Battle of Largs

From Academic Kids

The Battle of Largs took place in Largs, North Ayrshire in 1263 between Scotland and the forces of King Magnus III of Man and the Isles as well as the manxmen's ally, King Haakon IV of Norway. The prelude to the battle were Scottish incursions into the territory of the Norse Kingdom of Man and the Isles. Fighting the Scots were the Manx fleet and that of Haakon IV of Norway, who was wounded in the battle and died in the Orkneys shortly thereafter.

A prolonged struggle ensued between Haakon's army and the Scottish defenders under Alexander III. The outcome of the battle is today recognised as a victory for the Scots, as it began the chain of events that soon ensured their dominance over the Western Isles. This sovereignity was only formally confirmed in 1266: Haakon's successor, Magnus VI of Norway, signed the isles over to the Scots in the Treaty of Perth, following Haakon's death in late 1263 on Orkney, succumbing to illness.

The battle is commemorated in modern-day Largs by a small monument of cylindrical shape with a spiked top at the seafront - inevitably, it is known as "The Pencil."

Under Dispute

Varying historical reports and interpretations call the battle either a victory for the Scots or a victory for the Norwegians. No definitive outcome is known, but what is assuredly so is that in the years following the battle, the Western Isles came under Scottish dominion, where they have remained ever since. Orkney and Shetland came under Scottish rule in 1468 and 1469, after being leased to Scotland as a garantee for payment of dowry from King Christian I of Denmark-Norway to the Scottish king James III who married his daughter, Margrete. The mortgage was never paid and the isles has remained under first Scottish and then British rule ever since, although still technically only leased from Norway. The lease was questioned in 1667, with the conclusion that Norway still had the right of redemption, as the islands had never been formally transferred to Scotland. [1] ( As for the battle itself, its outcome was seemingly integral to these events that followed, hence the fashion for proclaiming it a Scottish victory despite clear evidence one way or the other.


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