Basics of Scottish History Quiz: History-Making Women

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All too often, our understanding of Scottish History is dominated by men. Figures like William Wallace, Robert Bruce, Robert Burns and David Livingstone loom large in popular imagination, pushing all but a small handful of women to the sidelines. Scotland can thus seem a land of many heroes, but few heroines. Yet history is not made by men alone, and this is certainly true in the case of Scotland. Despite our long-standing failure to recognise their contributions, the actions and achievements of Scottish women have been integral in shaping the country we know today.

But how much do YOU know about the experiences of Scottish women through time? Covering politics, religion, culture, warfare, and more besides, our quiz will test you on some of the better-known personalities. Dive in to get a taster of how Scottish women have left their mark over the past millennium!

Created by: Dr Allan Kennedy of Centre for Scottish Culture, Dundee
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  1. In which town is St Margaret (d.1093) credited with settling a community of Benedictine monks, one of the earliest reformed monastic communities in Scotland?
  2. In which year was the death of Scotland's Queen-designate Margaret (known as 'Maid of Norway'), ending the line of monarchs that had ruled Scotland since 1058?
  3. What was the name of King Robert I's eldest daughter, whose marriage to Walter Stewart in 1314 ultimately gave rise to the Stewart dynasty?
  4. Which castle did Agnes Randolph ('Black Agnes') famously defend against an English siege in 1338?
  5. Countess in her own right by inheritance from her father, which earldom did Margaret Stewart (d.1417) succeed in having granted to her illegitimate son in 1389?
  6. Which of the following Queens was married to King James III (r.1460-88)?
  7. Best known for the long poem 'Ane Godlie Dreame' (1603), who was the first Scottish female writer known to have had her work published?
  8. What is the name of the woman traditionally credited with throwing the first stool during the Prayer Book Riots (1637)?
  9. Which noblewoman raised and personally led a troop of cavalry in 1639 in support of the Covenanters' war-effort against Charles I?
  10. How are the Covenanters Margaret Lachlan and Margaret Wilson (the 'Wigtown Martyrs') thought to have been executed in 1685?
  11. Where in c.1727 is the execution of Janet Horne, reputedly the last victim of the Scottish witch-hunt, said to have taken place?
  12. Which woman raised a force of several hundred clansmen for the Jacobite cause in 1745-6, giving her name to the resulting regiment and earning herself the sobriquet 'Colonel'?
  13. Published anonymously in 1818, what was the first novel of Susan Ferrier (1782-1854)?
  14. Of which crime was Glasgow socialite Madeleine Smith acquitted after a sensational trial in 1857?
  15. Who in 1878 became the first woman to practise as a doctor in Scotland?
  16. In which modern-day country did Mary Slessor (1848-1915) do most of her missionary work?
  17. Elected in 1923, who was the first woman to serve as an MP for a Scottish constituency?
  18. Margaret Fairlie, the first woman to be appointed a University professor in Scotland, worked for which institution?
  19. Also a novelist and poet, which writer published 'The Living Mountain', a memoir about the Cairngorms, in 1977?
  20. Appointed in 2001, who was the first woman to serve as Secretary of State for Scotland?

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