Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Superdummy's Guide to Isle of Skye - the political part

What has Isle of Skye got to do with Bonnie Prince Charlie ? Here goes :

King James II came from the royal house of Stuart. He ruled Scotland, Ireland and England.

King James was ousted by his son-in-law King William ( of Orange ) and eventually fled to Europe. He was the last Catholic monarch to rule over the Kingdoms.

Thereafter came the Jacobite movement ( 'Jacobite' derived from James ) , a political movement to restore King James and the house of Stuart to the Crown. It was Catholic in nature.

Prince Charles was the grandson of King James II. He was not a Scot; born in Italy and grew up in France. As a descendent of King James II, he believed he was a rightful claimant to the throne in Protestant England  and Catholic Scotland. He was known as The Young Pretender ( A Pretender is a claimant to a right of authority ). The Scots called him Bonnie Prince Charlie ( 'Bonnie' means attractive in Scottish )

With help from French allies, Prince Charles went to reclaim the Crown. Those were unsuccessful attempts against the English but he managed to make inroads in the Highlands with help from the Jacobites.

In Glenfinnan, he triggered the Jacobite Uprising ( called raising the standard ). It revved up the hope for a restoration of The House of Stuart. It spawned a series of uprisings and rebellion in the kingdom to reclaim Catholic rule for the house of Stuart.

However, Prince Charlie's victories on the Highlands were short-lived.

Barely a year later, he was defeated at the bloody Battle of Culloden ( which lasted an hour ), near Inverness. The aftermath was immense political and social persecution for the Scots. Weapons of war,  bagpipes, kilts were forbidden, just to name a few ( Act of Proscription ).

Prince Charles fled to the Isle of Skye, often traveling in disguise. One of Prince Charles’ famous incognito escape was memorialised in the song “ Skye Boat”. "My Bonnie lies over the Ocean" is also said to depict Prince Charles' escapade. 

The ambition of restoring a Catholic/Stuart rule ended with him. All in all, he spent a year in Isle of Skye in hiding.

Prince Charlie made a final escape to Europe, broken and defeated.  

In conclusion :

The Scottish demographic landscape changed after the Battle of Culloden. Mass migration, change of land ownership and mass murder all happened because of one man’s ambition.

( disclaimer : it is super condensed for history dummies so inaccuracies abound )

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