Biography of King of Escocia Robert I Bruce (1274-1329)

Scottish noble, Earl of Carrick, grandson of Robert Bruce Nobleand King of Scotland from 1306 to 1329. He/She was born 11 July 1274, in the vicinity of Turnberry, and died 7 June 1329, at the monastery of Melrose. It is considered, along with William Wallace, the great hero of Scottish independence, also occupies a place of primary importance among the European monarchs of his time.

See family Bruce.

The Bruce and the independence of Scotland

Do not have too many news of the childhood and youth of Robert I Bruce, except that he/she was educated in London under the direct tutelage of which, with the passage of time, would be his opponent on the battlefield: the English monarch Eduardo I. It is quite possible, for being a common practice at the time, that Robert was awarded to Eduardo as the guarantor of a pact between the Bruce and Eduardo I, especially since her father, Robert Bruce Noble, surrenders the title of Earl of Carrick in favor of his son (1292), and after the downfall of John Balleuil as Scottish monarch after his flight to France in 1295. Be that as it may, following news of Robert Bruce's life is that he/she escaped from London and returned to Scotland in the early years of the 14th century, to take charge of the prized family possession of Turnberry Castle, place in which, as had his grandfather, began to organize resistance against the English invaders. After the capture and execution of William Wallace (1305), Robert remained single rebel English hegemony in the country. One of the darkest points of the biography of Robert I Bruce is precisely its relationship with the Scottish hero; contemporary testimonies seem to endorse your participation, or the supporters of Bruce, in companies led by Wallace, but, subsequently, his English education seemed to make him guilty of plot that ended up delivering Wallace to British justice.

At the forefront of Scottish resistance, the first question faced by Robert was the rid of the baron John Comyn (better known by his nickname the Red Comyn), the secular enemy of his grandfather, and that the popular voice had accused that the death of Robert Bruce. In this way, through an ambush, Robert, avenging his grandfather, murdered John Comyn in the Church of Dumfries, which committed two crimes: sacrilege and treachery to the Crown. Despite this, the Scottish Church, which had remained in a neutral point of view during the conflict, began to support the cause of the Bruce. In fact, the Bishop of Glasgow, Lamberton, was one of his main supporters to make conviction for sacrilege of the incident in Dumfries not be carried out, and, even, for which, in 1306, after a brief stay in the castle of Lochmaben, property of the Earl of Douglas, Robert Bruce I was crowned King of Scotland at Scone, the day, March 25, 1306. The country thus recovered its independence after the intervention of Eduardo I of England, and also the struggle of the Bruce for access to the throne was completed.

From the underground to the victory of the Bannock Burn (1314)

Known the news of the proclamation, Eduardo I reacted to the accustomed way of their proverbial fury, as, for example, happened in the case of William Wallace. Thus, his troops crossed the Tweed, invaded Scotland and defeated the Scottish army in the forest of Methven (near Perth), 19 June 1306; just a month later, the hastily organized Scottish survivors troops suffered a new defeat, on 11 August of the same year, Dalry (Perth County); managed the English, in addition, be prisoner to the wife of the King, lady Mary de Marr, their daughter, lady Marjory, as well as three brothers Robert and much of his army; to punish the Scottish leader, only the ladies were saved from execution.

The own Robert I Bruce managed to flee the field barely refuge, first, on the island of Rathlin, on the Irish coast, and later secretly pass towards various possessions of his supporters in the Highlands. In the following weeks, Robert I Bruce began an intensive campaign of proselytizing by throughout the Northern strip of the country, precisely those lands that were not controlled by England, so he/she was able to redirect a small army made up, in particular, by the stately troops of Clan Campbell and MacDonald. In July, they managed to take over Turnberry, Lordship of the Bruce, from where Robert, in a masterstroke from the plane of political propaganda, in February 1307 headed for Ayrshire, the homeland of the hero William Wallace. Flying the banner of the independence struggle of Wallace, the crowd joined their cause, which completed an imposing army that defeated the British troops at the battle of Loudon Hill (1307); Eduardo I, sick in the headquarters of Carlisle, not resisted much longer to see the victory of his rival, with what the English, deprived of his head guiding and more concerned about the conflict in the succession of the Crown, chose to return home.

From this moment, Robert I Bruce, always accompanied by his brother Edward (also survivor miraculous battle of Methven), began the reconquest of the Scottish territories well dominated by English military detachments, by Angevins Eduardo I clans. In the North, became fluent in Aberdeen and Forfax in 1308; the following year, the most important English Angevins, MacDouglas clan, were defeated by Robert I Bruce, who took control of the area of Galloway. In 1310, ensured the English Crown in the hands of Eduardo II, youngest son of age of the deceased King, the English returned to cross the Tweed to try to rescue its precarious position, but were oxcar dry in the vital enclave of the castle of Dunstonffnage, dominated by the Scots. Encouraged by these successes, and while important territories as Carlisle and Berwick still remained in English hands, Robert I Bruce, again imitating actions to William Wallace, conduct in the past dared to invade England, sweeping the counties of Chester and Durham, and subjecting its inhabitants to a strong tribute. Back to Scotland, in 1313, the army did not stop: he/she took the round Perth, Roxburgh and Stirling, who won for the free Scotland, and, finally, expelled the English from Edinburgh Castle, which became, from that moment, the center of a meeting of the Scottish Court of Robert I Bruce. In these actions, in addition to his brother Edward, Robert acted with the help of important Lordly troops, among which must be highlighted the support of sir Thomas Randolph, later named Earl of Moray, and sir James Douglas, which shows adherence to project both of the nobility of Norman origin as the secular aristocracy of the Scottish clans. Thanks to these noble support, Robert I Bruce could conquer enclaves such as Galloway, Douglasdale and Selkirk, all of them are included in your domain during 1313.

Although in practice it can be considered 1313 the end of independent Scotland reorganization, the grand finale was the following year, when an imposing army pan-European, consisting of English, Irish, Welsh and mercenaries from all over Europe, in total number of 50,000, invaded Scotland under the command of Eduardo II of England. With small detachments, Robert I Bruce managed to guide the progress of the invading troops towards the forest of Torwood, near the inlet of the Bannock Burn. There, the night of San Juan in 1314, inflicted one of the greatest defeats the Scottish troops, with an enveloping manoeuvre, the English army, which, due to the number of casualties, had to embark on Berwick at the danger of the own monarch, Eduardo II, was captured. Scottish independence was consummated.

The reorganization of the country (1314-1329)

The victorious joy kept busy Robert I Bruce during the following year, in which practically limited to tour the country, arousing the admiration of his subjects and the accession of all the clans. Backed by this popularity, and also, of course, by the English weakness, Robert I Bruce tried to the formation of a panceltico against the English claims movement control Scotland and Ireland; In addition to his victory, achieving Scottish independence, between 1315 and 1316 Scottish and Irish fought together against England, in a fight that had the climax which, in 1315, the brother of Robert, Edward, was crowned as Eduardo I Bruce, King of Ireland, with which the independence ideal was satisfied beyond the territorial limits of Scotland.

One of the great successes of the policy by Robert, and, of course, was very important for their projects, was total conformity showing the country church with its pro-independence postulates. In fact, in the case of Scotland, more than Bannock Burn, if there is a date that enhance the independence of law and that validated the achievements by the weapons is from 1320, when the brieves Pope Juan XXII, through the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, enacted the independence, temporal and ecclesiastical Scotland over England. Thus, the intervention of the brieves papacy in the Scottish question, the fact that most of the troops who invaded the Kingdom in 1314 were pan-European, and the existence of that movement panceltico between Scotland and Ireland against English domination, are the reasons why many specialists have framed these events as immediate precedents of the hundred years ' warconflict to which Scotland did not remain outside.

See hundred years ' war.

With the legalized independence, Robert I Bruce began the political and economic reorganization of a Kingdom in crisis due to decades and decades of war fighting. His most important achievements were the reorganization of public finances, the home of the official records of Royal Chancellery and, in general, the total modernization of incipient "Scottish State" Government apparatus. In economic terms, Robert I Bruce returned to farmers and small holders the status he/she enjoyed since the days of King David I, in addition to reimpose bondage to the Crown to the territorial positions of local range, in the hands of the clans, who had been headache for monarchs earlier by the high degree of power that had enjoyed, especially in the Highlands. But, at the same time and in a parallel plane, conceded large territorial extensions to the families of the nobility that had helped him in his struggle, placing, in this way, a feudal power in up the classic administrative divisions of Scotland, while always taking into account that the feudal power was subject to the Crown, more specifically, to the person of the King. This project was much more visible from 1324, when it passed a decree in the Scottish Parliament which urged the nobles who still remained loyal to the English obedience to swear as King Robert I Bruce, under penalty of losing all manorial rights from their lands. This meant a regeneration in the nobility of the country tables, since these lands were donated in Exchange for military service, to the aristocrats loyal to Robert I Bruce, which would be the basis of the powerful noble of certain families as the James Douglas, in the late Middle Ages Scottish.

See feudalism.

In any case, Robert I Bruce nor forgot to follow the path of weapons, as some territories still remained in the hands of noble Anglophiles. The prized possession of Berwick, maritime link between Scotland and the continent, was taken between 1318 and 1322, after finishing with the English detachment at the battle of Byland. Only Carlisle resisted some years more, but in 1325 it was incorporated to the Scottish Crown. After this victory, Robert I Bruce solemnly announced the creation of the Scottish Parliament, gathered in main way at Scone, where all legislative matters be treated realm and where, in principle, would be represented all walks of life and places of the Kingdom. The following year, 1326, Eduardo II signed an indefinite truce on the armed dispute that pitted both kingdoms. On the death of the English monarch, in 1327, the situation of weakness of the English structure by a new minority, that of Eduardo III, as well as potential military of Scotland, with Robert I Bruce as challenging champion, led England recognized Scotland as an independent country, first through the signing of agreements in Edinburgh, and ratified in the famous Treaty of Northamptonsigned may 4, 1328 between the English delegates and King Robert I Bruce. The highlight of his life had come almost to the end of his days.

Shortly after the signing of Northampton, Robert I Bruce began to show the harmful effects of leprosy, a disease which had shrunk in those distant days of hiding, after the incident in Dumfries. During this time, the King lived long periods at his residence in Cardross in the County of Dumbarton, accompanied by his second wife, lady Elizabeth de Burgh, and the fruit of this link, David, who would succeed him starting from June 7, 1329, died when the constructor of the Scottish independence. His body was buried in Dunfermline Abbey, but his heart would suffer a curious traveling back and forth: Express testamentary wish of King Robert, sir James Douglas took his heart to the Crusades, specifically to Spain, where he/she fought some Scots in the Reconquista and where the own Douglas died. The heart of Robert I Bruce was returned to Scotland and buried, as the King had predicted, at Melrose Abbey. A small funerary chest containing the supposed heart of King Robert, but the usual custom of nobility for such mortuary gestures stop make sure that the box contains the heart of the bravo Scottish monarch was discovered in 1921, during archaeological excavations carried out in this monastery,


Historiography of Robert I Bruce ratings

Robert I Bruce has traditionally been a monarch treated unjustly by the historiography, mainly the British model, who saw in it an aristocratic second son without scruples, able to take advantage of a moment of particular weakness of the English monarchy, with successive minority. By the side of the Scottish historiography of nationalist-minded, since share merit with the great folk hero, William Wallace, was to highlight the Norman origins of Robert, his English education, and other so many components that "they adulteraban him" a Scottish pure roots as had Wallace out nor well stopped.

European historiography of the twentieth century, finally, highlighted several features of his Government that, seven hundred years later have contributed to place it in its right perspective. Is true that throughout his life served imitation of William Wallace to be sure so much popular support as he/she had enjoyed that; but, precisely because of its Norman origins and its English education, the ballast of the tension between the clans of the Highlands and the Lowlands Norman nobility was outpointed by a common goal: independence, objective for which Wallace, a pure highlander, could have had no aristocracy of Norman origin. In essence, Robert I Bruce was seen as one of their peers by Norman nobles, but also by a tight highlander of the North, union that enabled the confluence of objectives.

On the other hand, the modernization of the country, the introduction of feudalism Norman as a mode of social organization at all levels, the opening of Parliament, the legal compilations start and, in particular, the achievement of the Church as guarantor Builder of the modern State, made of Robert I Bruce one of the highlights of his time European monarchs, and his figure was to Scotland whichfor example, went to Castile Alfonso X el Sabio or France Felipe IV the fair. The transit towards Scottish modernity gave its main passage thanks to Robert I Bruce, although the future evolution of Scotland do not walk the path, for example, Castille or France, due to other specific avatars of their historical development. But this does not exclude that the work of Robert I Bruce should be positioned in its proper historical perspective.


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.