Stirling is an important town in central Scotland, with a long history. Its position above the River Forth made it of strategic importance historically, and Stirling Castle offers views of the whole Forth valley, including Bannockburn and the Wallace Monument.
David I made Stirling a burgh in 1125, and William Wallace was to defeat Edward I at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, a battle commemmorated in the film Braveheart. Scottish independence from England was assured when Robert the Bruce finally overwhelmed the English forces of Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
James I executed his cousin and rival Murdoch, duke of Albany, at Stirling Castle in 1425, and James II murdered William, earl of Douglas at the same spot in 1452.
The castle has also seen the coronations of Scottish kings: the infant James V was crowned here in 1513, following the death of James IV at Flodden. One of Scotland's most famous historical figures, Mary, Queen of Scots, also had her coronation here, in 1543. The Wallace Monument was completed at Abbey Craig in 1869.
Stirling today has a population of approximately 29,500 (2001 estimate). Tourism plays a major part in Stirling's economy. Apart from the castle, monument, and battlefield, the town jail and other historic buildings are open to the public.
Stirling University was founded in 1967. Stirling Albion FC is the town football club, and Local government is carried out by Stirling District Council.
Chronicle of Britain, Chronicle Communications Ltd, 1992