Clan, King and Covenant: The History of the Highland Clans from the Civil War to the Glencoe Massacre

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Edinburgh University Press, 2000 - History - 258 pages
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"Clan, King and Covenant" explores the turbulent history of the Highlands during the seventeenth century. The signing of the National Covenant in 1638 first challenged the powers of Charles I in Scotland, but it was only when Alasdair MacDonald joined Montrose in raising the Royalist clans that the country erupted into civil war. Central to the conflict was the ancient enmity between the MacDonalds and the Campbells, Earls of Argyll, as Clan Donald attempted to reclaim their ancestral lands in Argyll. Political and religious tension mounted with the accession of James VII of Scotland (James II of England) as a Catholic king ruling over a predominantly Presbyterian people. It reached a climax in the outbreak of the Highland War, when Viscount Dundee won a devastating victory at Killiecrankie on behalf of James VII over the Presbyterian forces of Lowland Scotland, but at the cost of his own life.

Subsequently the Crown imposed an uneasy peace upon the Highlands, after the cold-blooded plotting of "murder under trust" culminated in the Glencoe Massacre. Cordoned by William of Orange, few events in the blood-stained history of the Highland clans have quite the dreadful resonance of this act, carried out so cynically as a matter of public policy.

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Prelude to Civil War
Clan Donald and the Earl of Argyll
Montrose and Alasdair MacDonald

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About the author (2000)

Charles Gore is an artist and lecturer in the History of African Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

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