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James II of Scotland facts for kids

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James II
James II Portrait.jpg
Reign 21 February 1437 – 3 August 1460
Coronation 25 March 1437
Predecessor James I
Successor James III
Born (1430-10-16)16 October 1430
Holyrood Abbey
Died 3 August 1460(1460-08-03) (aged 29)
Roxburgh Castle
Burial Holyrood Abbey
Spouse Mary of Guelders
House Stewart
Father James I
Mother Joan Beaufort
Religion Roman Catholic

James II of Scotland (October 16 1430August 3 1460) was king of Scotland from 1437 to 1460. He had an elder twin, Alexander, who lived long enough to be knighted, but died in infancy. James was the son of James I and father of James III. He was known as "Fiery face" because of a conspicuous red birthmark on his face. He also had six sisters, who were married into the royal dynasties of Europe.

Inheriting the throne at under seven years old, most of James' reign saw the government in the hands of others. In 1449 James II emerged into adulthood, yet in many ways his 'active kingship' was little different from his minority. But James was a not a king to put up with this situation without argument, and between 1451 and 1455 he struggled to free himself from the power of others.

Between 1455 and 1460 James II proved to be an active and interventionist king. Ambitions to take Orkney and Shetland and the Isle of Man to Scotland were not successful. The king travelled the country, and seems to have originated the practice of raising money by giving remissions for serious crimes.

A portrait of Mary of Guelders

He married Mary of Guelders at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, on July 3, 1449. They had seven children, including James III of Scotland and the abducted Margaret.

James was an enthusiast for modern artillery, which he used with some success. His ambitions to increase Scotland's standing saw him besiege Roxburgh castle in 1460, one of the last Scottish castles still held by the English after the Wars of Independence. On August 3 James was killed when one of his cannon exploded. The Scots carried on with the siege and took the castle.

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