Edinburgh in History

Scotland: Glasgow

Historical Events

  • 1328-05-01 Wars of Scottish Independence end: Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton - the Kingdom of England recognises the Kingdom of Scotland as an independent state.

Historic Event

1552-06-29 Italian physician and mathematician Girolamo Cardano arrives in Edinburgh, Scotland to treat John Hamilton, Archbishop of St Andrews for over two thousand gold crowns

  • 1560-07-06 England and Scotland sign Treaty of Edinburgh
  • 1566-03-09 David Rizzio, the private secretary to Mary I of Scotland, is murdered in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland

Historic Event

1591-01-27 Scottish schoolmaster Dr. John Fian burned for witchcraft at Castle Hill, Edinburgh by order King James VI. Part of the Berwick witch trials.

  • 1603-04-05 New English King James I (James VI of Scotland) departs Edinburgh for London
  • 1638-02-28 Scottish Presbyterians sign National Convent, Greyfriars, Edinburgh

Historic Event

1745-09-17 Edinburgh occupied by Jacobites under Charles Edward Stuart (aka the Young Pretender or Bonny Prince Charlie)

Historic Event

1785-03-07 James Hutton, geologist, presents his full theory of uniformitarianism at a meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

  • 1785-07-04 James Hutton, geologist, publicly reads an abstract of his theory of uniformitarianism for the first time at the meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Historic Publication

1791-03-18 Robert Burns poem “Tam o’ Shanter,” is published in the "Edinburgh Herald"

  • 1808-01-12 The organizational meeting that led to the creation of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, is held in Edinburgh.
  • 1808-03-02 The inaugural meeting of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, was held in Edinburgh.
  • 1824-11-15 Series of fires kills 10 in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1832-02-06 1st appearance of cholera in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1859-03-21 Scottish National Gallery opens in Edinburgh
  • 1868-03-12 Henry O'Farrell attempts to assassinate Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, in Sydney, Australia, Duke is shot but survives
  • 1871-03-27 First international rugby union match - Scotland beats England, 1-0 at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
  • 1883-03-03 In the series decider England beats Scotland, 2 tries to 1 at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh to win the inaugural Home Nations Rugby Championship with an undefeated record
  • 1901-10-25 Joseph Chamberlain, British Colonial Affairs Secretary, makes an anti-German speech in Edinburgh; when word reaches Germany leads to widespread agitation against the British and breakdown of negotiations for Anglo-German alliance

Historic Publication

1902-11-13 "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad is first published in one volume (previously serialized) by William Blackwood in Edinburgh

  • 1911-05-09 Fire breaks out at Empire Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1925-03-21 Edinburgh's Murreyfield Stadium officially opens
  • 1935-03-16 Scotland beats England, 10-7 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh to allow Ireland to win the Home Nations Rugby Championship with a 2-1 record
  • 1937-03-20 England beats Scotland, 6-3 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh to clinch the Home Nations Rugby Championship and Triple Crown
  • 1939-03-18 England beats Scotland, 9-6 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh to force a share of the Home Nations Rugby Championship with Wales and Ireland
  • 1958-03-15 England retains the Five Nations Rugby Championship with a 3-3 draw against Scotland at Murrayfield, Edinburgh; England’s 16th FN title

Historic Event

1958-12-05 Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the UK by Queen Elizabeth II when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh.

  • 1960-10-30 Michael Woodruff performs the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
  • 1970-07-16 9th British Commonwealth Games open in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1972-03-25 17th Eurovision Song Contest: Vicky Leandros for Luxembourg wins singing "Apres toi" in Edinburgh
  • 1975-03-01 Five Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh attracts a world record attendance of 104,000; Scots win 12-10

Historic Event

1979-08-27 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and last Viceroy of India, is killed along with three companions, two of them children by the IRA when his boat is blown up near Sligo, Ireland

  • 1980-03-15 England beats Scotland, 30-18 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh to claim it's 18th outright Five Nations Rugby Championship, 8th Grand Slam and 15th Triple Crown
  • 1986-07-24 13th Commonwealth Games open in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1986-10-12 Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visit the People's Republic of China
  • 1990-03-17 Scotland beats England, 13-7 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh for it's 14th outright Five Nations Rugby Championship, 3rd Grand Slam title and 10th Triple Crown
  • 1993-09-23 "Les Miserables" opens at Playhouse, Edinburgh
  • 1999-07-01 The Scottish Parliament is officially opened by Queen Elizabeth on the day powers are transferred from the old Scottish Office in London to the new devolved Scottish Executive in Edinburgh

Historic Event

2007-01-11 Author J. K. Rowling finishes the 7th and last Harry Potter novel in room 552 of the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh

  • 2018-10-03 Most expensive whisky ever sold at auction for $1.1 million, the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926, in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 2019-03-25 British Airways flight from London mistakenly flies to Edinburgh, Scotland instead of Düsseldorf, Germany when wrong flight plan submitted

Famous Birthdays

  • 1500-04-23 Alexander Ales [Alesius], Scottish theologian of the school of Augsburg, born in Edinburgh (d. 1565)

John Napier

1550-02-01 John Napier, Scottish mathematician and inventor (logarithms), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1617)

James I and VI

1566-06-19 James Stuart, King James VI of Scotland (1567-1625) and James I of England and Ireland (1603-25), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1625)

  • 1612-10-25 James Graham, Marquis of Montrose "the Great Montrose", Scottish general and poet, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1650)
  • 1641-04-15 Robert Sibbald, Scottish physician, born in Edinburgh (d. 1722)
  • 1643-09-17 Gilbert Burnet, Scottish philosopher and Bishop of Salisbury, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1715)
  • 1658-07-25 Archibald Campbell, 1st Duke of Argyll, Scottish privy councillor, born in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland (d. 1703)
  • 1671-04-21 John Law, Scottish economist and author (Money and Trade Considered), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1729)
  • 1671-12-01 John Keill, Scottish mathematician, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, (d. 1721)
  • 1699-04-17 Robert Blair, Scottish poet (The Grave), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1746)
  • 1710-06-10 James Short, Scottish mathematician and manufacturer of telescopes, born in Edinburgh (d. 1768)

David Hume

1711-04-26 David Hume, Scottish philosopher and historian (A Treatise of Human Nature), born in Edinburgh, Scotland [NS 7 May] (d. 1776)

  • 1713-05-25 John Stuart, 3rd earl of Bute, Prime Minister of Great Britain (1760-63), born in Parliament Square, Edinburgh, Midlothian (d. 1792)
  • 1713-10-13 Allan Ramsay, Scottish painter, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1784)
  • 1721-12-06 James Elphinston, Scottish philologist, born in Edinburgh (d. 1809)

James Hutton

1726-06-03 James Hutton, Scottish geologist 'father of modern geology' born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1797)

  • 1736-07-10 Maria, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, born in St James's, Westminster, Middlesex (d. 1807)
  • 1740-10-29 James Boswell, Scottish biographer of Samuel Johnson and diarist, born in Edinburgh (d. 1795)
  • 1750-01-10 Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine, British Lord Chancellor, born in Edinburgh, United Kingdom (d. 1823)
  • 1750-09-05 Robert Fergusson, Scottish poet (Scottish poems), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1774)
  • 1753-11-22 Dugald Stewart, Scottish philosopher and mathematician (Scottish common sense), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1828)
  • 1771-08-15 Walter Scott, Scottish historical novelist and poet (The Lady of the Lake, Rob Roy), born in College Wynd, Edinburgh Scotland (d. 1832)
  • 1776-04-25 Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, born in Buckingham Palace, London (d. 1857)
  • 1776-06-01 John George Schetky, American violoncellist, music teacher and composer, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1831)
  • 1778-09-19 Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux and Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, born in Cowgate, Edinburgh (d. 1868)

George Hamilton-Gordon

1784-01-28 George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Peelite: 1852-55) and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1861)

  • 1784-02-20 Adam Black, politician/publisher, born in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1795-11-09 Walter Geikie, Scottish painter, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1837)
  • 1808-08-19 James Nasmyth, Scottish engineer and inventor of the steam hammer, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1890)
  • 1820-07-05 William John Macquorn Rankine, Scottish mechanical engineer and physicist, born in Edinburgh (d. 1872)
  • 1823-05-22 Isabella Glyn Dallas, British Shakespearean actress, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1889)
  • 1823-06-26 Frederick Bowen Jewson, Scottish composer, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1891)

James Clerk Maxwell

1831-06-13 James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist (electromagnetic theory, speed of light), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1879)

  • 1845-05-01 [Robert] Lawson Tait, Scottish-born pioneering surgeon performed first salpingectomy for ectopic pregnancy, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1899)

Alexander Graham Bell

1847-03-03 Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born British-American inventor (telephone), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1922)

  • 1847-05-25 John Alexander Dowie, Scottish-American evangelist (founded the city of Zion, Illinois), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1907)
  • 1847-08-22 Alexander Campbell Mackenzie, Scottish composer, born in Edinburgh (d. 1935)

Robert Louis Stevenson

1850-11-13 Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish author (Treasure Island), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1894)

  • 1856-07-30 Richard Haldane, British viscount and lord-chancellor (Life of A Smith), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1928)
  • 1859-03-08 Kenneth Grahame, Scottish author (The Wind in the Willows), born in Edinburgh (d. 1932)

Arthur Conan Doyle

1859-05-22 Arthur Conan Doyle, British author who brought Sherlock Holmes to life twice, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1930)

  • 1860-05-02 D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, Scottish zoologist and classicist (On Growth & Form), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1948)
  • 1860-05-03 John Scott Haldane, Scottish physiologist, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1936)

Douglas Haig

1861-06-19 Douglas Haig, British fieldmarshal (Sudan, WWI), nicknamed "Butcher Haig" due to mass casualties under his command during the Battle of the Somme, born in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh (d. 1928)

  • 1861-11-10 Robert T. A. Innes, Scottish astronomer (Proxima Centauri), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1933)
  • 1866-03-28 Jimmy Ross, Scottish footballer, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1902)
  • 1866-10-03 Learmont Drysdale, Scottish composer, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1909)
  • 1867-02-13 Harold Mahony, Scottish tennis player (Wimbledon 1896), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1905)
  • 1867-04-16 Spottiswoode Aitken, Scottish actor (The Birth of a Nation, The Avenging Conscience), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1933)
  • 1868-06-05 James Connolly, Irish socialist (founder of the Irish Socialist Republican Party), born in Cowgate, Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1916)
  • 1869-08-31 Gregor MacGregor, English cricket wicket-keeper (8 Tests 1890-93) and Scottish rugby union player, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1919)
  • 1870-08-04 Harry Lauder, Scottish comedian and singer (Roamin' in the Gloamin), born in Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1950)
  • 1874-10-15 Prince Alfred of Edinburgh, grandson of Queen Victoria, born in Buckingham Palace, London (d. 1899)
  • 1876-11-25 Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Grand Duchess of Hesse, born in San Anton Palace, Attard, British Malta (d. 1936)
  • 1878-01-20 Finlay Currie, Scottish actor (Quo Vadis, Ivanhoe, Avengers), born in Edinburgh (d. 1968)
  • 1878-06-26 Ernest Torrence, Scottish actor (I Cover the Waterfront, Hunchback of Notre Dame), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1933)
  • 1878-09-01 Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (d. 1942)
  • 1880-05-06 Edmund Ironside, 1st Baron Ironside, British fieldmarshal, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1959)
  • 1884-04-20 Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, born in Eastwell Park, Kent, England (d. 1966)
  • 1894-09-24 Tommy Armour, Scottish-American golfer (US Open 1927, PGA 1930, British Open 1931), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1968)
  • 1897-11-01 Naomi Mitchison, Scottish author (African Heroes, Return to Fairy Hill), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1999)
  • 1898-07-18 John Stuart, Scottish actor (Kittie, Superman, Number Seventeen), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1979)
  • 1899-06-24 Bruce Marshall, Scottish writer (Father Malachy's Miracle), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1987)
  • 1900-10-09 Alastair Sim, Scottish actor (Christmas Carol, Stage Fright), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1976)
  • 1901-06-29 Frieda Inescort, Scottish actress (Pride & Prejudice), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1976)
  • 1904-12-31 Chuck Gardiner, Canadian NHL goalie (Vezina winner), born in Edinburgh, United Kingdom (d. 1934)
  • 1910-11-14 Norman MacCaig, Scottish poet, born in Edinburgh (d. 1996)
  • 1912-03-12 James McKay, lord provost of Edinburgh
  • 1912-07-12 Brodrick Haldane, Scottish photographer, born in Edinburgh (d. 1996)
  • 1914-04-29 Ewan Roberts, Scottish actor (The Day of the Triffids, Five to One), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1983)
  • 1916-06-18 John Young, Scottish actor and TV panelist (Masquerade Party), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1996)

Muriel Spark

1918-02-01 Muriel Spark, Scottish writer (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 2006)

  • 1918-06-04 (Bulee) "Slim" Gaillard, American jazz singer-songwriter ("Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)"), born in Claiborne, Alabama (d. 1991)
  • 1920-04-17 Joan Warburton, Scottish painter, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1996)
  • 1920-04-20 Ronald Speirs, American Army officer (CO of Easy Company), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 2007)

Prince Philip

1921-06-10 Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh and consort of Great Britain's Elizabeth II, born in Mon Repos, Corfu, Greece (d. 2021)

  • 1921-09-16 William Johnston, Chaplain to Queen of Scotland, born in Edinburgh (d. 2005)
  • 1921-12-21 Joan Dickson, British cellist and teacher, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1994)
  • 1925-04-18 Robert Crawford, Scottish composer, born in Edinburgh (d. 2011)
  • 1925-05-08 Charles Jauncey, Baron Jauncey of Tullichettle, Scottish judge and advocate, born in Edinburgh (d. 2007)
  • 1926-02-01 Douglas Johnson, British historian, born in Edinburgh (d. 2005)
  • 1927-02-15 Frank Dunlop, director (Edinburgh International Festival)
  • 1927-08-27 Hugh Byatt, British diplomat, born in Edinburgh (d. 2011)
  • 1928-05-27 Thea Musgrave, Scottish composer (Mary Queen of Scots; Pontalba), born in Barnton, Edinburgh
  • 1928-10-28 Lawrie Reilly, Scottish soccer striker (38 caps; Hibernian 253 games, 185 goals), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 2013)
  • 1928-12-13 W Gordon Smith, Scottish playwright, born in Edinburgh (d. 1996)
  • 1929-06-26 Alexander Fenton, CEO (Euro Ethnological Research Center in Edinburgh), born in Shotts, Lanarkshire (d. 2012)
  • 1929-06-30 Alexander Kelly, British pianist and composer, born in Edinburgh (d. 1996)

Sean Connery

1930-08-25 Sir Sean Connery, Scottish actor and producer (James Bond films; Indiana Jones), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 2020)

  • 1930-12-04 Ronnie Corbett, British comedian (The Two Ronnies), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 2016)
  • 1931-06-11 Kenneth Cameron, Baron Cameron of Lochbroom, Scottish judge, born in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1932-07-27 Robert Cowan, CEO (Highlands & Islands Enterprises), born in Edinburgh (d.1993)
  • 1938-03-17 Keith O'Brien, Scottish Catholic archbishop (St Andrews & Edinburgh), born in Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • 1940-06-23 Stuart Sutcliffe, Scottish rocker who was the original bassist for the Beatles, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1962)
  • 1940-07-10 Tom Farmer, Scottish entrepreneur, born in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1941-02-23 Frank Gerstenberg, Edinburgh, principal (George Watson's College)
  • 1941-02-25 Stewart Sutherland, Principal/Vice-Chancellor (Edinburgh University)
  • 1941-04-09 Hannah Gordon, British actress (Oh Alfie), born in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1942-12-27 Mike Heron, Scottish folk-rock singer-songwriter (Incredible String Band, 1965-74, 1999-2006), born in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1944-07-03 Paul Young, Scottish actor (Another Time Another Place), born in Edinburgh, Scotland

Famous Weddings

Barry Gibb

1970-09-01 British "Bee Gees" singer-songwriter Barry Gibb (24) weds former Miss Edinburgh Linda Ann Gray

Zara Phillips

2011-07-30 Granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and British equestrian Zara Phillips (30) weds England rugby player Mike Tindall (32) at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland


Famous Deaths

  • 1807-08-22 Maria, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, dies at 71
  • 1829-01-28 William Burke, murderer/body snatcher, executed in Edinburgh
  • 1857-04-30 Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, dies at 81
  • 1868-04-21 Henry James O'Farrell, Australian would-be assassin of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh
  • 1899-02-06 Prince Alfred of Edinburgh, dies at 24 in mysterious circumstances