Campbell, Scottish noble family

Campbell kămˈbəl [key], Scottish noble family, the head of which is the duke of Argyll. The Campbells of Lochow (Lochawe) rose to power in W Scotland in the later Middle Ages. In 1445, Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochow (d. 1453) received the title of Baron Campbell, and his grandson Colin Campbell (d. 1493), 2d Baron Campbell, was created 1st earl of Argyll in 1457. In the succeeding century the earls of Argyll played an ever more prominent role in Scottish affairs. Archibald Campbell (d. 1558), 4th earl of Argyll, became one of the leading Protestant lords of the congregation. Even more important, however, was his son Archibald Campbell, 5th earl of Argyll, also a lord of the congregation, who was deeply involved in the upheavals of the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. He was succeeded by his half-brother, Colin Campbell (d. 1584), 6th earl of Argyll, who was in turn succeeded by his son Archibald Campbell (1575–1638), 7th earl of Argyll. The 7th earl became a Roman Catholic and in 1619 surrendered management of his estates to his son Archibald Campbell, 8th earl and 1st marquess of Argyll. The 8th earl and his son Archibald Campbell, 9th earl of Argyll, were the most powerful Presbyterian nobles in Scotland during the tumultuous events of the 17th cent.; both were executed for treason. Archibald Campbell, the 10th earl, finally managed to regain the family estates and was created (1701) 1st duke of Argyll. He and, more especially, his kinsman John Campbell, 1st earl of Breadalbane, have been blamed (possibly unjustly) for the massacre (1692) of the MacDonalds of Glencoe by Campbell soldiers. John Campbell, 2d duke of Argyll, and his brother Archibald Campbell, 3d duke of Argyll, kept the family in the forefront of Scottish affairs. The 3d duke, however, died without legitimate issue, and the succession passed to a cadet branch of the family, the Campbells of Mamore. Of subsequent holders of the title the most prominent were George Douglas Campbell (1823–1900), 8th duke of Argyll, who held a series of cabinet positions, the most important as secretary of state for India in William Gladstone's first ministry (1868–74); and John Douglas Sutherland Campbell (1845–1914), 9th duke of Argyll, who married Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, and was governor-general of Canada (1878–83).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies