Calif. Families McBride/McCormack/McKenzie Clan McDonald
The Clan Donald traces its roots to the great 12th century Gaelic-Norse warrior king, Somerled. His name meant "summer wanderer" and was the name given to the Vikings, who at that time controlled much of the western Isles. Somerled defeated them, adding their territories to his own lands in Argyll. Reginald, his son, styled himself King of the Isles, while his son, Donald of Islay, gave his name to the clan.

When Robert the Bruce fought for his crown, the MacDonald chief unfortunately chose to support the Comyn. Losing his life, and his son's as well, a brother, Angus Og, threw his support to Bruce, and thereby gained the clan lands and titles. This appears to be the only intelligent political move the MacDonald's made for about 500 hundred years.

The MacDonald's later rebelled against the house of Bruce, temporarily losing their lands. In 1344, however, the chief (John) was reinstated and began to style himself "Lord of the Isles", a sobriquet steeped in romance and wonder. Unfortunately, each of the succeeding Lords of the Isles rebelled against their king, often in cahoots with the English kings.

Flora MacDonald - Hid Prince Charlie during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. They sought an independent Highland kingdom and bitterly resented paying fealty to lowland Scots. They had been kings and wished to be kings still. Yet, they were completely unsuccessful and there were only four acknowledged Lords of the Isles, followed by a pretender or two, before that particular MacDonald line failed. By the late 1500s, the Lordship of the Isles and the glory of the MacDonalds was a thing of the past.

There are several MacDonald septs - the Sleat MacDonalds, descendants of the Lords of the Isles; MacDonald of Glencoe (known as MacIan); the Clan Ranald branch, descended from a younger son of John, first Lord of the Isles; Macdonell of Glengarry; and Macdonell of Keppoch.
Source: Clans MacDonald and Campbell - The Great Feud |

Books: Clan Donald (9781589803909): Donald J. Macdonald, Lord Macdonald: Books

Scotland History



Updated June 21, 2016