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William Wallace

Edward of England's invasion of Scotland in 1296 left the country leaderless. King John Baliol of Scotland was imprisoned and the nobility were split by rival factions. In May 1297 William Wallace killed the English Sheriff of Lanark in retaliation for the death of his wife, Marion, and thereafter made his name by leading a series of lightning raids against key English targets.

Joining forces with Sir Andrew Moray he faced an English army at Stirling Bridge on September 11th, 1297. A sudden Scots charge trapped and routed the English force.
Wallace followed this victory with an invasion of northern England. Soon after their victory at Stirling Bridge, Moray and Wallace were acting as Generals of the army and Guardians of the Kingdom of Scotland.

Moray died of his wounds later in 1297 and by the spring of 1298 the Community of the Realm recognised Wallace as sole Guardian.

At a second major battle, at Falkirk, the Scots army was defeated and Wallace resigned the Guardianship, but continued to serve as field commander and as a diplomat in France and Italy.

When the Scots resistance collapsed in 1304 he fought on until his betrayal, capture, and trial and execution in London in 1305.

Robert the Bruce continued the struggle against the English and at Bannockburn in 1314 achieved victory, paving the way for Scotland's return to independence.

 

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