Morayshire, the county centred on Elgin from the 12th cent. to 1975, was only a small part of the kingdom of Moray, which originally extended from the west coast facing the Isle of Skye across to the river Spey in the east. The kingdom was created by the Gaels of northern Argyll, who, with the Norse from Orkney, overcame the Picts in northern Scotland in the 9th cent. Throughout their history the kings of Moray were faced by powerful enemies to the north and south. In the north they struggled to resist the Norse earls of Orkney. In the south they strenuously resisted the ambitions of Scottish kings, who sought to make Moray part of their realm. The most famous king was Macbeth, who successfully turned the tables on the Scottish kings in the south and became king of Scots after killing Duncan I in 1040. Despite conquest, colonization, and expulsion, the leading families of Moray continued to resist the kings of Scots until 1230. But the days were over when Scotland was a patchwork of regional kings.
Subjects: British History.