Edinburgh castle located in the Scottish city of Edinburgh which holds the seat of government for the Scottish Parliament, today. Edinburgh Castle is the rock which commands the heights above the city of Edinburgh. The castle was besieged many times by both the Scottish and the English multiple times as it was of major importance for control of the region. The castle was originally built by the Scottish although records do not show when it was built. It first pops into existence upon the death of the Scottish King Malcom III. While King Malcom III might be the earliest king associated with Edinburgh Castle, the earliest building remaining in the castle is St. Margaret’s Chapel. It is a small stone structure roughly in the center of the complex. The castle was rebuilt and used during the wars of independence and switched hands repeatedly. The Scottish King Robert the Bruce eventually took the castle and slighted it (removed the defensive fortifications of the castle). This was done to prevent the English from retaking the castle and the Scots having to re-siege the castle.
The castle was redesigned with the advent of cannons being used consistently in siege Also at this time. The castle became the armory for the lowlands and by the time of Mary Queen of Scots’ attempt to seize power in Scotland in housed the majority of the heavy cannons in Scotland. The castle held for almost 2 years of siege until the forces opposing Queen Mary’s ascent to the Scottish throne called upon England for support. Mary’s cousin Queen Elizabeth was more than willing to help and sent heavy siege artillery up to Edinburgh and after only a relatively short time in comparison to the siege time which had already gone on. The castle surrendered, and with it the last bastion of support for Mary Queen of Scot’s bid to the throne of Scotland. This was longest siege to take place at the castle.
After the Act of Union, which joined the two countries of Scotland and England into one nation. The castle was used for various purposes though mainly for military purposes such as the housing of soldiers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards which now has a museum dedicated to them and their exploits. They are still an active unit although they no longer ride horses, but tanks and other mechanized engines of war. The museum is dedicated to their service throughout the centuries from the Crimean War to World War II to the Boer Wars in South Africa. Alongside this museum stands a memorial to those who fought in World War I and World War II from various Scottish regiments.
The castle still retains its own importance and traditions. The castle houses the Scottish regalia which is the royal pieces that are only to be held by a Scottish king or queen. One important tradition that is still carried out is the firing of a cannon at one o’clock in the afternoon. This was done at one to save gun powder. This has gone on uninterrupted for centuries except during WWII. In the modern day, the United Kingdom’s soldiers use a modern artillery piece to fire the shot at one o’clock. This is Edinburgh castle in a nutshell.