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Monro His Expedition with the Worthy Scots regiment called Mac-Keys


The Thirty Years' War was one of the great catastrophes of the Seventeenth Century in Europe. It started as an attempt by the Holy Roman Emperor to suppress the Protestants of Bohemia (modern Czech Republic) and metastasized into a war involving most of the countries of continental Europe, who fought, massacred, sacked and plundered back and forth across Germany for decades. In addition to the various German and Austrian states, there were Spaniards and Italians, Swedes and Danes, Poles, Finns and Croats. At a late stage the French became involved, surprisingly on the Protestant side. In addition, there were hired troops of mercenaries from the British Isles. Robert Monro was an officer in such a Scottish regiment, which served first the King of Denmark Christian IV and afterwards the great King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus.

Readers of Scott's A Legend of Montrose will have come across references to Monro in Scott's Introduction to that novel; and the character of the swashbuckling cavalier Dugald Dalgetty is based on Monro. The Swedish historian Magnus Bengtsson wrote a long account of Monro in his collection A Walk to an Ant Hill and other essays (Norstedt and Soners, Stockholm, 1950)

Monro's service ran from 1626 to 1634, when he was sent back to Scotland to recruit more soldiers. While he was there, the Swedes and their allies suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Nördlingen. His occupation gone, he turned to the pen, and wrote this account of his adventures which was published in 1637. It is one of the first, if not the first, accounts of the war in English from a participant, unvarnished and showing alike the courage, brutality and atrocity of war.

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Robert Monro by Magnus Bengtsson
A Legend of Montrose by Walter Scott



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