Biography of King of Escocia David I (ca. 1082-1153)

British Aristocrat, King of Scotland between 1124 and 1153, born about the year 1082 and died May 24, 1153 in Carlisle, Cumberland County (England). His reign was marked by the restructuring of Scotland at all levels, primarily political, religious and economic, reason why David I occupied a prominent place among the monarchs of his time.

The reunification of Scotland Division

David was the sixth son of Malcolm III Canmore and Margaret (later canonized as a Saint); There are too many news about his childhood, although Yes has the certainty that spent much of his youth at the Court of his brother-in-law, the English King Henry I , who had taken in marriage his sister Eadgyth (known in England as Matilde). In fact, the own David also links with the English lineage, when, in 1113, married Elizabeth, daughter of Waltulfo, Earl of Northumbria, which also earned him the award, by Enrique I, the County of Huntingdon, as well as other Lordly domains in the County of Northampton. In fact, through these marital alliances, David was converted into one of the most powerful English noble, contributing to the britanizacion of their customs, one of the most powerfully detectable influences in its subsequent Scottish reign.

Indeed, it was the Anglo-Saxon help which caused his first speech with success in Scottish politics. On the death of the King of Scotland, his brother Edgard (1107), the testament of this imposed a bipartition of the Kingdom which had been unified by the father of both, Malcolm III; Thus, his other brother, Alejandro, had been proclaimed King, while maintaining the dominance of the main territory, the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada. But the same Testament accorded to David governance in a wide land Strip, especially the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde, as well as part of the Cumbria and Lothian regions. In view of this fact, clans Scottish, about all the MacDuncan (direct relatives of David), suspicious of the britanizacion, urged her brother Alejandro to become with the Government of the territories, which gave him armed support. It was necessary, therefore, that David or come to Strathclyde accompanied by a cohort of British troops to be able to govern according to the will of his brother.

From 1107 until 1124, David began his work of tolerance and respect; on the one hand, he/she tried to regain the confidence of the Scottish clans ruling with tolerance of their customs. But, at the same time, their men, of English or Norman origin, were making a hole between the native barons. This policy of conciliation of interests and, above all, integration of the two political forces of the country should bear fruit, above all because in 1124, the death of Alejandro, David returned to bring under his control the unified Kingdom of Scotland, thus demonstrating the validity of his predicament in the popular areas and, above all, its total integration with all the noble political forces.

The tension between Scotland and England

The next milestone in the reign of David I was the Scottish participation in the war unleashed on the death of Enrique I of England. The inheritance of the throne was not too clear in the will of the deceased, so it started a struggle between Empress Matilda, niece of David I, and nephew of Enrique I, Esteban de Blois, who was crowned as Esteban I in December 1135. David hastened, so far, to show their disagreement with this and put in command of an army to defend the rights of his niece Matilde. The Scottish invasion of England, in 1136, Esteban I forced to sign a truce with David I in 1137, which secured the domain of Cumberland and Huntingdon. The short Armistice only lasted a year, since David I returned to invade England to try to depose Stephen benefit of Matilde. Scottish troops were defeated at the battle of the Standard (Yorkshire) 22 August 1138; David, along with his son Enrique, sought refuge in Carlisle and accepted the intervention of a Pontifical legacy to design a new truce, in which Esteban I gave the domains that the Scots had succeeded and that extending the Kingdom up to the limits of the river Till, while the domain of Northumberland would be nominal, as English stronghold.

The war resumed in 1141, although wear campaigns were more skirmishes with which David intended to worry Esteban on any desire of this Scotland-related. In recent years, David I featured two special guests: Enrique de Plantagenet, son of Matilda and Godofredo de Anjou, the future English King Henry II, who ensured their first weapons in that war and was knighted by the own David I in 1149, but not before making sure that Enrique would respect the Scottish rights over Northumberland. The other main character is Prince Henry, son and heir of David, which also had an active participation in the conflict, as he/she went the territorial concessions achieved by his father: in 1136, the County of Huntingdon, and in 1139 the lordship of Northumberland.

Scotland internal reorganization

Even without denying the apparent territorial extension of Scotland during the reign of David I, the most important work was carried out on the inside. To be free from the oppressive English political pressure, endemic problem of Scottish medieval, could undertake the reorganization of the country from a dual perspective: accommodate ancestral Scottish customs feudalisation process, brought to the British Isles after the triumph of the Norman invasion in 1066 but that, in Scotland, still not had been left feeling.

Thus, the provisions of David I began to create the rudiments of the Scottish central administration, to replace the old territorial power of the clans by noble officials, generally of Norman origin, but always at the service of the monarch. At the same time, the integration between the clans and feudal barons of Norman origin was total, because the King himself was in charge of promoting a matrimonial unions which, until that moment, were not too well seen; the territorial domain of Cumbria was, ultimately, decisive in this aspect since the Norman families there residents were the big beneficiaries of this policy of unions with the Scottish clans. Thus, lineages of Norman origin, such as the Bruce, the Balliol and the Stewart (all future Scottish Kings wedges), began its pre-eminence in Scotland during David I. It was also the first Scottish monarch in coin of legal tender with his effigy, which proves, in turn, the incipient commercial takeoff of an economy, the Scottish, which had been based at the Exchange until well into the 12th century. In fact, David I, in an unusual Act, had assured the independence of the Scottish farmers subtracting Lordly domains much of rights of ban that corresponded to their holders, rights that reversed, as a guarantee of peace, to the Crown.

Another aspect important, and closely related to the economic takeoff quoted, was the beginning of the urbanization of the Scottish boroughs that would form, with the passage of time, the incipient urban network of the country. Usually, these constructions, fostered by the Royal authority, were in the vicinity of the main strengths of the Kingdom: Edinburgh, Berwick, Roxburgh, Perth and Stirling, among others. This urban profusion was correspondence in the field, where the Lords landowners, primarily of Norman origin, were linked to the Crown by the feudal system: donations of land in return for military service. The disturbing element was already discussed safeguarding of the rights of owners peasants, rare bird in feudal Europe, but that, no doubt, contributed deeply to raise the popularity of the King.

Another strut on which was based the internal reorganization of Scotland was in the religious aspect. David I respected, as had their predecessors, the hegemony of the monastery of Iona as a center of religious Scotland, and also subrogated has the right to nominate bishops for their dioceses. But, in return, were founded numerous sites, including Aberdeen, Ross, Brechin or Dumblane, in addition to entering the Augustinian and Cistercian monacatos in Scotland and also contribute to their country's religious modernization. In fact, from 1141, the own David back away from any confrontation outside to engage in this work, much more visible trend from 1142. The last years of the monarch were somewhat bitter: his son Henry, the heir, died in 1152; It was as a successor Malcolm IV, better known as Malcolm the child; David, embittered by this disastrous fact, barely survived a year and died in 1153. His death devoted himself to the country a large turbulence in the reign of Malcolm IV (1153-1165).


MITCHINSON, r.: A History of Scotland. (London-New York: Methuen, 1980).

MORGAN, K. O.: The Oxford History of England. (Oxford: University Press, 1988).

Links on the Internet; Official website of the Government of Scotland about various subjects in the history of the country.