Friday, December 21, 2018

The Seven Bloodiest Battles in Scottish History

From The Scotsman:
Despite boasting far greater numbers, King Alexander III’s Scots struggled to gain the upper hand over the Norwegian King Haakon IV’s 800 maritime marauders. King Haakon’s flotilla ended up at Largs as the result of poor weather encountered while negotiating the Ayrshire coast. Some reckon they were outnumbered by ten to one, but they managed to survive a Scottish onslaught and patch up their longships. It is not known how many perished in the battle, but scholars estimate that many hundreds would have been slain. One legend goes that the Norwegians revealed their location to the Scots by yelping in pain after stepping on a field of thistles, and this was the moment responsible for the thistle becoming a national emblem. The result of Largs is given as ‘inconclusive’. Had the Scots decisively lost the battle, history may have been very different - Scotland gained control of the Hebridean isles back from Norwegian hands just two years later. (Read more.)

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