Robert The Bruces Influence

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Throughout human civilization, few people have shaped the history of their country so much as Robert the Bruce of Scotland. From the time he became an adult until his death, he fought - both diplomatically and militarily - to maintain the independence of the Scottish people. As he himself famously said, “we fight not for glory, nor for wealth, nor honour but only and alone for freedom which no good man surrenders but with his life” (Innes, 2). Over the course of his nearly fifty-five years, he completely altered the course of Scottish history; however, it did not always appear positive for his cause. Three distinct actions by Bruce directly altered Scottish history forever: the unition of Scotland, the rebellion against England, and the …show more content…
Up to this point, he had been fairly successful, but now the entire Scottish War for Independence would take a large turn at the Battle of Bannockburn. In early 1314, Bruce’s brother, Edward, laid siege to the last major fort in Scotland still held by the English - Stirling Castle. Robert, meanwhile, struck out into England, raiding parts of Yorkshire. King Edward II decided to send a very large army - likely numbering nearly twenty thousand men, with a large contingent of cavalry - to break the siege and push Bruce back (Phillips, 221). Bruce’s army, meanwhile, likely was no more than a third the size of Edward’s, and he withdrew to near the siege as well. Bruce maintained a small amount of soldiers to siege the castle, then brought the majority of his force south in order to be able to decide the battlefield - a decision which would be key in the outcome. He chose hill on the north side of a marshy stream - the Bannock Burn - to make his …show more content…
As the English advanced, the Earl’s nephew - Henry de Bohun - charged out to meet Bruce himself. When the two passed each other, Bruce avoided his lance and crushed de Bohun’s helmet, splitting his skull in two with his battleaxe (Black, 8). This engagement invigorated the Scot’s morale, and this minor skirmish resulted in the English cavalry being repelled easily. The other half of the English cavalry charged in next - exhibiting the confidence of the English in a victory - but they were repelled just as easily by the long pikes of Bruce’s force. That night, the main force of the English caught up and crossed the Bannock Burn under the cover of darkness. They had a spy amongst them, however, who escaped and told Bruce of their plans. At daybreak, Scottish spearmen and axemen could be seen advancing on the English from multiple sides. The English longbowmen began to retreat to maintain range between them and their targets, but the small group of Scottish cavalry flanked them and forced a rout, removing the most dangerous part of the English force from the battle (Black, 9). In this manner, Bruce surrounded the English on three sides, with the Bannock Burn on the fourth. The English began to break ranks and flee, but the marshy terrain slowed them down significantly. In the end, the English likely lost over ten thousand

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