|King of the Picts
13 February 858 - 13 April 862
Donald MacAlpin (also known in Gaelic as Domnall mac Ailpín and Modern Gaelic as Dòmhnall mac Ailpein ) while referred to sometimes as King of Scotland is better described as the King of the Picts.
Donald's years ruling Scotland were a time of many troubles. An unsettled Atlantic brought great storms and Arctic temperatures in the winter of 859-860, lasting well into what should have been Spring and the start of planting season. Rivers froze to their beds. Livestock died in the gales and blizzards that raged across the fields and felled trees and shook away villages. The weather remained a merciless enemy and a great famine took the country in the first years of Donald's reign. The weakened people succumbed to ever greater incursions by the Norsemen and a more vicious natural enemy- the Plague. Records for these years are thin for even the monks in the religious houses died in the hundreds.
Donald is described by the monkish chronicles as a vigorous soldier and as a wanton son of a foreign mother. No great victories in battle are given him. His reign from 858 to 862 must have been bitter years of sacrifice and want. The records of his death in 862 are obscure, more than one suggesting he died of disease, likely the great Plague then scouring the country.
For more about Donald, read the Annals of Ulster, and The Chronicles of the Kings of Alba as well as Alfred Smyth's Warlords and Holy Men; Scotland AD 80-1000 are excellent reading.
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