Robert the Bruce Becomes King of Scotland
On this day in 1306, Robert the Bruce became the King of Scotland. He continued as king until his death on the 7th June 1329. He led Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence in which Scotland regained its independence from England. He is probably more remembered outside of Scotland for his role in the life of William Wallace, particularly since the film Braveheart based on the life of William Wallace.
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Download the following books:
King Robert the Bruce, by Alexander Falconer Murison
The Story of King Robert the Bruce, by Robert Laird Mackie
The Bruce, by John Barbour and William Mackay Mackenzie
Robert the Bruce and the Struggle for Scottish Independence, by Sir Herbert Maxwell
Australia: The Castle Hill Rebellion
On this day in 1804, in Castle Hill, Irish convicts revolted against British colonial rule in New South Wales. The revolt would continue for ten days, with many people killed. The rebels were led by Phillip Cunningham, a veteran of the Irish Rebellion of 1798 which resulted in the Battle of Vinegar Hill. On the 6th March, Cunningham was appointed the first sovereign of Australia by the rebels, a position which would soon be lost and his life ended with his hanging.
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Greece: Greek War of Independence – The Battle of Gravia Inn
Today in 1821, during the Greek War of Independence (against the Ottoman Empire), the Battle of Gravia Inn took place. In this amazing battle, Odysseas Androutsos led 120 men against an army of 9 000 men belonging to the Ottoman Army.
Fresh from victory over Greek forces at the Battle of Alamana, the Ottoman Army under Omer Vrioni was moving to attack the Peloponnese. However, they ran into the small force led by Androutsos at Gravia (Greece), who had fortified themselves within the inn.
A number of attacks on the inn took place with the Ottoman Army suffering heavy casualties and the Greeks very few (6 only). Vrioni odered up his artillery and during this time the Greeks managed to slip away through the Ottoman lines.
As a consequence of his heavy losses (some 300 dead and 800 more wounded), Vrioni retreated and withdrew. During this time the Greeks consolidated their position in the Peloponnese, including the capture of the Ottoman capital in the Peloponnese – Tripoli.
William Bligh: Mutiny on the Bounty
William Bligh was born on the 9th September 1754 to Francis and Jane Bligh in St Tudy, Cornwall. He was signed up for a career in the Royal Navy when aged 7 in 1761.
In 1776, Bligh was with Captain James Cook as Sailing Master on the Resolution for Cook’s third and final voyage during which Cook was killed. Following this Bligh served on various ships and saw military action at a number of locations including Gibraltar in 1782.
In 1787 Bligh was made commander of the Bounty. On this day in 1789, the mutiny on the Bounty took place. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian, Master’s Mate. Bligh and a large number of the crew were provided with a ship’s launch and a small amount of provisions and Bligh made for Timor (from near Tonga). The journey was completed in 47 days and covered a remarkable distance of 6 700km.
It is thought that the mutiny took place in order to escape from the hardline discipline of Bligh and to escape to the island pleasures of Tahiti. Evidence would suggest that Bligh was far more easy going than other captains, though the future ‘mutiny’ in Sydney (see below) would suggest otherwise. Bligh was treated well in the court-martial and was acquitted.
From the Bounty, Bligh served in various roles, including Governor of New South Wales from the 13th August 1806 to the 26th January 1808. His post ended with the Rum Rebellion, which essentially was an on land mutiny by the New South Wales Corps under Major George Johnston. He succeeded Philip Gidley King and was replaced by Lachlan Macquarie.
Bligh’s rise through the ranks of the Royal Navy continued until he was appointed Vice Admiral of the Blue in 1814, though he never again received an active command. He died on the 7th December 1817.
As an interesting side point, the current premier of Queensland (Anna Bligh) is a descendant of William Bligh.
England: Charles II Crowned in Westminster Abbey
Following the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658, political events led eventually to the restoration of the English monarchy and the ascension of Charles II to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland. His father, Charles I, was executed by Oliver Cromwell at Whitehall on the 30th January 1649 towards the end of the English Civil War and Charles fled the country. With the death of Cromwell and the collapse of the English Commonwealth, Charles was invited to return to England and did so with great public fanfare on the 29th May 1660. He was crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 23rd April 1661.
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