Kingdom of Alba

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The name Kingdom of Alba pertains to the Kingdom of Scotland between the deaths of Donald II (Domnall mac Causantin) in 900, and that of Alexander III in 1286. The latter led to a succession crisis and the Scottish Wars of Independence. In that period the geographical spread of the kingdom expanded to include the Lothians, Strathclyde and Moray.<ref> (accessed 1st July 2014)</ref>

During this period the ownership of the land and the make-up of the nobility remained predominantly Gaelic. Towards the eleventh century the structure and culture of the royal court more closely came to resemble French and English houses than the Gaelic kingdoms of Ireland.<ref> (accessed 1st July 2014)</ref> Alba was ruled by what became known subsequently as the mac Alpin dynasty, with one exeption, until the death of Malcolm II in 1034.<ref>Michael Lynch, Scotland, A New History, 42</ref>On the accession of Duncan I (r.1034-40) the throne passed through a female line and is known to modern historians as the House of Dunkeld.

There is no precise Gaelic equivalent for the English terminology 'Kingdom of Alba' as Gaelic Rìoghachd na h-Alba means 'Kingdom of Scotland'. Here, English speakers are adapting the use of the Gaelic name for Scotland by applying it to a particular political period.


The Kingdom of Alba emerged between 850 and 1050.<ref>Michael Lynch, Scotland, A New History, 39</ref> Evolving from the kingdoms of the Picts, Alba became an expression of territory as well as peoples.<ref>Lynch, New History, 39</ref>