was born in the late 15th century in the Western isles
of Scotland, the son of Aonghas Óg, chief of Clan
Donald, and the grandson of John of Islay, Earl of Ross,
and Lord of the Isles. In 1476 John of Islay was
stripped by the Scottish crown of many of his lands and
titles, retaining the title Lord of the Isles, but only
at the pleasure of the Crown. Domhnall's father Aonghas,
disgusted by this family humiliation, turned against
John of Islay, rebelling against first his father and
then the Scottish crown, both of which he defeated
before being murdered by his Irish musician in 1490.
Following Aonghas' death in 1490, the crown launched a
new campaign against the rebels of the north-west.
Domhnall Dubh, who was then just an infant, was captured
by Cailean I, Earl of Argyll. Domhnall was imprisoned in
Innischonnel Castle in Loch Awe.
In 1501 Domhnall
escaped, with the aid of Torcall MacLeòid, who may have
had the connivance of the earl of Argyll. Torcall was
looking for a way to resist the power of his enemy
Alexander Gordon, the earl of Huntly, who was acting as
the King's lieutenant. On August 13, 1502, a royal
council decreed that Torcall was guilty of rebellion and
had no right to the lands under his possession. Huntly
was ordered to gather forces in the north and take
possession of the MacLeoid lands. Moreover, the king
prepared to deliver Eoin, now a semi-retired courtier,
back to the lordship in order to counter the effect
given by the presence of Domhnall Dubh. Eoin, however,
never made the trip. Eoin took ill and died at Dundee in
1503. Torcall and his ally Lachlan MacGill'Eain of Duart
took the offensive against Huntly, and in December 1503
invaded and wrought devastation to Huntly's Lordship of
Badenoch. The royal island of Bute was also attacked by
the islesmen. The revolt continued until 1506, by which
time Lachlan MacGill'Eain had been detached from the
cause, and Huntly's forces were able to isolate Torcall
and Domhnall in the Outer Hebrides. In September 1506,
after just 5 years of freedom, Domhnall was again
He remained in
captivity for 37 years until he was released in 1543.
The north-west rose in revolt once more. After securing
an alliance with England, Domhnall found himself in with
a good chance of resurrecting the Lordship of the Isles.
However, this chance was destroyed when Domhnall died at
Drogheda, Ireland, in 1545.