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The First Highland Charge

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During the Highland rebellions from the mid-seventeenth century, explains David Stevenson, the fighting highlanders developed a remarkable military tactic which terrified their enemies.

From the destruction of the Lordship of the Isles in the 1490s the Highlands and Highlanders played little part in the national life of Scotland for fully 150 years. Then suddenly in the civil wars of the 1640s Highland armies erupted dramatically onto the centre of the national stage. Thereafter for fully a century there occurred a series of periodic military eruptions by Highlanders into the Lowlands. All met with remarkable initial success, but ultimately ended in defeat for Highland armies, culminating in the final defeat of Culloden in 1746.


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