John Balliol was King of Scots from 1292 to 1296. Little is known of his early life. After the death of Margaret, Maid of Norway, Balliol was chosen as the new King of Scotland by a group of auditors. Edward I of England constantly tried to undermine his reign and demanded that Balliol treat Scotland as a vassal state. As a result, the Scots grew tired of him and appointed a council of twelve to rule instead. This council signed a treaty with France known as the Auld Alliance.
In retaliation, Edward invaded Scotland, starting the Wars of Scottish Independence. After a Scottish defeat in 1296, Balliol abdicated and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Eventually, Balliol was sent to France, and made no effort to help the Scots. Scotland was then left without a monarch until Robert the Bruce ascended in 1306.