April 6 - 1320 - The Declaration of Arbroath

In 1320, a large assortment of Scottish nobles and magnates, under the authority of King Robert I, sent a letter to Pope John XXII asserting the independence and sovereignty of Scotland. Therefore, the Declaration of Arbroath has often been seen as an early assertion of nationalism, but it also was simply a political necessity and convenience for the nation of Scotland. From 1290, Scotland was engaged in a series of wars with England and her King Edward I, which also developed into civil wars among various Scottish leaders. Eventually, by 1306, Robert the Bruce would prevail, and become King Robert I. Then he faced off with the new English King, Edward II, and won a series of battles, notably at Bannockburn and Berwick. Yet Edward II still refused to give up his claims to sovereignty in Scotland. So the Scots took to Pope John XXII, laying out in a careful letter Scotland's antiquity as a kingdom and separateness from England. Whether the Pope read it or did anything about it was unclear, but it did manage to assert Scotland's national identity.

William Floyd