1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alexander II (king of Scotland)

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ALEXANDER II. (1198–1249), king of Scotland, son of William the Lion and Ermengarde of Beaumont, was born at Haddington in 1198, and succeeded to the kingdom on the death of his father in 1214. The year after his accession the clans MacWilliam and MacHeth, inveterate enemies of the Scottish crown, broke into revolt; but the insurrection was speedily quelled. In the same year Alexander joined the English barons in their struggle against John, and led an army into England in support of their cause; but on the conclusion of peace after John's death between his youthful son Henry III. and the French prince Louis, the Scottish king was included in the pacification. The reconciliation thus effected was further strengthened by the marriage of Alexander to Henry's sister Joanna in 1221. The next year was marked by the subjection of the hitherto semi-independent district of Argyll. A revolt in Galloway in 1235 was crushed without difficulty; nor did an invasion attempted soon afterwards by its exiled leaders meet with any better fortune. Soon afterwards a claim for homage from Henry of England drew forth from Alexander a counter-claim to the northern English counties. The dispute, however, was settled by a compromise in 1237. A threat of invasion by Henry in 1243 for a time interrupted the friendly relations between the two countries; but the prompt action of Alexander in anticipating his attack, and the disinclination of the English barons for war, compelled him to make peace next year at Newcastle. Alexander now turned his attention to securing the Western Isles, which still owned a nominal dependence on Norway. Negotiations and purchase were successively tried but without success. Alexander next attempted to seduce Ewen, the son of Duncan, lord of Argyll, from his allegiance to the Norwegian king. Ewen refused his overtures, and Alexander sailed forth to compel him. But on the way he was seized with fever at Kerrera, and died there on the 8th of July 1249.