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Events from History: 16 April 1746

The Last Stand: The Battle of Culloden

On April 16, 1746, the Battle of Culloden marked a definitive and sorrowful end to the Jacobite Rising of 1745, a campaign to restore the Stuart monarchy to the British throne. The battle fought on Culloden Moor near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands was the last pitched battle to be fought on British soil. The Jacobite forces, led by Charles Edward Stuart, known as “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” faced the government army commanded by the Duke of Cumberland. Despite the high hopes and fierce loyalty of the Jacobite supporters, the battle was both swift and brutal, lasting less than an hour, with the Jacobites being decisively defeated by the superior firepower and tactics of the government forces.

The aftermath of Culloden was grim and marked by harsh repressions against the Highland Scots, aimed at dismantling the clan system and suppressing the Gaelic culture. The battlefield became a site of mass graves for the fallen Jacobites, symbolising the end of their cause and the beginning of a new, unified Britain under Hanoverian rule. The date of the battle, April 16, is remembered not just for the conflict itself but as a turning point in Scottish history, signalling the decline of the Highland way of life and the integration of Scotland into the United Kingdom. The legacy of Culloden endures in the collective memory of Scotland and the world as a poignant reminder of the costs of war and the enduring spirit of a people.

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