The Massacre of Glencoe occurred in Glen Coe, Scotland, early in the morning of 13 February 1692, during the era of the Glorious Revolution and Jacobitism. The massacre began simultaneously in three settlements along the glen - Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achacon - although the killing took place all over the glen as fleeing MacDonalds were pursued. Thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the guests who had accepted their hospitality, on the grounds that the MacDonalds had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange. Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.
The Glencoe massacre became a propaganda piece for Jacobite sympathies which were to come to a head in the next generation in the Rising of 1745. In the Victorian era interest was revived and the massacre was romanticised in art and literature, such as Sir Walter Scott's "The Highland Widow". Due to the involvement of Argyll's regiment under Glenlyon's command, the massacre was regarded not as a government action, but as a consequence of the ancient MacDonald - Campbell rivalry.
Memory of this massacre has been kept alive by continued ill feeling between MacDonalds and Campbells — since the late 20th century the Clachaig Inn, a hotel and pub in Glencoe popular with climbers, has had a sign on its door saying "No Hawkers or Campbells".
Each year, on the 13th February, the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh arranges an annual wreath laying ceremony at the memorial to the Massacre of Glencoe. Clansmen from Clan Donald, from across the world, attend the ceremony, along with local people. The memorial is situated in the village of Glencoe, about 200 metres (yards) from where the road through the village crosses the River Coe.
Ultimately, it has to be said that stories of ancient clan rivalries have only obscured the real horror of Glencoe. It was an act of official policy, conceived by a Secretary of State for Scotland, executed by a Scottish commander-in-chief, approved by the King, and carried out by a regiment in the British Army. Indeed, the Argyll Regiment was deliberately chosen by Dalrymple because he knew how their involvement would be perceived. Lowlanders, like Dalrymple, had oft expressed hatred of Highland 'barbarians'. At Glencoe this hatred finally acquired a murderous form.
Two brothers escaped to Ireland and changed their name to McKern or MacKern. Decendants moved to Argentina and Australia when the potato famine struck around 1850. Australian descendants include the late actor Leo McKern.