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  Wars with England

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 initiated a chain of events which started to move the Kingdom of Scotland away from its originally Gaelic cultural orientation. Malcolm III married Margaret the sister of Edgar AEtheling the deposed Anglo-Saxon claimant to the throne of England, who subsequently received some Scottish support. Margaret played a major role in reducing the influence of Celtic Christianity. When her youngest son David I later succeeded, Scotland gained something of its own 'Norman Conquest'. Having previously become an important Anglo-Norman lord through marriage, David I was instrumental in introducing feudalism into Scotland and in encouraging an influx of settlers from the Low Countries to the burghs to enhance trading links with continental Europe. By the late 13th century, scores of Norman and Anglo-Norman families had been granted Scottish lands.

After the death of the Maid of Norway, last direct heir of Alexander III of Scotland, Scotland's nobility asked the King of England to adjudicate between rival claimants to the vacant Scottish throne, but Edward I of England, instead, attempted to install a puppet monarchy and exert outright control. The Scots resisted, however, under the leadership of Sir William Wallace and Andrew de Moray in support of John Balliol, and later under that of Robert the Bruce. Bruce, crowned as King Robert I on March 25, 1306, won a decisive victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn on June 23 - June 24, 1314, but warfare flared up again after his death during the second Wars of Scottish Independence from 1332 to 1357 in which Edward Balliol attempted unsuccessfully to win back the throne from Bruce's heirs, with the support of the English king. Eventually, with the emergence of the Stewart dynasty in the 1370s, the situation in Scotland began to stabilise.

By the end of the Middle Ages, Scotland was showing a split into two cultural areas the mainly Scots-speaking Lowlands, and the mainly Gaelic-speaking Highlands. However, Galwegian Gaelic persisted in remote parts of the southwest, which had formed part of the kingdom of Galloway, probably up until the late 18th century. Historically, the Lowlands were closer to mainstream European culture. By comparison, the clan system of the Highlands formed one of the region's more distinctive features, with a number of powerful clans remaining dominant until after the Act of Union 1707. Nonetheless, with the giving of lands in Scotland to allies of the English crown, a number of these families had new masters with no Scots ancestry.

The clans of modern times owe much of their 'mixed blood' to this period.