Skip to main page content (AccessKey S)
14 May 1660: Charles II is proclaimed King of England, Scotland and Ireland while still in Holland.
25 May 1660: King Charles II sails from Holland to Dover: the monarchy is restored.
January 1661: The Scottish Parliament meets under its Commissioner, the Earl of Middleton. On 28 March it revokes every law passed since the year of Charles I's accession, 1633. This rolls back the Covenants and restores ultimate power to the King in London.
27 May 1661: The Marquis of Argyll is executed in Edinburgh for his role during Charles II's 1650-1 reign. A number of other extreme Presbyterians are executed later in the year, though Neil Macleod, who had betrayed Montrose at Ardveck Castle escapes. Charles II is also settling scores in England, where many of those responsible for his father's death are executed and Oliver Cromwell's body is exhumed and symbolically beheaded.
6 September 1661: Charles II restores episcopal government to Scotland by royal decree. Alternative services called conventicles, often held in the open air, that spring up in an effort to retain a Presbyterian approach, are later made illegal.
13 November 1666: A dispute between conventiclers and soldiers near Dumfries grows rapidly into a protest march on Edinburgh. The marchers are turned back from the city gates, then caught at Rullion Green, on the edge of the Pentland Hills by General Tam Dalyell and 3,000 government troops. Some of the marchers are killed during the battle, others are hung after being captured.
February 1671: Rob Roy MacGregor is born at Glengyle at the head of Loch Katrine.
3 May 1679: Archbishop James Sharp, Primate of Scotland, is attacked and killed while travelling through Fife to St Andrews. The attackers are probably waiting for the Sheriff of Fife, but happy to murder instead the man leading the forces suppressing the Covenant in Scotland. It sparks a wider uprising leading to what is known as the "Killing Time".
29 May 1679: Covenanters under Sir Robert Hamilton take Rutherglen before evading government troops.
1 June 1679: The troops chasing Hamilton encounter a large conventicle of many thousands of people taking place in Ayrshire at Loudoun Hill. The Battle of Drumclog that follows sees the troops overwhelmed by much larger numbers of largely unarmed Covenanters and they flee.
22 June 1679: Covenanters gather at Bothwell, near the River Clyde, throughout June but are unable to agree a common manifesto. Meanwhile the government gathers its forces under the Duke of Monmouth, one of Charles II's many illegitimate offspring. The two sides meet at the Battle of Bothwell Brig (Bridge) and the Covenanters are routed with the loss of 800 killed and twice as many taken prisoner.
22 July 1680: The radical Presbyterian Richard Cameron attempts to lead an uprising against the King. He is killed by government troops at the Battle of Airds Moss in Ayrshire.
1681: James summons the Scottish Parliament to pass the Test Act under which anyone seeking office in Scotland will have to swear a comprehensive oath to the King. The effect is to alienate large parts of the population.
27 July 1681: The Reverend Donald Cargill, who in October 1680 had excommunicated the entire government, is beheaded in Edinburgh.
12 January 1682: The Presbyterians become an underground movement of resistance to the crown and government. Sporadic violence continues on both sides.
1682: The Advocates' Library is founded. It later forms the core of the National Library of Scotland.
December 1684: The government produce an "Abjuration Oath" which all Scots are required to swear on pain of death. Many Scots are killed as a result, especially in the south west.
12 February 1685: Charles II dies after conversion to the Catholic Church on his deathbed. He is succeeded by his brother James Stewart, Duke of York as James II of England and VII of Scotland. James Stewart has been a convert to Catholicism for some time.
13 May 1685: The execution of James Kirk near Dumfries for refusing to swear the oath is one of the last of the wave of deaths of the "Killing Time".
20 May 1685: The Earl of Argyll sails from Holland to Campbeltown with 300 men in an attempted uprising. It fails and he is executed.
5 November 1688: William of Orange lands at Brixham in south west England with a huge army. He has come at the invitation of representatives of the English nobility and church. His wife Mary is James VII/II's daughter and until the birth of James Francis Edward was the heir to the throne.
9 December 1688: Serious rioting in Edinburgh spreads across Scotland.
22 January 1689: An English convention declares that James VII/II has in practice abdicated; and sets out the basis on which his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange can succeed to the throne. This includes their accepting the primacy of Parliament and the stipulation that no Roman Catholic or spouse of a Roman Catholic can take the crown.
14 March-4 April 1689: A Scottish Convention is divided between Williamite supporters of William and Mary, and Jacobite supporters of James VII/II. They consider a reasoned and courteous letter from William, and an arrogant and threatening letter from James Stewart which fatally undermines his own support. The Convention decides James has forfeited his right to the crown, which should be offered instead to William and Mary.
11 May 1689: William II and Mary II are crowned joint sovereigns of Scotland, though it is unclear whether they have first formally accepted the constitutional principles set by the Scottish Convention.
27 July 1689: The leader of Jacobite dissent in Scotland is Viscount Dundee who gathers an army of Highlanders and a few Irish at Blair Castle. As General Mackay moves a government army of lowland troops north from Dunkeld the two sides meet at the Battle of Killiecrankie. The outcome is a victory for the Jacobites, but at a high cost including the death of Viscount Dundee, or "Bonnie Dundee" as he is remembered.
21 August 1689: The Jacobite highland army attacks government forces in and around Dunkeld and its Cathedral at the Battle of Dunkeld. Both sides suffer heavy losses and much of the town is destroyed.
1 May 1690: The last organised Jacobite forces are beaten by government troops at Cromdale, near Grantown on Spey.
1 July 1690: William of Orange defeats James VII/II at the Battle of the Boyne, north of Dublin in Ireland. James returns to France from Ireland, and the hopes of Scottish Jacobites of his return to Scotland evaporate.
June 1691: Highland Clan Chiefs who have been opposed to William are offered bribes and an amnesty on condition they swear oaths of allegiance to him.
13 February 1692: The Glencoe Massacre by government troops from Fort William under the command of Captain Robert Campbell takes place to punish the Macdonalds for the failure of their chief to swear allegiance to William. The Secretary of State for Scotland, Sir John Dalrymple is later held responsible for the massacre and resigns. Full details can be found on our Glencoe feature page.
March 1693: Horse-drawn Hackney cabs come into service on the streets of Glasgow.
February 1696: The Bank of Scotland opens with a remit to support Scottish business.
1695: The Scottish Parliament passes an Act establishing the "Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies" with powers to colonise and make trade treaties. In large part this is intended to take advantage of Sir William Paterson's dream of establishing a colony at Darien in Central America. The Scheme attracts between a quarter and a half of all available wealth in Scotland.
November 1698: The colonists land in Darien at what they call Caledonia and found a settlement called New Edinburgh and a fort called Fort St Andrews.
April 1699: King William prohibits English colonies in the new world trading with the Scots in Caledonia. He is anxious not to antagonise the Spanish, who claim Darien for themselves.
June 1699: The survivors of Caledonia set sail for Scotland via New York, with only 300 of the 1,200 who originally left Leith completing the return journey.
September 1699: The second Darien expedition sets sail from Scotland 12 days before news arrives from New York that the colony has been abandoned. The expedition is rapidly supplemented by a small military force.
1699: The Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge set out to suppress the Gaelic language.