Massacre of Glencoe

Massacre of Glencoe
Mort Ghlinne Comhann  (Scottish Gaelic)
Part of aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1689
West Highland Way 2005 Coe.jpg
Date13 February 1692
LocationGlen Coe, south of Fort William, Scotland
ResultEnd of the 1689–92 Rising
Argyll's Regiment of Foot
Hill's Regiment of Foot
MacDonald of Glencoe and associates
Commanders and leaders
Major Robert Duncanson
Campbell of Glenlyon
Lt-Colonel Hamilton
Alasdair MacIain
920 estimatedUnknown
Casualties and losses
NoneEstimated up to 38 dead, unknown number subsequently
Massacre of Glencoe is located in Scotland
Massacre of Glencoe
Location within Scotland

The Massacre of Glencoe (Scottish Gaelic: Mort Ghlinne Comhann) took place in Glen Coe in the Highlands of Scotland on 13 February 1692, following the Jacobite uprising of 1689-92. An estimated thirty-eight [a] members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by government forces billeted with them, with others later alleged to have died of exposure, on the grounds they had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William III of England and II of Scotland and Mary II.[b]


In March 1689, James II of England and VII of Scotland[c] landed in Ireland in an attempt to regain his throne and John Graham, Viscount Dundee recruited a small force of Highlanders for a similar campaign in Scotland. Despite victory at the Battle of Killiecrankie on 27 July, Dundee was killed and organised Jacobite military resistance ended with defeats at the Battle of Dunkeld in August 1689 and Cromdale in May 1690.

The continuing need to police the Highlands used resources William needed for the Nine Years' War. A peaceful Scotland was important since links between Irish and Scottish branches of the MacDonalds, as well as Scottish and Ulster Presbyterians, meant unrest in one country often spilled into the other.[3]

The Glencoe MacDonalds were one of three Lochaber clans with a reputation for lawlessness, the others being the MacGregors and the Keppoch MacDonalds. Levies from these clans served in the Independent Companies used to suppress the Conventicles in 1678–80, and took part in the devastating Atholl raid that followed Argyll's rising in 1685.[4] They also combined against their Maclean landlords in the August 1688 battle of Maol Ruadh, putting them in the unusual position of being considered outlaws by both the previous Jacobite administration and the new Williamite one.[5]