James Hamilton – powerful Duke of Scotland – 1606

James Hamilton – powerful Duke of Scotland – 1606

The Dukes of Hamilton have the right of precedence among all Scottish aristocrats.

On June 19, 1606, James Hamilton was born, the first Duke of Hamilton and one of the most powerful aristocrats in Scotland of his time. Even today the Dukes of Hamilton have the right of precedence among all Scottish aristocrats. There are only seven dukes in Scotland, and the Duke of Hamilton bears the title of the First Duke of Scotland.

James Hamilton was born in the huge Hamilton Palace in the Scottish county of Lanarkshire, near Glasgow. He was educated at the famous University of Oxford. He was the holder of the title of Marquis and held several important roles at the court of King James VI of Scotland. (who later became King James I of England).

Hamilton played a prominent role as a military leader in the English Civil War and the Thirty Years’ War. In the latter he fought against the Habsburgs and their allies. He was at the head of a contingent of Scottish soldiers who supported the Swedish king and the famous military leader Gustav Adolf. He had no military education, and his soldiers were poorly equipped and trained. Although many of his soldiers died of disease, Hamilton proved to be a brave military leader.

During the English Civil War he stood at the apartment of Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, who granted him the title of Duke. He became the key person through whom Carlo communicated with the Scots. However, his efforts to keep Scotland out of the conflict ended in failure. Furthermore, his attempts to reconcile the King and the Scots, who rebelled against the King’s liturgical reforms, resulted in his expulsion from Scotland.

Charles I no longer trusted him and had him arrested on his return. Although he was released by the English parliamentarians (opponents of the king), he remained loyal to the king and the latter placed him at the head of one of his armies. In July 1648, Hamilton’s forces clashed with Oliver Cromwell’s army near Preston in northwest England. Hamilton’s forces, despite their great numerical superiority, were defeated in an eight-day battle. The duke was captured, and the following year was executed after a failed escape attempt.

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