Reformation and Revolution: Kirk and Crown, 1560-1690

In no less than four major crises between 1560 and 1690, disaffected Scots succeeded in pushing ahead, in wholly unprecedented fashion, with far-reaching constitutional and ecclesiastical reform in defiance of the wishes of the crown. The first decisive break came with the Reformation which in Scotland, unlike in England, took the form of a rebellion not simply against Rome but also against the constituted government of the realm. Resorting to arms, the Protestant 'Lords of the Congregation' in 1559 deposed from the regency the Queen Mother, Mary of Guise, who ruled in the name of her absent daughter, Queen Mary, who then was also Queen of France, and sought to transfer power to a provisional government of their own choosing, dominated by Protestant lords. The Protestant victory of 1560 severed not merely the links with Rome but also Scotland's traditional alliance with France by effecting a diplomatic realignment away from largely Catholic France towards friendship with the Protestant England of Queen Elizabeth, whose military intervention in Scotland had largely secured the successful outcome of the Reformation.

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