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Massacre of Glencoe

1692 killing of Clan Macdonald members / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Massacre of Glencoe (Scottish Gaelic: Murt Ghlinne Comhann) took place in Glen Coe in the Highlands of Scotland on 13 February 1692. An estimated 30 members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by Scottish government forces, allegedly for failing to pledge allegiance to the new monarchs, William III and Mary II.

Quick facts: Massacre of Glencoe, Date, Location, Belliger...
Massacre of Glencoe
Part of Jacobite rising of 1689
After the Massacre of Glencoe, Peter Graham
Date13 February 1692
Kingdom of Scotland Kingdom of Scotland Clan MacDonald of Glencoe
Commanders and leaders
Alasdair MacIain
920 Unknown
Casualties and losses
None About 30 killed[1]
Massacre of Glencoe is located in Scotland
Massacre of Glencoe
Location within Scotland

By May 1690, the Jacobite rising of 1689 had largely been suppressed, but unrest in the Highlands consumed military resources needed for the Nine Years' War in Flanders. In late 1690, the Scottish government agreed to pay the Jacobite clans a total of £12,000 in return for an oath of loyalty to William and Mary; however, disagreements among the chiefs over its division meant by December 1691 none of them had taken the oath.

Under pressure to ensure the deal was adopted, Secretary of State Lord Stair decided to make an example as a warning of the consequences for further delay. The Glencoe MacDonalds were not the only ones who failed to meet the deadline, as the Keppoch MacDonalds did not swear until early February. The precise reasons why they were selected for punishment are still debated, but appear to have been a combination of internal clan politics, and a reputation for lawlessness that made them an easy target.

While there are many examples of similar events in earlier Scottish history, by 1692 such incidents were increasingly rare, and the brutality of the massacre shocked contemporaries. It became a significant element in the persistence of Jacobitism in the Highlands during the first half of the 18th century, and remains a powerful symbol for a variety of reasons.