By 1305, King Edward I of of England reasonably assumed that Scotland had ceased to exist as a political entity. William Wallace was dead and the Scottish king, John Balliol was in exile in France, a defeated and broken man. After defeating the Scots militarily, he allowed Scottish nobles to keep their lands provided they swore loyalty to him as king. The Church however played a decisive role as Scottish bishops had power that was independent of the English crown. An appeal to Rome had paid dividends when the Pope ordered the release of Balliol and recognized the Scottish crown. Balliol however refused to return and stayed in France, At that point, the Bishops were looking for a King who would resist the English. In 1306 they settled on Robert the Bruce and war was again at hand. The Scots were defeated and Robert was forced to flee. He chose to fight on and began to win battles. After the death of Edward I his son Edward II took charge of the army. Fighting continued for many years but in 1314, the armies met a Bannochburn where the Scots won a decisive victory. For the next dozen years, recognition of Scotland as an independent country rested to a great extent with the Pope but recognition came, finally, in 1328. Robert the Bruce died on June 7, 1329.- Written by garykmcd
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