BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

19 January 2015
Accessibility help
Text only
Jacobites. The 1745 Rebellion

BBC Homepage
Scotland Home
Education Scotland
»Flash site
Standard site



Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


A flagFact Book: The Highland Clan system

Another important reason for the 1745 Jacobite rising was the Highland clans. The way the clans lived and the things they believed meant that they turned out to fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie even if they didn't like him and didn't think he could win! Why was this?

  • The clans were families and groups of people who were all related to each other
  • Each clan had a chief who was in control and made all the decisions
  • If a clan member didn't do as he was told he could be badly punished! He could lose his home and be forced to leave his village
  • Some clan chiefs decided to fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie. This meant that all the men of the clan had to fight for the Prince as well! They had no choice – they had become Jacobites!
  • Other clan chiefs would not fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie. They fought for the Duke of Cumberland against the Jacobites
  • There are stories of members of the same family fighting against each other at Culloden! There was even a man fighting for the Duke of Cumberland who fought against his own dad who was a Jacobite!
  • In fact more Scottish men fought AGAINST Bonnie Prince Charlie than fought for him! This was NOT England against Scotland!
  • This is called a civil war – with Scots fighting against Scots

After the Jacobites lost at Culloden, the British Government tried to destroy the Highland clan way of life. The government thought the clan system was dangerous. If five or six clan chiefs decided to rebel, they could raise an army of thousands of men! The government even banned people from wearing tartan and playing bagpipes.


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy