Wherever you turn in Scotland you come across signs of an incredibly complex and remarkably violent history.
It might be one of the 2700 castles built in an often vain attempt to defend land, property and lives: or one of the innumerable battlefields where ordinary Scots fought, often with one another, and usually in pursuit of someone else's ambitions or beliefs. Or it might be one of the seemingly endless succession of castles and houses, large and small, in which Mary Queen of Scots is said to have spent the night.
Some understanding of Scottish history is essential if you are to get any real feel for a country with such a turbulent past. Our single page History of Scotland gives an overview, but this timeline is intended to give more detail in an easily accessible format.
The Timeline is divided into 18 pages to make it easier to use. They are:
- Prehistory to 1000: Early settlers, Romans, Dalriada, Scots, Picts and Vikings.
- 1000 to 1200: Duncan, Macbeth, the House of Dunkeld.
- 1200 to 1300: Alexander II and III, Håkon IV, William Wallace.
- 1300 to 1350: Robert the Bruce and Bannockburn, the Balliols, and David II.
- 1350 to 1400: Roberts II and III.
- 1400 to 1450: Robert III, and James I & II.
- 1450 to 1500: James II, III and IV.
- 1500 to 1550: James IV, the Battle of Flodden, James V, Mary Queen of Scots.
- 1550 to 1600: Mary Queen of Scots, the Reformation, James VI.
- 1600 to 1640: James VI/I, Union of the Crowns, The Covenant.
- 1640 to 1660: Charles I, Wars of the Covenant, Civil War, Cromwell, Charles II.
- 1660 to 1700: Charles II, James VII/II, William & Mary, Darien.
- 1700 to 1740: Anne, Act of Union, George I, 1715 Uprising.
- 1740 to 1800: George II, 1745 Uprising, Highland Clearances, George III.
- 1800 to 1850: George IV, new roads, William IV, Queen Victoria.
- 1850 to 1900: Queen Victoria.
- 1900 to 1950: World wars, industrial development.
- 1950 to Present: The road to devolution and since.
- You can also read the full text of A Short History of Scotland, by Andrew Lang published in 1911, on Undiscovered Scotland. In 33 chapters, this covers the period from Agricola's arrival in Scotland in AD81 to The Appin Murder on 14 May 1752.