TIMELINE: Scotland, Prehistory to Present Day



8500 BC: The date of the oldest human settlement yet found in Scotland, at Cramond, near Edinburgh.
3000 BC: Maeshowe chambered tomb is built on Orkney.
3000 BC: Alleged date of origin of the Fortingall Yew, probably the world’s oldest living thing.
3000 BC: Occupation of what may be the first Crannog or artificial islet residence, on the islet Eilean Domhnuill on Loch Olabhat in North Uist.
2500 BC to 2000 BC: Stone village of Skara Brae on Orkney in occupation.
1400 BC: The era of Scota, the daughter of an Egyptian Pharaoh, who features in the foundation myth of Ireland an Scotland, and who Scotland is named after.
500 BC: Crannogs, houses built on stilts or artificial islets, begin to appear widely on Scottish lochs.
200 BC: According to Irish legend, the “School for Heroes” is run by the warrior queen Scáthach, or Sgathach, at her fortress Dún Scáith, near Tarskavaig on Skye.
200 BC to AD 200: Building and occupation of Brochs, circular stone defensive towers.
20 BC: Pontius Pilate, later to become the Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, is born at Fortingall.
AD 80: Julius Agricola Roman Governor of Britain, invades Scotland, reaching a line between the Rivers Clyde and Forth by AD 82.
AD 83: Julius Agricola invades northern Scotland.
AD 84: The Battle of Mons Graupius takes place at a location still uncertain. The Romans under Julius Agricola convincingly defeat the Caledonians under Calgacus. They fail to press home their advantage, however, and instead establish a defensive line of forts extending north east from Loch Lomond to Stonehaven to guard the exits from the main highland glens.
AD 105: The Romans withdraw from Scotland to a defensive line between the Rivers Solway and Tyne. This is fortified as Hadrian’s Wall from AD 121.
AD 139: The Romans advance again, to a line between the Forth and Clyde and build the Antonine Wall.
AD 170: The Romans withdraw to Hadrian’s Wall once more.
AD 208: Roman Emperor Septimius Severus launches the last campaign intended to conquer Scotland, establishing a major base at Cramond, on the site of a fort built in AD 142.
AD 211: Septimius Severus dies in York. His successor Caracalla abandons territory north of Hadrians Wall and in 212 the Romans withdraw from what will later become Scotland for the final time.
AD 250: The first raids take place in western Scotland by the strong Irish tribe, the Scots.
AD 367: The Picti, or the Picts, push the Romans back from Hadrian’s Wall. “Picti” is the Romans’ disparaging slang for their northern neighbours, meaning the painted (or tattooed) ones.
AD 397: Saint Ninian dedicates the first Christian church in Scotland, the Candida Casa at Whithorn, to St Martin.
AD 500: Increased migration of Scoti or Scots from Ireland to Scotland leads to the establishment of the kingdom of Dalriada in what is now Argyll, with its capital at Dunadd in Kilmartin Glen.
AD 500: King of the Scots of Dalriada, Fergus Mor fights both the Picts to the east and the Britons of Strathclyde to the south for land.
10 March 520: St Kessog, the original patron saint of Scotland, is killed at Bandry, on the western shore of Loch Lomond.
7 December 521: The birth in County Donegal in Ireland of the man who would go on to become Saint Columba.
AD 550: The Angles establish Bernicia, later called Northumbria, with boundaries extending south to Yorkshire.
AD 552: St Mungo or St Kentigern founds a church on part of the site that later became Glasgow Cathedral.
AD 562: St Moluag founds a settlement on the Isle of Lismore in the mouth of Loch Linnhe.
12 May 563: Saint Columba and twelve companions land on the island of Iona to establish a monastery.
25 June 592: St Moluag dies in Rosemarkie.
9 June 597: St Columba dies in his monastery at Iona.
13 January 614: St Mungo or St Kentigern dies, and is buried at his church in Clas-gu which later becomes Glasgow.
17 April 617: Saint Donan and 52 of his followers are murdered during a raid on their monastery on the Island of Eigg.
AD 638: Edinburgh – Din Eidyn – is overrun by the Angles of the Kingdom of Northumbria.
3 January 642: The birth in Ireland of Saint Maelrubha, a monk who founded a monastery at what is now Applecross.
5 August 642: The death at the Battle of Maserfield (near modern Oswestry) of King Oswald of Northumbria, later known as St Oswald.
31 August 651: The death in what is now St Aidan’s Church in Bamburgh of St Aidan of Lindisfarne, the Apostle of Northumbria.
AD 672: A Pictish uprising against the Kingdom of Northumbria is suppressed.
AD 678: St Nathalan dies on Deeside.
20 May 685: The Battle of Dunnichen or Nechtansmere, near Forfar. King Ecgfrith of Northumbria is decisively defeated by the Picts, paving the way for the development of a separate Scottish nation. The battle is later depicted on a cross slab at Aberlemno Kirk.
20 March 687: The death on Inner Farne Island of St Cuthbert, the a monk, bishop and hermit regarded as the patron saint of northern England.
23 September 704: The death of Adomnán of Iona, also known as Saint Adomnán. He was Abbot of Iona, the author of the Life of Columba and the promoter of the hugely influential Law of Adomnán.
6 March 757: The death on Bass Rock of Saint Baldred of Tyninghame.
8 June 793: The monastery at Lindisfarne suffers its first raid by Vikings. Others will follow, leading to the abandonment of the monastery in 875.
795: First recorded Viking raid (probably from Orkney), on Iona, which is raided twice more in the following decade.
839: The Picts, who have controlled all of Scotland north of the Forth and Clyde except for Argyll, suffer a heavy defeat at the hands of the Vikings. Most of the Pictish nobility is wiped out in the defeat, including King Bridei VI.
843: Kenneth Mac Alpin becomes King of the Scots of Dalriada; and later becomes King of the Picts of Pictland as well, unifying the main groups in Scotland north of the Forth-Clyde line for the first time within the Kingdom of Alba.
850: Viking pressure leads to the relocation of the capital of Alba from Argyll to Scone, near Perth. The religious centre, and the relics of St Columba, moves from Iona toDunkeld.
850: Kenneth Mac Alpin, also known as Kenneth I, raids Northumbria six times in the 850s.
858: Kenneth Mac Alpin is succeeded by Donald I.
863: Donald I is succeeded by Constantine I.
870: Following a 15 week siege the Vikings capture the fortress at Dumbarton Rock guarding the entrance to the Clyde and the British Kingdom of Strathclyde.
872: Constantine I arranges the death of the King of Strathclyde in 872. He replaces him with his own brother in law, Rhun: effectively making Strathclyde a subordinate kingdom to Alba.
877: Constantine I is succeeded by King Aedh.
878: King Aedh is succeeded by the joint rule of Kings Eochaid and Giric.
889: Kings Eochaid and Giric are succeeded by Donald II.
890: The Vikings capture the Pictish fortress at Dunnottar, near Stonehaven.
900: Constantine II succeeds Donald II and helps incorporate Viking settlers into the emerging Kingdom of Scotland.
937: A joint army comprising Constantine II’s Scots and Olaf III Guthfrithson’s Vikings is defeated at the Battle of Brunanburh by King Athelstan of England in 937: largely securing the future of what is to become England.
943: Constantine II is succeeded by Malcolm I.
945: Edmund, a Danish King ruling Northumbria, gives Cumbria to Malcolm I of Scotland in return for military support.
954: Malcolm I is succeeded by King Indulf.
962: King Indulf is succeeded by King Duff.
967: King Duff is succeeded by King Culen.
971: King Culen is succeeded by Kenneth II.
995: Kenneth II is succeeded by Constantine III.
997: Constantine III is succeeded by Kenneth III.


TIMELINE: 1000 TO 1200


25 March 1005: The Battle of Monzievaird takes place just north of Crieff, close to the location of today’s Glenturret Distillery. King Kenneth III is killed in the battle by his successor, Malcolm II.
1018: Malcolm II defeats the Northumbrians at the Battle of Carham, near the River Tweed. This leads to the first demarcation of the modern border between Scotland and England. He also incorporates the British Kingdom of Strathclyde into what is increasingly known as Scotland.
25 November 1034: Malcolm II is assassinated at Glamis and is succeeded by Duncan I.
15 August 1040: Duncan I tries to impose his will on northern Scotland, but loses to Macbeth of Moray and Earl Thorfinn of Orkney at the Battle of Pitgaveny, near Elgin. Duncan is killed during the battle, and King Macbeth is crowned at Scone later in 1040.
1054: Duncan I’s son, Malcolm Canmore, challenges for the throne of Scotland in alliance with Siward, Earl of Northumbria and they take control of much of southern Scotland.
15 August 1057: Malcolm Canmore, defeats Macbeth at the Battle of Lumphanan in Perthshire.
25 April 1058: Malcolm Canmore is crowned Malcolm III at Scone. He becomes the founder of the House of Dunkeld.
1065: Malcolm III marries Ingibjorg, daughter of Thorfinn the Mighty, Earl of Orkney, bringing stability in the north of Alba.
1070: Malcolm III, now a widower, marries his second wife, Margaret – later St Margaret – a Saxon princess in Dunfermline. She is part of the English royal family fleeing the Normans after 1066.
1072: Malcolm III’s incursions into Northumbria provoke an invasion of Scotland by the Normans. This ended with the Treaty of Abernethy, in English eyes a submission that gives rise to later claims of dominance of the English throne over the Scots throne.
1079: Another Norman/English invasion of Scotland following further raids into Northumbria by Malcolm III’s The Treaty of Abernethy is reimposed.
13 November 1093: Malcolm Canmore, is killed, along with his eldest son by Margaret, in yet another raid on Northumbria.
16 November 1093: Queen Margaret dies of grief and is buried in the church she has founded in Dunfermline. She later becomes St Margaret and Dunfermline becomes a centre of pilgrimage.
1093: Malcolm is succeeded by his younger brother, Donald, who becomes Donald III and jointly rules with Malcolm’s son Edmund. The Scots evict the many English who have gathered around the Anglicised court of Malcolm and Margaret, including their surviving children.
1094: Duncan, eldest son of Malcolm III and Ingibjorg, who has been a hostage with the English court since Abernethy, becomes Duncan II after defeating Donald III and Edmund with Norman/English help.
12 November 1094: Duncan II is killed at Battle of Monthechin, near Kincardine. Donald III and Edmund return to the throne.
1097: Edgar, a son of Malcolm III and Margaret, invades at the head of another Norman/English army and becomes King Edgar. Donald III is blinded and Edmund sent to a monastery..
8 January 1107: Alexander, Edgar’s younger brother, succeeds to the throne of Scotland on Edgar’s death as Alexander I.
16 April 1117: Earl Magnus of Orkney, later St Magnus, is betayed and murdered by his cousin Håkon on the island of Egilsay in Orkney.
23 April 1124: The death of King Alexander I. He is succeeded by his younger brother, who becomes David I, and the third of the sons of Malcolm III and Margaret to become King of Scots.
22 August 1138: The Scots army under David I is defeated at the Battle of the Standard at Northallerton in Yorkshire. Despite the defeat, the Treaty of Durham that follows in 1139 gives David I effective control over Northumbria and Cumbria.
9 April 1139: The second Treaty of Durham is a concluded between King Stephen of England and King David I of Scotland. Under its terms Stephen recognises the independence of Scotland.
28 June 1146: A service of dedication is held in the abbey church at Melrose Abbey, which would take another 50 years to complete in its entirety.
10 November 1150: Work begins on the construction of Dryburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders.
24 May 1153: David I dies, and is succeeded by his grandson, Malcolm IV, aged 12.
6 January 1156: Somerled defeats the Norse at the Battle of Epiphany (probably off Islay)and subsequently becomes King of the Isles, leader of a Gaelic state centred onFinlaggan on Islay.
1157: Henry II of England rips up a promise given to David I in 1149 to allow the Scots all the land North of the River Tees. He summons the 16 year old Malcolm IV, to Chester and persuades him to sign a treaty giving up Cumbria and Northumbria to the English.
1164: Somerled lands an army of 15,000 men from 164 galleys at Greenock. He intends to capture Renfrew, but is confronted by an army under Walter Fitzalansomewhere near Inchinnan (close to the site of today’s Glasgow Airport). Somerled is betrayed and killed, allegedly by a nephew in the pay of Malcolm IV. His army returns to their galleys and depart without engaging in a full scale battle.
9 December 1165: Malcolm dies, aged 24 and unmarried, and is succeeded by his younger brother William I or William the Lion after his symbol, a red lion rampant on a yellow field that becomes the basis of one of Scotland’s two flags.
24 December 1165: King William I, or William the Lion, is crowned King of Scotland at Scone.
13 July 1174: William I is captured by the English at Alnwick while trying to retake Northumbria.
8 December 1174: King William I, William the Lion, signs the Treaty of Falaise to secure his release from English captivity. This gives control of key Scottish castles to the English and acknowledges Henry II of England as his feudal superior.
1186: Henry II of England forces William I to marry Ermengard, from a Norman family: and gives her Edinburgh Castle as a wedding present.
1189: The Treaty of Falaise is nullified in return for a payment to Henry’s son Richard I.
24 August 1198: The birth in Haddington of King Alexander II of Scotland.


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