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Edward I. Fighting with Wales and Scotland

Edward, who was called Longshanks because of the slenderness of his legs, was peacefully accepted by the English nation. Edward I was the first English King who paid more attention to Wales and Scotland than to his possessions in France. He saw his first object in the unification of Scotland and Wales under one Sovereign England.

At that time the Prince of Wales was Llewellyn. He led a rebellion against the English King, which ended with English victory and a treaty of Peace in 1265. The treaty canned the Welsh for a while, but then the rebellion flamed with a new force. In severe battles Prince Llewellyn was killed and proud Welsh people were subdued. To show the importance of Wales for England an heir of the English throne bears the title "Prince of Wales" (also see "Cultural Focus").

Edward I improved the Welsh laws and established order in the country. The direct control of England led to different changes in local government. Thus by the end of the 13th century, Wales was fully subdued by England.

Edward also did numerous attempts to conquer Scotland. At that time Scotland was racially and geographically divided into Highlands and Lowlands. Highlands were inhabited by Gaelic speaking Celtic tribes while Lowlands were predominantly Saxon and feudal. England and Scotland were closely connected — by the middle of the 13th century, most of the Scottish magnates held lands in England.

In 1286, after the death of Alexander III, the King of Scotland many rival claimants to the Scottish throne appeared. The main claimants were Robert the Bruce and John Baliol. Though Edward I supported Baliol, he soon rebelled. The Scots formed an alliance with France and invaded northern England. Edward I in turn invaded Scotland for several times.

When Edward finally left Scotland, he took the legendary Stone of Scone (destiny) on which the Scottish kings had always been crowned. The Stone was put under a Coronation Chair of the English kings and queens. Till today it remains a symbol of England's desire to rule Scotland.

Soon after the events Robert Bruce was declared the King of Scotland and crowned in 1306. The Scots again started uprising. In bloody battles the Scots retook most of their lands seized by the English.

These battles were the last for King Edward. He died in the course of the war, after which Scotland remained unconquered. King Edward II, who came to power after his father, also made an attempt to attack Robert the Bruce in Scotland. In the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 the English suffered a serious defeat. As a result of this defeat Scotland maintained its independence for the next three centuries.

Cultural Focus: Prince of Wales

In the 13th century, when the Prince of Wales was Llewellyn, the Welsh people were fighting for their independence from the English Crown. The first rebellion against the English King ended with English victory and a treaty of Peace in 1265. After the treaty the Welsh calmed for a while, but then rose with a new force.

The proud and hospitable people of Wales believed in the legendary prophet Merlin who had long before predicted that when English money became round, a Prince of Wales would be crowned in London. King Edward at that time introduced round coins, which became one of the reasons of Welsh rebellion in 1282. After a series of severe battles Prince Llewellyn was killed and Wales was subdued.

The Welsh people wanted a new king, who "would be a man born in Wales and not speaking English". Just at that time the Queen gave birth to a young Prince in the Castle of Carnarvon. The King showed the boy in his cradle to Welsh people and called him the Prince of Wales saying that he was born in Wales and did not speak English, everything being true. Young Prince Edward was the second child of King Edward, but as the first child quickly died, he soon became the heir. Since that time an heir of the English throne always bears the title of the Prince of Wales.

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