Twelve dates which shaped Scotland's relationship with England

By Sandy Murray
BBC Scotland news

image captionHistory making dates - From Charles I's reign to the SNP's majority win at the 2011 Holyrood election

How has the relationship between Scotland and England been shaped over the centuries? Here, BBC Scotland's news website highlights 12 key dates.

But do you think we've missed some important historical markers? They could be from further back in time or more recent history.

Let us know your suggestions by emailing and put "Scotland's history" in the message field.

(Thanks for your suggestions so far, keep them coming in)

1) 1603

The modern history of Scotland's relationship with England began with a takeover.

Elizabeth I, England's virgin queen, died childless.

In the lottery of an inherited throne, her heir was James VI of Scotland.

The ruler of Scotland had become the ruler of its traditional rival.

He moved his court to London and cemented his power over the southern kingdom.

2) 1605

The most serious challenge to James in the early years of his rule from London was an attempted sectarian murder.

The king surrounded himself with Scottish friends, who enriched themselves under his patronage.

One group in particular felt this favouritism was at their expense.

Some leading Catholics, concerned about the threat to their religion posed by the new regime, plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

James and the leading protestant nobles were to be inside as the gunpowder ignited.

In slightly murky circumstances, the conspiracy was uncovered and its leading players - including the mercenary Guy Fawkes - were executed.

The new king was safe.

3) 1650

The limits to Scotland's freedom, and its ability to lord it over its southern neighbour, were radically re-defined during the period of religious ferment thrown up by the English Civil War.

This struggle between Charles I and parliament produced a determined character who was prepared to take whatever measure necessary to impose his will: Oliver Cromwell.

After the execution of Charles in 1649, many Scots rallied in support of his son Charles II. It was a costly mistake.

At the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, they were soundly beaten by Cromwell's forces and many of them were killed.

The age of the Stuart kings was dead and buried. The puritan Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland had arrived.

4) 1707

Scotland's century of semi-detachment, sharing a monarch but clinging on to its own parliament, came to an end in a period of economic stagnation.

A series of poor harvests and a failed attempt to establish a Scottish colony at Darien in Panama left Scotland with an empty treasury.

Many leading figures in the parliament saw their country's future in hitching a ride on England's economic success.

Some are believed to have received direct personal inducements to reach this view.

The union of the parliaments was achieved and the political engine-room of the state was moved, unambiguously, to Westminster.

5) 1745

Many Scots remained unconvinced of the benefits of union, and those with any grievance against the new political settlement rallied around attempts to restore the Stuart monarchy.

The Jacobites, as they were called, gave it their best shot when Charles Edward Stuart landed in Scotland to reclaim the British throne.

A minority of Scots supported his cause in 1745. Another minority were opposed to overthrowing the Hanoverian monarchy. Others, perhaps the majority, chose not to support either side.

The Crown forces were ill-prepared and, after the Battle of Prestonpans, Charles had effective control of Scotland.

His attempt to extend this victory to England ground to a halt at Derby. The initial retreat from England by the Jacobite forces was an orderly affair but when they were confronted by the British army at Culloden the following year their defeat was decisive and bloody.

Those who had supported Charles, especially the Highland clans, were ruthlessly suppressed.

Charles himself declined into alcoholism before his death in Italy 22 years later.

British rule in Scotland was not seriously challenged by force again.

6) 1797

The defeat of the Jacobites led to a period in which Scotland became a centre for challenging, and sometimes dangerous, ideas.

The Scottish enlightenment saw the rise to prominence of intellectuals such as Adam Smith, David Hume and James Hutton.

Smith transformed our understanding of trade, laying the foundations for the study of economics.

Hume, one of the outstanding philosophers writing in the English language, was an empiricist who was sceptical about the powers and scope of reason.

Hutton was a geologist who, by the time he died in 1797, had changed forever the approach to deep time and shattered traditional beliefs about the age of the Earth.

Between them, these thinkers gave Scotland a view of its own importance which transcended its subordinate position within the United Kingdom.

7) 1820

Military rebellion was over, but social struggle was not.

Andrew Hardie and John Baird led action in protest against economic hardship when they marched with a militia on Carron Ironworks in Falkirk. They were halted by the army.

The following day Andrew Wilson led another group of radicals from the small town of Strathaven, near Glasgow. They, too, were halted by forces loyal to the government.

In the aftermath of this challenge to the established order, Hardie, Baird and Wilson were executed.

The 1820 rising was over.

8) 1885

Following the failed Jacobite rising of 1745, the post of Scottish Secretary in the British government had been abolished.

Such a formal recognition of Scotland's identity was seen to be an encouragement to those who would threaten the state.

The danger of rebellion was no longer a concern by 1885, when the Secretary of Scotland Act created a formal basis for the post to be re-established. It also led to the creation of the Scottish Office to administer central government functions in Scotland.

Scotland had its own identity, recognised by the state, but firmly part of the United Kingdom.

9) 1922

Following WWI, a small group on the fringes of Scottish society became convinced that Scotland needed to re-discover itself.

Most influential was a journalist and poet who had been born Christopher Murray Grieve. As Hugh MacDiarmid, he argued that only a cultural revival could create conditions for the establishment of Scotland as a political entity.

In 1922, he set up a literary magazine, Scottish Chapbook. Its motto was "Not traditions - precedents!"

It was credited with helping to nurture a fresh interest in Scottish literature.

Hugh MacDiarmid became, in 1928, a founding member of the National Party of Scotland, the forerunner of the present Scottish National Party.

10) 1979

MacDiarmid and his friends may have brought about the re-birth of Scottish nationalism as an idea but for another generation it was not a political force.

That began to change in 1967, when Winnie Ewing won a by-election in Hamilton for the SNP. Britain's mainstream political parties discovered a new interest in the idea of devolving powers to Scotland.

In the 1970s, the Labour government prepared to give voters in Scotland a referendum on devolution.

When it was held in 1979, a narrow majority of those voting supported change.

But the legislation had required that at least 40% of the entire electorate turn out to vote Yes.

Within months, Margaret Thatcher was in power at Westminster. Devolving power to Scotland was not on her agenda.

11) 1997

When Labour returned to power under Tony Blair it had a new plan for a Scottish parliament and a new referendum.

In a two-question vote, the Scottish electorate gave a clear answer. There would be a Scottish parliament and it would have tax-raising powers.

Two years later, the parliament was a reality. Scotland had its own distinctive voice within the United Kingdom.

12) 2011

For the first two terms of the Scottish parliament, Labour and the Liberal Democrats formed the administration as a coalition.

Power shifted to the SNP in 2007 and the nationalists formed a minority government.

Although the SNP's policy was to give Scottish voters a referendum on independence, it lacked the majority in the Scottish Parliament to ensure that the plan was approved.

That changed in the Scottish elections of 2011. Under the proportional system used to elect members of the Scottish Parliament, the SNP won an overall majority.

There would be a referendum.