Milestones of Scots' journey to independence vote

AP News
Posted: Sep 17, 2014 9:02 AM
Milestones of Scots' journey to independence vote

DUBLIN (AP) — These are the milestones of Scotland's journey from Great Britain to the United Kingdom and, following Thursday's vote, a possible return to independence.


March 24, 1603: James VI, King of Scots, is proclaimed king of England and Ireland upon the death of the childless Queen Elizabeth. James' accession unites all three kingdoms under one monarch and common foreign policy. In April 1604 a new Union Flag combines the red and white St. George's Cross of England with the blue and white St. Andrew's Saltire of Scotland.

May 1, 1707: A treaty binds the kingdoms of England and Scotland together in a new island-wide Kingdom of Great Britain governed from London. Scotland's Parliament in Edinburgh is abolished after nearly five centuries.

Sept. 6, 1715: Rebels led by Highland clans back Scotland's aspiring heir to the British throne, James Stuart. Their armies march south into England to topple George I but are defeated. James flees to France in February 1716.

July 23, 1745: Stuart's son Charles — better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie — arrives in Scotland to launch a second Highlander-led rebellion. Charles' forces enter Edinburgh in September but fail to marshal strong public support, and a proposed French invasion of England is canceled. The rebellion is crushed at the Battle of Culloden near Inverness on April 16, 1746. Charles flees for France. British parliamentary acts seek to outlaw the Highland clan system.

Jan. 1, 1801: Scotland enters a bigger United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland following passage of parliamentary bills in London and Dublin.

May 30, 1913: The House of Commons in London passes a home rule bill for Scotland following decades of lobbying and three rejected bills. The approach of World War I thwarts these plans to create an Edinburgh legislature handling Scottish affairs.

Dec. 6, 1921: United Kingdom and Irish rebel leaders strike treaty to give southern Ireland de-facto independence following two-year war; renewal of home rule legislation denied to peaceful Scotland.

April 20, 1934: Two nationalist parties merge to create a Scottish National Party committed initially to home rule, not independence.

March 1, 1979: A Scottish referendum to create a regional legislature fails because of low turnout.

Sept. 11, 1997: Scots give 74.3 percent voter backing to create a Scottish Parliament in a referendum backed by Britain's newly elected Labour Party, the longtime political power in Scotland.

May 12, 1999: The 129-member Scottish Parliament convenes. Labour leads the government, Scottish nationalists the opposition.

May 5, 2011: First Minister Alex Salmond, who had overseen a minority government in Scotland since 2007, leads his Scottish National Party to an unexpected landslide victory in elections. The SNP gains an overall parliamentary majority.

Oct. 15, 2012: An agreement between Salmond's SNP and Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led British government, which opposes independence, paves the way for a referendum.

Sept. 18, 2014: Scottish voters decide whether to keep Great Britain intact or end their union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.