to Marie de Guise, adopted sister of Madeleine.
1540 James V tours the northern and western outposts of his kingdom in a fleet of warships to impose his rule.
24 November 1542 The Scots lose the Battle of Solway Moss, north of Carlisle, intended to stem the warlike moves of James V’s uncle, Henry VIII.
8 December 1542 Marie de Guise gives birth to a daughter, Mary, at Linlithgow Palace.
14 December 1542 James V dies at Falkland Palace, aged 30, probably from cholera.
March 1543 The Earl of Arran is appointed Governor of Scotland.
July 1543 The Treaties of Greenwich provide for Mary to be married to Henry VIII’s son Edward in 1552 and for their heir to inherit the Kingdoms of Scotland and England.
9 September 1543 Mary is crowned Queen of Scots at Stirling Castle, at the age of nine months.
December 1543 The Scottish Parliament believes it better to pursue alliance with France than England and takes advantage of the failure of the English Parliament to ratify the Treaties of Greenwich by repudiating them.
May 1544 Henry VIII commences a period of "rough wooing" designed to impose the marriage of his son to Mary Queen of Scots. Armies invade from the south and from the sea near Edinburgh.
1545 Cross border raids by English forces continue.
March 1546 Cardinal Beaton has the Protestant George Wishart executed at St Andrews.
29 May 1546 Protestants break into St Andrews Castle, surprise Cardinal Beaton with one of his many mistresses, murder him and take over the castle. Their appeals to Henry VIII for support are ignored.
31 July 1547 French naval forces in support of the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots bombard St Andrews Castle and capture the Protestant rebels. These include John Knox, who is sent to become a galley-slave.
10 September 1547 A large English army with naval support meets and soundly beats the Scots at the Battle of Pinkie, a little to the east of Edinburgh. The English move on to occupy Edinburgh, though not its castle. They bombard Dundee, destroying much of it.
1548 Another English army invades, building a major fortification at Haddington, east of Edinburgh.
16 June 1548 A large French army lands at Leith to support the Scots following an agreement that Mary Queen of Scots, still only five, would marry Francois, eldest son of King Henri II of France. They besiege the English at Haddington.
29 July 1548 A French fleet rescues Mary Queen of Scots from Dumbarton and returns with her to France.
June 1551 England agree to end hostilities with Scotland after a earlier withdrawal of their forces in 1549. The cost of the "rough wooing" since 1544, over half a million pounds, has broken the English exchequer.
1552 The Society of St Andrews is formed to promote the game of golf in the town. It becomes known from 1754 as the St Andrews Society of Golfers
and still later as the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
24 April 1558 Fourteen year old Mary Queen of Scots marries fifteen year old Francoise, Dauphin of France in Paris. This is accompanied by an agreement that will unify the crowns of Scotland and France if there are children of the marriage, and hand over the crown of Scotland to France if there are not.
November 1558 Queen Elizabeth succeeds to the crown of England. Her parents’ marriage follows Henry VIII’s earlier divorce so is in the view of the Catholic Church, Elizabeth is illegitimate. So in Catholic eyes, especially in Scotland and France, Mary Queen of Scots is the rightful claimant to the English crown.
11 May 1559 John Knox preaches a sermon in Perth, starting a major Protestant uprising that spreads swiftly across central Scotland.
July 1559 Henri II of France dies after a jousting accident, and is succeeded by Franciose as Franciose II of France, with Mary as Queen.
July 1560 The Treaty of Edinburgh provides for the withdrawal of both English and French forces from Scotland and provides French recognition of the claims of Elizabeth to the Crown of England.
August 1560 The Scottish Parliament prohibits the practise of the Latin Mass in Scotland and denies the authority of the Pope, in effect implementing the Reformation across Scotland.
5 December 1560 Franciose II of France dies of an infected ear and is succeeded by his brother, Charles IX of France.
19 August 1561 Mary Queen of Scots, aged eighteen and now a widow, is increasingly isolated in France, and has little choice but to accept an invitation to return to a now Protestant Scotland as Queen.
4 September 1561 Mary meets John Knox at the Palace of Holyroodhouse to try to resolve the religious differences between them. The meeting fails and Mary neither ratifies nor revokes the Protestant Acts passed by Parliament.
28 October 1562 Mary defeats George, the 4th Earl of Huntly at the Battle of Corrichie, near Aberdeen, to curtail his ambition and assauge Protestant concerns in Scotland. She goes on to sack Huntly Castle.
29 July 1565 Mary marries her cousin Lord Darnley in a Catholic wedding.
9 March 1566 Mary’s private secretary, David Rizzio, is murdered in front of her at the Palace of Holyroodhouse by a group including her husband Lord Darnley. The attempted coup that follows fails when Darnley has second thoughts and helps Mary to escape to Dunbar.
18 March 1566 Mary returns to Edinburgh with an army provided by the Earl of Bothwell and the conspirators flee, many subsequently being exiled.
19 June 1566 Mary gives birth to a son, Charles James, at Edinburgh Castle.
17 December 1566 Charles James is christened at Stirling Castle. Darnley refuses to attend.
9 February 1567 Darnley, now ill with syphilis, is murdered while staying at the Provost’s House on the edge of Edinburgh. The cellar of the building has been packed with gunpowder, but it seems Darnley may have been strangled while trying to escape the explosion. Public suspicions grow that the Earl of Bothwell, and possibly Mary herself, is involved in the murder.
12 April 1567 The Earl of Bothwell is tried for the murder of Darnley and found not guilty. Few Scots believe the trial to be fair.
19 April 1567 Bothwell, although already married, proposes marriage to Mary with the support of many influential nobles across Scotland. Mary turns him down.
21 April 1567 Bothwell kidnaps Mary on the edge of Edinburgh and takes her to Dunbar Castle, where, assuming Mary is an unwilling participant, he rapes her. They agree to marry.
3 May 1567 Bothwell is divorced from his wife.
15 May 1567 Mary marries the Earl of Bothwell in a Protestant wedding at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. They then flee from widespread popular dissent to Dunbar Castle.
15 June 1567 Scottish nobles intent on retrieving Mary from Boswell meet the couple and a thousand supporters at Carberry Hill, east of Edinburgh. After a day long stand-off Mary agrees to the nobles’ demands and sends Bothwell away. They never meet again. Mary is taken away to imprisonment in Lochleven Castle on an island in Loch Leven, near Kinross.
24 July 1567 Lords Ruthven and Lindsay visit Mary and insist she abdicates immediately or be killed. She abdicates.
29 July 1567 One year old Charles James is crowned King James VI of Scotland in a Protestant ceremony in the Church of the Holy Rude, close to Stirling Castle. John Knox preaches a sermon. It is exactly two years since Mary married Darnley.
2 May 1568 Mary escapes from Lochleven Castle and revokes her abdication. She gathers an army and moves towards Dumbarton Castle.
13 May 1568 Mary’s army is defeated by a much smaller force under the Regent, the Earl of Moray, at the Battle of Langside, now part of Glasgow.
15 May 1568 Mary’s flight takes her to Terregles Castle near Dumfries. She rejects supporters’ advice to return to France and chooses instead to flee to England and seek the mercy of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, who still fears Mary might make a claim to the Crown of England.
16 January 1569 Elizabeth delivers an ambiguous judgement on the dispute between Mary and the Scottish Lords that alienates neither side but resolves nothing.
23 January 1570 The Regent, the Earl of Moray, is shot and killed at Linlithgow by an assailant hiding in the home of the Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews.
12 July 1570 The Earl of Lennox, father of Lord Darnley, is appointed Regent with support from Queen Elizabeth.
September 1571 Mary, still captive in England, is implicated in a plot by the Catholic Duke of Norfolk to use Spanish troops to overthrow Elizabeth. This undermines much of her remaining support in Scotland.
1572 The Earl of Morton becomes Regent and is effectively ruler of Scotland for the next six years.
May 1573 The fall of Edinburgh Castle as the last bastion of support for Mary in Scotland brings three years of civil war to an end.
March 1578 James VI takes over the government of Scotland at the age of 12.
June 1581 The ex-Regent, the Earl of Morton, is executed for his alleged involvement in the murder of Darnley, fourteen years earlier.
August 1582 16 year old King James VI is taken prisoner by the Earl of Gowrie and the "Lords Enterprisers" at Ruthven Castle now Huntingtower Castle near Perth. The "Ruthven Raid" was designed to increase the grip of the conspirators on power by controlling the King.
June 1583 James VI tricks his captors into allowing him to attend a feast at St Andrews Castle, where he escapes from them and subsequently forgives them.
April 1584 The Lords Enterprisers take St Andrews Castle in an effort to overthrow James VI, now aged 18. He musters an army and recaptures it, executing the Earl of Gowrie and exiling other conspirators to England.
May 1584 Parliament declared James VI head of both the church – the Kirk – and the state in the face of increasing efforts by the Kirk to limit his power.
11 August 1586 Mary Queen of Scots is arrested after writing a letter approving of a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth.
15 October 1586 Mary is tried for treason at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire.
8 February 1587 Mary is beheaded at Fotheringay. Her son, James VI, briefly breaks off diplomatic relations with England.
28 August 1589 James VI marries Anne, daughter of King Frederik II of Denmark. The marriage is by proxy and her subsequent efforts to sail to Scotland see her blown back by storm to Norway, allegedly as a result of witchcraft.
22 October 1589 James VI sails to Norway to collect his bride.
1 May 1590 James VI and Anne of Denmark return to Leith, and Anne is crowned Queen of Scotland later that month. James begins a witch-hunt that will claim hundreds of lives in the following hundred years.
July 1596 James VI’s efforts to have himself declared heir apparent to the English throne lead to the Treaty of Berwick, a formal alliance with England.
1597 The Scottish Parliament lease the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles to the Duke of Lennox and the "Fife Adventurers". They are explicitly permitted to slaughter, mutilate, fire raise, and do anything necessary to "root out the barbarian inhabitants". This is how the inhabitants of the highlands and islands are viewed by lowland Scots.
1599 James and Anne start to live separate lives after her conversion to Catholicism, though they have seven children in total.

Timeline: 1600 to 1700

5 August 1600 An attempt is allegedly made on James VI’s life by the Gowrie family in Perth during what is known as the Gowrie conspiracy. Others suggest it was a plot by the King to avoid paying the £80,000 owed by the crown to the family.
24 March 1603 Elizabeth I of England dies. The news is carried in two days to 36 year old James VI of Scotland in Edinburgh that he is now also King James I of England. He styles himself "King of Great Britain" and the crowns of Scotland and England are unified under the Stewart dynasty, though increasingly the family name is now spelled "Stuart".
3 April 1603 James leaves Edinburgh for London, promising to return every three years. He will in fact only return once, in 1617.
1609 Nine highland chieftains are tricked into captivity on a naval ship and only released from the island of Iona when they agree a programme designed to undermine the Gaelic language and culture.
1609 James I/VI begins the plantation of Scots Protestants into Ulster as a means of pacification.
1611 The growth in use of the English language King James Bible by Scottish Protestants helps weaken the Gaelic language.
1614 John Napier publishes the "Description of the Marvelous Canon of Logarithms" or log tables to everyone using them over the 360 years that follow until the invention of the electronic calculator.
1616 The Scottish church sets up schools in every parish to teach children "godliness and knowledge" and to read and write in English and not Gaelic, which it considers "the chief cause of the barbaritie and incivilitie of the people."
15 March 1617 James Stewart visits Scotland and gets into an argument with the Kirk over his wish for them to align more closely to practices in the Anglican Church.
27 March 1625 At the age of 58, James I/VI dies. His eldest son, Prince Henry, had died in 1612, so James is succeeded by his younger son, Charles I. Charles Stewart is aged 24 and knows little about being a king except that it comes with a Divine Right to rule direct from God.
1 May 1625 Charles I marries Henrietta Maria, daughter of King Henry IV of France.
1633 Charles I comes to Scotland for his coronation as King of Scots.
23 July 1637 A riot erupts in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, when the Dean tries to use the Book of Common Prayer as authorised by King Charles I for use throughout his United Kingdom.
28 February 1638 The National Covenant is signed, eventually by thousands of Scots. It seeks to preserve distinctive Scots cultural and religious practices against the increasingly arbitrary and Kingdom-wide approach of Charles I.
21 November 1638 The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland begins a month-long meeting in Glasgow despite the efforts of the King’s Lord High Commissioner in Scotland, the Marquis of Hamilton, to dissolve it. By continuing with the meeting, the Assembly members effectively declare themselves as rebels against the King.
May 1639 The Wars of the Covenant begin with the First Bishops’ War. Fighting is focused in the north east of Scotland. The Earl of Montrose for the Covenanters takes Aberdeen, and captures the royalist commander, the Marquis of Huntly. Huntly’s son is beaten at Brig o’ Dee on 19 June. Promised support from Charles I’s forces in England and Ulster fails to materialise.
18 June 1639 Charles’ English army reaches Berwick-upon-Tweed but when confronted with a much larger Scots army he agrees a truce, the "Pacification of Berwick".
September 1639 The Scottish "Free Parliament" confirms the decisions of the General Assembly the previous year.
August 1640 The Second Bishops’ War. The English "New Army" under the Earl of Stafford is pushed back through Northumberland and the Scots take Newcastle on 28 August. Meanwhile the Covenanters take both Edinburgh and Dumbarton castles; and the Duke of Argyll attacks the royalist clans in the Highlands.
26 October 1640 Hostilities cease with a truce signed at Ripon, under which Charles agrees to pay the costs of keeping their army in northern England.
3 November 1640 Charles convenes the English Parliament to raise the funds to settle with the Scots as agreed at Ripon. This "Long Parliament" will to sit until 1653 and lead to Charles’ loss of his throne and his head.
14 August 1641 Charles I visits Edinburgh in an effort to placate opposition and buy off critics. He ends up confirming the decisions of the 1640 Free Parliament, and so, indirectly, the Covenant.
October 1641 The weakness of Charles in Scotland leads to Catholic revolt in Ulster, only suppressed with help from Protestant troops from Scotland.
22 August 1642 Charles I, having failed to suppress or coerce Parliament by his will, takes it on by military might. The English Civil War begins.
17 August 1643 The Scots offer to support the Parliamentary side in the Civil War in return for the acceptance by the English of a "Solemn League and Covenant", in effect exporting Presbyterianism to them. Military aspects are settled quickly and the English Parliament later accepts the religious aspects of the Covenant.
19 January 1644 A Scottish Covenanter army of 20,000 men moves south to support the Parliamentary Army.
February 1644 King Charles appoints the Marquis of Montrose, who with other moderate Covenanters is now on the Royalist side, as head of Royalist forces in Scotland.
March 1644 Montrose captures Dumfries for the Royalists.
2 July 1644 The Parliamentary Army, reinforced by the Scottish Covenanters defeat the Royalists at Marston Moor.
August 1644 Alasdair MacDonald lands on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula with 2000 troops from Ireland, who are quickly joined by a thousand highlanders. He supports the Royalist cause against Clan Campbell and storms through Argyll before joining forces with the Marquis of Montrose in Perthshire.
September 1644 MacDonald and Montrose defeat a large Covenanter force before taking Perth. They then take on and beat another larger force before taking and pillaging Aberdeen then retreating, pursued by the Marquis of Argyll.
December 1644 Montrose, supported by a reinforced Alasdair MacDonald, attacks Inveraray and the Campbell strongholds of Argyll killing a thousand Campbell Clansmen. They then withdraw north through the highland winter to Inverlochy Castle, near Fort William.
January 1645 Montrose heads towards Inverness, only to find a Covenanter army is approaching from Inverness. Meanwhile, the Marquis of Argyll has followed him north, and reached Inverlochy Castle.
2 February 1645 Montrose makes a forced march south and surprises the Campbells at Inverlochy Castle early on the Sunday morning. Though outnumbered Montrose soundly defeats the Covenanters, killing 1,500 for the loss of far fewer men. Over the following weeks, Montrose takes Aberdeen (again), Brechin and Dundee.
9 May 1645 The Marquis of Montrose and his Royalists camp at Auldearn near Nairn, while en route to attack Inverness. The Covenanters, reinforced by troops withdrawn from England because of the threat from Montrose, gather at Inverness before marching overnight in an attempt to surprise Montrose at Aldearn. After a fierce fight the Royalists again win, killing 2000 Covenanters for the loss of 200 of their own men.
14 June 1645 The New Model Army under Oliver Cromwell wins the decisive victory of the Civil War at Naseby.
2 July 1645 Montrose and the Royalists again defeat the Covenanters at the Battle of Alford, in Aberdeenshire, but this time with considerable loss of life on both sides. Montrose has defeated the Covenanters throughout northern Scotland.
15 August 1645 At the Battle of Kilsyth, midway between Stirling and Glasgow, Montrose and the Royalists again defeat the Covenanters, killing 3,000. He moves on to capture Glasgow and Edinburgh, effectively controlling Scotland.
13 September 1645 Major-General Leslie’s Covenanter army returning from England after Naseby meets Montrose and the Royalists near Selkirk and comprehensively defeat them.
5 May 1646 King Charles Stewart surrenders to Scottish Covenanters besieging Newark on Trent. The Scots forces take him to Newcastle and try to bargain with him for Scots advantage. The English Parliamentary army threatens to take the King from the Scots by force.
2 June 1646 Montrose is ordered by Charles I to disband his forces and flee to France. He leaves the country in September.
30 January 1647 The Scottish Covenanters march north and back to Scotland having handed Charles Stewart over to the English in return for a payment of £200,000.
8 July 1648 The moderate arm of the Covenanters come to a secret agreement with Charles I, now in English custody, and 20,000 Scots move into England at the start of the Second Civil War.
17 August 1648 Oliver Cromwell heavily defeats the Scots at Preston, leading to a return to power in Edinburgh of the radical Covenanters of the Kirk Party under the Marquis of Argyll.
4 October 1648 Cromwell meets the Covenanters in Edinburgh leaving New Model Army troops to protect the hardline Presbyterians when he leaves.
30 January 1649 Charles I is executed in London despite protests from the Scots.
5 February 1649 The Scots Parliament proclaims Charles II as King.
March 1649 The English Parliament declares England to be a Republic.
March 1649 A delegation of Scots meets Charles II in the Hague demanding he impose Presbyterianism in Scotland, England and Ireland. Charles refuses.
March 1650 In a last effort to regain power by military means, Charles II seeks help from the Marquis of Montrose, who lands in Orkney with 500 Scandinavian mercenaries before moving on to Caithness, reinforced by Orcadian volunteers.
25 April 1650 At the Battle of Carbisdale, near Bonar Bridge, Montrose is defeated with heavy losses by a much smaller Covenanter force under Colonel Strachan. Montrose escapes north west until he is tricked into captivity at Ardveck Castle, on the shore of Loch Assynt.
22 May 1650 Montrose is executed on the basis of a conviction for treason in his absence in 1644. Charles II denies responsibility for his actions in his negotiations with the Scots.
24 June 1650 Charles II lands at Garmouth in Morayshire after sailing from the Netherlands and evading the English ships trying to intercept him. Charles has signed the Covenant and the Solemn League immediately before coming ashore.
22 July 1650 Cromwell responds by invading Scotland and proceeds to the eastern edge of Edinburgh. The Scots form a defensive line within Edinburgh.
3 September 1650 The armies engage at Dunbar. It is a resounding victory for Cromwell, largely because of the actions of extreme religious factions on the Scots side. Cromwell then marches on Edinburgh and subsequently occupies much of southern Scotland.
1 January 1651 Charles II is crowned King of Scots at Scone, before touring those parts of Scotland not under English occupation.
July 1651 Cromwell lands a force in Fife that defeats the Scots at Inverkeithing. He then moves on to Perth, tempting Charles II to use the gap he has left to advance on England and claim the throne. Charles takes the bait and Cromwell follows.
14 August 1651 General Monck, left by Cromwell to complete the conquest of Scotland, takes Stirling.
22 August 1651 Charles II reaches Worcester with very little evidence of English Royalist support.
1 September 1651 General Monck captures and pillages Dundee.
3 September 1651 Cromwell attacks Charles II and the Scots defending Worcester and inflicts a heavy defeat on them. Charles Stewart manages to escape many of the Scots do not.
15 October 1651 Charles II sails to France from Sussex after six weeks as a fugitive in England.
4 February 1652 Cromwell’s "Tender of Union" is announced in Edinburgh. This gives Scots 30 seats in a united Parliament in London. General Monk becomes Military Governor of Scotland and builds a series of defenses to ensure continued control over the country.
26 May 1652 The last Royalist stronghold anywhere on the eastern side of Scotland, Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven, surrenders after an eight month siege, though not before the Scottish crown jewels have been smuggled out to safety.
1653 A Royalist uprising in the Highlands led by the Earl of Glencairn and General Middleton achieves little.
July 1653 A General Assembly of the Kirk in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh is broken up by Cromwell’s troops.
1657 George Fox comes to Scotland as a missionary for the Quaker Society of Friends.
3 September 1658 Oliver Cromwell dies. His son, Richard Cromwell is unable to maintain the Commonwealth.
1 January 1660 General George Monck, Cromwell’s Military Governor of Scotland, leads troops based in Coldstream south to London to restore Charles Stewart – Charles II – to the throne.
14 May 1660 Charles Stewart is proclaimed King of England, Scotland and Ireland while still in Holland.
25 May 1660 King Charles II sails from Holland to Dover the monarchy is restored.
January 1661 The Scottish Parliament meets under its Commissioner, the Earl of Middleton. On 28 March it revokes every law passed since the year of Charles I’s accession, 1633. This rolls back the Covenants and restores ultimate power to the King in London.
27 May 1661 The Marquis of Argyll is executed in Edinburgh for his role during Charles II’s 1650-1 reign. A number of other extreme Presbyterians are executed later in the year, though Neil Macleod, who had betrayed Montrose at Ardveck Castle escapes. Charles II is also settling scores in England, where many of those responsible for his father’s death are executed.
6 September 1661 Charles II restores episcopal government to Scotland by royal decree. Alternative services called conventicles, often held in the open air, that spring up in an effort to retain a Presbyterian approach, are later made illegal.
13 November 1666 A dispute between conventiclers and soldiers near Dumfries grows rapidly into a protest march on Edinburgh. The marchers are turned back from the city gates, then caught at Rullion Green, on the edge of the Pentland Hills by General Tam Dalyell and 3,000 government troops. Some of the marchers are killed during the battle, others are hung after being captured.
February 1671 Rob Roy MacGregor is born at Glengyle at the head of Loch Katrine.
3 May 1679 Archbishop James Sharp, Primate of Scotland, is attacked and killed while travelling through Fife to St Andrews. The attackers are probably waiting for the Sheriff of Fife, but happy to murder instead the man leading the forces suppressing the Covenant in Scotland. It sparks a wider uprising leading to what is known as the "Killing Time".
29 May 1679 Covenanters under Sir Robert Hamilton take Rutherglen before evading government troops.
1 June 1679 The troops chasing Hamilton encounter a large conventicle of many thousands of people taking place in Ayrshire at Loudoun Hill. The Battle of Drumclog that follows sees the troops overwhelmed by much larger numbers of largely unarmed Covenanters and they flee.
22 June 1679 Covenanters gather at Bothwell, near the River Clyde, throughout June but are unable to agree a common manifesto. Meanwhile the government gathers its forces under the Duke of Monmouth, one of Charles II’s many illegitimate offspring. The two sides meet at the Battle of Bothwell Brig (Bridge) and the Covenanters are routed with the loss of 800 killed and twice as many taken prisoner.
24 November 1679 James, Duke of York – Charles II’s brother and heir to the throne – is appointed the King’s Viceroy in Scotland.
22 July 1680 The radical Presbyterian Richard Cameron attempts to lead an uprising against the King. He is killed by government troops at the Battle of Airds Moss in Ayrshire.
1681 James summons the Scottish Parliament to pass the Test Act under which anyone seeking office in Scotland will have to swear a comprehensive oath to the King. The effect is to alienate large parts of the population.
27 July 1681 The Reverend Donald Cargill, who in October 1680 had excommunicated the entire government, is beheaded in Edinburgh.
12 January 1682 The Presbyterians become an underground movement of resistance to the crown and government. Sporadic violence continues on both sides.
1682 The Advocates’ Library is founded. It later forms the core of the National Library of Scotland.
December 1684 The government produce an "Abjuration Oath" which all Scots are required to swear on pain of death. Many Scots are killed as a result, especially in the south west.
12 February 1685 Charles II dies after conversion to the Catholic Church on his deathbed. He is succeeded by his brother James Stewart, Duke of York as James II of England and VII of Scotland. James Stewart has been a convert to Catholicism for some time.
13 May 1685 The execution of James Kirk near Dumfries for refusing to swear the oath is one of the last of the wave of deaths of the "Killing Time".
20 May 1685 The Earl of Argyll sails from Holland to Campbeltown with 300 men in an attempted uprising. It fails and he is executed.
June 1687 James II/VII issues an Indulgence giving complete religious toleration to all denominations. The Scots see it as a precursor to greater Roman Catholic influence.
17 February 1688 James Renwick, leader of the remaining Covenanter Presbyterian rebels, is executed in Edinburgh.
10 June 1688 James II/VII and his wife Mary of Modena have a son, christened James Francis Edward. Many Scots – and English – are concerned by the prospect of a continuing Catholic Stewart dynasty.
5 November 1688 William of Orange lands in south west England with a huge army. He has come at the invitation of representatives of the English nobility and church. His wife Mary is James II/VII’s daughter and until the birth of James Francis Edward was the heir to the throne.
9 December 1688 Serious rioting in Edinburgh spreads across Scotland.
25 December 1688 James II/VII sails to France after a largely bloodless coup by William and Mary.
22 January 1689 An English convention declares that James II/VII has in practice abdicated; and sets out the basis on which his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange can succeed to the throne. This includes their accepting the primacy of Parliament and the stipulation that no Roman Catholic or spouse of a Roman Catholic can take the crown.
13 February 1689 King William III and Queen Mary are declared joint sovereigns of England and Ireland.
14 March 1689 A Scottish Convention is divided between Williamite supporters of William and Mary, and Jacobite supporters of James II/VII. They consider a reasoned and courteous letter from William, and an arrogant and threatening letter from James Stewart which fatally undermines his own support. The Convention decides James has forfeited his right to the crown, which should be offered instead to William and Mary.
11 May 1689 William and Mary are crowned joint sovereigns of Scotland, though it is unclear whether they have first formally accepted the constitutional principles set by the Scottish Convention.
27 July 1689 The leader of Jacobite dissent in Scotland is Viscount Dundee who gathers an army of Highlanders and a few Irish at Blair Castle. As General Mackay moves a government army of lowland troops north from Dunkeld the two sides meet at the Battle of Killiecrankie. The outcome is a victory for the Jacobites, but at a high cost including the death of Viscount Dundee, or "Bonnie Dundee" as he is remembered.
21 August 1689 The Jacobite highland army attacks government forces in and around Dunkeld and its Cathedral at the Battle of Dunkeld. Both sides suffer heavy losses and much of the town is destroyed.
1 May 1690 The last organised Jacobite forces are beaten by government troops at Cromdale, near Grantown on Spey.
11 July 1690 William of Orange convincingly defeats James II/VII at the Battle of the Boyne, north of Dublin in Ireland. James returns to France from Ireland, and the hopes of Scottish Jacobites of his return to Scotland evaporate.
June 1691 Highland Clan Chiefs who have been opposed to William are offered bribes and an amnesty on condition they swear oaths of allegiance to him.
13 February 1692 The Glencoe Massacre takes place to punish the Macdonalds for the failure of their chief to swear allegiance to William. Full details can be found on our Glencoe feature page.
March 1693 Horse-drawn Hackney cabs come into service on the streets of Glasgow.
1695 The Scottish Parliament passes an Act establishing the "Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies" with powers to colonise and make trade treaties. Strong financial backing from London evaporates when the English Parliament provides for the prosecution of English shareholders, so the funding is raised in Scotland with a view to regenerating the economy of the country. It sucks in over a quarter of the total available funds in Scotland.
1696 The Company of Scotland decides to build a colony at Darien in Central America.
July 1698 Five ships and 1,200 colonists leave Leith for Darien.
November 1698 The colonists land in Darien at what they call Caledonia and found a settlement called New Edinburgh and a fort called Fort St Andrews.
April 1699 King William prohibits English colonies in the new world trading with the Scots in Caledonia. He is anxious not to antagonise the Spanish, who claim Darien for themselves.
June 1699 The survivors of Caledonia set sail for Scotland via New York, with only 300 of the 1,200 who originally left Leith completing the return journey.
September 1699 The second Darien expedition sets sail from Scotland 12 days before news arrives from New York that the colony has been abandoned. The expedition is rapidly supplemented by a small military force.
1699 The Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge set out to suppress the Gaelic language.

Timeline: 1700 to 1800

March 1700 Following their arrival in Caledonia in November 1699, the second Darien expedition faces skirmishes with the Spanish and is eventually forced to abandon their efforts in the face of these superior forces. The Darien venture costs Scotland many hundreds of lives and a quarter of its total available resources. It coincides with a series of failed harvests in Scotland that leaves up to a quarter of the population dying of starvation.
30 July 1700 William and Mary’s heir, her nephew the Duke of Gloucester, dies. Mary had died childless in 1694 and there is no other heir available.
Summer 1701 The English Parliament passes the Act of Settlement. The heir to the crowns of England and Ireland, after William and Mary’s surviving sister Anne, is to be the Protestant grand-daughter of King James I/VI, Sophie, the Electress of Hanover. The succession will then pass in turn her 40 year old son, Prince George of Hanover. The Scottish Parliament is not consulted.
5 September 1701 James II/VII dies in France. His claim to the throne and the Jacobite cause pass to his 13 year old son, James Francis Edward Stewart. He is recognised by the French King as King James VIII/III of Great Britain, in effect declaring war on William.
8 March 1702 King William dies after a fall from his horse. He is succeeded by his sister in law, Queen Anne, who becomes the last Stewart monarch.
April 1703 The Edinburgh Fire Brigade is formed.
1703 The Scottish Parliament passes the Act of Security, under which Scotland will not in future be bound to accept the same monarch as England unless Scotland is accorded completely free trade with England and the colonies. Royal Assent is refused by the Queen’s Commissioner.
5 August 1704 The Scottish Parliament refuses to raise taxes and threatens to withdraw troops from Marlborough’s army in France unless the crown accepts the Act of Security and it is given Royal Assent. It is.
5 February 1705 The English Parliament pass the Alien Act designed to secure English interests from what they see as the subversion of the Scottish Parliament. In effect, the Scots are invited to negotiate a full union with England, on pain of seizure of Scottish assets and the ending of Scottish exports to England if they do not.
Spring 1705 Three crew of the English ship Worcester are hanged in Edinburgh on suspicion of piracy against a Scottish Darien Company ship.
Spring 1706 The Anglo-Scottish Parliamentary Commission meets to agree a draft Treaty of Union.
3 October 1706 The Scottish Parliament begins its debate on the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England.
16 January 1707 The Scottish Parliament agrees the Treaty of Union by 110 votes to 67. The debate preceding it is carried out against a backdrop of growing anti-union unrest across Scotland. The outcome is driven by economic necessity, by overt compensation for Scotland’s national debts and the losses of Darien investors, and, allegedly, by covert bribes for key participants.
19 March 1707 The English Parliament ratifies the Treaty of Union.
25 March 1707 The Scottish Parliament adjourns, and is dissolved three days later.
1 May 1707 The Treaty of Union comes into effect.
23 October 1707 The first Parliament of Great Britain meets in London.
6 March 1708 Prince James Stewart, "the Pretender", sails from Dunkirk with a French fleet for Scotland with 5,000 troops. His aim is to raise and lead a Jacobite uprising against Queen Anne.
13 March 1708 The French fleet arrives in the Firth of Forth, but is then attacked by the Royal Navy. The fleet, and Prince James, escapes and returns to Dunkirk without landing.
1 August 1714 Queen Anne dies and is succeeded by George, Elector of Hanover, under the terms of the 1701 Act of Settlement. George cannot speak English and is not popular in England.
6 September 1715 The Earl of Mar leads an uprising for "King James" at Braemar that attracts widespread support in north east Scotland.
14 September 1715 The Jacobites take Perth.
13 November 1715 At the Battle of Sherrifmuir near Dunblane the Jacobite army under the Earl of Mar is prevented from taking southern Scotland by a much smaller government force.
13 November 1714 A Jacobite uprising in northern England is cornered and defeated in Preston.
22 December 1715 Prince James, the Pretender, lands at Peterhead before moving through Aberdeen and Dundee to the Earl of Mar’s Headquarters at Perth.
31 January 1716 The Jacobites abandon Perth in the face of reinforced government forces.
4 February 1716 Prince James boards a ship at Montrose and leaves Scotland for the continent. The Earl of Mar follows shortly afterwards. The Jacobite army simply disbands and dissolves. "The 1715" is over.
10 May 1716 A small Spanish force, believing itself to be part of a much larger invasion planned for England to return the Jacobites to power, lands in Loch Duich, inland from the site of Kyle of Lochalsh. Royal Navy ships destroy the Spanish headquarters at Eilean Donan Castle.
10 June 1719 The Spanish troops, now supported by only 1000 Highland Jacobites, are defeated at the Battle of Glenshiel which takes place on the steep mountainsides flanking the Glen. The Spanish surrender but their part in the battle is remembered by the name of the overlooking mountain, Sgurr nan Spainnteach, or Peak of the Spaniards.
1720 The Earl of Islay is appointed Secretary of Scotland.
31 December 1720 Prince James, now living in what later becomes Italy, has a son, Charles Edward Stuart, or "Bonnie Prince Charlie".
1723 The Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland is formed to help improve farming methods. Its main aim is to find ways to make the Highlands more economically productive and it is instrumental in the clearances that begin later in the century.
25 December 1724 General George Wade is put in command of the army in Scotland. He begins the construction of hundreds of miles of good "military" roads and stone bridges designed to allow government troops to counter future uprisings with greater ease.
23 June 1725 Serious rioting breaks out in Glasgow in protest at Westminster-imposed taxes on Scottish malt.
1725 The Disarming Act forbids Highlanders from carrying arms in public, a long standing custom.
1726 The Edinburgh University faculty of medicine is set up. It is followed in 1729 by the opening of the the Edinburgh Infirmary.
1727 George I is succeeded by George II.
1730 The first systematic emigration begins from highland areas to American colonies, largely in response to rent increases.
28 December 1734 Rob Roy MacGregor dies at his home in Balquhidder Glen.
14 April 1736 A riot provoked by the Captain of the City Guard in Edinburgh, Captain Porteous, leads to nine deaths. Portous is later found guilty of murder.
7 September 1736 An Edinburgh crowd waiting to witness Captain Porteous’s execution hear he has been pardoned. That night they break into his cell and publicly lynch him. None of those responsible is caught and the City of Edinburgh is fined £2,000 over the incident.
8 November 1736 Scotland’s first public theatre opens in Carruber’s Close, Edinburgh.
February 1744 A French fleet intending to invade southern England is caught by the Royal Navy then dispersed by a storm. On board the failed invasion fleet is Charles Edward Stuart, the "Young Pretender".
1744 The Company of Gentlemen Golfers, later known as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh is formed.
5 July 1745 Charles Edwards Stuart sails from France for Scotland with two ships. The Elisabeth, carrying his military supplies and gold, is badly damaged in an encounter with a Royal Navy ship and has to turn back.
23 July 1745 Charles Edward Stuart reaches the Western Isles before sailing on to land near Arisaig on the mainland with just eight supporters, no supplies, and no funds.
19 August 1745 Charles Edward Stuart raises his standard at Glenfinnan.
4 September 1745 The Jacobite army takes Perth.
16 September 1745 The Jacobites take Edinburgh without a fight.
21 September 1745 At the Battle of Prestonpans, east of Edinburgh, the Jacobites defeat the assembled governmental forces under General Cope in a ten minute engagement.
31 October 1745 Charles Edward Stuart moves south from Edinburgh despite views among his supporters that it would be better to retain Scotland and wait for a promised French invasion of England.
15 November 1745 Carlisle falls to the Jacobites.
4 December 1745 Charles Edward Stuart and the Jacobite army reaches Derby. In London, only 150 miles south, there is total panic.
6 December 1745 In the absence of the promised French invasion of England and in the light of very limited support from English Jacobites, Charles withdraws from Derby.
20 December 1745 The Jacobite army retreats into Scotland.
8 January 1746 Stirling surrenders to the Jacobite forces.
17 January 1746 A large Jacobite army defeats government forces at the Battle of Falkirk Muir. Charles Edward Stuart, increasingly drunk since Derby, fails to take advantage.
1 February 1746 The Jacobites move north in the face of increasingly strong government forces under the Duke of Cumberland.
16 April 1746 The opposing armies finally meet at the Battle of Culloden. For a full account of the final defeat of the Jacobites read our feature page on the battle.
20 April 1746 Bonnie Prince Charlie flees to Arisaig where he stays for a week.
21 April 1746 The City of Glasgow hosts formal celebrations to mark the defeat of the Jacobites, and awards the Duke of Cumberland the freedom of the city.
30 April 1746 Four days after Charles leaves Arisaig two French ships carrying supplies and funds arrive in an effort to help him.
20 September 1746 Bonnie Prince Charlie sails for France from Loch nan Uamh near Arisaig, very close to the spot at which he landed in July 1745.
1 August 1747 The Act of Proscription prohibits the wearing of highland garb, in particular tartans and kilts, except within the army.
14 May 1752 Colin Campbell, the Red Fox, is killed in the Appin Murder at Ballachulish.
14 May 1754 Golf is formalised at St Andrews with the foundation of the St Andrews Society of Golfers.
1755 A census by the Reverend Alexander Webster puts the population of Scotland at 1,265,380. England’s population is five times larger.
1756 An Act of the Court of Session in Edinburgh establishes that tenants may easily be removed by the local sheriff. This is to have major implications in the Highlands in following years.
1759 An iron works is established at Carron near Falkirk, producing cannons called Carronades.
1760 The Highland Clearances gain momentum. The pressure on highlanders through increased rents and more direct means to leave the land results in 20,000 emigrating by 1773, many for Canada and other colonies.
1767 Work begins on the building of Edinburgh New Town.
1768-1771 The Encyclopedia Britannica is published in Edinburgh.
1769 Fort George near Inverness, built at vast cost to ensure the continued suppression of the Highlands, is completed.
15 September 1773 Emigrants board the "Hector" at Ullapool to sail to Nova Scotia after being cleared from their land to make way for sheep.
1 July 1782 The Act of Proscription is repealed and the kilt and wearing of tartans comes into more general use.
27 January 1783 The newspaper the Glasgow Herald is published for the first time.
1783 Glasgow’s Chamber of Commerce is the first group of its kind in the UK.
1786 Robert Burns publishes his "Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect".
1786 The New Lanark Mills are the biggest cotton mills in the world, making cotton the most important industry in Scotland.
1 December 1787 Scotland’s first lighthouse lights up at Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh. It is built by Thomas Smith and Robert Stevenson.
27 July 1790 The Forth and Clyde Canal is opened to use.
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