Friday, 7 November 2014

Scotland Expands to its Current Borders

Scotland Expands to its Current Borders

After their titanic clash at the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 both England and Scotland were kept busy with internal problems. The English were busy alternately fighting against, and then assimilating the Viking settlers who lived in northern and eastern England. Then, in 1066, England was conquered by the Normans under William I. Another generation was spent in pacification, assimilation and general reformation of the kingdom.

The Scots were also kept too busy to bother with major wars. In the 960s they added the Forth Valley to their domains and secured control of the old English border fortress city of Edinburgh while the English were distracted by a murderous feud within their royal family. In 973 the Scots King Kenneth received all the land from the Firth of Forth to the Tweed from the English King Edgar in return for a personal pledge of loyalty. In theory the land remained part of England. Kenneth held it under terms similar to those by which English noblemen held their lands from the English King, but in practice the lands became permanently attached to the Scottish crown. The population of the area remained overwhelmingly English in language and ancestry.

In 1016 King Owen the Bald of Strathclyde was killed in battle against the English Earl Uhtred of Northumbria. With Owen, the Celtic dynasty of Clyde which originated in Roman times and had held off the barbarians for centuries became extinct. The Kingdom of Strathclyde was carved up. England got Cumbria and Westmorland while Scotland took the lands between the Clyde and the Solway Firth. The fortified city of Carlisle thus became a border town.

from "England vs Scotland" by Rupert Matthews.

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