James I, the only child of Mary, Queen of Scots, was the first king to rule both England and Scotland, the latter as James VI. Born on June 19, 1566, James was only 15 months old when he succeeded his mother to the Scottish throne. He received an excellent education from tutors such as George Buchanan and, after a tumultuous minority, began his personal rule of Scotland in 1583. During the next 20 years James successfully asserted his position as head of church and state in Scotland, outwitting the nobles who conspired against him. Being eager to succeed the childless Elizabeth I to the English throne, he merely protested when his mother was executed for treason against Elizabeth in 1587.
James went to Scandinavia in 1589 to bring home his bride, Anne of Denmark, who bore him several children but annoyed him by becoming a Roman Catholic. James wrote books about kingship, theology, witchcraft, and tobacco and commissioned the authorized (King James) Version of the Bible. He died on Mar. 27, 1625, having warned his son and heir, Charles I, of future dangers to the monarchy from Parliament. This coin is from James’ rule of Scotland.