Auld Alliance

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The Auld Alliance (Scots) (French: Vieille Alliance) was an alliance between the kingdoms of Scotland and France. It played a major role in the relations between Scotland, France and England from its beginning in 1295 until the 1560 Treaty of Edinburgh. The alliance was renewed by all the French and Scottish monarchs of that period except for Louis XI.[1] By the late 14th century, the treaty was renewed even in France or Scotland was not at war with England.[2]

The alliance dates from the treaty signed by John Balliol and Philip IV of France in 1295 against Edward I of England. The terms of the treaty said that if either country was attacked by England, the other country would invade England. This happened at the Battle of Flodden Field, 1513. The alliance played an important role in conflicts between both countries and England, such as the Wars of Scottish Independence, the Hundred Years' War, the War of the League of Cambrai and the Rough Wooing.

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"La plus vieille alliance du monde"

In a speech which he delivered in Edinburgh in June 1942, Charles de Gaulle described the alliance between Scotland and France as "the oldest alliance in the world". He also declared that:[3]

In every combat where for five centuries the destiny of France was at stake, there were always men of Scotland to fight side by side with men of France, and what Frenchmen feel is that no people has ever been more generous than yours with its friendship.

In 1995, celebrations were held in both countries for the 700th anniversary of the beginning of the alliance.[2]


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