How historically accurate is Braveheart?

william-wallace-monument-1256291_1280
Monument to William Wallace in Stirling, Scotland

Braveheart was a popular movie released in 1995 that won 5 Oscars and featured Mel Gibson as William Wallace. Wallace was a Scottish knight who became a hero in the Scottish rebellions against the English in the late 13th and early 14th century. The movie helped to inspire Scottish national pride while also, to some, represent an early, Medieval warrior who fought for freedom for himself and his people. While much of the story depicted did occur, including the English occupation of Scotland during the time of Edward I, king of England, the depiction of the revolt against the English and other events do not correspond well to historical accounts.

In the movie, William Wallace is suggested to have traveled in Europe during the early years of Edward I’s occupation of Scotland. However, little is known about Wallace’s early years. First, it is assumed Wallace came from a noble family; two villages are often claimed as his birth places (Elderslie and Ellerslie), both on the western part of Scotland. [1] We do know that Wallace was an experienced swordsman and knight, which indicates he may have fought in wars prior to his own rebellion and participation in the wars against the English. In fact, it is he fought with king Edward I as a mercenary during that king’s wars against the Welsh. That may have been the most feasible path for him to have gained fighting experience and possibly learn about English war tactics.[2]

Read the rest of the article at DailyHistory.org.

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Author: sandvick

I have a PhD in United States History and I am a legal refugee. I run a history wiki called DailyHistory.org and the blog Dailyhistoryblog.com.

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