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  • Robert II (1371-1390)

  • Robert III (1390-1406)

  • James I (1406-1437)

  • James II (1437-1460)

  • James III (1460-1488)

  • James IV (1488-1513)

  • James V (1513-1542)

  • Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587)

  • James VI (1567-1603)

Early Medieval Times (1000-1290)

The new Kingdom of the Scots was led by the powerful Canmore dynasty - founded by Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret.  This dynasty (particularly David I) brought the Normans, “European” ideas, and many much needed changes to Scotland.

These changes included: feudal nobles with castles/land and tenants they looked after; a structured legal system with documents of record; trading "burghs" which held local monopolies in buying and selling; strong church influence (new monasteries with significant land ownership); and the first royal coinage.  This was when families like the Bruces, Balliols and Stewarts first arrived in Scotland - to become the future of Scotland.  The English, of course, still wanted their superiority over Scotland recognised, and achieved this from time to time!  By the end of this period Scotland was an established kingdom similar to other European kingdoms.  However it was very backward socially, artistically and culturally compared to its Dutch, French and English neighbors.

Wars of Independence 1290-1371

After the death of the last Canmore, the Scots had to again fight to maintain their independence from England.

A series of popular rebellions (including William Wallace – see film Braveheart with Mel Gibson) after the English imprisoned King John Balliol destroyed English control over Scotland.  The severity of William Wallace’s execution encouraged more popular resistance and he became an inspiring national hero.  Robert Bruce took advantage of the mood to make himself King of Scots and liberated the kingdom in 1328.  The Scottish people continued to fight subsequent English invasions and authority, until victorious.

The Stewarts 1371-1488

The Stewart dynasty got off to a really bad start as the first 2 Stewart Kings were not able to rule by themselves due to ill health and the next 2 had a long minority before a short reign which ended violently each time.

During this period over-strong local lords ignored the King, but made sure that their tenants were well looked after and able to pay their rents.  Burghs were recovering after the effects of war and disease, and the church felt confident enough to create new universities (St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen) and to invest in educating the next generations. 

Reformation 1488-1603

The later Stewart monarchs were no luckier, although James VI survived to become King of England in 1603.  Internationally Scotland continued to be used as a pawn by its powerful neighbors - France and England - in their struggle.  However, Scotland effectively used its royal connections with France to keep out the English. The Reformation led by John Knox griped Scotland from 1560 with strict church laws, even more strict civil laws and civil behavior to match. Were the Scots to support the Auld Alliance and Auld (Catholic) Religion, or were they to break with the past and support Protestantism, and probably greater English influence in Scotland?  The introduction of the printing press and the spread of literacy encouraged this debate among a broad range of people. 


  • John Balliol  1292-1296)



  • Robert I (The Bruce) (1306-1329)

  • David II (1329-1371)

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