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Who was Robert Bruce?
Robert Bruce (Robert I, 1274-1329), King of Scotland (1306-1329), was grandson of the Robert Bruce who was one of the claimants to the Scottish throne when King Edward I decided in favor of John Balliol (1292). He did homage to Edward I, and despite supporting Wallace for a time fought on the English side during the siege of Stirling. However, he made a secret pact with Lamberton, Bishop of St Andrews, to defeat Edward's plans of conquest, and the turning-point in his career came in 1306 when he murdered Red Comyn, a claimant to the Scottish throne. Bruce gathered his supporters and had himself crowned King of Scotland at Scone.
Defeated by the English, he was forced to take refuge in the Highlands, eluding his pursuers with great fortitude and eventually commanding a guerrilla force, which after the death of Edward I in 1307 grew into the army with which he recovered all the great castles except Stirling. This stronghold fell after his total defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314.
After his victory he campaigned in Ireland with his brother Edward and then invaded England to capture Berwick (1318). He continued to attack the northern counties until hostilities were ended in Edward III's reign by the Treaty of Northampton (1328), which recognized him as 'Robert King of Scots'. He died of leprosy, contracted during his campaigns, and was succeeded by his son David II.
Robert Bruce was undoubtedly a military genius and a capable ruler with the gift of inspiring the devotion of his people.