Robert Bruce, 1306-1328

Robert Bruce, 1306-1328

Robert Bruce’s Coronation (1306)

  • Following John Balliol’s abdication, Robert Bruce engaged in a power struggle with fellow claimant John Comyn.
  • They met at Greyfriars Church in Dumfries, where Bruce killed Comyn. This was considered a sacrilegious act, and Bruce was excommunicated.
  • Despite this, shortly after the incident, Bruce was crowned King of Scotland in March 1306.

Bruce’s Initial Challenges and Defeats (1306-1307)

  • Following his coronation, Bruce suffered several damaging defeats against the English.
  • He fled to the Hebrides, and then to Ireland, after his defeat in the Battle of Methven by Aymer de Valence.
  • Despite these setbacks, his dramatic comeback, initially waged through a guerrilla war campaign, changed the course of the Wars of Independence.

Bruce’s Revival (1307-1314)

  • Bruce returned to Scotland in 1307 and began recapturing his lost territories by defeating his Scottish enemies and supporters of Edward I.
  • His revival got a much-needed boost when Edward I died in 1307 and was succeeded by his less formidable son, Edward II.
  • Bruce won a crucial victory in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, consolidating his grip on the Scottish throne.

Declaring Scotland’s Independence (1314-1328)

  • Post-Bannockburn, Bruce began a diplomatic drive for recognition of Scotland’s independence from England.
  • A major milestone came with the Declaration of Arbroath, issued in 1320, which underscored the ideals of Scottish independence to Pope John XXII.
  • In 1324, the papacy finally recognised Bruce as king, and in 1328, the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton affirmed the independence of Scotland.

Significance of Robert Bruce’s Reign (1306-1328)

  • Bruce’s reign transformed Scotland’s position, from being under English domination to attaining independence.
  • His victories and diplomacy galvanised a shared sense of Scottish identity and patriotism.
  • The legacy of Bruce’s time imprinted on Scotland’s historical landscape, setting a precedent of resistance and nationalism.