In the 18th century the division between Hanoverians and Jacobites was central in the whole of Britain. Identification was a complex issue and was not simply linked to ethnic or religious identity. The fault-line in society between these two groupings can still be seen today - although often overlaid with myth and untruth.
1745 and 1746 were the two years when Charles Edward Stuart challenged the powers-that-be in Britain. He was the son of the last Catholic Monarch of Great Britain, James VII and II. (Vii of Scotland and II of England). there had ben a serious attempt in 1715 by his father to retake the throne but European allies who had promised effective support let him down.
In August of 1745 Charles landed near Glenfinnan in the Highlands and called his supporters to help defeat the Hanoverian Monarchy. Many of today's tourists go to Glenfinnan to see the railway viaduct associated with the Harry Potter films. Earlier generations went to see the monument there. erected in 1815 to those who fought and died for the Jacobite cause.
In a very short time after landing, the "Bold Chevalier" and his troops fought a successful battle at Prestonpans, East of Edinburgh. Then they set off on their march to London which almost resulted in victory. The numbers were swelled as they marched south by English Jacobites who joined them (“Jacobus “meaning “James” gives us "Jacobite", that is a supporter of the Stuarts in their claim to the throne.)
On reaching Derby, only a short march from London, there was a falling out in the ruling circles. A decision was made to return to Scotland. There, the last battle on British soil was fought at Culloden in 1746. Some have seen this as a battle between the English and the Scots, but it was really a battle between those who supported the status-quo and Hanover, and those who wanted the Stuarts back on the throne.
The outcome was defeat for Charles. He had to beat a hasty retreat, helped by Flora Macdonald and others. Revenge exacted on the locals who had supported him was harsh. Fort George, Fort Wililam and Fort Augustus were build as military garrisons in the Highlands and the area was depopulated. Charles Edward Stuart and the Jacobites were to make no comeback ! The lasting legacy has been huge changes in the Northern parts of our country and some lingering romantic ideas about "Bonnie Prince Charlie".