You have to know the history of Lochalsh to appreciate it better when you come for a visit. It is the only way that you can understand why the locals live the way they do. Not only that, it will give you insight into how and why this district in Scotland looks the way it does at present.
Lochalsh is a part of the Highlands of Scotlands. If you want to appreciate the rich Scottish culture and heritage, you need to visit this place and get to know its past.
The early history of Lochalsh
The history of this Scottish district can be traced back to the Iron Age. Archeologists discovered brochs, hollow structures that were believed to be 2,000 years old. These ten-metre high structures are located in Glenelg in the southern part of Lochalsh. It is not clear if these structures were used for farming or military purposes. These brochs usually stand alone or with small dwelling places around it.According to the records unearthed from the Roman archives, the early settlers in Lochalsh are the Picts. They are primarily Celtic people who soon became a part of the kingdom of Dál Riata when it was established during the 6th century. The Pictish language was then replaced by the Gaelic language – something that is still spoken up until this very day.
The 7th and 8th-century history of Lochalsh were marked with Viking raids and invasions. When the 9th century came, the Treaty of Perth in 1266 CE forced a period of peace as Lochalsh was ruled alternately by the Kingdoms of Alba, Norway, and the Isles.
In the following centuries, the Kingdom of Scotland was generally ruled by clans – most of which were always at war with each other. Eilean Donan castle, located where the Loch Alsh meets Loch Duich and Loch Long, became the stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and Clan Macrae. They were heavily involved in the Jacobite rebellions in 1719. This led to the destruction of the castle by the government. In the 20th century, the castle went through a reconstruction phase that led to what it looks like at present day.
Throughout the history of Lochalsh, it was ruled by several – mostly from the clan of MacDonald of Lochalsh.
The Calvinists and Jacobites
There were a lot of changes that happened to the Kingdom of Scotland in general, during the time of the Calvinists and the Jacobites.
The Calvinists refer to the time when the Scottish Parliament decided to remove the power of the pope in Scotland. This move was inspired by John Knox in 1560. It led to what is now known as Calvinism. It is a branch of Protestantism inspired by the Christian practises and theological traditions of John Calvin and several Reformation theologians.Although the celebration of the mass and other Roman Catholic traditions were forbidden, a lot of people still practised and adhered to the faith set by the Roman empire. When King James IV united the crowns of England and Scotland, it was decreed that no Catholic will ever hold the crown.
In 1715, a Jacobite rising happened that altered the history of Lochalsh forever. This happened in an attempt to put James, the half-brother of Queen Anne on the throne. He was believed to be the last Catholic monarch. He was next in line to be king but he was deposed by his daughter and her husband because of his faith.
The Jacobite rising is a series of rebellions in both Great Britain and Ireland to restore the Stuart kings in their rightful place to rule England and Scotland. Although unsuccessful, the uprising played an important role in influencing the culture and history of Lochalsh.