Battle of Bannockburn (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Battle of Bannockburn marks the defeat of a superior English army by Scottish forces under Robert the Bruce, allowing him to secure his own reign and preserve Scotland’s independence for another four centuries.
Summary of Event
Margaret “the Maid of Norway,” heir to the throne of Scotland, died in 1290 at the age of eight. Without a clear claimant to the crown, the Scottish clans permitted an eager King Edward I of England to choose between various aristocratic candidates. Edward chose John Balliol, whom he believed he could control, over a stronger Robert de Brus, a nobleman of Anglo-Norman descent. The choice proved unfortunate when Balliol made the famous “Auld Alliance” with Edward’s enemy France; Edward invaded Scotland, forced Balliol to abdicate, carried away the sacred Stone of Scone to England, and left Scotland kingless.
Into the vacuum of power stepped William Wallace, a landowner but not noble, who would become a hero of Scottish nationalism. Wallace rallied the disparate and often feuding clans to attack English garrisons and won a decisive victory over superior English troops at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Wallace was defeated in a subsequent battle at Falkirk and in 1305 was betrayed, captured, and convicted of “treason” against an English...
(The entire section is 1482 words.)
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Battle of Bannockburn (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Ground battle in the Anglo-Scottish Wars of 1290-1388. Result: The Scots defeated the English at Bannockburn.
Following William Wallace’s execution in 1305, Robert I the Bruce became the leader of the war effort against the English. Robert I defeated the English in the field, recovered Scottish lands and castles, and began to raid into northern England. In response, King Edward II led an army of about 20,000 men, including 2,000 heavily armored knights, northward to the vicinity of the River Bannockburn. Robert I’s army, half the size of the English host, was arrayed in spear-rings, called schiltroms, along the Roman road from Falkirk to Stirling. On June 23, English forays up the road and on the eastern flank of the Scottish position were repulsed. On the second day of the battle, Edward threw his heavy cavalry to no avail against the schiltroms. The English infantry and archers, which followed closely, were unable to deploy properly and were rendered ineffective. When Robert I counterattacked, the English, trapped between two rivers on muddy ground, were routed.
Robert I’s victory at Bannockburn over a numerically superior English force ensured the Scots of their independence for centuries to come. The English, for their part, suffered a crushing defeat from which they would not recover for many years.
(The entire section is 280 words.)