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This Day in History - 16th April


On this day in 1746, Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was defeated at the Battle of Culloden Moor by an English Army under the the command of William, Duke of Cumberland.

Raising a Jacobite army consisting mostly of Scottish clansmen, Charles' initial efforts were a success and at one point began to threaten London.

However, a series of events forced Charles' army to retreat, and they were pursued by an army raised by the Duke of Cumberland. The two forces eventually met at Culloden, on terrain that made the highland charge difficult and gave the larger and well-armed British forces the advantage. The battle lasted only an hour, with the Jacobites suffering a bloody defeat. Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle. In contrast, only about 300 government soldiers were killed or wounded.

Flora MacDonald, whom Charles had met previously at the home of a mutual relative, helped him escape to the Isle of Skye by taking him in a small boat. He returned only once for a secret visit to London.

Following up on the military success won by their forces, the British Government enacted laws to integrate Scotland – specifically the Scottish Highlands – with the rest of Britain. Lords who were loyal to the Government were greatly compensated for the loss of these traditional powers.