Scotland: Information

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Scotland (843 - 1707)

The Kingdom of Scotland (Scots: Kinrick o Scotland; Scottish Gaelic: Rìoghachd na h-Alba) was a state in north-west Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843, which joined with the Kingdom of England to form a unified Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England. It suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful war of independence and remained a distinct state in the late Middle Ages. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union. From the final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482 (following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472) the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.

The crown was the most important element of government. The Scottish monarchy in the Middle Ages was a largely itinerant institution, before Edinburgh developed as a capital in the second half of the fifteenth century. The court remained at the centre of political life and in the sixteenth century emerged as a major centre of display and artistic patronage, until it was effectively dissolved with the Union of Crowns in 1603. The Scottish crown adopted the conventional offices of western European courts, and developed a Privy Council and great offices of state. Parliament also emerged as a major legal institution, gaining an oversight of taxation and policy, but never achieved the centrality to the national life of its counterpart in England. In the early period the kings of the Scots depended on the great lords of the mormaers and Toísechs, but from the reign of David I, sheriffdoms were introduced, which allowed more direct control and gradually limited the power of the major lordships. In the seventeenth century the creation of Justices of Peace and Commissioners of Supply helped to increase the effectiveness of local government. The continued existence of courts baron and introduction of kirk sessions helped consolidate the power of local lairds.

Scots law developed into a distinctive system in the Middle Ages and was reformed and codified in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Under James IV the legal functions of the council were rationalised, with a royal Court of Session meeting daily in Edinburgh. In 1532 the Royal College of Justice was founded, leading to the training and professionalisation of lawyers. David I is the first Scottish king known to have produced his own coinage. Early Scottish coins were virtually identical in silver content to English ones, but from about 1300 the silver content began to depreciate more rapidly than English. At the union of the crowns in 1603 the Scottish pound was fixed at only one-twelfth that of the English pound. The Bank of Scotland issued pound notes from 1704. Scottish currency was abolished at the Act of Union.

Scotland: List of Rulers.
Reign / RuleFromToCoins Issued
King Kenneth MacAlpin 843 13 February 858
King Donald MacAlpin 13 February 858 13 April 862
King Constantine I 13 April 862 877
King Áed 877 878
King Giric 878 889
King Eochaid 878 889
King Donald II 889 900
King Constantine II 900 943
King Malcolm I 943 954
King Indulf 954 962
King Dub 962 967
King Cuilén 967 971
King Amlaíb 971 977
King Kenneth II 971 995
King Kenneth III 997 1005
King Malcolm II 1005 1034
King Duncan I 1034 14 August 1040
King Macbeth 14 August 1040 15 August 1057
King Lulach 15 August 1057 17 March 1058
King Malcolm III 17 March 1058 13 November 1093
King Donald III (first reign) 13 November 1093 May 1094
King Duncan II May 1094 12 November 1094
King Donald III (second reign) 12 November 1094 1097
King Edgar 1097 8 January 1107
King Alexander I 8 January 1107 23 April 1124
King David I 23 April 1124 24 May 1153
King Malcolm IV 24 May 1153 9 December 1165
King William I 9 December 1165 4 December 1214
King Alexander II 4 December 1214 6 July 1249
King Alexander III 6 July 1249 19 March 1286
Queen Margaret (disputed) 25 November 1286 26 September 1290
King John Balliol 17 November 1292 10 July 1296
King Robert I 25 March 1306 7 June 1329
King David II 7 June 1329 22 February 1371
Edward Balliol (pretender) September 1332 1336
King Robert II 22 February 1371 19 April 1390
King Robert III 19 April 1390 4 April 1406
King James I 4 April 1406 21 February 1437
King James II 21 February 1437 3 August 1460
King James III 3 August 1460 11 June 1488
King James IV 11 June 1488 9 September 1513
King James V 9 September 1513 14 December 1542
Queen Mary I 14 December 1542 24 July 1567
King James VI 24 July 1567 27 March 1625
King Charles I 27 March 1625 30 January 1649
King Charles II (first reign) 30 January 1649 3 September 1651
King Charles II (restoration) 29 May 1660 6 February 1685
King James VII 6 February 1685 11 December 1688
William and Mary 13 February 1689 28 December 1694
King William II 28 December 1694 8 March 1702
Queen Anne 8 March 1702 1 May 1707
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Scotland: Details
Official NameScotland
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Scotland: Currencies Used
Pound Scots 1138 1707