The overview of the Scottish Wars of Independence and the international climate during the late 1290s started with the death of King Alexander III of Scotland from riding off a cliff.
Some believed it was murder, others thought it was bad luck, but we shall never know the truth.
This left the Scottish throne to his granddaughter, the Maid of Norway. Unfortunately, with the death of the maid of Norway, Queen Margaret 1290AD, the Scottish crown without an heir set off the events that would leave Scotland and northern England in 30 years of bloody war.
The conflict also contributed to England and France’s Hundred Year’s War.
Queen Margaret’s death left the throne to be contested by Robert Bruce, John Balliol, and John of Hastings descended from King David I of Scotland.
It’s important to understand that John Balliol had the best claim to the Scottish throne by descending from King David’s eldest daughter, with the second being Robert the Bruce and John Hastings.
Why did Scotland divisions over the succession, leading to war between the King of England and the King of Scots?
It is essential to mention that the King of England was not English and that the kings of Scotland were descendants of Norman French nobility mixed with the native Scottish nobility.
I make this point because today, the Scottish War of Independence has become a nationalistic symbol of English tyranny, which is historical nonsense.
I think it is essential to divorce ourselves from contemporary events to understand the history and past people’s motivations.
We must remember that medieval peoples are strongly religious and had no concept of nationalism.
Proto-nationalism nationalism only developed in the beginnings of the 13th and 14th centuries, which grew during the Hundred Years War and the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.
Why does the King of England want Scotland?
During the time of Edward the Elder and his son Athelstan the first King of the English, the Welsh princes and King of Scots, who had not yet unified the whole of Scotland in the 10th century, owed the house of Wessex, the descendants of Alfred the great homage.
Homage in a feudal society is where someone, be they a Knight, peasant, or great Lord who is a king, prince, or vassal, owes their overlord’s services (best to think of crusader kings game is the best example I can think to explain the feudal contract) so if the kings of Scotland own the kings of England homage why did this relationship breakdown the answer that is both simple and complicated.
So, for this article, I will say Richard the Lionheart sold Scotland’s homage back to King William I of Scotland called the lion back to Scotland.
(Read the King of the North Wind King of the North Wind: The Life of Henry II in Five Acts by Claudia Gold if you wish to know about the decline and fall of the Angevin dynasties).
Battle of Bannockburn, 1314 ⚔️ First War of Scottish Independence Video Created by Battle March and has 1,158,488 views.
If you like short snippets of history concisely and effectively, that is entertaining and enlightening. This is the podcast and YouTube to watch.
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