By Elma McMenemy
Aberdeen has been inhabited for 8,000 years, because the first Hunter-Gatherers settled at the banks of the River Dee. 4,000 years later, Bronze Age peoples left their mark at the panorama via developing an important variety of recumbent stone circles, as soon as considered locations of sacrifice. Invaders together with Celts, Romans and Vikings met violent, bloody resistance, and the triumphant Roman military left hundreds of thousands of Caledonian corpses for the crows following the conflict of Mons Graupius. From the slaughter of Aberdeen Castle's English garrison (part of a electorate' rebellion in help of Robert the Bruce) to all-out attacks at the urban by means of Kings, Royalists and Nazis, no century has left town unmarked. Plague, struggle, extended family feuds, murderers, witches, covenanters and slavers - all have stained the silver urban pink with blood!
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AD 1300–1673 PIRACY ON THE HIGH SEAS! DONALD, LORD OF the Isles was a well-educated nobleman but his adversaries at Harlaw, the Earl of Mar and Provost Davidson, were acknowledged pirates! They were far from being Aberdeen’s only pirates, but they used their exalted positions to protect themselves. Although brought to court, Provost Davidson was free to go about his business, with officialdom turning a blind eye to his activities. Other more lowly pirates were not so lucky. Since people started using boats and ships to transport goods, pirates have made it their mission to attack and steal them.
Neil Bruce was captured and taken south to be hanged, drawn and quartered, while Osbourne became a victim of English treachery – they did pay him, but melted the gold and poured it down his throat, killing him. At Tain in the north, the queen, princess and Bruce’s sisters were captured by the Earl of Ross, a supporter of Bruce’s rivals, the Comyns. They were handed over to Edward I and imprisoned in England. The Earl of Atholl was executed and Kildrummy Castle was partly demolished. Following his defeats and with his family held captive, Bruce was despondent; this was the time of the famous spider story, which some say happened in a cave near Oldmeldrum, north west of Aberdeen.
The English swept into Scotland, sacking Berwick, massacring its inhabitants then routing Balliol’s apology for an army at Dunbar. Many castles fell to the English and in 1296, with even Edinburgh Castle in English hands, Balliol surrendered. Near Brechin in Angus, south of Aberdeen, he was stripped of his royal insignia and taken south while Edward continued his rampage through Scotland. His ruthlesness resulted in his becoming known as ‘The Hammer of the Scots’. One of Edward’s spoils of war was the historic Stone of Scone, or Stone of Destiny, on which all Scottish kings had been proclaimed.