The Jacobites were the supporters of King James VII (of Scotland) and II (of England) and his heirs.
James VII and II ruled Britain from 1685 to 1689 but because he was a Roman Catholic he was replaced by his daughter Mary and her husband, the Dutch Prince William of Orange. Those who continued to support the exiled James (‘Jacobus’ being the name in Latin) became known as ‘Jacobites’.
In 1689, the Jacobites were opposed by the Williamites, or Whigs, those Britons who supported the Protestant cause and would not tolerate a Catholic kingdom.
The three main Jacobite risings were the 1689 rising led by ‘Bonnie Dundee’ - John Graham of Claverhouse, and quickly quelled; Mar’s Rebellion, or the ‘Fifteen’ (1715-16), provoked by the death in 1714 of the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne, and the accession of King George I; and the ‘Forty-Five’ (1745-46), when Charles Edward Stuart - ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ - led a Scots army against the Hanoverian dynasty.