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The Declaration of Arbroath

In April 1320 the Scots tried to persuade Pope John XXII to support Scottish independence. The Declaration of Arbroath was their eloquent plea. It was probably written by Bernard of Linton, Abbot of Arbroath, and was sent to the Vatican on behalf of the Scottish nobility. It constitutes one of the earliest explicit statements of national identity in Europe. Having complained of the 'guile and outrages' committed by the English during their attempted conquest, the declaration praised King Robert for his triumphs, and urged him to continue the struggle. Scotland had to wait until 1324 before the Pope acknowledged Bruce as king. The power of the Declaration as a national symbol was revived during the Second World War, when copies were distributed to schools.

Reference: National Archives of Scotland SP 13/7 (date: April 1320)
By kind permission of The National Archives of Scotland

The Declaration of Arbroath
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