|Crest||Out of a coronet a hand in armour fessways, holding by its point a cross crosslet fitchee, Gules.|
|Motto||Per mare per terras.|
|Translation||By sea and by land.|
|Gaelic name||Mac Dhomhnuill.|
|Origin of name||Mac Dhomhnuill (world ruler)|
|Pipe music||Mac Donald's Salute March of the Mac Donalds.|
Clan MacDonald (Clan Donald) History
The Clan Mac Donald is the largest of the Scottish clans, and was at one time the most powerful, with territory stretching from Kintyre to Lewis.
The Mac Donalds can trace their ancestry back to Fergus Mac Erc, founder of the ancient Celtic kingdom of Dalriada, and even further back to Conn of the Hundred Battles, the High King of Ireland, who reigned around 125 AD. But the man who laid the foundation of the clan's greatness was Somerled Mac Gillivray. By the time he was assassinated in 1164 he ruled over most of Argyll, the Isle of Man and the Western Isles. His grandson, Donald, Lord of Islay and Kintyre, gave his name to the clan.
The Wars of Independence (1296-1314) brought ruin to some Mac Donalds and prosperity to others. The Lord of Islay lost his lands to his brother Angus, who had fought for Bruce at Bannockburn. Angus also acquired Lorne, Mull and Lochaber, while his son married the daughter of Robert II, and in 1354 was powerful enough to declare himself Lord of the Isles.
The influence and pride of his successors brought them into conflict with the Crown until, in 1576, James IV abolished the title.
Several attempts were made to regain the Lordship. The most notable was led by the unfortunate Donald Dubh, grandson of the last Lord of the Isles. Born in prison, he spent a total of 60 years as a captive. The Mac Donalds never regained the title, which is now included among those of the Prince of Wales.
The Mac Donalds supported the Stuarts in Jacobite times. The Mac Donalds of Glencoe were massacred by a government army which was billeted on them in 1692.
Despite their Celtic origin several Mac Donald chiefs took part wholeheartedly in the Highland Clearances, when loyal clansmen were evicted to make way for sheep which were more profitable for the 19th century absentee landlords.
Flora Mac Donald (1772-90) was born in South Uist. Her family were anti-Jacobite yet she risked life and freedom to save Prince Charles Edward Stuart after Culloden in 1746.