Robert I of ScotlandRobert the Bruce (July 11, 1274- June 7, 1329) was, as his best modern biographer (Geoffrey Barrow) described him, a great hero who lived in a minor country. In every aspect of his career (until he became King of Scotland on March 25, 1306) he was a traditional member of the ruling feudal noble class; the grandson of a younger son descended from David I of Scotland, and more English than Scottish in his upbringing. Earl of Carrick, Robert Bruce was born at Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire, in 1274
By murdering Comyn in Dumfries (1306), Bruce had no alternative but to claim the throne, which he did. Eight years of exhausting but deliberate refusal to meet the English on even ground proved Bruce to be one of the great guerrilla leaders of any age, an astonishing transformation for one raised as a feudal knight. Bruce secured Scottish independence from England at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
Free from English control, Scotland's armies were able to invade northern England. Indeed, buoyed by his military successes, Bruce was able to invade Ireland, where his brother Edward was crowned King by the ebullient Irish. Bruce drove back a subsequent English expedition north of the border; forcing the English king to seek peace.
Robert Bruce's career is also marked by some equally successful diplomatic achievements, including the lifting of his excommunication by the new Pope at Rome. In May 1328, the Treaty of Northampton was signed by the helpless English king, which finally recognized Scotland as an independent kingdom and Bruce as king. Having achieved the fulfilment of his dreams, Bruce died just one year later, of leprosy in 1329, leaving only an infant son to succeed him.
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