Scottish History Timeline - Key Dates affecting Scotland's Population

After many years of avoiding battle, the Caledonians were forced to fight the Romans when they attempted to steal their newly harvested grain. The Caledonians had no choice but to fight, or starve over the next winter. The Caledonians were no match for the discipline of the legions. It is estimated that a total of 20,000 Romans faced 30,000 Caledonian warriors. It has been estimated that 10,000 Caledonian lives were lost for only 360 Romans. 20,000 Caledonians escaped!

Columba, after being banished from Ireland, landed in Iona and established a monastery in which the strict regime of prayer, religious study and self-denial he practised became the Celtic way for future monks and christianity in Scotland.

The Viking Age began with a raid on the Lindesfarne Monastery in Northumbria. Attacks on Iona began in 794 whilst Orkney and Shetland became Norse colonies, followed by the entire Hebrides and areas of the mainland. The Vikings were Pagans and didn't care about robbing and destroying monasteries. Monasteries an easy target as the Monks had no weapons to defend themselves. Many Vikings settled in Scotland and Ireland.

The North of Scotland experienced a gradual population migration, under the Norse pressure, with the Scots of the west encroaching on the Picts of the east. Kenneth MacAlpin,son of Alpin, 34th King of Dalriada, asserted himself as the first King of the Picts and Scots.

By 1296 Scotland was under English rule. Edward 1st toured Scotland as far north as Elgin and removed the Stone of Destiny from Scone to take it back to London. On 10 September the English reached the Forth. To save time and money, Cressingham the English decided to cross the river at the nearby wooden Stirling Bridge, rather than travel the further few miles to an easier crossing. The army of William Wallace and Murray had been waiting up on the Abbey Craig and on the morning of the 11th, once roughly half of Englishmen had crossed the bridge, the rebels attacked. Those English on the north side were soon butchered and with the bridge blocked solid with corpses, Surrey and the second half of his army could not aid the first. With huge English losses, they retreated to Berwick.

Continuing from his success against the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, William Wallace had continued his 'liberation of Scotland' with the recapture of Berwick. Edward I, the 'Hammer of the Scots', was determined to crush Wallace's rebellion and that June he brought a great army together at Newcastle to march on Roxburgh Castle on their way to Linlithgow. The English force had over three thousand cavalry and a considerable number of archers. Waiting at Falkirk, Wallace had gathered only half as many men, mostly armed with spears, backed by a modest cavalry made up predominantly of a number of nobles, led by Sir John Comyn, known as the 'Black Comyn'. Under the ferocity of arrows, then cavalry, the patriots were soon annihilated. The self-interested nobles on horseback would not come into the combat to support Wallace and their men and instead left the area. Edward and Surrey had their revenge for Stirling Bridge.

The Scottish Army led by Robert the Bruce defeated the English led by Edward II. The Scottish victory was complete and, although full English recognition of Scottish independence was not achieved until more than ten years later, Robert Bruce's position as king was greatly strengthened by the outcome..

Bernard of Linton, Abbot of the Abbey of Arbroath wrote, in Latin, the Declaration of Arbroath. Sealed by eight earls and thirty-one barons, it is also known as the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration begins by describing the origins of the Scots and the adoption of St Andrew as Patron Saint. It identifies the treatment England served upon the Scots and how Robert I 'has brought salvation to his people through the safeguarding of our liberties',.

For six centuries the Orkney and Shetland Islands remained under Norwegian sovereignty, geographically central in a sea-faring Scandinavian civilisation which reached across the Atlantic. Christian I was King of Denmark and Norway and in 1468 his daughter Margaret married Scotland's James III. Her dowry was set at sixty thousand florins of the Rhine. Christian pledged his lands and rights in Orkney for the first fifty thousand florins due, and was to pay the remaining ten thousand in coins. He could only spare two thousand, and so pledged the Shetlands to cover the remaining unpaid eight thousand in 1469.

Born on 8 December 1542, Mary's life was complicated from the first week when her father, James V, died and made her Queen when she was six days old. On 18 February 1587, at Fotheringay, Mary's neck was put across the block, where the executioner had to strike twice to remove her head.

James V1 of Scotland became James 1 of England thus uniting the 2 Crowns after the death of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England who died childless.

The covenanters sculpted religion and politics in Scotland which promoted Presbyterianism as a 'church' run government popular with the people and not the Crown. An alliance was formed between the Scottish Covenanters and the English Parliament and caused a civil war with Charles 1.

The McDonalds of the Clan McDonald were slaughtered by the Clan Campbell after offering them hospitality because they did not swear allegiance to the new monarchs.

2nd oldest surviving bank in the UK and is the only commercial institution created by the Parliament of Scotland to remain in existence.

1200 Scots left Leith for a new promised land at Darien in the US, this and subsequent ventures ended in disaster with few lasting the journey, the survivors dying with disease and attacks by the Spaniards. The few survivors returned home and the venture was abandoned at a huge cost to the Scottish Parliament ultimately leading to the merger with Westminster.

England ratifies the Treaty of the Union and the Parliament of Scotland is dissolved.

Leith Links was the venue for the 1st gold club formed from the 'Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers'.

The last Jacobite army is defeated.

Following Culloden, tartan and the kilt were banned except by the Army.

Scots in the Highlands and Islands were forced to leave their crofts and homes to make way for farming and agriculture. Many left Scotland for the Americas and other Colonies. Read more about the Highland Clearances.

When the laws were repealed in 1782 there was a resurgence of Scottish nationalism and efforts to restore the spirit and culture of the Highlands after a period of repression were encouraged by the newly formed Highland Societies in London (1778) and Edinburgh (1780)

The Highland potato famine caused over 1.7 million people to leave Scotland.

A Scottish Medical missionary and explorer in Africa.

The Tay Bridge disaster caused the deaths of 75 when a train and 6 carriages collapsed into the River Tay.

Major artery linking Fife with Edinburgh and opened by the 'Prince of Wales'.

Some 600,000 Scots emigrated over the decade to North America and other UK colonies worldwide.

Against a rising tide of Scottish socialism and trade unionism a large numbers of Scottish men volunteer to fight.

140,000 Scots were killed, no nation apart from Turkey, lost a higher percentage of it's population.

Period of economic downturn.

The remote island of St Kilda is evacuated with residents leaving for the mainland and the US and Australia.

Over 1,000 killed on the Clyde when German Luftwaffe bomb it's shipyards.

10,000 troops disembark from ships in the Clyde preparing for the war.

Nationalists steal the stone of destiny from Westminster, almost 800 years after Edward 1st took it from Scone.

The Queen has officially opened Europe's longest suspension bridge linking Edinburgh to Perth across the River Forth.

Opened by Her Majesty the Queen.