The early origin of this family is said to be a son of the king of Ulster who landed in Argyll around 1016 and was rewarded with land on the east side of Loch Lomond> by King Malcolm II, for service in fighting Nordic invaders. The area was known as "Buth chanain", Gaelic for "house of the canon" and may have been connected with the ancient Celtic Church. The land was to remain in the possession of Buchanans until 1682 when the 22nd laird of Buchanan died and the estates had to be sold to repay debts. The mansion house of Buchanan is now owned by the Graham Dukes of Montrose.
The clan flourished after supporting Robert the Bruce> during the Wars of Independence> at the start of the 14th century.
In the 15th century, Sir Alexander Buchanan was amongst the 7,000 Scots who fought in France against King Henry IV> of England, distinguishing himself at Agincourt and Beauge. In the latter battle in Normandy in 1421, he killed the Duke of Clarence and captured his ducal cap - which is now represented in the clan coat of arms.
The clan chief fell at the Battle of Flodden> in 1513 and the clan were involved in the Battle of Pinkie in 1547 and Langside in 1568.
In the 16th century George Buchanan, born in Killearn in Stirlingshire in 1506, travelled widely abroad and had a career as a writer, poet, humanist and Protestant reformer. He was a tutor to Mary Queen of Scots> and later to her son, King James VI>. He is credited with providing the foundation of the monarch's undoubted academic success.
Andrew Buchanan was the Lord Provost of Glasgow at the time of the 1745 Jacobite Uprising> and refused to asist the forces of the Young Pretender when he arrived in the city. A later Buchanan tobacco baron in Glasgow gave his name to Buchanan Street, which is now one of the city's fashionable shopping areas.
James Buchanan (1791-1868) was the 15th president of the USA. His ancestors had moved to Ulster and Donegal before emigrating to the US.
The Buchanan clan motto is "Clarior hinc honos" which means "Brighter, hence the honour".
Surnames regarded as septs (sub-branch) of the Buchanan clan include Colman, Cormack, Cousland, Donleavy, Donlevy, Dove, Dow, Dowe, Gibb, Gilbert, Gilbertson, Harper, Lennie, Lenny, MacAslan, MacAuselan, MacAuslan, MacAusland, MacAuslane, McCalman, MacCalmont, MacChruiter, MacColman, MacCormack, MacCubbin, MacDonleavy, MacGilbert,MacInally, MacIndoe, MacKinlay, MacMaster, MacMaurice, MacMurchie, MacWattie, MacWhirter, Masterson, Morris, Murchie, Murchison, Richardson, Risk, Rusk, Ruskin, Spittal, Watt, Yuill, Yule.
There are Buchanan clan Web sites at here> and >here.
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