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The Angles were very different from the Celts. They had arrived in Britain in family groups, but they soon began to accept the authority from people outside their own family. This was partly due to their way of life. Although they kept some animals, they spent more time growing crops. This meant that land was held by individual people, each man working in his own field. Land was distributed for farming by the local lord. This system encouraged the Angles of Scotland to develop a non-tribal system of control, as the people of England further south were doing. This increased their feeling of difference from the Celtic tribal Highlanders further north.

Finally, as in Ireland and in Wales, foreign invaders increased the speed of political change. Vikings attacked the coastal areas of Scotland, and they settled on many of the islands, Shetland, the Orkneys, the Hebrides, and the Isle of Man southwest of Scotland. In order to resist them, Picts and Scots fought together against the enemy raiders and settles. When they couldn’t push them out of the islands and coastal areas, they had to deal with them politically. At first the Vikings, or “Norsemen”, still served the King of Norway. But communications with Norway were difficult. Slowly the earls of Orkney and other areas found it easier to accept the king of Scots as their overlord, rather than the more distant king of Norway.

However, as the Welsh had also discovered, the English were a greater danger than the Vikings. In 934 the Scots were seriously defeated by a Wessex army pushing northwards. The Scots decided to seek the friendship of the English, because of the likely losses from war. England was obviously stronger than Scotland but, luckily for the Scots, both the north of England and Scotland were difficult to control from London. The Scots hoped that if they were reasonably peaceful the Sassenachs[5] would leave them along.

Scotland remained a difficult country to rule even from its capital, Edinburgh. Anyone looking at a map of Scotland can see that control of the Highlands and islands was a great problem. Travel was often impossible in winter, and slow and difficult in summer. It was easy for a clan chief or noble to throw off the rule of the king.

II. “…we will never consent to subject ourselves to the dominion of the English.”

England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland were once known as the British Isles. Nowadays this term is normally used only in Geography. In fact, the people of these isles have seldom been politically or culturally united. English kings started wars to unite the British Isles from the 12th century. These wars were wars of conquest and only the Welsh war was a success.

At that time England was ruled by several ambitious kings, who wanted to conquer more countries for themselves and to add more titles to their names. They had, as a rule, absolutely no interest in the people of the countries that they wished to conquer. It did not concern them that these wars brought misery to the people in whose land they fought. The result was generally to create a strong, national, patriotic feeling in the invaded country, and a great hatred of the invader.

I don’t have much space here to speak about the history of Scotland in details that is why I’d like to mention one historical episode which shows the Scottish attitude towards freedom and independence. (For the chronology of the events in the history of Scotland see Appendices,

page 24).

Although Scottish kings had sometimes accepted the English king as their “overlord”, they were much stronger than the many Welsh kings had been. Scotland owes its clan system partly to an Englishwoman, Margaret, the Saxon Queen of Malcolm III. After their marriage in 1069, she introduced new fashions and new ideas to the Scottish court – and among the new ideas was the feudal system of land tenure. Until that time, most of the country had been divided into seven semi-independent tribal provinces. Under the feudal system, all land belonged to the king, who distributed it among his followers in exchange for allegiance and service. But a Highland chieftain could easily ignore a far-off Lowland king and, as time went by, the clan chiefs became minor kings themselves. They made alliances with other clans, had the power of life and death over their followers.

Реферат опубликован: 29/08/2008