Rulers of Scotland

Part of the Scottish History For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Kenneth MacAlpin is reckoned to be the first king of Scotland, but his rule extended only to the south and west of the country; great swaths of territory were still in the hands of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. Not until 1460 did what is known today as Scotland exist territorially. The last king of a separate Scotland was James VI, who died in 1625. By that time, he was also king of England and Scotland thanks to the Union of Crowns in 1603. From that point, England and Scotland shared a monarch but not a parliament; they were both independent countries until 1707.

House of MacAlpin

  • Kenneth MacAlpin: c. 843 to c. 858

  • Donald I: 859 to 862

  • Constantine I: 862 to 876

Interregnum

  • Interregnum (no overall king): 876 to 877

House of MacAlpin

  • Aed: c. 877 to 878

  • Eochaid and Giric (probably shared the throne): 878 to 889

  • Donald II: 889 to 900

  • Constantine II: 900 to c. 943

  • Malcolm I MacDonald: c. 943 to 954

  • Indulf: 954 to 962

  • Dubh ‘the Black’: 962 to 966

  • Culen: 966 to 971

  • Kenneth II: 971 to 995

  • Constantine III ‘the Bald’: 995 to 997

  • Kenneth III: 997 to 1005

  • Malcolm II: 1005 to 1034

  • Duncan I: 1034 to 1040

House of Moray

  • Macbeth: 1040 to 1057

  • Lulach: 1057 to 1058

House of MacAlpin

  • Malcolm III Canmore: 1058 to 1093

  • Donald III Bane: 1093 to 1094

  • Duncan II: 1094

  • Donald III Bane (resumed the throne): 1094 to 1097

  • Edgar: 1097 to 1107

  • Alexander I: 1107 to 1124

  • David I: 1124 to 1153

  • Malcolm IV ‘the Maiden’: 1153 to 1165

  • William ‘the Lion’: 1165 to 1214

  • Alexander II: 1214 to 1249

  • Alexander III: 1249 to 1286

  • Margaret, ‘the Maid of Norway’: 1286 to 1290

Interregnum

  • English Overlordship (Edward I): 1290 to 1292

House of MacAlpin

  • John Balliol: 1292 to 1296 (abdicated)

English Invasion and Occupation

  • Edward I of England: 1296 to 1306

House of Bruce

  • Robert I de Brus (Bruce): 1306 to 1329

  • David II: 1329 to 1371

House of Stewart

  • Robert II ‘the Steward’: 1371 to 1390

  • Robert III (John Stewart): 1390 to 1406

  • James I: 1406 to 1437

  • James II: 1437 to 1460

  • James III: 1460 to 1488

  • James IV: 1488 to 1513

  • James V: 1513 to 1542

  • Mary, Queen of Scots: 1542 to 1567

  • James VI: 1567 to 1625 (became James I of England in 1603)

The Stewart dynasty continued to hold the throne until 1689, when James III and VI was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. The throne of Britain was given to William of Orange and his wife Mary. They were succeeded by Anne, who died childless, and she was in turn succeeded by George, Elector of Hanover.

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