Robert I of Scotland
de:Robert I. (Schottland)sv:Robert I av Skottland Robert I, King of Scots, usually known as Robert the Bruce (July 11, 1274 – June 7, 1329, reigned 1306 – 1329), was, according to a modern biographer (Geoffrey Barrow), a great hero who lived in a minor country. In every aspect of his career prior to becoming King of Scotland on March 25, 1306 he seems a traditional member of the ruling feudal noble class; the grandson of a younger son descended from David I of Scotland, and more English than Scottish in his upbringing.
Robert Bruce was born at Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire, in 1274 as the son of Robert Bruce, 6th Lord of Annandale, and of Margaret or Marjorie, daughter of Neil, Earl of Carrick. From his mother he inherited the Earldom of Carrick, and from his father a royal lineage that would give him a claim to the Scottish throne.
Excommunication and Coronation
By murdering John Comyn at Dumfries in 1306 — an act for which Pope Clement V excommunicated him — Bruce cleared the way to secure the Scottish crown. His coronation took place at Scone on March 25 1306.
Wars of Independence
Eight years of exhausting but deliberate refusal to meet the English on even ground, during the Wars of Scottish Independence, caused many to consider Bruce as one of the great guerrilla leaders of any age. This represented a transformation for one raised as a feudal knight. Bruce secured Scottish independence from England militarily — if not diplomatically — at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
Freed from English threats, Scotland's armies could now invade northern England. Indeed, buoyed by his military successes, Scots forces invaded Ireland (1315), where the ebullient Irish crowned his brother Edward as King (1316). Bruce drove back a subsequent English expedition north of the border, forcing King Edward II of England to sue for peace.
Robert Bruce's reign also achieved some successful diplomatic achievements. The Declaration of Arbroath of 1320 strengthened his position, particularly vis-à-vis the Papacy. Pope John XXII eventually lifted Bruce's excommunication. In May 1328 King Edward III of England signed the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, which recognized Scotland as an independent kingdom and Bruce as its king.
Robert Bruce married twice: firstly Isabella of Mar, and later Elizabeth de Burgh. Isabella had one child, Marjory (died 1316), who married Walter the Steward (Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland) and bore him the future Robert II of Scotland. By Elizabeth he had four children: David, John, Matilda, and Margaret (who married William, Earl of Sutherland).
Robert Bruce died on June 7 1329 at Cardross, Dunbartonshire, of leprosy. His body lies buried in Dunfermline Abbey, but, according to his wishes, Sir James Douglas, the Black Douglas removed the late king's heart and took it on Crusade, hurling it into the fray just before his own death in battle in Moorish Spain. It was later recovered, taken back to Scotland and buried at Melrose Abbey in Roxburghshire.
Robert Bruce left his sole surviving infant son, David II, to succeed him.
According to legend, after his defeat at the hands of the Comyns and the subsequent incarceration of his family, Bruce hid himself in a cave on a deserted island, watching a spider trying to spin a web. Each time the spider failed, it simply started all over again. Inspired by this, Bruce returned to inflict a series of defeats on the English, thus winning him more supporters and eventual victory. The story serves to explain the maxim: "if at first you don't succeed, try and try again." Other versions have Bruce defeated for the seventh time by the English, then let him watch the spider spin seven webs, fail, then spin an eighth and succeed.