Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Early history of Scotland: Kingdom of Alba

By 84os, the Picts and the Scots were ruled by one king, Kenneth I MacAlpin. The people of Alba, as the kingdom was known, spoke the Gaelic of the Scots rather than Pictish. Their territory, ranging from modern Argyll and Bute to Caithness, across much of southern and central Scotland, was one of the few areas in the British Isles to withstand the invasions of the Vikings.

As a result of settlement on the west coast of Alba by the Scoti, the area became known as Scotia Minor. This distinction remained until the Eleventh Century when there was a re-emergence of the name Eire. Alba claimed the name Scotia; Land of the Scoti, to itself.

MacAlpin came to power after a desperate battle against the Vikings in 839 that created a succession crisis. The King of Fortrui, Uen,his brother Bran, Áed mac Boanta and others were killed. MacAlpin promptly killed three other rivals to start his reign in 843, and a fourth in 848.

MacAlpin’s legacy was a royal dynasty that defined the Kingdom of Alba as a territorial precursor to modern Scotland. When his grandson Constantine II (see right) was crowned on the Stone of Destiny, he took the title “King of Alba”.

Kenneth was to be succeeded by two sons and two grandsons s kings of the Picts. One son, Constantine I commenced the reduction of Strathclyde to a a client kingdom in 872 and one grandson, Donald II, appears to the first king of Alba, being designated so at his death in 900.

The Kingdom of Alba, a name which first appears in Constantine's lifetime, was situated in modern-day Scotland. Constantine's grandfather Kenneth I of Scotland (Cináed mac Ailpín) was the first of the family recorded as a king, but as king of the Picts. This change of title, from king of the Picts to king of Alba, is part of a broader transformation of Pictland and the origins of the Kingdom of Alba are traced to Constantine's lifetime. Constantine was succeeded by a cousin, Malcolm I.

The two centuries until about 1050 were times of great violence. The kings of Alba had to fight against invaders from Scandinavia, Ireland and England. Many of Alba died violent death, being murdered or killed in battle.
Early history of Scotland: Kingdom of Alba

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