Bannockburn, Battle of, June 23-24, 1314, a Scottish victory in a conflict fought with England over Scottish independence. The battle was decisive, although the treaty granting independence was not signed until 1328. Robert Bruce was the Scottish leader. He was opposed by English forces under Edward II. Bruce's small army dug hidden pit traps and lined them with sharp stakes to stop the English horsemen. The Scots then decided to charge the superior English force and knelt in prayer before doing so. Edward II, according to tradition, thought they were kneeling in submission and was not prepared for their charge. Before the English could recover, camp followers (women and servants) appeared on a ridge behind the Scots. The English fled, thinking reinforcements had arrived. The battlefield is near Stirling, Scotland.
The control of Jerusalem and conflicts between Islam and the Western world may read like topics from today's headlines. But they were also at the heart of the Crusades.
Cook, James (1728 - 1779), a British navigator. Captain Cook accurately charted vast regions of the South Pacific; provided a basis for England's claim to Australia and New Zealand; and developed a diet that prevented scurvy among seamen.