Culloden is only a short distance outside of Inverness and after knowing the history of this battle is one of those places that I wanted to see and to try and understand. The visitor centre does a good job of doing that. Demonstrations of weapon use by re-enactors, well presented information panels, artefacts and the excavated debris of war brings it all home to you. The visitor centre also provides audio guides which trigger by GPS as you wander over the battlefield.
The battle was fought because of Jacobitism, the political movement dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Jacobitism was a response to the deposition of James II and VII in 1688 when he was replaced by his daughter Mary II jointly with her husband and first cousin William of Orange. The Stuarts lived on the European mainland after that, occasionally attempting to regain the throne with the aid of France or Spain. The primary seats of Jacobitism were Ireland and Scotland, particularly the Scottish Highlands. In England, Jacobitism was strongest in the north, and some support also existed in Wales.
Many embraced Jacobitism because they believed parliamentary interference with monarchical succession to be illegitimate, and many Catholics hoped the Stuarts would end discriminatory laws. Still other people of various allegiances became involved in the military campaigns for all sorts of motives. In Scotland the Jacobite cause became entangled in the last throes of the warrior Clan system, and became a lasting romantic memory. This was not a battle, as some think, between Scotland and England.
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