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Under the amnesty of she was released from captivity as a prisoner on parole, and lived with Lady Primrose in London. She became a celebrity, and among the many fashionable people who visited her was Frederick Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II. Difficult economic times saw the couple emigrate to North Carolina in Her husband was taken prisoner and she left for Scotland.

He joined her two years later, and the family took up residence on Skye once more where she died in a British patriot. Although working people constitute the largest section of society north of the border, they were not always supporters of Labour. Most workers in Scotland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries voted Liberal and it was only after the First World War that the vote went to Labour. However, it was never hegemonic, as the religious divisions in Scotland ensured there was always a sizeable Protestant working-class Unionist a party that merged with the Conservatives in vote.

The party itself in Scotland was an alliance of skilled male workers and the middle classes —as such it preached against class-based politics, such as those advocated by the far left. A study of the social backgrounds of inter-war Labour MPs found that around 45 per cent of them were from non-manual backgrounds; a social trend that was to intensify after Most people would identify Catholic and Protestant rivalry with Glasgow and its satellite towns. But the bitterest conflicts in the 20th century took place not in Glasgow, but in middle-class Edinburgh in the s. Employers were pressurised into sacking Catholic employees, priests were spat on in the streets, and Sunday congregations were subject to verbal and physical assault.

The high water mark was the riot of , when Cormack led a mob of 20, Protestants baying for blood against the Eucharist Congress that was taking place at the Catholic priory in Morningside. The activism was rewarded with seats on the Edinburgh Town Council; indeed, Protestant Action in the municipal elections of won But the popularity of Cormack and Protestant Action was short-lived, as the outbreak of war in pushed sectarianism on to the sidelines of politics in Edinburgh.

In spite of this, Cormack held his seat on the Town Council until his death in the s. Why did they come? For three good reasons: firstly, it opened up British and European markets; secondly, there existed a highly skilled and educated pool of workers earning historically relatively low wages; and, thirdly, there were no linguistic barriers, as English was the common tongue. He is the author of seven books and more than 30 articles covering the past years of Scottish history, including Scottish History For Dummies published by Wiley, July To read more Scottish history, click here. From this time the king of Scots acted as overlord of Strathclyde, finally annexing it.

The origins of the Scots language - in Scots

There are 13 claimants, including John Balliol and Robert Bruce. As the country stands on the brink of civil war, the Scots ask Edward I of England to choose, he demands overlordship, which he gets, and appoints John Balliol as king. Edward invades and conquers Scotland. The Wars of Independence begin.

He is betrayed a few months later at Falkirk and Edward regains control. Bruce is excommunicated as the murder took place in a church.

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In the same year however he has himself crowned king, in secret. Bruce is recognised as the undisputed king. The Pope re-communicates Robert the Bruce. A year later Robert I dies. It marked the beginning of the end of the Lordship of the Isles, and as it collapsed there was a mad scramble by petty-chiefs to take the scraps, creating the Clan system in the process.

At the battle of Flodden despite a strong position the Scots are annihilated by the English army. Huge numbers of the nobility were killed including the king himself. He is succeeded by his baby son, James V. Mary is now Queen of Scots and Queen of France. As a Catholic monarch she was in for trouble from the Protestant nobility.

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The wars of religion sweep across Scotland, as John Knox leads the road to reformation and the establishment of the Calvinist Church of Scotland. The queen then marries Bothwell. The Protestant nobles rebel and Mary is imprisoned in Loch Leven castle. She is forced to abdicate in favour of her 6 month old baby, who succeeds her as James VI. She is defeated at Langside and flees to England. As a Catholic threat to the throne of Elizabeth I she is arrested and put into English custody for the rest of her life.

James heads south to take up the reins of power in London. He is crowned as James I of Great Britain. He only makes one trip back to Scotland in the next 22 years. Charles displays an arrogant disregard to the feelings of his Scottish subjects, opening the door to rebellion. Charles is forced to turn to Parliament in England to raise funds for an army to quell rebellion in the north. Charles is defeated, forcing him to go cap in hand again to the English Parliament.

Passages in the book are thoughtfully written, even poetic, but on the whole it is pure tedium. What a shame!


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Aug 18, Craig Dickson rated it really liked it. This was an interesting and well-written history of Scotland, I enjoyed reading it. I picked it up in the discount bin in Bookworld on Princes St a year or two ago, but it took me a while to get round to reading it.

Neil Oliver hedges his bets about when is the best time to start a history by going right back to Pangaea and Panthalassa, and following the geology of how Scotland formed. Then he covers the ice ages and the peopling of Scotland, it's pre-history and goes right up to the modern era. It was impressively done, and I learned a lot of stuff about things that I kind of felt like I knew but actually didn't.

Growing up somewhere there are things which seem so familiar you feel like you know them, but if asked to tell someone else it'd become pretty clear pretty quickly that you don't. That was part of my motivation to read this book - to get an actual grip on what happened during all those things I heard about. Like what was the deal with the Dal Riata and the Picts? Why did the Romans build Hadrian's Wall? What was up with Robert the Bruce? This book answered all these questions and many more, in a clear and entertaining way.

It suffered from the thing where I would get hazy about which King was which, but that's just down to the scope of the history, not a fault of the author. Anyway, it was cool and now I have a lot more knowledge of the history of my country which I can half-remember when it comes up again.

Jul 19, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , scotland. Oliver's enthusiasm over telling Scotland's history led to creative metaphors and flowery language throughout. Sometimes I wished it read more like a textbook — brief and to the point. But other times I loved the extra emotion.

Scotland's history is one of hardship. Fighting within to determine who should be in power, fighting invaders, fighting the English, who never seemed to give them a break. Centuries of turmoil under an unstable monarchy make it clear to me what a stabilizing force democrac Oliver's enthusiasm over telling Scotland's history led to creative metaphors and flowery language throughout. Centuries of turmoil under an unstable monarchy make it clear to me what a stabilizing force democracy can be.

No need to argue over claims, legitimate or not. An election points to a very clear winner. A few dark spots in Scottish history: - Edward I of England "Hammer of the Scots" - Henry VIII of England " forced removals of Highlanders in an attempt to destroy their culture - Famine and unemployment of the 20th century - Margaret Thatcher's policies - Every time someone assassinated the king and threw the country into bloody fighting - Every time someone got into power then immediately swore allegiance to England A few bright spots: - Alexander, Lord of the Isles — ruling over relatively peaceful times in the isles while the mainland was a mess - William Wallace, then Robert the Bruce trouncing Edward I, the.

Jan 20, Vinicius rated it really liked it. It is rather unusual as far as I'm concerned for a Historian to manage to encompass nearly 5. Neil may sound only dimly Anglicised as you progress, and to no surprise I realised he is actually Unionist, but he never truly ceases to prove his speciality throughout the bulk of reading. That is, Scottish nationalism, its upheavals, downfalls, sorrows and grieves, as well as its bumpy journey spanning a number of centuries of disre It is rather unusual as far as I'm concerned for a Historian to manage to encompass nearly 5.

That is, Scottish nationalism, its upheavals, downfalls, sorrows and grieves, as well as its bumpy journey spanning a number of centuries of disregard, and identity-cleansing imposed hurtfully by its self-absorbed Southern neighbour. That to no avail, apparently. It is not impossible to get lost in betwixt such large a varied sum of events, in what could easily be interpreted as an as-concise-as-it-could-have-been-wrought-to-be story, but fortunately Neil's skills as an effortless storyteller keeps your eyes peeled at every page turn.

And that is indeed quite a feat when you're considering navigating through quite a few pages on rock formation and geology. I should definitely give the eponimously titled documentary a whirl next. Apr 04, Sam Culver rated it liked it. Quick paced but never skipping detail, brimming with enthusiasm and clearly a deep love and passion for the subject.

Never felt stodgy considering all that is discussed. For a history book to be readable for the masses, it has to maintain a sense of narrative, keep the excitement high and remain relatable. This book does all that. Fascinating history of Scotland's game of thrones through the millennia. Interesting personalities, stomach turning gore, mind numbing political machinations, and the rise and fall cycles of the country's fortunes.

Political controversy aside, I have always enjoyed watching Neil Oliver. All-in-all, the book is a reasonably good overview of Sco Political controversy aside, I have always enjoyed watching Neil Oliver. He begins at the dawn of time, and I can honestly say that it took a bit of perseverance for me to get through the initial chapter which dealt mostly with land formations and rocks.

There is a point to it all, though, and perseverance pays off. By chapter three he had my full attention, and by the end he brings the reader full circle back to the land. This really is an overview, something to whet your appetite for further reading and exploration.

Fighting for independence

Lists for said further reading for each chapter can be found in the back of the book, which can provide a starting point for additional research in any period of interest. Feb 26, Melinda rated it it was amazing. I listened to this as an audiobook. And man I love listening to Neil Oliver. His voice is delightful - in fact I suspect he could read me the phone directory and it would be good! That said, this guy is also an amazing historian and researcher.

His work is always top notch. Really enjoyable book. Told purely from the Scottish POV.

A (Very) Brief History

Puts English history in interesting context when you hear about it from "the other side". Jan 18, Brian Willis rated it really liked it. Solid overview of Scottish history with focus on the more important moments in its development. If you want the champion of the long version, which is riveting despite its length, see Magnus Magnusson's Scotland: The Story of a Nation.

The 10 episode television version is also very engaging.

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology | VisitScotland

What differentiates Oliver's version from others is his distinct focus on the Scottish perspective of things as distinct from Scotland as Solid overview of Scottish history with focus on the more important moments in its development. What differentiates Oliver's version from others is his distinct focus on the Scottish perspective of things as distinct from Scotland as part of a British nation which, before you protest, is actually not all that common. As promised, Oliver also pulls the curtain away from all the myths and digs into the realities of the medieval and pre-medieval Scottish monarchs and clans.

The first half, the part before Britain really starts to intrude into Scottish history, is by far more fascinating but that is not Oliver's fault. If you have Scottish roots, or just want to learn more about this beautiful land, this is your best bet for a reasonably complete page version. I'm taking a trip to Scotland later this year and got this book to learn more about the area before going there. This was a fascinating book and the Scottish history, while kind of a sad one, has a lot of interesting stories. The author starts from the very beginning with the geologic history that led to the formation of the Scottish isles and carries the history to the present day.

I found myself wanting to know more and finally realized that because the book was written by a Scottish man, he m I'm taking a trip to Scotland later this year and got this book to learn more about the area before going there. I found myself wanting to know more and finally realized that because the book was written by a Scottish man, he makes assumptions about what you know and then builds off those base assumptions. For someone who knew nothing about Scotland I found him saying "Of course everyone knows this" and I didn't know what he was talking about.

I can imagine that a book written on US History written by an American would have the same kinds of biases but I've never noticed it before because I am an American. I'm definitely going to have to find some more books to learn more. Jan 04, Jed rated it liked it. I love Neil Oliver from his appearances on Coast because his enthusiasm encourages everyone to share in his love of history and I had no doubt that I would enjoy this book.

Scotland Fights Its Way to Freedom, 700 Years Ago

I have very little knowledge of the history of Scotland, apart from vague ideas picked up from novels set there and from visiting Edinburgh on several occasions, so this filled in quite a few gaps. I did find some of the names confusing and found myself tracking back more than once to sort out who was who. I also lost a smidg I love Neil Oliver from his appearances on Coast because his enthusiasm encourages everyone to share in his love of history and I had no doubt that I would enjoy this book. I also lost a smidgen of interest once we arrived at more modern history.

But all in all, very readable and enjoyable. Feb 04, Erin rated it really liked it. This is a well-written and accessible history of an amazing place. It deepened my knowledge of the place of my ancestors and where I currently call home as an American expat. Worth the read for sure! This is as good an introduction to Scotish history as you'll find.


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