Today, April 16th 2012, is the 266th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, which took place in the Scottish Highlands near Inverness. Culloden ended the Jacobite Rising that began in 1745 and was led by Charles Edward Stuart (Bonny Prince Charlie) as his final attempt to regain the throne for the Stuart family.
Due to Charles’s lack of experience, terrible leadership and wasteful spending, the Highland clansmen who fought in the final battle were not prepared to face the English army. Somewhere between 1500-2000 Highlanders were slaughtered that day during and after the battle, while the English only lost about 50 men. Immediately following the battle, English officers raped and murdered innocent women and children, burned crops and homes, and confiscated property from families all throughout the Highlands. This brutal treatment of the Scots, lasting for a decade after Culloden, was ordered by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, otherwise known as the Butcher.
On August 1st 1746, the Parliament of Great Britain passed the Act of Proscription, which was essentially a series of laws meant to crush Gaelic culture and prevent any further rebellion against the throne. It was now illegal for Scots to wear kilts or plaids, play bagpipes, or carry weapons. The final result of Great Britain’s post war efforts was the permanent destruction of Scotland’s clan system. The Act of Proscription was eventually repealed in 1782, but by this time, a whole generation had been raised without the rich Scottish traditions of their ancestors. The cultural landscape of Scotland had been forever changed.
The Battle of Culloden was the last battle ever fought in attempt to separate Scotland from English rule.