The ‘Jacobites’ were loyal to King James II (who was also James VII of Scotland), the Roman Catholic king deposed by the English Parliament in 1688. Parliament feared that a Catholic might have divided loyalties at a time when there was a Holy Roman Empire in Europe itching to add Britain to its membership.
IN 1688, James II’s dictatorial rule and Roman Catholic sympathies drove Parliament to exile him to France, and crown his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William in his place.
John Graham, Viscount Dundee, raised an army in support of James, but was killed at Killiecrankie in July 1689, and his revolt was crushed at Dunkeld a month later.
Mary had no children, so to prevent her step-brother, James’s son James Stuart, from succeeding her, the English Parliament passed the Act of Settlement in 1701, barring all Roman Catholics from the throne.
The following year, the crown duly went to Mary’s sister, Anne; and in 1714, their cousin George, Prince of Hanover, was proclaimed King George I.
James Stuart gathered an army but failed to win popular support, and was defeated at Sheriffmuir in 1715.
Thirty years later, James’s son Charles captured Scottish hearts, but ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ too was eventually defeated, by King George II’s men, at Culloden in 1746.*
* James Stuart is often referred to as ‘the Old Pretender’, where ‘pretender’ means ‘claimant, one who claims he is the rightful king’. His son Charles is named ‘the Young Pretender’.
See also The Battle of Glen Shiel.
No one can possibly dispute that the Jacobites had far and away the best songs. ‘The Braes o’ Killiecrankie’, written by Robert Burns (1759-1796) to an older tune, tells of ‘Bonnie Dundee’ and his ill-fated rebellion of 1689. Here it is sung by The Corries.
WHARE hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Whare hae ye been sae brankie, O?
Whare hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Came ye by Killicrankie, O?
An ye had been whare I hae been,
Ye wadna been sae cantie, O;
An ye had seen what I hae seen,
I' the braes o' Killicrankie, O.
For the complete lyrics, see Wikipedia.