Stuarts in Scotland
II of Scotland had no children. His nephew, Robert the Steward,
succeeded him in 1371. Robert was the son of David's half-sister,
Marjorie. Robert's ancestors were named Fitzalan, but they were
known as Stewarts because they held the office of High Steward
of Scotland. Stewart, later also Stuart, was the old Scots spelling
of Steward. The Stuarts ruled Scotland for the next 300 years,
and then became kings of England as well. The Stuart rule was
a time of great unrest, partly because so many Stuarts inherited
the throne in infancy.
II was 55 when he became king. His eldest son was John, Earl of
Carrick. John succeeded his father in 1390 and took the name of
Robert III. Neither Robert II nor Robert III was an effective
king, and many Scottish nobles questioned their right to the throne.
A long struggle for power took place between the Stuarts and their
III was king in name only. His younger brother, Robert, Duke of
Albany, had been made guardian of the kingdom when Robert II became
too old to rule, and Albany continued as guardian after Robert
III came to the throne. Later, the power and title of guardian
were transferred to Robert III's son, David, Duke of Rothesay.
In 1402, Albany captured Rothesay, who died mysteriously soon
afterward. Meanwhile, an intermittent war was raging between Scotland
and England. Robert III sent his surviving son, James, to France
to protect him from Albany. But James was captured by the English
and imprisoned in the Tower of London.
still a prisoner, became king in 1406, at the age of 12. Albany
was appointed governor of the realm. Albany died in 1420, and
his son, Murdoch, Duke of Albany, succeeded him as governor. During
the government of the two Albanys, the Scottish nobles seized
royal lands and revenues. In 1424, James I was freed from his
long imprisonment after payment of a large ransom. He proved an
energetic king. He curbed the powerful nobles, reformed the Scottish
legal system, and imposed taxes to restore the royal revenues.
He also made some use of parliaments. James arranged a marriage
between his eldest daughter, Margaret, and the son of the French
king, in order to strengthen the traditional Scottish alliance
was an athletic man, as well as a poet and musician. While in
prison, he wrote a poem, The Kingis Quair (The King's Book), in
honor of the Englishwoman whom he had married. She was Lady Jane
Beaufort, a granddaughter of Edward III of England. Yet James
made many enemies, one of whom murdered him in 1437. James left
a 6-year-old son, James II.
II was left in the custody of his mother, Queen Jane. Jane appointed
Archibald, fifth Earl of Douglas, as lieutenant governor of Scotland.
But Archibald's enemies soon killed him. When James grew to manhood,
the Douglases and the Stuarts resumed an ancient feud. James had
William, the sixth Earl of Douglas, executed. The king himself
stabbed to death another William, the eighth earl, in 1452. In
1460, James was killed when a cannon exploded while he was besieging
Roxburgh Castle, then held by the English. He, too, left a child
to succeed him.
III was only 9 years old when he became king. In 1465, he came
under the control of the Boyd family, who managed state affairs
and arranged a useful marriage between James and Margaret of Denmark.
The marriage made Orkney and Shetland part of Scotland. But the
Boyds soon lost control. James quarreled with his brothers and,
despite making important political and administrative reforms,
he became personally unpopular with the nobility. In 1488, James
was defeated at the Battle of Stirling by a group of nobles. He
was murdered soon afterward.
IV, the son of James III, was 15 when he came to the throne. He
was a strong king. He held parliaments, founded a navy, and enforced
justice against his powerful barons. In 1502, James made peace
with England and, soon afterward, married Margaret Tudor, the
eldest daughter of Henry VII of England. Through this marriage,
the Stuarts later claimed the throne of England.
But in 1512, James supported Scotland's old ally, France, in a
war with England. The English defeated and killed James at the
Battle of Flodden in 1513.
son, James V, was only 17 months old when he became king. During
his boyhood, the Scottish lords continually quarreled for power.
James began to rule for himself at the age of 16. James was extremely
pro-French and in time was forced into a war with his uncle, Henry
VIII of England. The English decisively defeated the Scots in
1542. James died soon afterward, leaving the throne to his week-old
baby daughter, Mary.
Queen of Scots, was brought up in France as a Roman Catholic.
While she was in France, Scotland became a Protestant country.
In 1558, Mary married the dauphin (crown prince) of France. Mary's
husband became king of France as Francis II in 1559.
died suddenly in 1560. Mary returned to Scotland, a Roman Catholic
queen of a fiercely Protestant country. In 1565, she married her
cousin, Henry Stewart, Earl of Darnley. In 1567, Darnley was mysteriously
murdered. Soon after, Mary married the Earl of Bothwell, whom
many people believed was Darnley's murderer. As a result of this
marriage and of Mary's religion, her subjects rebelled against
her. They defeated her in battle at Carberry Hill, Lothian Region,
and forced her to abdicate. Mary fled to England to seek the protection
of Elizabeth I. Elizabeth kept her a prisoner for 18 years before
having her executed.
the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor, Mary, Queen of Scots, was
heir to the unmarried Elizabeth I of England. After Mary's execution,
the succession passed legitimately to her son by Lord Darnley,
James VI. Thus, with the death of Elizabeth in 1603, the English
and Scottish crowns were united. James VI of Scotland became James
I, the first monarch to rule England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales
to Scottish History