Throughout the ages in the history of humanity, influential figures have engaged in displaying their mark through architecture and culture. With the addition of Edinburgh Castle: The Unbreakable Fortress, we discover an epic story of durability, decisiveness, and survival.
As the facets of this Scottish treasure become explored, awareness of the nation’s character gains center stage.
Edinburgh Castle Origins
To begin, when one visits the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle becomes the first major sight to witness. Furthermore, with its naturally elevated position, the fortress attracts instant curiosity and admiration from whoever comes upon it.
While this location has existed for a millennium, initial documents referring to its modern name go back to November 1093. Moreover, the inhabitants at the time (Malcolm III and his sons) make the fortress one of Scotland’s most royal centers.
Before King Malcolm III’s death in November 1093, his reign gained recognition as somewhat controversial to traditional norms. To illustrate, with the marriage to English princess Margaret of Wessex, they broke Scottish naming customs for their future children.
Next, during the Harrying of the North in 1072, Malcolm III confronted William the Conquer and his artillery. Surprisingly, he conducted peace with the English king as he gave his eldest son Duncan as a hostage.
To add, this act created temporary stability for the king as William continued to conquer Northumbria and other territories. In summary, Edinburgh Castle’s precursor monarch paved a unique approach to rivalry with opposing English powers.
King Dauid mac Mail Cholium (David I) of Scotland
Moreover, after a tense period of sacrifice in the name of retention of the Scottish crown, King Malcolm dies. To further elude, the precursor monarch of Edinburgh Castle lost his life during an ambush by Norman forces in Alnwick.
With this at hand, his second son Alexander I takes his place. However, during this period of constant change, David I gains significant character development.
While he becomes the youngest son of the late Malcolm III and Margaret, David I gains a reputation of tenaciousness. For example, during his eldest brother’s death, he fought to retain the inheritance of southern Scottish territories.
Even though he derived from a Scottish background, he spends his youth in England and earns the liking of King Henry. Furthermore, young David I continues to show support to England and marries Matilda of Huntington and bears son Henry.
After some years, David’s brother Alexander I pass leaving the powers of reign in disarray. In turn, this marked the beginning of an entirely new chapter for Scottish fortress development.
Further King David I Successes
After the passing of his brother and scramble for establishing a proper succession, David I faces his nephew Mael Colium. This battle ended with succession for David I as had greater influence and support from the English monarchy.
Moreover, Mael Colium survived but retreated to areas unconquered by David’s influence. By the spring of 1124, David I becomes crowned as the King of Scotland at Scone.
After this catalyzing event, David’s reign gains celebration and prestige for developing Edinburgh as a royal powerhouse. To add, his gathering of nobles and churchmen served as a preliminary factor to the modern parliament of the castle.
Another detail is the construction of the eldest buildings such as St. Margaret’s Chapel and a Church honoring St. Mary. Indeed, David’s reign marked the foundation and formation of the Edinburgh Castle that is most recognized today.
In all, David I gains prominence in the nation’s history because of his trend-setting actions that further followed.
By the fourteenth century, Edinburgh Castle finds itself central to ending the Scottish wars of Independence. During the first one in 1296, the fortress falls under English grasp.
Interestingly, the English transit many Scottish treasures and legal records to their homeland which deprive the Scots of cultural recognition. On the other hand, the coming of the second Scottish war of independence begins with Edward III invading the land.
By 1335, he and his army take control of the castle for six years. During this period, many Scots found themselves fed up with their southern neighbor’s aggressive and domineering force.
With this at hand, there came time for rebels to unite and plot reclamation to their rightful territory. For example, a Scottish offense became led by William Douglas (Lord of Liddesdale).
Moreover, as he derives from a nobility background, William earns the privilege of leading his people for freedom against enemies.
Additional Douglas Clan Actions
Besides William Douglas’s refined background, he puts his plans into action by disguising his party and himself as merchants. Eager and ready to strike, they manage to place a cart at the entrance of the gates to prevent closure.
Soon after, his group emerges from the shadows and rushes to Edinburgh Castle to retake their territory. In the end, William Douglas and his followers became successful in achieving the feat as all English forces died there.
Overall, this marked a grand stamp for the noble family of Douglas as they gained prestige in the land.
The Black Dinner
By the fifteenth century, Edinburgh Castle found itself under siege once again by the English. While at first, it appears threatening, the invasion comes to a sudden halt as the antagonist lack enough weaponry.
By 1437, William Crichton (Keeper of the Fortress) soon becomes elected as Chancellor of Scotland. With this event at hand, William becomes set on crushing the prominent influence of the Douglas Noble family.
Furthermore, he aims at wiping them out of his path as they came to be considered enemies to the crown. To illustrate, Crichton persuades young earl William Douglas and his younger brother to the palace for appeasing the young king.
At first, things appear to be great with the young boys conversing and bonding over dinner until things suddenly change. To illustrate, by the end of the feast, a plate with the head of a black bull appears.
Moreover, this serves as a Scottish custom to foretelling the death of a guest present at the gathering. In sum, the sixth Earl of Douglas and his brother find themselves in one of Edinburgh’s Castle’s darkest chapters.
Continued Black Dinner Event
Soon after, the Douglas brothers and their advisors become decapitated Infront of young King James II’s eyes. Despite his pleas to spare his new friends, Sir William Crichton realized his ghastly desires become a reality.
In brief, the Black Dinner marked another turning point in the history of the Edinburgh fortress’s long-troubled existence.
Mary Queen of Scots
After further battles for power and attacks took place, the royal Stewarts keep distance from the Scottish stronghold. Moreover, the castle predominantly served as a weapons factory to prepare inhabitants for future conflicts.
Aside from this, the spotlight comes to Mary Queen of Scots. With the sudden passing of her father King James V, Mary inherits the throne at the mere age of infancy.
Next, she returns to her homeland after living in France for a large period and establishes power. One can find this example in her marriage to an English noble and Cousin Henry Stuart who conceive a son.
Interestingly, the room where her son James VI was born can be discovered in the castle to this very day. Overall, Catholic Mary’s reign became recognized for its political instability and crisis among Scottish nobles of the Protestant faith.
Not long after her son’s birth, Mary’s first husband suspiciously becomes a murderer. Soon after, she remarries James Hepburn who many believe to be a perpetrator of her first husband’s demise.
These events caused nobility to impression Mary and strip her of her political powers. In all, the state of Scotland’s succession fell into chaos.
King James VI
Furthermore, the arrival of King James VI brought many hopes for the Scottish people as the country experienced turmoil. What makes Mary Queen of Scots son significant in history is the fact of he becoming ruler of differing kingdoms.
For example, he earns the title “King of Scotland, England, and Ireland” which begins to represent a sense of unity. Another fact of James’s reign was that his rule gains recognition for being the longest of all Scottish royals.
In addition to this, Edinburgh Castle prospers as an era of artistic expression becomes dominant. For example, James became responsible for publishing literary works of Daemonology (1597) and influencing admirable writers like William Shakespeare.
Another is sponsoring the translation of the bible into the English language as there are editions named after himself. For the most part, James VI gains a positive reputation for being an insightful and serious ruler in Scottish history.
Attack in the Twentieth Century
Fast forward to the twentieth century, Edinburgh Castle achieves the remarkable status of being an unbreakable fortress. For the first sixteen years of the century, the fort experiences a well-deserved peaceful period.
Next, with the commencement of The Great War occurring in 1914, this cultural site becomes threatened once again. To illustrate, on a quiet spring night in 1916, Edinburg’s citizens come face-to-face with imminent danger.
Furthermore, four German Zeppelin’ become prominent in the sky over the view of the peaceful town. At this moment, Scots realized that they were also not spared from the horrific airstrikes that traumatizes others.
With this at hand, citizens were encouraged to take refuge as streetlights became dimmed and all activity stopped. Soon after, a large explosion becomes heard over Commercial Street as a Whisky Warehouse falls victim.
Luckily Edinburgh Castle suffered minor damage as a bomb barely misses and hits Castle rock and shattered glass windows nearby. In essence, this marked the first airstrike to threaten the fortress.
Modern Day Edinburgh Fortress
Next, modern Edinburgh and its unbreakable fortress provide large insight into a glimpse of the nation’s troubled past. For the most part, the castle serves as a tourist attraction for visitors to experience engaging history.
An example to this can be found with live actors replaying historical figures and entertaining guests. Other than this, the historic location host headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Here these groups can be found at times celebrating formal events with bagpiper’s present. Alongside these exciting renditions, there is also the Scottish National War Memorial that honors the lives of those lost.
The last major attraction found and used in the castle goes to the One O’clock Gun. At this attraction, a shot becomes fired every day at the time mentioned above.
Interestingly, this cannon almost got used during the German Zeppelin air aid of 1916. Altogether, Scotland’s treasured fort offers a rich variety of historical entertainment for everyone.
Final Thoughts on the Unbreakable Stronghold
Finally, comes the last reflection of the unbreakable stronghold in Edinburgh. As now witnessed, Scotland has proceeded through many dastardly twists and turns in its history.
Even though many faces, influences, and hearts had their turn in a ruling, the castle flourishes. Meaning that any sign of decay or becoming forgotten finds an impossibility to occur. Furthermore, this fortress serves as a cultural symbol of pride and dignity.
For example, in the coat of arms of Edinburgh city and university, one can discover an illustration of the site. While these are only the tip of the iceberg concerning images of the fort, it highlights the passion that Scots practice.
In essence, for the same reason of passion and pride, the castle continues to survive.
Significance of Edinburgh Castle’s History
In conclusion, from durability, decisiveness, and survival, Edinburgh and its unique fortress gain an admirable reputation. For certain, more history will continue to be made on this site as time moves forward.
In the meantime, this castle becomes a sight to behold, cherish, and appreciate as there are many stories to relive. Furthermore, immersing oneself into the mysterious yet captivating past that created the Edinburgh everyone recognizes today.
Sagar, Peter (Homeshake) All Night Long. 2019
Emmanuel and Leonard (Bleu Toucan) Sous les Jupes. 2022
Sideline Productions, Motion Content Group, Adam Croft and Dan Jones Great British Castles. 2016