During the medieval period, Scotland existed as an independent kingdom of its own, tracing its roots back to the days of Roman imperialism over the British Isles. The consolidation of Scotland into a single kingdom continued from the 6th until the 12th centuries.
From 12th to early 14th centuries, Scotland experienced a mini golden age whereby the kingdom prospered, a wealthy middle class rose in influence and the kingdom established diplomatic ties with leading powers of contemporary Europe. It was during this period and the one immediately following it that Scotland was ruled by some of its most fateful kings. Following are the most famous of the Scottish kings.
David I of Scotland
David I was the King of Scotland from 1124 to 1153. He was initially an exile in England where he was able to secure the support of English King Henry I and with his backing, gained the throne of Scotland. During his time at the English court before his coronation, David I was significantly influenced by Norman-French culture and once he returned to Scotland, he implemented many ideals of the culture. His reign is noted for being one of significant social and political change in Scotland.
It was during his time that the knightly culture flourished, feudalism became more prevalent and monasteries were widely established in Scotland while in economic terms, the burgher class began to rise in prominence. His reign is considered crucial in the consolidation of central authority in Scotland and the implementation of a uniform law.
Alexander III of Scotland
Alexander III of Scotland was the King of Scotland from 1249 to 1286. Alexander was married to Margaret of England, the daughter of English king Henry III, in 1251 but refused to pay homage to his father-in-law when asked to do so. A regency ruled Scotland in his place until 1262 when he reached the age of majority and assumed control of the throne. During his reign, Scotland decisively ended the influence of the Norsemen at the Western Isles of the kingdom. Although he ruled as a powerful monarch, he did early at the age of 44 and having left no male heir, the power vacuum in his wake left Scotland in the middle of political turmoil.
Robert the Bruce
Robert the Bruce reigned as the King of the Scots from 1306 until 1329. He ascended the Scottish throne a time when the English crown was actively involved in the Scottish affairs. He was consequently involved in the First War of Scottish Independence. Although he was defeated by Edward I’s force in 1307, he assumed guerrilla warfare tactics very successfully and after consolidating his power in Scotland and disabling English allies in the kingdom, he had gained control over most of Scotland by 1314.
In 1314, he defeated a significantly sizable army of Edward II of England and effectively secured the independence of Scotland from England. In Scottish history, Robert the Bruce is viewed as a national hero and one of the most formidable Scottish warriors of the age.