Jacobite expeditionary force lands in Kintail

On this day in Scottish History

jacobite 1719
Eilean Donan Castle at sunset | Image credit: Douglas Ritchie

On the 13th April 1719, two Spanish frigates carrying a Jacobite expeditionary force anchored in Loch Alsh. The troops disembarked near the derelict Eilean Donan Castle where Loch Alsh meets Loch Duich and Loch Long in Kintail. It was the beginning of the Jacobite Rising of 1719.

The expedition was commanded by Jacobite exile George Keith, 10th Earl Marischal, who sailed from the Spanish port of Pasaia with 300 Spanish marines. At Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, they were joined by other Jacobites exiles including William Mackenzie, 5th Earl of Seaforth, William Murray, 3rd Marquess of Tullibardine, Lord George Murray, Sir John Cameron of Lochiel and James Keith.

Spain was at war with Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and Austria in the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718–1720) and sought to organize an expedition to Britain involving some 7000 men to invade England and replace the Hanoverian George I with James Francis Edward Stuart. A diversionary force was to land on the west coast of Scotland. The main invasion force of England was scattered in a storm and only 300 Spanish troops landed in Scotland at Loch Alsh.

Once ashore the Jacobite force came under the command of Marischal’s rival Tullibardine who, after hearing of the failure of the main Spanish invasion, planned to retreat. This was prevented by Marischal who ordered the Spanish frigates to sail back to Spain. The Spanish marines were soon joined by around 1000 Highlanders.

On the 10th June 1719, the Jacobites were defeated by a Government army commanded by Major-General Joseph Wightman at the Battle of Glen Shiel. Wightman’s army contained a number of Independent Highland Companies.

Further Reading:

The Battle of Glenshiel: The Jacobite Rising in 1719, (2018), Jonathan Worton, Helion and Company Ltd

Scotland and the British Army, 1700-1750: Defending the Union, (2014), Victoria Henshaw, Bloomsbury Publishing