On this day in 1567 James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.
He succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother Mary, Queen of Scots, was compelled to abdicate in his favour.
Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died without issue.
He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known as the Jacobean era after him, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58.
After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, and styled himself “King of Great Britain and Ireland”.
He was a major advocate of a single parliament for both England and Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began.
At 57 years and 246 days, his reign in Scotland was longer than any of his predecessors.
He achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament.
Under James, the “Golden Age” of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture.
Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James’s reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch.