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Published on Feb 2, 2012
Support Catalonian Independence 2017. In the autumn of 2014 a referendum for Scottish independence will take place. Which will be 700 years Since the battle of banockburn. The Battle of Bannockburn (Blr Allt a' Bhonnaich in Scottish Gaelic) (24 June 1314) was a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence. It was the decisive battle in the First War of Scottish Independence. Edward came to Scotland in the high summer of 1314 with the preliminary aim of relieving Stirling Castle: the real purpose, of course, was to find and destroy the Scottish army in the field, and thus end the war. England, for once, was largely united in this ambition, although some of Edward's greatest magnates and former enemies, headed by his cousin, Thomas of Lancaster, did not attend in person, sending the minimum number of troops they were required to by feudal law. Even so, the force that left Berwick-upon-Tweed on 17 June 1314 was impressive: it comprised between 2,0003,000 horse (probably closer to 2,000) and 16,000 foot. The precise size relative to the Scottish forces is unclear but estimates range from as much as at least two or three times the size of the army Bruce had been able to gather, to as little as only 50% larger. Edward was accompanied by many of the seasoned campaigners of the Scottish wars, headed by Aymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, and veterans like Henry de Beaumont and Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford. The most irreconcilable of Bruce's Scottish enemies also came: Ingram de Umfraville, a former Guardian of Scotland, and his kinsman the Earl of Angus, as well as others of the MacDougalls, MacCanns and Sir John Comyn of Badenoch, the only son of the Red Comyn, who was born and raised in England and was now returning to Scotland to avenge his father's killing by Bruce at Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries in 1306. This was a grand feudal army, one of the last of its kind to leave England in the Middle Ages. King Robert awaited its arrival south of Stirling near the Bannock Burn in Scotland. Bruce's army, like William Wallace's before him, was chiefly composed of infantry armed with long spears. It was divided into three main (infantry) formations, a force of light cavalry, and the camp followers . There now occurred one of the most memorable episodes in Scottish history. Henry de Bohun, nephew of the Earl of Hereford, was riding ahead of his companions when he caught sight of the Scottish king. De Bohun lowered his lance and began a charge that carried him to lasting fame. King Robert was mounted on a small palfrey and armed only with a battle-axe. He had no armour on. As de Bohun's great war-horse thundered towards him, he stood his ground, watched with mounting anxiety by his own army. With the Englishman only feet away, Bruce turned aside, stood in his stirrups and hit the knight so hard with his axe that he split his helmet and head in two. This small incident became in a larger sense a symbol of the war itself: the one side heavily armed but lacking agility; the other highly mobile and open to opportunity.
The Highland Clearances is still a very emotive subject to many people, in many parts of the world, today. It consistently provokes people to take sides and has led to deep, and sometimes acrimonious academic debate. Some historians try to give the topic an objectivity, by associating it with a process of economic and agricultural change which was widespread across Europe at the time. It is undoubtedly a part of the Agricultural and Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century. And yet it is much more than that. Other writers are corruscating in their condemnation of the process - seeing it as an early version of 'ethnic cleansing'. The Clearances undoubtedly stemmed in part from the attempt by the British establishment to destroy, once and for all, the archaic, militaristic Clan System, which had facilitated the Jacobite risings of the early part of the 18th century. This approach, however, also over-simplifies the issues involved.