Straddling the main western route into Scotland, Dumfriesshire was the focus of successive waves of immigrants from the Stone Age people onwards. They were followed by the Beaker people of the Bronze Age, and later the Celts, renowned for their iron-working skills, their horsemanship and their militancy. After a brief spell of Roman rule, Dumfriesshire became part of the Cumbrian kingdom of Rheged. Then came the Northumbrian conquerors, Viking invaders and finally Anglo-Norman settlers. Chief among them was Robert de Brus, who was granted the lordship of Annandale, and in 1306 his descendant King Robert Bruce usurped the throne. In an age of turbulence, Dumfriesshire was the main battleground of the Wars of Independence, a target of repeated English invasions, a prey to reiving, and victim of the sixteenthcentury religious wars. With the restoration of peace following the Union of 1707 came land improvement and the development of farming, which would become the mainstay of the region's economy.