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Learn the Very Real History Behind OUTLANDER’s Main Clans

Learn the Very Real History Behind OUTLANDER’s Main Clans

Have you watched Starz’s adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s epic novel series, Outlander? If not, here’s a quick synopsis: boss-ass feminist lady hero falls through time from the 1940s, ending up in Scotland circa 1744 and forced to navigate the very testy waters of being alive at that time. It involves time travel, romance, cool ladies being resourceful, a hundred million kilts, and a ginger lad named Jamie Fraser.

Jamie ends up — spoiler alert — becoming the husband of Claire in order to protect her, and quickly integrates her into his immediate and extended family: the clans Fraser and Mackenzie, respectively. Several of the story’s major players are cousins or siblings of Jamie and play a major part in the series, including his sister Jenny Fraser and the Mackenzie leaders: laird Colum Mackenzie and his brother/the war chieftain Dougal Mackenzie.

Which is a really fun bit of historical trivia because, guess what? The Clans Fraser of Lovat and Mackenzie were actually pretty major rulers in their time. Really!

When they were at their most influential, the Mackenzie clan was the 4th most powerful in the country, their lands extending far and wide and butting up against those of Clan Fraser.

In a time when loyalties were divided between the ruling monarchy and the Stuart king, the Mackenzies and Frasers were staunch Jacobites. Not sure what the heck that word means? Well, Jacobites considered themselves supporters of the deposed King James II and all his descendants that followed thereafter. It was the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688 — when the English Parliament overthrew him in order to put William the Orange (seriously, google that ish) on the throne — that caused the divide between the highlands, lowlands, and England overall that ultimately fueled the Jacobian revolutions to reinsert their king to the throne. This happened several times in the years that followed: 1689–90, 1715, 1719, and finally 1745–46.

It was after the failed rebellion of 1746 that the Mackenzie and Fraser clans (amongst other Highlanders) reconciled their ties with the British, formally assimilating and ended up as quite the posh British aristocrat types.

Don’t you just love a bit of time-traveling historical fiction? It gets to be so layered and fun!

Main Image Credit: Starz
Map of Scotland: Time Slips/Wordpress

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