Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


The Clans of Scotland-The Clan Donald

The Clan Donald originated from the “Lords of the Isles” and when this was ended by James IV in 1493.

This led to a series of rebellions all ending in failure by 1545. The main reason for this failure was due to splits within the clan after the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. These splits led to permanent divisions in the clan and so making them a lot weaker then actual numbers would suggest.

By the time of James VI they had lost their lands in Kintyre, Isles of Islay and Jura by 1615. The main clan to benefit from this was the Campbells and the Duke of Argyle who acquired all except Islay which passed to the Campbells of Cawdor. The Clan was fatally weakened by the rebellion of 1615 caused by internal feuding. The Clan Chief at the time was James McDonald and he was mad trying to burn his parents alive in a bid for leadership.

In the Scottish Civil War of 1644 the Clan Donald tried to recover there lost land by joining the Marquis of Montrose which ended in defeat. By the time of Oliver Cromwell part of the Clan collaborated with Parliament like Sir James McDonald of Sleat while another branch supported the King and were awarded like Angus MacDonald who became Lord MacDonald and Aros.

The decline of Clan Donald accelerated further due to incurring debts owned to the Campbell house of Argyll. However from here the Clan went into rapid decline due to their adherence to the Jacobite cause. Things got that bad that MacDonald of Glengarry who was so base that he tried to trade his clansmen to the Duke of Cumberland’s men in order that his lands would be spared the ravages of government reprisals.

By the early 19th century even with evictions and wholesale clearances of what remained of clan land of the Glengarry estates went bankrupt. The last of the McDonald lands were sold in the mid 19th century,

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