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Battle of Culloden

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The Battle of Culloden, fought on April 16, 1746, was the last, and the decisive, military engagement of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. The defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden, combined with the repressive measures adopted in the Highlands following the debacle, spelled the end of the Jacobite cause as a viable military and political movement.

The Rebellion of 1745 was the last major attempt in the half century history of efforts to restore the House of Stuart which had been deposed as a result of the Revolution Settlement which solidified the results of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89. The movement took its name from the deposed King's name (James)[1] which in Latin is Jacobus.

In the year prior to the battle of Culloden, Charles Edward Stuart, who stood in direct line of succession to the deposed James VII and II, landed in Scotland, rallied his followers and raised an army, based primarily on the Highland clans. After defeating the English forces at Prestonpans and marching southwards into England itself, they turned back, pursued by royal troops until the two sides finally met on the field of battle on a moor just east of Inverness.

In the aftermath of Culloden and the defeat of the last Jacobite Rebellion, the British government undertook a series of measures designed to bring about the cultural and economic transformation of the Highlands and break the feudal power of the clans. While these measures, in conjunction with the growing economic forces of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution, were largely successful, a movement took shape in the early 19th century which romanticized the Highland clans and their way of life and turned the battle of Culloden into the stuff of legend with the heroic clans and their desperate charge playing a leading role.


  1. Ever since the Union of Crowns in 1603, with brief exceptions, the monarchies of England and Scotland had been vested in one and the same person. Since the histories of the monarchies in the two countries were divergent, the numbering system was likewise not in agreement. In 1689, at the time of the deposition (though in England the fiction was maintained that it was not in fact a depositon), the King - James - was the 2nd of that name in England (that is, James II of England), but the 7th of that name in Scotland (that is, James VII of Scotland).