Robert Bruce

Robert I or better known as Robert the Bruce was the King of Scotland during the early portion of the 14th century. He was instrumental in gaining Scotland’s freedom from English control. He had a superb military mind and crushed the English army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 C.E.

Robert Bruce

Early life

Robert the Bruce was born in Ayrshire, Scotland in 1274 C.E. His father was Robert de Brus the 6th lord of Annandale. His mother Marjorie was the Countess of Carrick. The family was descendants of Norman and Gaelic nobility from France. His grandfather was a claimant to the throne of Scotland during the “Great Cause.”

As a child Robert the Bruce was schooled in military tactics and was quite intelligent. He was able to speak three languages at a young age which were Gaelic, Anglo-Norman, and Scottish. As a child he worked as a servant for his father and grandfather. His family moved frequently Annandale and Ayrshire.

Campaigning for independence

In 1292 C.E. John Ballioli was made King of Scotland by King Edward I of England. Ballioli was a first cousin to Robert’s grandfather. After being appointed king Ballioli made Robert the Bruce an Earl of Carrick and his was appointed Lord of Annandale.

Over time Ballioli fell from favor with King Edward I and the Bruce family began to give support to King Edward I. This forced the Bruce’s to move when John Comyn sided with Ballioli and stole the family’s estates in Carrick and Annandale. King Edward I gave the family refuge at Carlisle Castle. In 1296 C.E. Comyn attacked Carlisle Castle.

King Edward I viewed this as an attack on England. He marched on Scotland and defeated the Scots soundly at the Battle of Dunbar. King Edward I then deposed King John sending him to the Tower of London. The Bruces then gave their support again to King Edward I. In return the family was given control of Annandale and Carrick once again.

War for independence

Unexpectedly in 1297 C.E. Robert the Bruce switched his allegiance to the Scottish revolt. King Edward I crushed William Wallace and the Scots at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 C.E. In 1301 C.E. the English attacked again with little success this time. After a treaty was signed, Robert the Bruce once again switched to supporting King Edward I.

Edward I was not finished. In 1303 C.E. the English invaded and took large areas of territories. Thus, every Scottish noble surrendered to the English expect William Wallace. Wallace would later be captured in 1305 C.E.

Becoming King

In 1306 C.E. there were many problems between Comyn and Robert the Bruce. Robert killed Comyn and assumed the crown of Scotland six weeks later. After the death of Edward I in 1307 C.E. Edward II became King of England.

Robert the Bruce was busy building his kingdom and he had established a Scottish parliament in 1309 C.E. He also had taken a firm grasp of Scottish territory north of the Tay River.

Between 1310 and 1313 C.E. Robert the Bruce went of the offensive retaking lands from the English. In 1314 C.E. Robert the Bruce had his greatest victory at the Battle of Bannockburn.

After which he declared Scotland’s independence from England. He would later march on Northern England and in Ireland but with little success.

As King of Scotland, historians believe his next notable achievement was signing the Treaty of Edinburgh-North Hampton with Edward III of England. The treaty made Scotland an independent country and acknowledged Robert the Bruce as the king.

In Robert the Bruce’s later life he suffered from skin disease and perhaps leprosy. He passed away in 1329 C.E. at the Manor of Cardross and then buried at the Dunfermline Abbey in Fife. He left his kingdom to his son David II.

Important facts about Robert the Bruce

  • Robert the Bruce was born in Ayrshire, Scotland in 1327 C.E. His father was the 6thLord of Annandale and his mother Marjorie was the Countess of Carrick.
  • He studied military tactics at a young age. He was intelligent and could speak three languages Gaelic, Scottish, and Anglo-Norman as a child.
  • For the first part of his life Robert the Bruce gave support to King Edward I of England.
  • His family was given refuge by King Edward I at Carlisle Castle after John Comyn seized the family estates at Carrick and Annandale.
  • Robert the Bruce started to support the Scottish Revolt in 1297 C.E. but by 1301 C.E. he was back supporting King Edward of England.
  • In 1303 C.E. King Edward I forced all the nobles of Scotland to surrender. Only William Wallace refused to surrender.
  • Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland in 1306 C.E. after he killed King Comyn.
  • He secured independence for Scotland with a crushing defeat of King Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 C.E.


  1. Robert the Bruce’s family was of what descendent?


  1. What king of England did Robert the Bruce give allegiance to during his early years?

King Edward I

  1. What was the name of the battle that secured independence for Scotland?

Battle of Bannockburn

  1. What languages could Robert the Bruce speak at a young age?

Gaelic, Scottish, and Anglo-Norman