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June 1551: England agree to end hostilities with Scotland after a earlier withdrawal of their forces in 1549. The cost of the "rough wooing" since 1544, over half a million pounds, has broken the English exchequer.
1552: The Society of St Andrews is formed to promote the game of golf in the town. It becomes known from 1754 as the St Andrews Society of Golfers: and still later as the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
24 April 1558: Fourteen year old Mary Queen of Scots marries fifteen year old Francoise, Dauphin of France in Paris. This is accompanied by an agreement that will unify the crowns of Scotland and France if there are children of the marriage, and hand over the crown of Scotland to France if there are not.
November 1558: Queen Elizabeth succeeds to the crown of England. Her parents' marriage follows Henry VIII's earlier divorce so is in the view of the Catholic Church, Elizabeth is illegitimate. So in Catholic eyes, especially in Scotland and France, Mary Queen of Scots is the rightful claimant to the English crown.
July 1559: Henri II of France dies after a jousting accident, and is succeeded by Franciose as Franciose II of France, with Mary as Queen.
August 1560: The Scottish Parliament prohibits the practise of the Latin Mass in Scotland and denies the authority of the Pope, in effect implementing the Reformation across Scotland.
5 December 1560: Franciose II of France dies of an infected ear and is succeeded by his brother, Charles IX of France.
19 August 1561: Mary Queen of Scots, aged eighteen and now a widow, is increasingly isolated in France, and has little choice but to accept an invitation to return to a now Protestant Scotland as Queen.
4 September 1561: Mary meets John Knox at the Palace of Holyroodhouse to try to resolve the religious differences between them. The meeting fails and Mary neither ratifies nor revokes the Protestant Acts passed by Parliament.
28 October 1562: Mary and her half-brother James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, defeat George, the 4th Earl of Huntly at the Battle of Corrichie, near Aberdeen, to curtail his ambition and assauge Protestant concerns in Scotland. She goes on to sack Huntly Castle.
26 August 1565: Mary leads an army out of Edinburgh to supress a rebellion led by her half brother James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, who is opposed to her marriage. She puts the rebellion to flight in what becomes known as the Chaseabout Raid.
9 March 1566: Mary's private secretary, David Rizzio, is murdered in front of her at the Palace of Holyroodhouse by a group including her husband Lord Darnley. The attempted coup that follows fails when Darnley has second thoughts and helps Mary to escape to Dunbar.
7 December 1566: Mary leaves Craigmillar Castle after a group of her advisers agree the Craigmillar Bond, an arrangement for the disposal of Lord Darnley, who by now everyone including Mary knows to be thoroughly unsuitable as a husband. Those involved include The Earls of Argyll, Huntly, and Bothwell, Sir James Balfour, and William Maitland of Lethington.
9 February 1567: Darnley, now ill with syphilis, is murdered while staying at the Provost's House on the edge of Edinburgh. The cellar of the building has been packed with gunpowder, but it seems Darnley may have been strangled while trying to escape the explosion. Public suspicions grow that the Earl of Bothwell, and possibly Mary herself, are involved in the murder.
19 April 1567: Bothwell, although already married, proposes marriage to Mary with the support of many influential nobles across Scotland. Mary turns him down.
3 May 1567: Bothwell is divorced from his wife.
15 June 1567: Scottish nobles intent on retrieving Mary from Boswell meet the couple and a thousand supporters at Carberry Hill, east of Edinburgh. After a day long stand-off Mary agrees to the nobles' demands and sends Bothwell away. They never meet again. Mary is taken away to imprisonment in Lochleven Castle on an island in Loch Leven, near Kinross.
24 July 1567: Lords Ruthven and Lindsay visit Mary and insist she abdicates immediately or be killed. She abdicates.
29 July 1567: One year old Charles James is crowned King James VI of Scotland in a Protestant ceremony in the Church of the Holy Rude, close to Stirling Castle. John Knox preaches a sermon. It is exactly two years since Mary married Darnley.
15 May 1568: Mary's flight takes her to Terregles Castle near Dumfries. She rejects supporters' advice to return to France and chooses instead to flee to England and seek the mercy of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, who still fears Mary might make a claim to the Crown of England.
12 July 1570: The Earl of Lennox, father of Lord Darnley, is appointed Regent with support from Queen Elizabeth.
September 1571: Mary, still captive in England, is implicated in a plot by the Catholic Duke of Norfolk to use Spanish troops to overthrow Elizabeth. This undermines much of her remaining support in Scotland.
1572: The Earl of Morton becomes Regent and is effectively ruler of Scotland for the next six years.
March 1578: James VI takes over the government of Scotland at the age of 12.
14 April 1578: James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell dies, insane, in Denmark's notorious Dragholm Prison.
2 June 1581: The ex-Regent, James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, is executed for his alleged involvement in the murder of Lord Darnley, James VI's father, fourteen years earlier as a result of accusations made by Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Orkney.
1582: The University of Edinburgh is founded.
August 1582: 16 year old James VI is taken prisoner by the Earl of Gowrie and the "Lords Enterprisers" at Ruthven Castle now Huntingtower Castle near Perth. The "Ruthven Raid" was designed to increase the grip of the conspirators on power by controlling the King.
April 1584: The Lords Enterprisers take St Andrews Castle in an effort to overthrow James VI, now aged 18. He musters an army and recaptures it, executing the Earl of Gowrie and exiling other conspirators to England.
May 1584: Parliament declared James VI head of both the church - the Kirk - and the state in the face of increasing efforts by the Kirk to limit his power.
15 October 1586: Mary is tried for treason at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire.
28 August 1589: James VI marries Anne of Denmark, daughter of King Frederik II of Denmark. The marriage is by proxy and her subsequent efforts to sail to Scotland see her blown back by storm to Norway, allegedly as a result of witchcraft.
22 October 1589: James VI sails to Norway to collect his bride.
1 May 1590: James VI and Anne of Denmark return to Leith, and Anne is crowned Queen of Scotland later that month. James begins a witch-hunt that will claim over a thousand lives in the following hundred years.
1597: The Scottish Parliament lease the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles to the Duke of Lennox and the "Fife Adventurers". They are explicitly permitted to slaughter, mutilate, fire raise, and do anything necessary to "root out the barbarian inhabitants". This is how the inhabitants of the highlands and islands are viewed by lowland Scots.