Scotland

Scotland

Overview
Scotland is a country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 that is part of
Countries of the United Kingdom
Countries of the United Kingdom is a term used to describe England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These four countries together form the sovereign state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is also described as a country. The alternative terms, constituent...

 the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, it shares a border
Anglo-Scottish border
The Anglo-Scottish border is the official border and mark of entry between Scotland and England. It runs for 154 km between the River Tweed on the east coast and the Solway Firth in the west. It is Scotland's only land border...

 with England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to the south and is bounded by the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 to the east, the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 to the north and west, and the North Channel
North Channel (British Isles)
The North Channel is the strait which separates eastern Northern Ireland from southwestern Scotland...

 and Irish Sea
Irish Sea
The Irish Sea separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. It is connected to the Celtic Sea in the south by St George's Channel, and to the Atlantic Ocean in the north by the North Channel. Anglesey is the largest island within the Irish Sea, followed by the Isle of Man...

 to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, Scotland includes over 790 islands including the Northern Isles
Northern Isles
The Northern Isles is a chain of islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. The climate is cool and temperate and much influenced by the surrounding seas. There are two main island groups: Shetland and Orkney...

 and the Hebrides
Hebrides
The Hebrides comprise a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of Scotland. There are two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides. These islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic and the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive...

.

Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, the country's capital and second largest city, is one of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

's largest financial centres.
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Timeline

565   St. Columba reports seeing a monster in Loch Ness, Scotland.

1054   Siward, Earl of Northumbria invades Scotland to support Malcolm Canmore against Macbeth of Scotland, who usurped the Scottish throne from Malcolm's father, King Duncan. Macbeth is defeated at Dunsinane.

1153   Malcolm IV becomes King of Scotland.

1291   Scottish nobles recognize the authority of Edward I of England.

1292   (O.S.) John Balliol becomes King of Scotland.

1295   Scotland and France form an alliance, the so-called "Auld Alliance", against England.

1296   Edward I sacks Berwick-upon-Tweed, during armed conflict between Scotland and England.

1296   Battle of Dunbar: The Scots are defeated by Edward I of England.

1305   William Wallace, who led the Scottish resistance against England, is captured by the English near Glasgow and transported to London where he is put on trial and executed.

1306   The Earl of Pembroke's army defeats Bruce's Scottish army at the Battle of Methven.

 
Encyclopedia
Scotland is a country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 that is part of
Countries of the United Kingdom
Countries of the United Kingdom is a term used to describe England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These four countries together form the sovereign state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is also described as a country. The alternative terms, constituent...

 the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, it shares a border
Anglo-Scottish border
The Anglo-Scottish border is the official border and mark of entry between Scotland and England. It runs for 154 km between the River Tweed on the east coast and the Solway Firth in the west. It is Scotland's only land border...

 with England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to the south and is bounded by the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 to the east, the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 to the north and west, and the North Channel
North Channel (British Isles)
The North Channel is the strait which separates eastern Northern Ireland from southwestern Scotland...

 and Irish Sea
Irish Sea
The Irish Sea separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. It is connected to the Celtic Sea in the south by St George's Channel, and to the Atlantic Ocean in the north by the North Channel. Anglesey is the largest island within the Irish Sea, followed by the Isle of Man...

 to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, Scotland includes over 790 islands including the Northern Isles
Northern Isles
The Northern Isles is a chain of islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. The climate is cool and temperate and much influenced by the surrounding seas. There are two main island groups: Shetland and Orkney...

 and the Hebrides
Hebrides
The Hebrides comprise a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of Scotland. There are two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides. These islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic and the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive...

.

Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, the country's capital and second largest city, is one of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

's largest financial centres. Edinburgh was the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment
Scottish Enlightenment
The Scottish Enlightenment was the period in 18th century Scotland characterised by an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By 1750, Scots were among the most literate citizens of Europe, with an estimated 75% level of literacy...

 of the 18th century, which transformed Scotland into one of the commercial, intellectual and industrial powerhouses of Europe. Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, Scotland's largest city, was once one of the world's leading industrial
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 cities and now lies at the centre of the Greater Glasgow
Greater Glasgow
Greater Glasgow is an urban settlement in Scotland consisting of all localities which are physically attached to the city of Glasgow, forming with it a single contiguous urban area...

 conurbation. Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves
Oil reserves
The total estimated amount of oil in an oil reservoir, including both producible and non-producible oil, is called oil in place. However, because of reservoir characteristics and limitations in petroleum extraction technologies, only a fraction of this oil can be brought to the surface, and it is...

 in the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. This has given Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

, the third largest city in Scotland, the title of Europe's oil capital.

The Kingdom of Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

 emerged as an independent sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 in the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

 and continued to exist until 1707, although it had been in a personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

 with the kingdoms of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 since James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English and Irish thrones in 1603. On 1 May 1707, Scotland entered into an incorporating political union
Political union
A political union is a type of state which is composed of or created out of smaller states. Unlike a personal union, the individual states share a common government and the union is recognized internationally as a single political entity...

 with England to create the united Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

. This union resulted from the Treaty of Union
Treaty of Union
The Treaty of Union is the name given to the agreement that led to the creation of the united kingdom of Great Britain, the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which took effect on 1 May 1707...

 agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

 passed by the Parliaments of both countries, despite widespread protest across Scotland. Scotland's legal system
Legal systems of the world
The legal systems of the world today are generally based on one of three basic systems: civil law, common law, and religious law – or combinations of these...

 continues to be separate from those of England and Wales
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

 and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland law
Northern Ireland law refers to the legal system of statute and common law operating in Northern Ireland since Northern Ireland was established as a separate jurisdiction within the United Kingdom in 1921.-Background:...

, and Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

 in public and in private law.

The continued existence of legal
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

, educational and religious
Religion in Scotland
Christianity is the largest religion in Scotland. At the 2001 census 65% of the Scottish population was Christian. The Church of Scotland, often known as The Kirk, is recognised in law as the national church of Scotland. It is not an established church and is independent of state control. However,...

 institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity
Scottish national identity
Scottish national identity is a term referring to the sense of national identity and common culture of Scottish people and is shared by a considerable majority of the people of Scotland....

 since the Union. In 1999, a devolved
Devolution
Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to government at a subnational level, such as a regional, local, or state level. Devolution can be mainly financial, e.g. giving areas a budget which was formerly administered by central government...

 legislature, the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

, was founded with authority over many areas of home affairs following a successful referendum in 1997. In 2011 the Scottish National Party (SNP)
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a social-democratic political party in Scotland which campaigns for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom....

 won an overall majority in parliament and intend to hold a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom towards the end of the current parliamentary term.

Etymology



Scotland is derived from the Latin Scoti
Scoti
Scoti or Scotti was the generic name used by the Romans to describe those who sailed from Ireland to conduct raids on Roman Britain. It was thus synonymous with the modern term Gaels...

, the term applied to Gaels, people from what is now Scotland and Ireland, and the Dál Riata who are thought to have originated from Ireland and migrated to western Scotland. Accordingly, the Late Latin
Late Latin
Late Latin is the scholarly name for the written Latin of Late Antiquity. The English dictionary definition of Late Latin dates this period from the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD extending in Spain to the 7th. This somewhat ambiguously defined period fits between Classical Latin and Medieval Latin...

 word Scotia
Scotia
Scotia was originally a Roman name for Ireland, inhabited by the people they called Scoti or Scotii. Use of the name shifted in the Middle Ages to designate the part of the island of Great Britain lying north of the Firth of Forth, the Kingdom of Alba...

 ("land of the Gaels") was initially used to refer to Ireland. By the 11th century at the latest, Scotia was being used to refer to (Gaelic-speaking) Scotland north of the river Forth
River Forth
The River Forth , long, is the major river draining the eastern part of the central belt of Scotland.The Forth rises in Loch Ard in the Trossachs, a mountainous area some west of Stirling...

, alongside Albania or Albany, both derived from the Gaelic Alba
Alba
Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. It is cognate to Alba in Irish and Nalbin in Manx, the two other Goidelic Insular Celtic languages, as well as similar words in the Brythonic Insular Celtic languages of Cornish and Welsh also meaning Scotland.- Etymology :The term first appears in...

. The use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass all of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages
Scotland in the Late Middle Ages
Scotland in the late Middle Ages established its independence from England under figures including William Wallace in the late 13th century and Robert Bruce in the 14th century...

.

Early history



Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period. It is believed that the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet
Ice sheet
An ice sheet is a mass of glacier ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than 50,000 km² , thus also known as continental glacier...

 retreated after the last glaciation.


Groups of settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9500 years ago, and the first villages around 6000 years ago. The well-preserved village of Skara Brae
Skara Brae
Skara Brae is a large stone-built Neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It consists of ten clustered houses, and was occupied from roughly 3180 BCE–2500 BCE...

 on the Mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 habitation, burial and ritual sites are particularly common and well-preserved in the Northern Isles
Northern Isles
The Northern Isles is a chain of islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. The climate is cool and temperate and much influenced by the surrounding seas. There are two main island groups: Shetland and Orkney...

 and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone.

The discovery in Scotland of a 4000 year old tomb with burial treasures at Forteviot
Forteviot
Forteviot is a village in Strathearn, Scotland on the south bank of the River Earn between Dunning and Perth. It lies in the council area of Perth and Kinross...

, near Perth
Perth, Scotland
Perth is a town and former city and royal burgh in central Scotland. Located on the banks of the River Tay, it is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council area and the historic county town of Perthshire...

, the capital of a Pictish Kingdom in the 8th and 9th centuries AD, is unrivalled anywhere in Britain. It contains the remains of an early Bronze Age
Prehistoric Scotland
Archaeology and geology continue to reveal the secrets of prehistoric Scotland, uncovering a complex and dramatic past before the Romans brought Scotland into the scope of recorded history...

 ruler laid out on white quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 pebbles and birch bark. It was also discovered for the first time that early Bronze Age people placed flowers in their graves.

Scotland may have been part of a Late Bronze Age maritime trading culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age
Atlantic Bronze Age
The Atlantic Bronze Age is a cultural complex of the Bronze Age period of approximately 1300–700 BC that includes different cultures in Portugal, Andalusia, Galicia, Armorica and the British Isles.-Trade:...

 that also included the other Celtic nations
Celtic nations
The Celtic nations are territories in North-West Europe in which that area's own Celtic languages and some cultural traits have survived.The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common traditional identity and culture and are identified with a traditional...

, England, France, Spain and Portugal.

Roman influence



The written protohistory
Protohistory
Protohistory refers to a period between prehistory and history, during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing, but other cultures have already noted its existence in their own writings...

 of Scotland began with the arrival of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 in southern and central Great Britain, when the Romans occupied what is now England and Wales, administering it as a province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 called Britannia
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

. Roman invasions and occupations of southern Scotland were a series of brief interludes.

According to the Roman historian Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

, the Caledonians
Caledonians
The Caledonians , or Caledonian Confederacy, is a name given by historians to a group of indigenous peoples of what is now Scotland during the Iron Age and Roman eras. The Romans referred to their territory as Caledonia and initially included them as Britons, but later distinguished as the Picts...

 "turned to armed resistance on a large scale", attacking Roman forts and skirmishing with their legions. In a surprise night-attack, the Caledonians very nearly wiped out the whole 9th Legion until it was saved by Agricola's cavalry.
In AD 83–84 the general Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Gnaeus Julius Agricola was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. His biography, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae, was the first published work of his son-in-law, the historian Tacitus, and is the source for most of what is known about him.Born to a noted...

 defeated the Caledonians
Caledonians
The Caledonians , or Caledonian Confederacy, is a name given by historians to a group of indigenous peoples of what is now Scotland during the Iron Age and Roman eras. The Romans referred to their territory as Caledonia and initially included them as Britons, but later distinguished as the Picts...

 at the Battle of Mons Graupius
Battle of Mons Graupius
According to Tacitus, the Battle of Mons Graupius took place in AD 83 or, less probably, 84. Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor and Tacitus' father-in-law, had sent his fleet ahead to panic the Caledonians, and, with light infantry reinforced with British auxiliaries, reached the site,...

. Before the battle Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 wrote that the Caledonian leader Calgacus
Calgacus
According to Tacitus, Calgacus was a chieftain of the Caledonian Confederacy who fought the Roman army of Gnaeus Julius Agricola at the Battle of Mons Graupius in northern Scotland in AD 83 or 84...

, gave a rousing speech in which he called his people the "last of the free" and accused the Romans of "making the world a desert and calling it peace". After the Roman victory Roman forts
Castra
The Latin word castra, with its singular castrum, was used by the ancient Romans to mean buildings or plots of land reserved to or constructed for use as a military defensive position. The word appears in both Oscan and Umbrian as well as in Latin. It may have descended from Indo-European to Italic...

 were briefly set along the Gask Ridge
Gask Ridge
The Gask Ridge is the modern name given to an early series of fortifications, built by the Romans in Scotland, close to the Highland Line.-Name:...

 close to the Highland line
Highland Boundary Fault
The Highland Boundary Fault is a geological fault that traverses Scotland from Arran and Helensburgh on the west coast to Stonehaven in the east...

 (only Cawdor
Cawdor (Roman Fort)
Cawdor , located near the small village of Eastern Galcantray , is suspected of being one of the northernmost Roman forts in Great Britain, though this evidence is controversial.-History:...

 near Inverness
Inverness
Inverness is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for the Highland council area, and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland...

 is known to have been constructed beyond that line). Three years after the battle the Roman armies
Roman army
The Roman army is the generic term for the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the kingdom of Rome , the Roman Republic , the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine empire...

 had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands
Southern Uplands
The Southern Uplands are the southernmost and least populous of mainland Scotland's three major geographic areas . The term is used both to describe the geographical region and to collectively denote the various ranges of hills within this region...

.

The Romans erected Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

 to control tribes on both sides of the wall, and the Limes Britannicus
Limes
A limes was a border defense or delimiting system of Ancient Rome. It marked the boundaries of the Roman Empire.The Latin noun limes had a number of different meanings: a path or balk delimiting fields, a boundary line or marker, any road or path, any channel, such as a stream channel, or any...

 became the northern border of the empire, although the army held the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

 in the Central Lowlands
Central Lowlands
The Central Lowlands or Midland Valley is a geologically defined area of relatively low-lying land in southern Scotland. It consists of a rift valley between the Highland Boundary Fault to the north and the Southern Uplands Fault to the south...

 for two short periods—the last of these during the time of Emperor Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

 from 208 until 210.

The Roman military occupation of a significant part of northern Scotland only lasted about 40 years, although their influence on the southern section of the country, occupied by Brython
Brython
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

ic tribes such as the Votadini
Votadini
The Votadini were a people of the Iron Age in Great Britain, and their territory was briefly part of the Roman province Britannia...

 and Damnonii
Damnonii
The Damnonii were a people of the late 2nd century who lived in what is now southern Scotland. They are mentioned briefly in Ptolemy's Geography, where he uses both of the terms "Damnonii" and "Damnii" to describe them, and there is no other historical record of them. Their cultural and...

, would still have been considerable between the first and fifth centuries. The Welsh term Hen Ogledd
Hen Ogledd
Yr Hen Ogledd is a Welsh term used by scholars to refer to those parts of what is now northern England and southern Scotland in the years between 500 and the Viking invasions of c. 800, with particular interest in the Brythonic-speaking peoples who lived there.The term is derived from heroic...

 ("Old North") is used by scholars to describe the North of England and South of Scotland during its habitation by Brythonic speaking people around AD 500 to 800. In the 400s, Gaels
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

 from Ireland established the kingdom of Dál Riata
Dál Riata
Dál Riata was a Gaelic overkingdom on the western coast of Scotland with some territory on the northeast coast of Ireland...

.

Medieval period




The Kingdom of the Picts (based in Fortriu
Fortriu
Fortriu or the Kingdom of Fortriu is the name given by historians for an ancient Pictish kingdom, and often used synonymously with Pictland in general...

 by the 6th century) was the state that eventually became known as "Alba" or "Scotland". The development of "Pictland", according to the historical model developed by Peter Heather
Peter Heather
Peter Heather is a historian of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, currently Professor of Medieval History at King's College London. He has held appointments at University College London and Yale University and was Fellow and Tutor in Medieval History at Worcester College, Oxford until...

, was a natural response to Roman imperialism. Another view places emphasis on the Battle of Dun Nechtain, and the reign of Bridei m. Beli
Bridei III of the Picts
King Bridei III was king of Fortriu and overking of the Picts between 671 and his death in 693....

 (671–693), with another period of consolidation in the reign of Óengus mac Fergusa
Óengus I of the Picts
Óengus son of Fergus , was king of the Picts from 732 until his death in 761. His reign can be reconstructed in some detail from a variety of sources.Óengus became the chief king in Pictland following a period of civil war in the late 720s...

 (732–761).

The Kingdom of the Picts as it was in the early 8th century, when Bede
Bede
Bede , also referred to as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede , was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, today part of Sunderland, England, and of its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow , both in the Kingdom of Northumbria...

 was writing, was largely the same as the kingdom of the Scots in the reign of Alexander
Alexander I of Scotland
Alexander I , also called Alaxandair mac Maíl Coluim and nicknamed "The Fierce", was King of the Scots from 1107 to his death.-Life:...

 (1107–1124). However, by the tenth century, the Pictish kingdom was dominated by what we can recognise as Gaelic
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

 culture, and had developed a traditional story of an Irish conquest around the ancestor of the contemporary royal dynasty, Cináed mac Ailpín
Kenneth I of Scotland
Cináed mac Ailpín , commonly Anglicised as Kenneth MacAlpin and known in most modern regnal lists as Kenneth I was king of the Picts and, according to national myth, first king of Scots, earning him the posthumous nickname of An Ferbasach, "The Conqueror"...

 (Kenneth MacAlpin).

From a base of territory in eastern Scotland north of the River Forth
River Forth
The River Forth , long, is the major river draining the eastern part of the central belt of Scotland.The Forth rises in Loch Ard in the Trossachs, a mountainous area some west of Stirling...

 and south of the River Oykel
River Oykel
The River Oykel is a major river in northern Scotland that is famous for its salmon fishing. It rises on Ben More Assynt, a few miles from Ullapool on the west coast of Scotland, and drains into the North Sea via the Kyle of Sutherland...

, the kingdom acquired control of the lands lying to the north and south. By the 12th century, the kings of Alba had added to their territories the English-speaking land in the south-east and attained overlordship of Gaelic-speaking Galloway
Galloway
Galloway is an area in southwestern Scotland. It usually refers to the former counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbrightshire...

 and Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

-speaking Caithness
Caithness
Caithness is a registration county, lieutenancy area and historic local government area of Scotland. The name was used also for the earldom of Caithness and the Caithness constituency of the Parliament of the United Kingdom . Boundaries are not identical in all contexts, but the Caithness area is...

; by the end of the 13th century, the kingdom had assumed approximately its modern borders
Anglo-Scottish border
The Anglo-Scottish border is the official border and mark of entry between Scotland and England. It runs for 154 km between the River Tweed on the east coast and the Solway Firth in the west. It is Scotland's only land border...

. However, processes of cultural and economic change beginning in the 12th century ensured Scotland looked very different in the later Middle Ages.

The impetus for this change was the reign of King David I
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

 and the Davidian Revolution
Davidian Revolution
The Davidian Revolution is a term given by many scholars to the changes which took place in the Kingdom of Scotland during the reign of David I of Scotland...

. Feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

, government reorganisation and the first legally recognised towns (called burgh
Burgh
A burgh was an autonomous corporate entity in Scotland and Northern England, usually a town. This type of administrative division existed from the 12th century, when King David I created the first royal burghs. Burgh status was broadly analogous to borough status, found in the rest of the United...

s) began in this period. These institutions and the immigration of French and Anglo-French knights and churchmen facilitated cultural osmosis, whereby the culture and language of the low-lying and coastal parts of the kingdom's original territory in the east became, like the newly acquired south-east, English-speaking, while the rest of the country retained the Gaelic language, apart from the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland, which remained under Norse rule until 1468. The Scottish state entered a largely successful and stable period between the 12th and 14th centuries, there was relative peace with England, trade and educational links were well developed with the Continent and at the height of this cultural flowering John Duns Scotus was one of Europe's most important and influential philosophers.
The death of Alexander III
Alexander III of Scotland
Alexander III was King of Scots from 1249 to his death.-Life:...

 in March 1286, followed by that of his granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway
Margaret, Maid of Norway
Margaret , usually known as the Maid of Norway , sometimes known as Margaret of Scotland , was a Norwegian princess who was Queen of Scots from 1286 until her death...

, broke the centuries-old succession line of Scotland's kings and shattered the 200 year golden age that began with King David I
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

. Edward I of England
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

 was asked to arbitrate between claimants for the Scottish crown, and he organised a process known as the Great Cause
Competitors for the Crown of Scotland
With the death of Alexander III of Scotland in 1286 without a male heir, the throne of Scotland had become the possession of the three-year old Margaret, Maid of Norway, the granddaughter of the King...

 to identify the most legitimate claimant. John Balliol was pronounced king in the Great Hall of Berwick Castle
Berwick Castle
Berwick Castle is a ruined castle in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England.The castle was founded in the 12th century by the Scottish King David I. In 1296-8, the English King Edward I had the castle rebuilt and the town fortified, before it was returned to Scotland...

 on 17 November 1292 and inaugurated at Scone on 30 November, St. Andrew's Day
St. Andrew's Day
St Andrew's Day is the feast day of Saint Andrew. It is celebrated on 30 November.Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and St Andrew's Day is Scotland's official national day...

. Edward I, who had coerced recognition as Lord Paramount of Scotland, the feudal superior of the realm, steadily undermined John's authority. In 1294 Balliol and other Scottish lords refused Edward's demands to serve in his army against the French. Instead the Scottish parliament sent envoys to France to negotiate an alliance. Scotland and France sealed a treaty on 23 October 1295, that came to be known as the Auld Alliance
Auld Alliance
The Auld Alliance was an alliance between the kingdoms of Scotland and France. It played a significant role in the relations between Scotland, France and England from its beginning in 1295 until the 1560 Treaty of Edinburgh. The alliance was renewed by all the French and Scottish monarchs of that...

 (1295–1560). War ensued and King John was deposed by Edward who took personal control of Scotland. Andrew Moray
Andrew Moray
Andrew Moray , also known as Andrew de Moray, Andrew of Moray, or Andrew Murray, was a prominent military leader of patriotic forces during the Scottish Wars of Independence. He led the rising in northern Scotland in the summer of 1297 against the occupation by King Edward I of England,...

 and William Wallace
William Wallace
Sir William Wallace was a Scottish knight and landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence....

 initially emerged as the principal leaders of the resistance to English rule in what became known as the Wars of Scottish Independence
Wars of Scottish Independence
The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the independent Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries....

 (1296–1328).

The nature of the struggle changed significantly when Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick
Robert I of Scotland
Robert I , popularly known as Robert the Bruce , was King of Scots from March 25, 1306, until his death in 1329.His paternal ancestors were of Scoto-Norman heritage , and...

, killed rival John Comyn
John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch
John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch and Lord of Lochaber or John "the Red", also known simply as the Red Comyn was a Scottish nobleman who was an important figure in the Wars of Scottish Independence, and was Guardian of Scotland during the Second Interregnum 1296-1306...

 on 10 February 1306 at Greyfriars Kirk
Greyfriars Kirk
Greyfriars Kirk, today Greyfriars Tolbooth & Highland Kirk, is a parish kirk of the Church of Scotland in central Edinburgh, Scotland...

 in Dumfries
Dumfries
Dumfries is a market town and former royal burgh within the Dumfries and Galloway council area of Scotland. It is near the mouth of the River Nith into the Solway Firth. Dumfries was the county town of the former county of Dumfriesshire. Dumfries is nicknamed Queen of the South...

. He was crowned king (as Robert I) less than seven weeks later. Robert I battled to restore Scottish Independence as King for over 20 years, beginning by winning Scotland back from the Norman English invaders piece by piece. Victory at the Battle of Bannockburn
Battle of Bannockburn
The Battle of Bannockburn was a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence...

 in 1314 proved that the Scots had regained control of their kingdom. In 1315 Edward Bruce
Edward Bruce
Edward the Bruce , sometimes modernised Edward of Bruce, was a younger brother of King Robert I of Scotland, who supported his brother in the struggle for the crown of Scotland, then pursued his own claim in Ireland. He was proclaimed High King of Ireland, but was eventually defeated and killed in...

, brother of the King, was briefly appointed High King of Ireland
High King of Ireland
The High Kings of Ireland were sometimes historical and sometimes legendary figures who had, or who are claimed to have had, lordship over the whole of Ireland. Medieval and early modern Irish literature portrays an almost unbroken sequence of High Kings, ruling from Tara over a hierarchy of...

 during an ultimately unsuccessful Scottish invasion of Ireland aimed at strengthening Scotland's position in its wars against England. In 1320 the world's first documented declaration of independence
Declaration of independence
A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. Such places are usually declared from part or all of the territory of another nation or failed nation, or are breakaway territories from within the larger state...

, the Declaration of Arbroath
Declaration of Arbroath
The Declaration of Arbroath is a declaration of Scottish independence, made in 1320. It is in the form of a letter submitted to Pope John XXII, dated 6 April 1320, intended to confirm Scotland's status as an independent, sovereign state and defending Scotland's right to use military action when...

, won the support of Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII , born Jacques Duèze , was pope from 1316 to 1334. He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy , elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France...

, leading to the legal recognition of Scottish sovereignty by the English Crown.

However, war with England continued for several decades after the death of Bruce, and a civil war between the Bruce dynasty and their long-term Comyn-Balliol rivals lasted until the middle of the 14th century. Although the Bruce dynasty was successful, David II's
David II of Scotland
David II was King of Scots from 7 June 1329 until his death.-Early life:...

 lack of an heir allowed his nephew Robert II
Robert II of Scotland
Robert II became King of Scots in 1371 as the first monarch of the House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart, hereditary High Steward of Scotland and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert I and of his first wife Isabella of Mar...

 to come to the throne and establish the Stuart Dynasty. The Stewarts ruled Scotland for the remainder of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. The country they ruled experienced greater prosperity from the end of the 14th century through the Scottish Renaissance to the Reformation
Scottish Reformation
The Scottish Reformation was Scotland's formal break with the Papacy in 1560, and the events surrounding this. It was part of the wider European Protestant Reformation; and in Scotland's case culminated ecclesiastically in the re-establishment of the church along Reformed lines, and politically in...

. The Education Act of 1496
Education Act 1496
The Education Act 1496 was an act of the Parliament of Scotland that ordered the schooling of those who would administer the legal system at the local level. This made schooling compulsory for the first time in Scotland. The intent was to improve the administration of justice nationwide and to...

 made Scotland the first country since Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 in classical Greece
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 to implement a system of general public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

. This was despite continual warfare with England, the increasing division between Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

 and Lowlands
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

, and a large number of royal minorities.
This period was the height of the Franco-Scottish alliance. The Scots Guard – la Garde Écossaise
Garde Écossaise
The Garde Écossaise was an elite Scottish military unit founded in 1418 by the Valois Charles VII of France, to be personal bodyguards to the French monarchy. They were assimilated into the Maison du Roi and later formed the first Company of the Garde du Corps du Roi...

 – was founded in 1418 by Charles VII of France
Charles VII of France
Charles VII , called the Victorious or the Well-Served , was King of France from 1422 to his death, though he was initially opposed by Henry VI of England, whose Regent, the Duke of Bedford, ruled much of France including the capital, Paris...

. The Scots soldiers of the Garde Écossaise fought alongside Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
Saint Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" , is a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the...

 against England during the Hundred Years War. In March 1421 a Franco-Scots force under John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan
John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan
John Stewart, Earl of Buchan was a Scottish nobleman and soldier who fought alongside Scotland's French allies during the Hundred Years War. In 1419 he was sent to France by his father the Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, with an army of 6,000 men...

, and Gilbert de Lafayette, defeated a larger English army at the Battle of Baugé
Battle of Baugé
The Battle of Baugé, fought between the English and the Franco-Scots on 21 March 1421 in Baugé, France, east of Angers, was a major defeat for the English in the Hundred Years' War...

. Three years later, at the Battle of Verneuil
Battle of Verneuil
The Battle of Verneuil was a battle of the Hundred Years' War, fought on 17 August 1424 near Verneuil in Normandy and was a significant English victory.-The black time:...

, the Scots lost around 6000 men, but the Scottish intervention bought France valuable time and likely saved the country from defeat.

Early modern era



In 1502, James IV of Scotland
James IV of Scotland
James IV was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all...

 signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Henry VII of England
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

. He also married Henry's daughter, Margaret Tudor
Margaret Tudor
Margaret Tudor was the elder of the two surviving daughters of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and the elder sister of Henry VIII. In 1503, she married James IV, King of Scots. James died in 1513, and their son became King James V. She married secondly Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of...

, setting the stage for the Union of the Crowns
Union of the Crowns
The Union of the Crowns was the accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the throne of England, and the consequential unification of Scotland and England under one monarch. The Union of Crowns followed the death of James' unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I of...

. For Henry, the marriage into one of Europe's most established monarchies gave legitimacy to the new Tudor royal line. A decade later James made the fateful decision to invade England in support of France under the terms of the Auld Alliance
Auld Alliance
The Auld Alliance was an alliance between the kingdoms of Scotland and France. It played a significant role in the relations between Scotland, France and England from its beginning in 1295 until the 1560 Treaty of Edinburgh. The alliance was renewed by all the French and Scottish monarchs of that...

. He was the last British monarch to die in battle, at the Battle of Flodden. Within a generation the Auld Alliance
Auld Alliance
The Auld Alliance was an alliance between the kingdoms of Scotland and France. It played a significant role in the relations between Scotland, France and England from its beginning in 1295 until the 1560 Treaty of Edinburgh. The alliance was renewed by all the French and Scottish monarchs of that...

 was ended by the Treaty of Edinburgh
Treaty of Edinburgh
The Treaty of Edinburgh was a treaty drawn up on 5 July 1560 between the Commissioners of Queen Elizabeth I with the assent of the Scottish Lords of the Congregation, and French representatives in Scotland to formally conclude the Siege of Leith and replace the Auld Alliance with France with a new...

. France agreed to withdraw all land and naval forces and in the same year, 1560, the revolution of John Knox
John Knox
John Knox was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536...

 achieved its ultimate goal of convincing the Scottish parliament to revoke papal authority in Scotland. Mary, Queen of Scots, a Catholic and former queen of France, was forced to abdicate in 1567.


In 1603, James VI King of Scots inherited the throne of the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

, and became King James I of England, and left Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 for London. With the exception of a short period under the Protectorate
The Protectorate
In British history, the Protectorate was the period 1653–1659 during which the Commonwealth of England was governed by a Lord Protector.-Background:...

, Scotland remained a separate state, but there was considerable conflict between the crown and the Covenanters over the form of church government. The Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 of 1688–89 saw the overthrow of the King James II of England by the English Parliament in favour of William and Mary
William and Mary
The phrase William and Mary usually refers to the coregency over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, of King William III & II and Queen Mary II...

. As late as the 1690s, Scotland experienced famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

, which reduced the population of parts of the country by at least 20 percent.

In 1698, the Scots attempted an ambitious project to secure a trading colony on the Isthmus of Panama
Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal...

. Almost every Scottish landowner who had money to spare is said to have invested in the Darien scheme
Darién scheme
The Darién scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to become a world trading nation by establishing a colony called "New Caledonia" on the Isthmus of Panama in the late 1690s...

. Its failure bankrupted these landowners, but not the burghs, which remained cash rich. Nevertheless, the nobles' bankruptcy, along with the threat of an English invasion, played a leading role in convincing the Scots elite to back a union with England.

On 22 July 1706, the Treaty of Union
Treaty of Union
The Treaty of Union is the name given to the agreement that led to the creation of the united kingdom of Great Britain, the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which took effect on 1 May 1707...

 was agreed between representatives of the Scots Parliament
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 and the Parliament of England
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

 and the following year twin Acts of Union
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

 were passed by both parliaments to create the united Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 with effect from 1 May 1707.

18th century


With trade tariffs with England now abolished, trade blossomed, especially with Colonial America
Colonial America
The colonial history of the United States covers the history from the start of European settlement and especially the history of the thirteen colonies of Britain until they declared independence in 1776. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain and the Netherlands launched major...

. The clippers belonging to the Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 Tobacco Lords
Tobacco Lords
The Tobacco Lords were Glasgow merchants who, in the 18th Century made enormous fortunes by trading in tobacco from Great Britain's American Colonies....

 were the fastest ships on the route to Virginia. Until the American War of Independence in 1776, Glasgow was the world's premier tobacco port, dominating world trade. The disparity between the wealth of the merchant classes of the Scottish Lowlands
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

 and the ancient clans of the Scottish Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

 grew, amplifying centuries of division.


The deposed Jacobite Stuart
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 claimants had remained popular in the Highlands and north-east, particularly amongst non-Presbyterians. However, two major Jacobite risings
Jacobite rising
The Jacobite Risings were a series of uprisings, rebellions, and wars in Great Britain and Ireland occurring between 1688 and 1746. The uprisings were aimed at returning James VII of Scotland and II of England, and later his descendants of the House of Stuart, to the throne after he was deposed by...

 launched in 1715 and 1745 failed to remove the House of Hanover
House of Hanover
The House of Hanover is a deposed German royal dynasty which has ruled the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , the Kingdom of Hanover, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 from the British throne. The threat of the Jacobite movement to the United Kingdom and its monarchs effectively ended at the Battle of Culloden
Battle of Culloden
The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Taking place on 16 April 1746, the battle pitted the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart against an army commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, loyal to the British government...

, Great Britain's last pitched battle
Pitched battle
A pitched battle is a battle where both sides choose to fight at a chosen location and time and where either side has the option to disengage either before the battle starts, or shortly after the first armed exchanges....

. This defeat paved the way for large-scale removals of the indigenous populations of the Highlands and Islands, known as the Highland Clearances
Highland Clearances
The Highland Clearances were forced displacements of the population of the Scottish Highlands during the 18th and 19th centuries. They led to mass emigration to the sea coast, the Scottish Lowlands, and the North American colonies...

.

The Scottish Enlightenment
Scottish Enlightenment
The Scottish Enlightenment was the period in 18th century Scotland characterised by an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By 1750, Scots were among the most literate citizens of Europe, with an estimated 75% level of literacy...

 and the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 made Scotland into an intellectual, commercial and industrial powerhouse. So much so that Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 said "We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation." With the demise of Jacobitism and the advent of the Union thousands of Scots, mainly Lowlanders, took up numerous positions of power in politics, civil service, the army and navy, trade, economics, colonial enterprises and other areas across the nascent British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. Historian Neil Davidson notes that “after 1746 there was an entirely new level of participation by Scots in political life, particularly outside Scotland.” Davidson also states that “far from being ‘peripheral’ to the British economy, Scotland – or more precisely, the Lowlands – lay at its core.”

19th century


Scotland became known across the world for its excellence in engineering, as typified by the Clyde
River Clyde
The River Clyde is a major river in Scotland. It is the ninth longest river in the United Kingdom, and the third longest in Scotland. Flowing through the major city of Glasgow, it was an important river for shipbuilding and trade in the British Empire....

 built ships and locomotives built in Glasgow. Prefabricated cast iron buildings made in Scotland are still in use in India, South America and Australia.
Prominent scientists, engineers and architects of the industrial age included David Dale
David Dale
David Dale was a Scottish merchant and businessman, known for establishing the influential weaving community of New Lanark, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland and is credited along with his son in law Robert Owen of being a founder of utopian socialism and a founding father of socialism-Early...

, Joseph Black
Joseph Black
Joseph Black FRSE FRCPE FPSG was a Scottish physician and chemist, known for his discoveries of latent heat, specific heat, and carbon dioxide. He was professor of Medicine at University of Glasgow . James Watt, who was appointed as philosophical instrument maker at the same university...

, Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford FRS, FRSE was a Scottish civil engineer, architect and stonemason, and a noted road, bridge and canal builder.-Early career:...

, Robert Stevenson
Robert Stevenson (civil engineer)
Robert Stevenson FRSE MInstCE FSAS MWS FGS FRAS FSA was a Scottish civil engineer and famed designer and builder of lighthouses.One of his finest achievements was the construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.-Early life:...

, James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

, James Nasmyth
James Nasmyth
James Hall Nasmyth was a Scottish engineer and inventor famous for his development of the steam hammer. He was the co-founder of Nasmyth, Gaskell and Company manufacturers of machine tools...

, Robert Adam
Robert Adam
Robert Adam was a Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam , Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him...

 and John MacAdam
John Macadam
Dr. John Macadam , was an Australian chemist, medical teacher and politician. The genus Macadamia was named after him in 1857 by his colleague Ferdinand von Mueller....

.

Scottish diaspora


Scots born migrants also played a leading role in the foundation and principles of the United States (John Witherspoon
John Witherspoon
John Witherspoon was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Jersey. As president of the College of New Jersey , he trained many leaders of the early nation and was the only active clergyman and the only college president to sign the Declaration...

, John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones was a Scottish sailor and the United States' first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War. Although he made enemies among America's political elites, his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to...

, Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century...

), Canada (John A MacDonald, James Murray, Tommy Douglas
Tommy Douglas
Thomas Clement "Tommy" Douglas, was a Scottish-born Baptist minister who became a prominent Canadian social democratic politician...

), Australia (Lachlan Macquarie
Lachlan Macquarie
Major-General Lachlan Macquarie CB , was a British military officer and colonial administrator. He served as the last autocratic Governor of New South Wales, Australia from 1810 to 1821 and had a leading role in the social, economic and architectural development of the colony...

, Thomas Brisbane
Thomas Brisbane
Major-General Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, 1st Baronet GCH, GCB, FRS, FRSE was a British soldier, colonial Governor and astronomer.-Early life:...

, Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher was an Australian politician who served as the fifth Prime Minister on three separate occasions. Fisher's 1910-13 Labor ministry completed a vast legislative programme which made him, along with Protectionist Alfred Deakin, the founder of the statutory structure of the new nation...

), and New Zealand. (James Mckenzie, Peter Fraser)

First and Second World Wars



Scotland played a major role in the British effort in the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. It especially provided manpower, ships, machinery, fish and money. With a population of 4.8 million in 1911, Scotland sent over half a million men to the war, of whom over a quarter died in combat or from disease, and 150,000 were seriously wounded. Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig
Douglas Haig
Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig was a British soldier and senior commander during World War I.Douglas Haig may also refer to:* Club Atlético Douglas Haig, a football club from Argentina* Douglas Haig , American actor...

, was Britain's commander on the Western Front.

The war saw the emergence of a radical movement called "Red Clydeside
Red Clydeside
Red Clydeside is a term used to describe the era of political radicalism that characterised the city of Glasgow in Scotland, and urban areas around the city on the banks of the River Clyde such as Clydebank, Greenock and Paisley...

" led by militant trades unionists. Formerly a Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 stronghold, the industrial districts switched to Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 by 1922, with a base among the Irish Catholic
Irish Catholic
Irish Catholic is a term used to describe people who are both Roman Catholic and Irish .Note: the term is not used to describe a variant of Catholicism. More particularly, it is not a separate creed or sect in the sense that "Anglo-Catholic", "Old Catholic", "Eastern Orthodox Catholic" might be...

 working class districts. Women were especially active in building neighbourhood solidarity on housing issues. However, the "Reds" operated within the Labour Party and had little influence in Parliament and the mood changed to passive despair by the late 1920s.

The shipbuilding industry expanded by a third and expected renewed prosperity, but instead a serious depression hit the economy by 1922 and it did not fully recover until 1939. The interwar years were marked by economic stagnation in rural and urban areas, and high unemployment. Indeed, the war brought with it deep social, cultural, economic, and political dislocations. Thoughtful Scots pondered their declension, as the main social indicators such as poor health, bad housing, and long-term mass unemployment, pointed to terminal social and economic stagnation at best, or even a downward spiral. Service abroad on behalf of the Empire lost its allure to ambitious young people, who left Scotland permanently. The heavy dependence on obsolescent heavy industry and mining was a central problem, and no one offered workable solutions. The despair reflected what Finlay (1994) describes as a widespread sense of hopelessness that prepared local business and political leaders to accept a new orthodoxy of centralized government economic planning when it arrived during the Second World War.

The Second World War brought renewed prosperity, despite extensive bombing of cities by the Luftwaffe. It saw the invention of radar by Robert Watson-Watt
Robert Watson-Watt
Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, KCB, FRS, FRAeS is considered by many to be the "inventor of radar". Development of radar, initially nameless, was first started elsewhere but greatly expanded on 1 September 1936 when Watson-Watt became...

, which was invaluable in the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

 as was the leadership at RAF Fighter Command
RAF Fighter Command
RAF Fighter Command was one of three functional commands of the Royal Air Force. It was formed in 1936 to allow more specialised control of fighter aircraft. It served throughout the Second World War, gaining recognition in the Battle of Britain. The Command continued until 17 November 1943, when...

 of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding.

Since 1945


After 1945, Scotland's economic situation became progressively worse due to overseas competition, inefficient industry, and industrial disputes. Only in recent decades has the country enjoyed something of a cultural and economic renaissance. Economic factors that have contributed to this recovery include a resurgent financial services industry, electronics manufacturing
Electronics manufacturing
The industrial electronics manufacturing process for the electronic assemblies found in many of today's electronic devices, is a multi-step process.-Component and PCB manufacturing:...

, (see Silicon Glen
Silicon Glen
Silicon Glen is a nickname for the high tech sector of Scotland. It is applied to the Central Belt triangle between Dundee, Inverclyde and Edinburgh, which includes Fife, Glasgow and Stirling; although electronics facilities outside this area may also be included in the term. The term has been in...

), and the North Sea oil
North Sea oil
North Sea oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons, comprising liquid oil and natural gas, produced from oil reservoirs beneath the North Sea.In the oil industry, the term "North Sea" often includes areas such as the Norwegian Sea and the area known as "West of Shetland", "the Atlantic Frontier" or "the...

 and gas industry. The introduction in 1989 by Margaret Thatcher's government of the Community Charge
Community Charge
The Community Charge, popularly known as the "poll tax", was a system of taxation introduced in replacement of the rates to part fund local government in Scotland from 1989, and England and Wales from 1990. It provided for a single flat-rate per-capita tax on every adult, at a rate set by the...

 (widely known as the Poll Tax) one year before the rest of the United Kingdom, contributed to a growing movement for a return to direct Scottish control over domestic affairs. Following a referendum on devolution proposals in 1997, the Scotland Act 1998
Scotland Act 1998
The Scotland Act 1998 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is the Act which established the devolved Scottish Parliament.The Act will be amended by the Scotland Bill 2011, if and when it receives royal assent.-History:...

 was passed by the United Kingdom Parliament to establish a devolved Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

 and Scottish Government with responsibility for most laws specific to Scotland.

Government and politics


Scotland's head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 is the monarch of the United Kingdom, currently Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 (since 1952). The title Elizabeth II caused controversy around the time of the queen's coronation, as there had never been an Elizabeth I in Scotland. A legal case, MacCormick v. Lord Advocate
MacCormick v. Lord Advocate
MacCormick v Lord Advocate was a Scottish legal action in which John MacCormick and Ian Hamilton contested the right of Queen Elizabeth II to style herself ‘Elizabeth II’ within Scotland...

 (1953 SC 396), was taken to contest the right of the Queen to title herself Elizabeth II within Scotland, arguing that to do so would be a breach of Article 1 of the Treaty of Union.

The Lord Advocate
Lord Advocate
Her Majesty's Advocate , known as the Lord Advocate , is the chief legal officer of the Scottish Government and the Crown in Scotland for both civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament...

 won the case and it was decided that future British monarchs would be numbered
Monarchical ordinal
Ordinal numbers or regnal numbers are used to distinguish among persons with the same name who held the same office. Most importantly, they are used to distinguish monarchs...

 according to either their English or Scottish predecessors, whichever number is higher. Hence, any future King James would be styled James VIII (since the last Scottish King James was James VII (also James II of England, etc.)) while the next King Henry would be King Henry IX throughout the UK despite the fact that there have been no Scottish kings of the name.

Scotland has partial self-government within the United Kingdom as well as representation in the UK Parliament. Executive and legislative powers have been devolved to, respectively, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood
Holyrood, Edinburgh
Holyrood is an area in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Lying east of the city centre, at the end of the Royal Mile, Holyrood was once in the separate burgh of Canongate before the expansion of Edinburgh in 1856...

 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

. The United Kingdom Parliament retains power over a set list of areas explicitly specified in the Scotland Act 1998
Scotland Act 1998
The Scotland Act 1998 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is the Act which established the devolved Scottish Parliament.The Act will be amended by the Scotland Bill 2011, if and when it receives royal assent.-History:...

 as reserved matters
Reserved matters
In the United Kingdom reserved matters and excepted matters are the areas of government policy where Parliament had kept the power to make laws in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales....

, including, for example, levels of UK taxes, social security, defence, international relations and broadcasting.

The Scottish Parliament has legislative authority for all other areas relating to Scotland, as well as limited power to vary income tax
Tartan tax
The Scottish Variable Rate is a mechanism which enables the Scottish Government to vary the basic rate of UK income tax by up to 3p in the pound...

, a power it has yet to exercise. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in a BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland is a constituent part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly-funded broadcaster of the United Kingdom. It is, in effect, the national broadcaster for Scotland, having a considerable amount of autonomy from the BBC's London headquarters, and is run by the BBC Trust, who...

 interview, indicated that the Scottish Parliament could be given more tax-raising powers.

The Scottish Parliament can give legislative consent over devolved matters back to Westminster by passing a Legislative Consent Motion if United Kingdom-wide legislation is considered to be more appropriate for a certain issue. The programmes of legislation enacted by the Scottish Parliament have seen a divergence in the provision of public services
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

 compared to the rest of the United Kingdom. For instance, the costs of a university education, and care services for the elderly are free at point of use in Scotland, while fees are paid in the rest of the UK. Scotland was the first country in the UK to ban smoking in enclosed public places.


The Scottish Parliament is a unicameral legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

 comprising 129 Members, 73 of whom represent individual constituencies and are elected on a first past the post system; 56 are elected in eight different electoral regions by the additional member system, serving for a four year period. The Queen appoints one Member of the Scottish Parliament
Member of the Scottish Parliament
Member of the Scottish Parliament is the title given to any one of the 129 individuals elected to serve in the Scottish Parliament.-Methods of Election:MSPs are elected in one of two ways:...

, (MSP), on the nomination of the Parliament, to be First Minister
First Minister of Scotland
The First Minister of Scotland is the political leader of Scotland and head of the Scottish Government. The First Minister chairs the Scottish Cabinet and is primarily responsible for the formulation, development and presentation of Scottish Government policy...

. Other Ministers are also appointed by the Queen on the nomination of the Parliament and together with the First Minister they make up the Scottish Government, the executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 arm of government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

.

In the 2011 election
Scottish Parliament election, 2011
The 2011 Scottish Parliament general election was held on Thursday, 5 May 2011 to elect 129 members to the Scottish Parliament.The election delivered the first majority government since the opening of Holyrood, a remarkable feat as the mixed member proportional representation system is used to...

, the Scottish National Party
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a social-democratic political party in Scotland which campaigns for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom....

 (SNP) formed a majority government after winning 69 of the 129 seat Parliament; This was the first majority government since the modern post-devolutionary Scottish Parliament was established in 1999. The leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond
Alexander Elliot Anderson "Alex" Salmond MSP is a Scottish politician and current First Minister of Scotland. He became Scotland's fourth First Minister in May 2007. He is the Leader of the Scottish National Party , having served as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Gordon...

, continued as First Minister. The Labour Party
Scottish Labour Party
The Scottish Labour Party is the section of the British Labour Party which operates in Scotland....

 continued as the largest opposition party, with the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats
Scottish Liberal Democrats
The Scottish Liberal Democrats are one of the three state parties within the federal Liberal Democrats; the others being the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrats in England...

, and the Green Party
Scottish Green Party
The Scottish Green Party is a green party in Scotland. It has two MSPs in the devolved Scottish Parliament, Alison Johnstone, representing Lothian, and Patrick Harvie, for Glasgow.-Organisation:...

 also represented in the Parliament. Margo MacDonald
Margo MacDonald
Margo MacDonald MSP is a Scottish politician and former Scottish National Party MP and Deputy Leader...

 is the only independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

 MSP sitting in Parliament. The next Scottish Parliament general election
Scottish Parliament general election, 2016
The 2016 Scottish Parliament general election is due to be held on Thursday 5 May 2016 to elect 129 members to the Scottish Parliament. It would be the fifth general election since the devolved parliament was established in 1999.-Date:...

 will be held on 5 May 2016. The Scotland Bill
Scotland Bill 2011
The Scotland Bill is a bill proposed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition UK Government, with broad support from the opposition Labour Party, setting out amendments to the Scotland Act 1998, with the aim of devolving further powers to Scotland....

, put forward by the Calman Commission and cleared by the UK House of Commons, proposes devolving more power to Scotland. The bill has yet to be put into legislation. The Scottish National Party, who did not take part in the consultation, believe the bill does not devolve enough powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Scotland is represented in the British House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 by 59 MPs elected from territory-based Scottish constituencies. The Scotland Office
Scotland Office
The Scotland Office is a United Kingdom government department headed by the Secretary of State for Scotland and responsible for Scottish affairs...

 represents the UK government in Scotland on reserved matters and represents Scottish interests within the UK government. The Scotland office is led by the Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State for Scotland
The Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Scotland. He heads the Scotland Office , a government department based in London and Edinburgh. The post was created soon after the Union of the Crowns, but was...

, who sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

, the current incumbent being Michael Moore
Michael Moore (UK politician)
Michael Kevin Moore is a British Liberal Democrat politician, currently the Secretary of State for Scotland in the UK coalition government, and the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk....

.

Administrative subdivisions



Historical subdivisions of Scotland included the mormaerdom, stewartry, earldom, burgh
Burgh
A burgh was an autonomous corporate entity in Scotland and Northern England, usually a town. This type of administrative division existed from the 12th century, when King David I created the first royal burghs. Burgh status was broadly analogous to borough status, found in the rest of the United...

, parish
Parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

, county
Counties of Scotland
The counties of Scotland were the principal local government divisions of Scotland until 1975. Scotland's current lieutenancy areas and registration counties are largely based on them. They are often referred to as historic counties....

 and regions and districts
Regions and districts of Scotland
The local government areas of Scotland were redefined by the Local Government Act 1973 and redefined again by the Local Government etc Act 1994....

. These names are still sometimes used as geographical descriptors.

Modern Scotland is subdivided in various ways depending on the purpose. For local government
Local government of Scotland
Local government in Scotland is organised through 32 unitary authorities designated as Councils which consist of councillors elected every four years by registered voters in each of the council areas....

, there have been 32 council areas since 1996, whose councils are unitary authorities responsible for the provision of all local government services. Community council
Community council
A community council is a public representative body in Great Britain.In England they may be statutory parish councils by another name, under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, or they may be non-statutory bodies...

s are informal organisations that represent specific sub-divisions of a council area.

For the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

, there are 73 constituencies
Scottish Parliament constituencies and regions
Scottish Parliament constituencies and regions were first used in 1999, in the first general election of the Scottish Parliament , created by the Scotland Act 1998....

 and eight regions. For the Parliament of the United Kingdom, there are 59 constituencies. The Scottish fire brigades and police forces are still based on the system of regions introduced in 1975. For healthcare and postal districts, and a number of other governmental and non-governmental organisations such as the churches, there are other long-standing methods of subdividing Scotland for the purposes of administration.

City status in the United Kingdom
City status in the United Kingdom
City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the British monarch to a select group of communities. The holding of city status gives a settlement no special rights other than that of calling itself a "city". Nonetheless, this appellation carries its own prestige and, consequently, competitions...

 is conferred by letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

. There are six cities in Scotland: Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

, Dundee
Dundee
Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland and the 39th most populous settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea...

, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, most recently Inverness
Inverness
Inverness is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for the Highland council area, and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland...

, and Stirling
Stirling
Stirling is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town beside the River Forth...

.

Scotland within the UK



A policy of devolution
Devolution
Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to government at a subnational level, such as a regional, local, or state level. Devolution can be mainly financial, e.g. giving areas a budget which was formerly administered by central government...

 had been advocated by the three main UK parties with varying enthusiasm during recent history. The late Labour leader John Smith
John Smith (UK politician)
John Smith was a British Labour Party politician who served as Leader of the Labour Party from July 1992 until his sudden death from a heart attack in May 1994...

 described the revival of a Scottish parliament as the "settled will of the Scottish people". The constitutional status of Scotland is nonetheless subject to ongoing debate. In 2007, the Scottish Government established a "National Conversation
National Conversation
The National Conversation was the name given to the Scottish Government's public consultation exercise regarding possible future changes in the power of the devolved Scottish Parliament and the possibility of Scottish independence, a policy objective of the Scottish National Party, who at the time...

" on constitutional issues, proposing a number of options such as increasing the powers of the Scottish Parliament, federalism
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

, or a referendum on Scottish independence
Scottish independence
Scottish independence is a political ambition of political parties, advocacy groups and individuals for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom and become an independent sovereign state, separate from England, Wales and Northern Ireland....

 from the United Kingdom. In rejecting the last option, the three main opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament have proposed a separate Scottish Constitutional Commission
Scottish Constitutional Commission
The Scottish Constitutional Commission is an independent and non-partisan think-tank founded in 2005 by John Drummond, Chris Thomson and Canon Kenyon Wright, formerly of the Scottish Constitutional Convention...

 to investigate the distribution of powers between devolved Scottish and UK-wide bodies. In August 2009 the SNP proposed a referendum bill to hold a referendum on independence in November 2010. Immediate opposition from all other major parties led to an expected defeat.
These plans were put on hold by the Scottish National Party
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a social-democratic political party in Scotland which campaigns for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom....

 until after the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections. With the outcome of the May 2011 elections allowing an SNP majority in the Scottish Parliament, a referendum on Scotland's future within the UK is likely to be held at some point during this term in government.

Law and criminal justice



Scots law has a basis derived from Roman law
Roman law
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments which occurred before the 7th century AD — when the Roman–Byzantine state adopted Greek as the language of government. The development of Roman law comprises more than a thousand years of jurisprudence — from the Twelve...

, combining features of both uncodified civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

, dating back to the Corpus Juris Civilis
Corpus Juris Civilis
The Corpus Juris Civilis is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor...

, and common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 with medieval sources
Legal institutions of Scotland in the High Middle Ages
Scottish legal institutions in the High Middle Ages are, for the purposes of this article, the informal and formal systems which governed and helped to manage Scottish society between the years 900 and 1288, a period roughly corresponding with the general European era usually called the High Middle...

. The terms of the Treaty of Union with England in 1707 guaranteed the continued existence of a separate legal system
Legal systems of the world
The legal systems of the world today are generally based on one of three basic systems: civil law, common law, and religious law – or combinations of these...

 in Scotland from that of England and Wales
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

. Prior to 1611, there were several regional law systems in Scotland, most notably Udal law
Udal Law
Udal law is a near-defunct Norse derived legal system, which is found in Shetland and Orkney, Scotland and in Manx law at the Isle of Man. It is closely related to Odelsrett....

 in Orkney and Shetland, based on old Norse law
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

. Various other systems derived from common Celtic
Celtic law
A number of law codes have in the past been in use in Celtic countries. While these vary considerably in details, there are certain points of similarity....

 or Brehon laws
Brehon Laws
Early Irish law refers to the statutes that governed everyday life and politics in Early Medieval Ireland. They were partially eclipsed by the Norman invasion of 1169, but underwent a resurgence in the 13th century, and survived into Early Modern Ireland in parallel with English law over the...

 survived in the Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

 until the 1800s.

Scots law provides for three types of courts
Courts of Scotland
The civil, criminal and heraldic Courts of Scotland are responsible for the administration of justice. They are constituted and governed by Scots law....

 responsible for the administration of justice: civil
Private law
Private law is that part of a civil law legal system which is part of the jus commune that involves relationships between individuals, such as the law of contracts or torts, as it is called in the common law, and the law of obligations as it is called in civilian legal systems...

, criminal
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 and heraldic
Law of Arms
The law of heraldic arms governs the "bearing of arms", that is, the possession, use or display of arms, also called coats of arms, coat armour or armorial bearings. Although it is believed that the original function of coats of arms was to enable knights to identify each other on the battlefield,...

. The supreme civil court is the Court of Session
Court of Session
The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland, and constitutes part of the College of Justice. It sits in Parliament House in Edinburgh and is both a court of first instance and a court of appeal....

, although civil appeals can be taken to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the supreme court in all matters under English law, Northern Ireland law and Scottish civil law. It is the court of last resort and highest appellate court in the United Kingdom; however the High Court of Justiciary remains the supreme court for criminal...

 (or before 1 October 2009, the House of Lords
Judicial functions of the House of Lords
The House of Lords, in addition to having a legislative function, historically also had a judicial function. It functioned as a court of first instance for the trials of peers, for impeachment cases, and as a court of last resort within the United Kingdom. In the latter case the House's...

). The High Court of Justiciary
High Court of Justiciary
The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court of Scotland.The High Court is both a court of first instance and a court of appeal. As a court of first instance, the High Court sits mainly in Parliament House, or in the former Sheriff Court building, in Edinburgh, but also sits from time...

 is the supreme criminal court in Scotland. The Court of Session
Court of Session
The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland, and constitutes part of the College of Justice. It sits in Parliament House in Edinburgh and is both a court of first instance and a court of appeal....

 is housed at Parliament House
Parliament House, Edinburgh
Parliament House in Edinburgh, Scotland, was home to the pre-Union Parliament of Scotland, and now houses the Supreme Courts of Scotland. It is located in the Old Town, just off the Royal Mile, opposite St Giles Cathedral.-Parliament Hall:...

, in Edinburgh, which was the home of the pre-Union Parliament of Scotland
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 with the High Court of Justiciary
High Court of Justiciary
The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court of Scotland.The High Court is both a court of first instance and a court of appeal. As a court of first instance, the High Court sits mainly in Parliament House, or in the former Sheriff Court building, in Edinburgh, but also sits from time...

 and the Supreme Court of Appeal currently located at the Lawnmarket. The sheriff court
Sheriff Court
Sheriff courts provide the local court service in Scotland, with each court serving a sheriff court district within a sheriffdom.Sheriff courts deal with a myriad of legal procedures which include:*Solemn and Summary Criminal cases...

 is the main criminal and civil court, hearing most of the cases. There are 49 sheriff courts throughout the country. District courts
District Courts of Scotland
A District Court was the least authoritative type of criminal court in Scotland. The court operated under summary procedure and dealt primarily with minor criminal offences...

 were introduced in 1975 for minor offences and small claims. The Court of the Lord Lyon
Court of the Lord Lyon
The Court of the Lord Lyon, also known as the Lyon Court, is a standing court of law which regulates heraldry in Scotland. Like the College of Arms in England it maintains the register of grants of arms, known as the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, as well as records of...

 regulates heraldry.

For many decades the Scots legal system was unique for a period in being the only legal system without a parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

. This ended with the advent of the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

, which legislates for Scotland. Many features within the system have been preserved. Within criminal law, the Scots legal system is unique in having three possible verdict
Verdict
In law, a verdict is the formal finding of fact made by a jury on matters or questions submitted to the jury by a judge. The term, from the Latin veredictum, literally means "to say the truth" and is derived from Middle English verdit, from Anglo-Norman: a compound of ver and dit In law, a verdict...

s: "guilt
Guilt (law)
In criminal law, guilt is entirely externally defined by the state, or more generally a “court of law.” Being “guilty” of a criminal offense means that one has committed a violation of criminal law, or performed all the elements of the offense set out by a criminal statute...

y", "not guilty" and "not proven
Not proven
Not proven is a verdict available to a court in Scotland.Under Scots law, a criminal trial may end in one of three verdicts: one of conviction and two of acquittal ....

". Both "not guilty" and "not proven" result in an acquittal
Acquittal
In the common law tradition, an acquittal formally certifies the accused is free from the charge of an offense, as far as the criminal law is concerned. This is so even where the prosecution is abandoned nolle prosequi...

 with no possibility of retrial. Many laws differ between Scotland and the rest of Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, whereas many terms differ. Manslaughter
Manslaughter
Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is said to have first been made by the Ancient Athenian lawmaker Dracon in the 7th century BC.The law generally differentiates...

, in England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

, becomes culpable homicide
Culpable homicide
Culpable homicide is a specific offence in various jurisdictions within the Commonwealth of Nations which involves the illegal killing of a person either with or without an intention to kill depending upon how a particular jurisdiction has defined the offence...

 in Scotland, and arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

 becomes wilful fireraising. Procedure also differs. Scots juries consist of fifteen, not twelve jurors as is more common in English-speaking countries.

The civil legal system has however attracted much recent criticism from a senior Scottish Judge who referred to it as being "Victorian" and antiquated. The Scottish Prison Service
Scottish Prison Service
The Scottish Prison Service is an executive agency of the Scottish Government tasked with managing prisons in Scotland...

 (SPS) manages the prisons in Scotland, which collectively house over 8,500 prisoners. The Cabinet Secretary for Justice is responsible for the Scottish Prison Service within the Scottish Government.

Geography and natural history




The mainland of Scotland comprises the northern third of the land mass of the island of Great Britain, which lies off the northwest coast of Continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

. The total area is 78772 km² (30,414 sq mi), comparable to the size of the Czech Republic. Scotland's only land border is with England, and runs for 96 kilometres (60 mi) between the basin of the River Tweed
River Tweed
The River Tweed, or Tweed Water, is long and flows primarily through the Borders region of Great Britain. It rises on Tweedsmuir at Tweed's Well near where the Clyde, draining northwest, and the Annan draining south also rise. "Annan, Tweed and Clyde rise oot the ae hillside" as the Border saying...

 on the east coast and the Solway Firth
Solway Firth
The Solway Firth is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria, to the Mull of Galloway, on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. The Isle of Man is also very...

 in the west. The Atlantic Ocean borders the west coast and the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 is to the east. The island of Ireland lies only 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the southwestern peninsula of Kintyre
Kintyre
Kintyre is a peninsula in western Scotland, in the southwest of Argyll and Bute. The region stretches approximately 30 miles , from the Mull of Kintyre in the south, to East Loch Tarbert in the north...

; Norway is 305 kilometres (190 mi) to the east and the Faroes, 270 kilometres (168 mi) to the north.

The territorial extent of Scotland is generally that established by the 1237 Treaty of York
Treaty of York
The Treaty of York was an agreement between Henry III of England and Alexander II of Scotland, signed at York on 25 September 1237. It detailed the future status of several feudal properties and addressed other issues between the two kings, and indirectly marked the end of Scotland's attempts to...

 between Scotland and the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and the 1266 Treaty of Perth
Treaty of Perth
The Treaty of Perth, 1266, ended military conflict between Norway, under King Magnus VI of Norway, and Scotland, under King Alexander III, over the sovereignty of the Hebrides and the Isle of Man....

 between Scotland and Norway. Important exceptions include the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...

, which having been lost to England in the 14th century is now a crown dependency
Crown dependency
The Crown Dependencies are British possessions of the Crown, as opposed to overseas territories of the United Kingdom. They comprise the Channel Island Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel, and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea....

 outside of the United Kingdom; the island groups Orkney and Shetland, which were acquired from Norway in 1472; and Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick-upon-Tweed or simply Berwick is a town in the county of Northumberland and is the northernmost town in England, on the east coast at the mouth of the River Tweed. It is situated 2.5 miles south of the Scottish border....

, lost to England in 1482.

The geographical centre of Scotland
Centre of Scotland
There is some debate as to the location of the geographical centre of Scotland. This is due to different methods of calculating the centre, and whether surrounding islands are included....

 lies a few miles from the village of Newtonmore
Newtonmore
Newtonmore is a village in the Highland council area of Scotland. It has a population of about 1000. The village is only a few miles from a location that is claimed to be the exact geographical centre of Scotland...

 in Badenoch
Badenoch
Badenoch is a traditional district which today forms part of Badenoch and Strathspey, an area of Highland Council, in Scotland, bounded on the north by the Monadhliath Mountains, on the east by the Cairngorms and Braemar, on the south by Atholl and the Grampians, and on the west by Lochaber...

. Rising to 1344 metres (4,409 ft) above sea level, Scotland's highest point is the summit of Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles. It is located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, close to the town of Fort William....

, in Lochaber
Lochaber
District of Lochaber 1975 to 1996Highland council area shown as one of the council areas of ScotlandLochaber is one of the 16 ward management areas of the Highland Council of Scotland and one of eight former local government districts of the two-tier Highland region...

, while Scotland's longest river, the River Tay
River Tay
The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland and the seventh-longest in the United Kingdom. The Tay originates in western Scotland on the slopes of Ben Lui , then flows easterly across the Highlands, through Loch Dochhart, Loch Lubhair and Loch Tay, then continues east through Strathtay , in...

, flows for a distance of 190 kilometres (118 mi).

Geology and geomorphology




The whole of Scotland was covered by ice sheets during the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 ice ages and the landscape is much affected by glaciation. From a geological
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 perspective the country has three main sub-divisions.

Highlands and islands


The Highlands and Islands
Highlands and Islands
The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are broadly the Scottish Highlands plus Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides.The Highlands and Islands are sometimes defined as the area to which the Crofters' Act of 1886 applied...

 lie to the north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault
Highland Boundary Fault
The Highland Boundary Fault is a geological fault that traverses Scotland from Arran and Helensburgh on the west coast to Stonehaven in the east...

, which runs from Arran
Isle of Arran
Arran or the Isle of Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, and with an area of is the seventh largest Scottish island. It is in the unitary council area of North Ayrshire and the 2001 census had a resident population of 5,058...

 to Stonehaven
Stonehaven
Stonehaven is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It lies on Scotland's northeast coast and had a population of 9,577 in 2001 census.Stonehaven, county town of Kincardineshire, grew around an Iron Age fishing village, now the "Auld Toon" , and expanded inland from the seaside...

. This part of Scotland largely comprises ancient rocks from the Cambrian
Cambrian
The Cambrian is the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, lasting from Mya ; it is succeeded by the Ordovician. Its subdivisions, and indeed its base, are somewhat in flux. The period was established by Adam Sedgwick, who named it after Cambria, the Latin name for Wales, where Britain's...

 and Precambrian
Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

, which were uplifted during the later Caledonian Orogeny
Caledonian orogeny
The Caledonian orogeny is a mountain building era recorded in the northern parts of the British Isles, the Scandinavian Mountains, Svalbard, eastern Greenland and parts of north-central Europe. The Caledonian orogeny encompasses events that occurred from the Ordovician to Early Devonian, roughly...

. It is interspersed with igneous intrusions of a more recent age, the remnants of which have formed mountain massifs such as the Cairngorms
Cairngorms
The Cairngorms are a mountain range in the eastern Highlands of Scotland closely associated with the mountain of the same name - Cairn Gorm.-Name:...

 and Skye
Skye
Skye or the Isle of Skye is the largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island's peninsulas radiate out from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillin hills...

 Cuillins.

A significant exception to the above are the fossil-bearing beds of Old Red Sandstone
Old Red Sandstone
The Old Red Sandstone is a British rock formation of considerable importance to early paleontology. For convenience the short version of the term, 'ORS' is often used in literature on the subject.-Sedimentology:...

s found principally along the Moray Firth
Moray Firth
The Moray Firth is a roughly triangular inlet of the North Sea, north and east of Inverness, which is in the Highland council area of north of Scotland...

 coast. The Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

 are generally mountainous and the highest elevations in the British Isles are found here. Scotland has over 790 islands, which are divided into four main groups: Shetland
Shetland Islands
Shetland is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies north and east of mainland Great Britain. The islands lie some to the northeast of Orkney and southeast of the Faroe Islands and form part of the division between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the North Sea to the east. The total...

, Orkney
Orkney Islands
Orkney also known as the Orkney Islands , is an archipelago in northern Scotland, situated north of the coast of Caithness...

, and the Inner Hebrides
Inner Hebrides
The Inner Hebrides is an archipelago off the west coast of Scotland, to the south east of the Outer Hebrides. Together these two island chains form the Hebrides, which enjoy a mild oceanic climate. There are 36 inhabited islands and a further 43 uninhabited Inner Hebrides with an area greater than...

 and Outer Hebrides
Outer Hebrides
The Outer Hebrides also known as the Western Isles and the Long Island, is an island chain off the west coast of Scotland. The islands are geographically contiguous with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, one of the 32 unitary council areas of Scotland...

. There are numerous bodies of freshwater
Freshwater
Fresh water is naturally occurring water on the Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and...

 including Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond is a freshwater Scottish loch, lying on the Highland Boundary Fault. It is the largest lake in Great Britain by surface area. The lake contains many islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh-water island in the British Isles, although the lake itself is smaller than many Irish...

 and Loch Ness
Loch Ness
Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately southwest of Inverness. Its surface is above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for the alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie"...

. Some parts of the coastline consist of machair
Machair (geography)
The machair refers to a fertile low-lying grassy plain found on some of the north-west coastlines of Ireland and Scotland, in particular the Outer Hebrides...

, a low lying dune pasture land.

Central lowlands


The Central Lowlands
Central Lowlands
The Central Lowlands or Midland Valley is a geologically defined area of relatively low-lying land in southern Scotland. It consists of a rift valley between the Highland Boundary Fault to the north and the Southern Uplands Fault to the south...

 is a rift valley
Rift valley
A rift valley is a linear-shaped lowland between highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geologic rift or fault. This action is manifest as crustal extension, a spreading apart of the surface which is subsequently further deepened by the forces of erosion...

 mainly comprising Paleozoic
Paleozoic
The Paleozoic era is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon, spanning from roughly...

 formations. Many of these sediments have economic significance for it is here that the coal and iron bearing rocks that fuelled Scotland's industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 are to be found. This area has also experienced intense volcanism
Volcanism
Volcanism is the phenomenon connected with volcanoes and volcanic activity. It includes all phenomena resulting from and causing magma within the crust or mantle of a planet to rise through the crust and form volcanic rocks on the surface....

, Arthur’s Seat
Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
Arthur's Seat is the main peak of the group of hills which form most of Holyrood Park, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as "a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design". It is situated in the centre of the city of Edinburgh, about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle...

 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 being the remnant of a once much larger volcano. This area is relatively low-lying, although even here hills such as the Ochils
Ochil Hills
The Ochil Hills is a range of hills in Scotland north of the Forth valley bordered by the towns of Stirling, Alloa, Kinross and Perth. The only major roads crossing the hills pass through Glen Devon/Glen Eagles and Glenfarg, the latter now largely replaced except for local traffic by the M90...

 and Campsie Fells
Campsie Fells
The Campsie Fells are a range of hills in central Scotland, stretching east to west, from Denny Muir to Dumgoyne, in Stirlingshire. . The highest point in the range is Earl's Seat which is 578 m high...

 are rarely far from view.

Southern uplands


The Southern Uplands
Southern Uplands
The Southern Uplands are the southernmost and least populous of mainland Scotland's three major geographic areas . The term is used both to describe the geographical region and to collectively denote the various ranges of hills within this region...

 are a range of hills almost 200 kilometres (124 mi) long, interspersed with broad valleys. They lie south of a second fault line (the Southern Uplands fault) that runs from Girvan
Girvan
Girvan is a burgh in Carrick, South Ayrshire, Scotland, with a population of about 8000 people. Originally a fishing port, it is now also a seaside resort with beaches and cliffs. Girvan dates back to 1668 when is became a municipal burgh incorporated by by charter...

 to Dunbar
Dunbar
Dunbar is a town in East Lothian on the southeast coast of Scotland, approximately 28 miles east of Edinburgh and 28 miles from the English Border at Berwick-upon-Tweed....

. The geological foundations largely comprise Silurian
Silurian
The Silurian is a geologic period and system that extends from the end of the Ordovician Period, about 443.7 ± 1.5 Mya , to the beginning of the Devonian Period, about 416.0 ± 2.8 Mya . As with other geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period's start and end are well identified, but the...

 deposits laid down some 4–500 million years ago. The high point of the Southern Uplands is Merrick
Merrick, Galloway
Merrick is the highest mountain in the Southern Uplands of southern Scotland and is part of the Range of the Awful Hand.The shortest route of ascent is from the car park in Glen Trool...

 with an elevation of 843 m (2,766 ft). The Southern Uplands is home to the UK's highest village, Wanlockhead
Wanlockhead
Wanlockhead is a village in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland nestling in the Lowther Hills one mile south of Leadhills at the head of the Mennock Pass, which forms part of the Southern Uplands...

 (430 m (1,411 ft) above sea level).

Climate




The climate of Scotland is temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 and oceanic
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

, and tends to be very changeable. It is warmed by the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

 from the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

, and as such has much milder winters (but cooler, wetter summers) than areas on similar latitudes, for example Labrador, Canada, Moscow, or the Kamchatka Peninsula
Kamchatka Peninsula
The Kamchatka Peninsula is a peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of . It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west...

 on the opposite side of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. However, temperatures are generally lower than in the rest of the UK, with the coldest ever UK temperature of -27.2 °C recorded at Braemar
Braemar
Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. It is the closest significantly-sized settlement to the upper course of the River Dee sitting at an altitude of ....

 in the Grampian Mountains
Grampian Mountains (Scotland)
The Grampian Mountains or Grampians are one of the three major mountain ranges in Scotland, occupying a considerable portion of the Scottish Highlands in northeast Scotland.-Extent:...

, on 11 February 1895. Winter maximums average 6 °C (42.8 °F) in the lowlands, with summer maximums averaging 18 °C (64.4 °F). The highest temperature recorded was 32.9 °C (91.22 °F) at Greycrook
Greycrook
Greycrook is a village off the A68 and the A699, in the Scottish Borders, approximately 0.5km south-east of St Boswells, and close to Dryburgh, Dryburgh Abbey, Maxton, Newtown St Boswells, and the River Tweed....

, Scottish Borders
Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders is one of 32 local government council areas of Scotland. It is bordered by Dumfries and Galloway in the west, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian in the north west, City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian to the north; and the non-metropolitan counties of Northumberland...

 on 9 August 2003.

In general, the west of Scotland is usually warmer than the east, owing to the influence of Atlantic ocean currents and the colder surface temperatures of the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

. Tiree
Tiree
-History:Tiree is known for the 1st century BC Dùn Mòr broch, for the prehistoric carved Ringing Stone and for the birds of the Ceann a' Mhara headland....

, in the Inner Hebrides
Inner Hebrides
The Inner Hebrides is an archipelago off the west coast of Scotland, to the south east of the Outer Hebrides. Together these two island chains form the Hebrides, which enjoy a mild oceanic climate. There are 36 inhabited islands and a further 43 uninhabited Inner Hebrides with an area greater than...

, is one of the sunniest places in the country: it had more than 300 hours of sunshine in May 1975. Rainfall varies widely across Scotland. The western highlands of Scotland are the wettest place, with annual rainfall exceeding 3000 mm (118.1 in). In comparison, much of lowland Scotland receives less than 800 mm (31.5 in) annually. Heavy snowfall is not common in the lowlands, but becomes more common with altitude. Braemar
Braemar
Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. It is the closest significantly-sized settlement to the upper course of the River Dee sitting at an altitude of ....

 experiences an average of 59 snow days per year, while many coastal areas average fewer than 10 days of lying snow per annum.

Flora and fauna



Scotland's wildlife is typical of the north west of Europe, although several of the larger mammals such as the lynx
Eurasian Lynx
The Eurasian lynx is a medium-sized cat native to European and Siberian forests, South Asia and East Asia. It is also known as the European lynx, common lynx, the northern lynx, and the Siberian or Russian lynx...

, brown bear
Eurasian Brown Bear
The Eurasian brown bear is a subspecies of brown bear, found across northern Eurasia. The Eurasian brown bear is also known as the common brown bear, European brown bear and colloquially by many other names....

, wolf
Eurasian Wolf
The Eurasian Wolf , also known as the, European, Common or Forest Wolf is a subspecies of grey wolf which has the largest range among wolf subspecies and is the most common in Europe and Asia, ranging through Mongolia, China, Russia, Scandinavia, Western Europe and the Himalayan Mountains...

, elk
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

 and walrus
Walrus
The walrus is a large flippered marine mammal with a discontinuous circumpolar distribution in the Arctic Ocean and sub-Arctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. The walrus is the only living species in the Odobenidae family and Odobenus genus. It is subdivided into three subspecies: the Atlantic...

 were hunted to extinction in historic times. There are important populations of seals
Pinniped
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

 and internationally significant nesting grounds for a variety of seabird
Seabird
Seabirds are birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment. While seabirds vary greatly in lifestyle, behaviour and physiology, they often exhibit striking convergent evolution, as the same environmental problems and feeding niches have resulted in similar adaptations...

s such as gannet
Northern Gannet
The Northern Gannet is a seabird and is the largest member of the gannet family, Sulidae.- Description :Young birds are dark brown in their first year, and gradually acquire more white in subsequent seasons until they reach maturity after five years.Adults are long, weigh and have a wingspan...

s. The golden eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

 is something of a national icon.

On the high mountain tops species including ptarmigan, mountain hare
Mountain Hare
The Mountain Hare , also known as Blue Hare, Tundra Hare, Variable Hare, White Hare, Alpine Hare and Irish Hare, is a hare, which is largely adapted to polar and mountainous habitats. It is distributed from Fennoscandia to eastern Siberia; in addition there are isolated populations in the Alps,...

 and stoat
Stoat
The stoat , also known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel, is a species of Mustelid native to Eurasia and North America, distinguished from the least weasel by its larger size and longer tail with a prominent black tip...

 can be seen in their white colour phase during winter months. Remnants of the native Scots pine
Scots Pine
Pinus sylvestris, commonly known as the Scots Pine, is a species of pine native to Europe and Asia, ranging from Scotland, Ireland and Portugal in the west, east to eastern Siberia, south to the Caucasus Mountains, and as far north as well inside the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia...

 forest exist and within these areas the Scottish crossbill
Scottish Crossbill
The Scottish Crossbill is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae. It is endemic to the Caledonian Forests of Scotland, and is the only vertebrate unique to the United Kingdom...

, the UK's only endemic bird species and vertebrate
Vertebrate
Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata . Vertebrates are the largest group of chordates, with currently about 58,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds...

, can be found alongside capercaillie
Capercaillie
The Western Capercaillie , also known as the Wood Grouse, Heather Cock or Capercaillie , is the largest member of the grouse family, reaching over 100 cm in length and 6.7 kg in weight. The largest one ever recorded in captivity had a weight of 7.2 kg....

, wildcat
Wildcat
Wildcat is a small felid native to Europe, the western part of Asia, and Africa.-Animals:Wildcat may also refer to members of the genus Lynx:...

, red squirrel
Red Squirrel
The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus common throughout Eurasia...

 and pine marten
Pine Marten
The European Pine Marten , known most commonly as the pine marten in Anglophone Europe, and less commonly also known as Pineten, baum marten, or sweet marten, is an animal native to Northern Europe belonging to the mustelid family, which also includes mink, otter, badger, wolverine and weasel. It...

. In recent years various animals have been re-introduced, including the white-tailed sea eagle
White-tailed Eagle
The White-tailed Eagle , also known as the Sea Eagle, Erne , or White-tailed Sea-eagle, is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which includes other raptors such as hawks, kites, and harriers...

 in 1975, the red kite
Red Kite
The Red Kite is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and harriers. The species is currently endemic to the Western Palearctic region in Europe and northwest Africa, though formerly also occurred just...

 in the 1980s, and more recently there have been experimental projects involving the beaver
European Beaver
The Eurasian beaver or European beaver is a species of beaver, which was once widespread in Eurasia, where it was hunted to near extinction both for fur and for castoreum, a secretion of its scent gland believed to have medicinal properties...

 and wild boar.

The flora of the country is varied incorporating both deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 and coniferous woodland and moorland
Moorland
Moorland or moor is a type of habitat, in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome, found in upland areas, characterised by low-growing vegetation on acidic soils and heavy fog...

 and tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

 species. However, large scale commercial tree planting and the management of upland moorland habitat for the grazing of sheep and commercial field sport activities impacts upon the distribution of indigenous
Indigenous (ecology)
In biogeography, a species is defined as native to a given region or ecosystem if its presence in that region is the result of only natural processes, with no human intervention. Every natural organism has its own natural range of distribution in which it is regarded as native...

 plants and animals. The UK's tallest tree is a grand fir planted beside Loch Fyne
Loch Fyne
Loch Fyne is a sea loch on the west coast of Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It extends inland from the Sound of Bute, making it the longest of the sea lochs...

, Argyll in the 1870s , and the Fortingall Yew
Fortingall Yew
The Fortingall Yew is an ancient yew in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, Scotland. Various estimates have put its age at between 2,000 and 5,000 years; recent research into yew tree ages suggests that it is likely to be nearer the lower limit of 2,000 years...

 may be 5,000 years old and is probably the oldest living thing in Europe. Although the number of native vascular plant
Vascular plant
Vascular plants are those plants that have lignified tissues for conducting water, minerals, and photosynthetic products through the plant. Vascular plants include the clubmosses, Equisetum, ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms...

s is low by world standards, Scotland's substantial bryophyte
Bryophyte
Bryophyte is a traditional name used to refer to all embryophytes that do not have true vascular tissue and are therefore called 'non-vascular plants'. Some bryophytes do have specialized tissues for the transport of water; however since these do not contain lignin, they are not considered to be...

 flora is of global importance.

Economy and infrastructure



Scotland has a western style open
Open economy
An open economy is an economy in which there are economic activities between domestic community and outside, e.g. people, including businesses, can trade in goods and services with other people and businesses in the international community, and flow of funds as investment across the border...

 mixed economy
Mixed economy
Mixed economy is an economic system in which both the state and private sector direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, in addition to having a variety...

 that is closely linked with the rest of Europe and the wider world. Traditionally, the Scottish economy has been dominated by heavy industry
Heavy industry
Heavy industry does not have a single fixed meaning as compared to light industry. It can mean production of products which are either heavy in weight or in the processes leading to their production. In general, it is a popular term used within the name of many Japanese and Korean firms, meaning...

 underpinned by the shipbuilding
Shipbuilding
Shipbuilding is the construction of ships and floating vessels. It normally takes place in a specialized facility known as a shipyard. Shipbuilders, also called shipwrights, follow a specialized occupation that traces its roots to before recorded history.Shipbuilding and ship repairs, both...

 in Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, coal mining
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

 and steel industries. Petroleum related industries associated with the extraction of North Sea oil
North Sea oil
North Sea oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons, comprising liquid oil and natural gas, produced from oil reservoirs beneath the North Sea.In the oil industry, the term "North Sea" often includes areas such as the Norwegian Sea and the area known as "West of Shetland", "the Atlantic Frontier" or "the...

 have also been important employers from the 1970s, especially in the north east of Scotland.

De-industrialisation during the 1970s and 1980s saw a shift from a manufacturing focus towards a more service-oriented economy. Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 is the financial services centre of Scotland and the sixth largest financial centre in Europe in terms of funds under management, behind London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 and Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, with many large finance firms based there, including: Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group plc is a major British financial institution, formed through the acquisition of HBOS by Lloyds TSB in 2009. As at February 2010, HM Treasury held a 41% shareholding through UK Financial Investments Limited . The Group headquarters is located at 25 Gresham Street in London, with...

 (owners of the Halifax Bank of Scotland); the Government owned Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is a British banking and insurance holding company in which the UK Government holds an 84% stake. This stake is held and managed through UK Financial Investments Limited, whose voting rights are limited to 75% in order for the bank to retain its listing on the...

 and Standard Life
Standard Life
Standard Life plc is a long term savings and investment business, with headquarters in Edinburgh and operations across the globe. It has 1.5 million shareholders in more than 50 countries and over 6 million customers.-History:...

.

In 2005, total Scottish exports (excluding intra-UK trade) were provisionally estimated to be £17.5 billion, of which 70% (£12.2 billion) were attributable to manufacturing. Scotland's primary exports include whisky
Whisky
Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn...

, electronics and financial services. The United States, Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain constitute the country's major export markets. Scotland's Gross Domestic Product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 (GDP), including oil and gas produced in Scottish waters, was estimated at £137.5 billion for the calendar year 2009.


Tourism is widely recognised as a key contributor to the Scottish economy. A briefing published in 2002 by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, (SPICe), for the Scottish Parliament's Enterprise and Life Long Learning Committee, stated that tourism accounted for up to 5% of GDP and 7.5% of employment.

As of May 2009 the unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 rate in Scotland stood at 6.6%— slightly lower than the UK average and lower than that of the majority of EU countries. The most recent government figures (for 2009/10) suggest that Scotland's finances are in a healthier state than for the UK as a whole, with Scotland contributing 9.4% of UK taxes but receiving just 9.3% of public expenditure.

Currency



Although the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

 is the central bank
Central bank
A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is a public institution that usually issues the currency, regulates the money supply, and controls the interest rates in a country. Central banks often also oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries...

 for the UK, three Scottish clearing banks still issue their own Sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 banknote
Banknote
A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. In addition to coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money...

s: the Bank of Scotland
Bank of Scotland
The Bank of Scotland plc is a commercial and clearing bank based in Edinburgh, Scotland. With a history dating to the 17th century, it is the second oldest surviving bank in what is now the United Kingdom, and is the only commercial institution created by the Parliament of Scotland to...

; the Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is a British banking and insurance holding company in which the UK Government holds an 84% stake. This stake is held and managed through UK Financial Investments Limited, whose voting rights are limited to 75% in order for the bank to retain its listing on the...

; and the Clydesdale Bank
Clydesdale Bank
Clydesdale Bank is a commercial bank in Scotland, a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank Group. In Scotland, Clydesdale Bank is the third largest clearing bank, although it also retains a branch network in London and the north of England...

. The current value of the Scottish banknotes in circulation is £1.5 billion.

Transport



Scotland has five main international airports (Glasgow International
Glasgow International Airport
Glasgow International Airport is an international airport in Scotland, located west of Glasgow city centre, near the towns of Paisley and Renfrew in Renfrewshire...

, Edinburgh, Aberdeen
Aberdeen Airport
Aberdeen Airport is an international airport, located at Dyce, a suburb of Aberdeen, Scotland, approximately northwest of Aberdeen city centre. 2.76 million passengers used Aberdeen Airport in 2010, a reduction of 7.4% compared with 2009, making it the 15th busiest airport in the UK...

, Glasgow Prestwick and Inverness
Inverness Airport
Inverness Airport is an international airport situated at Dalcross, north east of the city of Inverness in Highland, Scotland. The airport is the main gateway for travellers to the north of Scotland with a wide range of scheduled services throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, and limited...

), which together serve 150 international destinations with a wide variety of scheduled and chartered flights. BAA operates three airports, (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow International), and Highland and Islands Airports
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited is the company that owns and operates 10 airports in the Scottish Highlands, the Northern Isles and the Western Isles...

 operates 11 regional airports, including Inverness, which serve the more remote locations. Infratil
Infratil
Infratil Limited is a New Zealand-based infrastructure investment company. It owns several airports, electricity generators and retailers, and a public transport business, with operations in New Zealand, Australia and Europe. Infratil was founded by Lloyd Morrison, a Wellington-based merchant...

 operates Glasgow Prestwick.

The Scottish motorways and major trunk roads are managed by Transport Scotland
Transport Scotland
Transport Scotland was created on 1 January 2006 as the national transport agency of Scotland. It is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government's Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department and accountable to Scottish Ministers...

. The remainder of the road network is managed by the Scottish local authorities in each of their areas. Regular ferry
Ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 services operate between the Scottish mainland and many islands. These ferries are mostly run by Caledonian MacBrayne
Caledonian MacBrayne
Caledonian MacBrayne is the major operator of passenger and vehicle ferries, and ferry services, between the mainland of Scotland and 22 of the major islands on Scotland's west coast...

, but some are operated by local councils. Other ferry routes, served by multiple companies, connect to Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, Belgium, Norway, the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

 and also Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

. Network Rail Infrastructure Limited
Network Rail
Network Rail is the government-created owner and operator of most of the rail infrastructure in Great Britain .; it is not responsible for railway infrastructure in Northern Ireland...

 owns and operates the fixed infrastructure assets of the railway system in Scotland, while the Scottish Government retains overall responsibility for rail strategy and funding in Scotland. Scotland’s rail network has around 340 railway stations and 3000 kilometres of track. Over 62 million passenger journeys are made each year.

Scotland's rail network is managed by Transport Scotland
Transport Scotland
Transport Scotland was created on 1 January 2006 as the national transport agency of Scotland. It is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government's Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department and accountable to Scottish Ministers...

. The East Coast
East Coast Main Line
The East Coast Main Line is a long electrified high-speed railway link between London, Peterborough, Doncaster, Wakefield, Leeds, York, Darlington, Newcastle and Edinburgh...

 and West Coast
West Coast Main Line
The West Coast Main Line is the busiest mixed-traffic railway route in Britain, being the country's most important rail backbone in terms of population served. Fast, long-distance inter-city passenger services are provided between London, the West Midlands, the North West, North Wales and the...

 main railway lines and the Cross Country Line
Cross Country Route (MR)
The North-East/South-West route is the major British rail route running from South West England via Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield and Leeds to North-East England. It facilitates some of the longest inter-city rail journeys in the UK such as Penzance to Aberdeen...

 connect the major cities and towns of Scotland with each other and with the rail network in England. Domestic rail services within Scotland are operated by First ScotRail
First ScotRail
ScotRail Railways Ltd. is the FirstGroup-owned train operating company running domestic passenger trains within Scotland, northern England and the cross-border Caledonian Sleeper service to London using the brand ScotRail which is the property of the Scottish Government...

.

In addition, Glasgow has had a small integrated subway system since 1896. Its 15 stations serve just under 40,000 passengers per day. There are plans to extend the subway system in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years....

.

The East Coast Main Line crosses the Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

 by the Forth Bridge
Forth Bridge (railway)
The Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland, to the east of the Forth Road Bridge, and 14 kilometres west of central Edinburgh. It was opened on 4 March 1890, and spans a total length of...

. Completed in 1890, this cantilever bridge
Cantilever bridge
A cantilever bridge is a bridge built using cantilevers, structures that project horizontally into space, supported on only one end. For small footbridges, the cantilevers may be simple beams; however, large cantilever bridges designed to handle road or rail traffic use trusses built from...

 has been described as "the one internationally recognised Scottish landmark".

Demography


The population of Scotland in the 2001 Census was 5,062,011. This has risen to 5,222,100 according to June 2010 estimates. This would make Scotland the 113th largest country by population if it were a sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

. Although Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 is the capital of Scotland it is not the largest city. With a population of just over 584,000, this honour falls to Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

. The Greater Glasgow
Greater Glasgow
Greater Glasgow is an urban settlement in Scotland consisting of all localities which are physically attached to the city of Glasgow, forming with it a single contiguous urban area...

 conurbation, with a population of almost 1.2 million, is home to nearly a quarter of Scotland's population.

The Central Belt
Central Belt
The Central Belt of Scotland is a common term used to describe the area of highest population density within Scotland. Despite the name, it is not geographically central but is nevertheless situated at the 'waist' of Scotland on a conventional map and the term 'central' is used in many local...

 is where most of the main towns and cities are located. Glasgow is to the west, while Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 and Dundee
Dundee
Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland and the 39th most populous settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea...

 lie on the east coast. Scotland's only major city outside the Central Belt is Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

, on the east coast to the north. The Highlands are sparsely populated, although the city of Inverness
Inverness
Inverness is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for the Highland council area, and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland...

 has experienced rapid growth in recent years.

In general only the more accessible and larger islands retain human populations, and fewer than 90 are currently inhabited. The Southern Uplands are essentially rural in nature and dominated by agriculture and forestry. Because of housing problems in Glasgow and Edinburgh, five new towns were created between 1947 and 1966. They are East Kilbride
East Kilbride
East Kilbride is a large suburban town in the South Lanarkshire council area, in the West Central Lowlands of Scotland. Designated as Scotland's first new town in 1947, it forms part of the Greater Glasgow conurbation...

, Glenrothes
Glenrothes
Glenrothes is a large town situated in the heart of Fife, in east-central Scotland. It is located approximately from both Edinburgh, which lies to the south and Dundee to the north. The town had an estimated population of 38,750 in 2008, making Glenrothes the third largest settlement in Fife...

, Livingston, Cumbernauld
Cumbernauld
Cumbernauld is a Scottish new town in North Lanarkshire. It was created in 1956 as a population overspill for Glasgow City. It is the eighth most populous settlement in Scotland and the largest in North Lanarkshire...

, and Irvine
Irvine, North Ayrshire
Irvine is a new town on the coast of the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire, Scotland. According to 2007 population estimates, the town is home to 39,527 inhabitants, making it the biggest settlement in North Ayrshire....

.


Following immigration since World War II, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee have small South Asian communities. Since the recent Enlargement of the European Union
Enlargement of the European Union
The Enlargement of the European Union is the process of expanding the European Union through the accession of new member states. This process began with the Inner Six, who founded the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952...

 more people from Central
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 have moved to Scotland, and it is estimated that between 40,000 and 50,000 Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 now live there. As of 2001, there are 16,310 ethnic Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

 residing in Scotland. The ethnic groups within Scotland are as follows: White, 97.99%; South Asian, 1.09%; Black, 0.16%; Mixed, 0.25%; Chinese, 0.32% and Other, 0.19%.

Scotland has three officially recognised languages: English, Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

, and Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic language
Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Primitive Irish....

. Almost all Scots speak Scottish Standard English, and in 1996, the General Register Office for Scotland
General Register Office for Scotland
The General Register Office for Scotland was a non-ministerial directorate of the Scottish Government that administered the registration of births, deaths, marriages, divorces and adoptions in Scotland. It was also responsible for the statutes relating to the formalities of marriage and conduct...

 estimated that 30% of the population are fluent
Fluency
Fluency is the property of a person or of a system that delivers information quickly and with expertise.-Speech:...

 in Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

. Gaelic is mostly spoken in the Western Isles, where a large proportion of people still speak it; however, nationally its use is confined to just 1% of the population. The number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland dropped from 250,000 – 7% of the population – in 1881 to 60,000 today.

There are many more people with Scottish ancestry living abroad than the total population of Scotland. In the 2000 Census, 9.2 million Americans self-reported some degree of Scottish
Scottish American
Scottish Americans or Scots Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Scotland. Scottish Americans are closely related to Scots-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots, and communities emphasize and celebrate a common heritage...

 descent. Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

's Protestant population is mainly of lowland Scottish descent, and it is estimated that there are more than 27 million descendants of the Scots-Irish migration now living in the U.S. In Canada, the Scottish-Canadian community accounts for 4.7 million people. About 20% of the original European settler population of New Zealand came from Scotland.

Education




The Scottish education system has always remained distinct from that of the rest of United Kingdom, with a characteristic emphasis on a broad education
Liberal education
A Liberal education is a system or course of education suitable for the cultivation of a free human being. It is based on the medieval concept of the liberal arts or, more commonly now, the liberalism of the Age of Enlightenment...

. Scotland was the first country since Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 in classical Greece
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 to implement a system of general public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

. Schooling was made compulsory for the first time in Scotland with the Education Act of 1496
Education Act 1496
The Education Act 1496 was an act of the Parliament of Scotland that ordered the schooling of those who would administer the legal system at the local level. This made schooling compulsory for the first time in Scotland. The intent was to improve the administration of justice nationwide and to...

; then, in 1561, the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

 set out a national programme for spiritual reform, including a school in every parish
Parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

. Education continued to be a matter for the church rather than the state until the Education Act (1872)
Elementary Education Act 1870
The Elementary Education Act 1870, commonly known as Forster's Education Act, set the framework for schooling of all children between ages 5 and 12 in England and Wales...

.

The "Curriculum for Excellence
Curriculum for Excellence
Curriculum for Excellence is the national curriculum for Scottish Schools for learners from age 3 to 18. It was developed out of a 2002 consultation exercise – the 'National Debate on Education' – undertaken by the Scottish Executive on the state of school education...

" provides the curricular framework for children and young people from age 3 to 18. All 3- and 4-year-old children in Scotland are entitled to a free nursery
Nursery school
A nursery school is a school for children between the ages of one and five years, staffed by suitably qualified and other professionals who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare...

 place. Formal primary education
Primary education
A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...

 begins at approximately 5 years old and lasts for 7 years (P1–P7); today, children in Scotland study Standard Grades, or more recently Intermediate qualifications between the ages of 14 and 16. The school leaving age is 16, after which students may choose to remain at school and study for Access, Intermediate or Higher Grade and Advanced Higher
Advanced Higher (Scottish)
The Advanced Higher is an optional qualification which forms part of the Scottish secondary education system. It is normally taken by students aged around 16-18 after they have completed Highers, which in turn are the main university entrance qualification...

 qualifications. A small number of students at certain private, independent schools
Independent school (UK)
An independent school is a school that is not financed through the taxation system by local or national government and is instead funded by private sources, predominantly in the form of tuition charges, gifts and long-term charitable endowments, and so is not subject to the conditions imposed by...

 may follow the English system
Education in England
Education in England is overseen by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Local authorities take responsibility for implementing policy for public education and state schools at a regional level....

 and study towards GCSEs and A and AS-Levels instead.

There are 15 Scottish universities, some of which are amongst the oldest in the world. These include the University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

, the University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Located in Glasgow, the university was founded in 1451 and is presently one of seventeen British higher education institutions ranked amongst the top 100 of the...

, the University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

, the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

, Heriot-Watt University
Heriot-Watt University
Heriot-Watt University is a university based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The name commemorates George Heriot, the 16th century financier to King James, and James Watt, the great 18th century inventor and engineer....

, Robert Gordon University
Robert Gordon University
Robert Gordon University is located in Aberdeen, Scotland. Building on over 250 years involvement in education, it was granted university status in 1992. Robert Gordon University currently has approximately 16,407 students at its two campuses at Garthdee and the City Centre, studying on over 145...

, and the University of Dundee
University of Dundee
The University of Dundee is a university based in the city and Royal burgh of Dundee on eastern coast of the central Lowlands of Scotland and with a small number of institutions elsewhere....

—many of which are ranked amongst the best in the UK. The country produces 1% of the world's published research
Academic publishing
Academic publishing describes the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in journal article, book or thesis form. The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted is often called...

 with less than 0.1% of the world's population, and higher education institutions account for 9% of Scotland's service sector exports.
Scotland's University Courts are the only bodies in Scotland authorised to award degrees.

Scotland's Universities are complemented in the provision of Further and Higher Education by 43 Colleges. Colleges offer National Certificates, Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas. These Group Awards, alongside Scottish Vocational Qualifications, aim to ensure that Scotland's population has the appropriate skills and knowledge to meet the needs of the workplace.

Scotland's regulatory body for qualifications is SQA Accreditation. Scotland's Qualifications are mapped on the SCQF (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework). The SCQF provides a language to help understand the complexity and size of qualifications, ranging from Access 1 (SCQF Level 1) to Doctorates (SCQF Level 12).

Religion




Just over two-thirds (67%) of the Scottish population reported having a religion in 2001, with Christianity representing all but 2% of these. By contrast, 28% of the population reported having no religious adherence.

Since the Scottish Reformation
Scottish Reformation
The Scottish Reformation was Scotland's formal break with the Papacy in 1560, and the events surrounding this. It was part of the wider European Protestant Reformation; and in Scotland's case culminated ecclesiastically in the re-establishment of the church along Reformed lines, and politically in...

 of 1560, the national church
National church
National church is a concept of a Christian church associated with a specific ethnic group or nation state. The idea was notably discussed during the 19th century, during the emergence of modern nationalism....

 (the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

, also known as The Kirk
Kirk
Kirk can mean "church" in general or the Church of Scotland in particular. Many place names and personal names are also derived from it.-Basic meaning and etymology:...

) has been Protestant and Reformed in theology. Since 1689 it has had a Presbyterian system of church government, and enjoys independence from the state. About 12% of the population are currently members of the Church of Scotland, with 40% claiming affinity. The Church operates a territorial parish
Parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

 structure, with every community in Scotland having a local congregation.

Scotland also has a significant Roman Catholic population, 19% claiming that faith, particularly in the west. After the Reformation, Roman Catholicism in Scotland
Roman Catholicism in Scotland
Roman Catholicism in Scotland , overseen by the Scottish Bishops' Conference, is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, the Christian Church in full communion with the Pope, currently Pope Benedict XVI. After being firmly established in Scotland for a millennium, Catholicism was outlawed following...

 continued in the Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

 and some western islands like Uist
Uist
Uist or The Uists are the central group of islands in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.North Uist and South Uist are linked by causeways running via Benbecula and Grimsay, and the entire group is sometimes known as the Uists....

 and Barra
Barra
The island of Barra is a predominantly Gaelic-speaking island, and apart from the adjacent island of Vatersay, to which it is connected by a causeway, is the southernmost inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.-Geography:The 2001 census showed that the resident population was 1,078...

, and it was strengthened during the 19th century by immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 from Ireland. Other Christian denominations in Scotland include the Free Church of Scotland
Free Church of Scotland (post 1900)
Free Church of Scotland is that part of the original Free Church of Scotland that remained outside of the union with the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1900...

, various other Presbyterian offshoots, and the Scottish Episcopal Church
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Christian church in Scotland, consisting of seven dioceses. Since the 17th century, it has had an identity distinct from the presbyterian Church of Scotland....

.

Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 is the largest non-Christian religion (estimated at around 40,000, which is less than 0.9% of the population), and there are also significant Jewish
History of the Jews in Scotland
The earliest date at which Jews arrived in Scotland is not known. It is possible that some arrived, or at least visited, as a result of the Roman Empire's conquest of southern Great Britain, but there is no direct evidence for this...

, Hindu
Hinduism in Scotland
Hinduism in Scotland is of relatively recent provenance, with the bulk of Scottish Hindus having settled there in the second half of the 20th century. Some Scottish Hindus prefer not to be called 'Asians' as this term is often used to refer to Scotland's Pakistani community...

 and Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

 communities, especially in Glasgow. The Samyé Ling monastery near Eskdalemuir
Eskdalemuir
-External links:*...

, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2007, includes the largest Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 temple in western Europe.

Health care



Healthcare in Scotland
Healthcare in Scotland
Healthcare in Scotland is mainly provided by Scotland's public health service, NHS Scotland, that provides healthcare to all permanent residents that is free at the point of need and paid for from general taxation. Health is a matter that is devolved, and considerable differences are now developing...

 is mainly provided by NHS Scotland
NHS Scotland
NHS Scotland is the publicly funded healthcare system of Scotland. Although they are separate bodies the organisational separation between NHS Scotland and the other three healthcare organisations each commonly called the National Health Service in the United Kingdom tends to be hidden from its...

, Scotland's public health care system. This was founded by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1947
National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1947
The National Health Service Act 1947 came into effect on 5 July 1948 and created the National Health Service in Scotland. Though the title 'National Health Service' implies one health service for the United Kingdom, in reality one NHS was created for England and Wales, accountable to the Secretary...

 (later repealed by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978) that took effect on 5 July 1948 to coincide with the launch of the NHS in England and Wales. However, even prior to 1948, half of Scotland's landmass was already covered by state funded health care, provided by the Highlands and Islands Medical Service
Highlands and Islands Medical Service
The Highlands and Islands Medical Service provided state funded healthcare to a population covering half of Scotland's landmass from its launch in 1913 until the creation of Scotland's National Health Service in 1948...

.

As at September 2009, NHS Scotland employed 168,976 staff including 68,681 nurses and midwives. In addition, there were 16,256 medical staff (including GPs), 5,002 dental staff (including dental support) and 11,777 allied health profession
Allied health professions
Allied health professions are clinical health care professions distinct from dentistry, nursing and medicine. One estimate reported allied health professionals make up 60 percent of the total health workforce...

 staff. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well Being is responsible to the Scottish Parliament for the work of NHS Scotland.

Military




Although Scotland has a long military tradition that predates the Treaty of Union
Treaty of Union
The Treaty of Union is the name given to the agreement that led to the creation of the united kingdom of Great Britain, the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which took effect on 1 May 1707...

 with England, its armed forces now form part of the British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

, with the notable exception of the Atholl Highlanders
Atholl Highlanders
The Atholl Highlanders is a Scottish infantry regiment. Based in Blair Atholl, the regiment is not part of the British Army. Instead, the regiment is in the private employ of the Duke of Atholl, making it the United Kingdom's, and indeed Europe's, only legal private army.-77th Foot:The name Atholl...

, Europe's only legal private army. In 2006, the infantry regiments of the Scottish Division
Scottish Division
The Scottish Division is a British Army Infantry command, training and administrative apparatus designated for all Scottish line infantry units. The Scottish Division was formed on July 1, 1968 with the amalgamation of the Lowland Brigade and Highland Brigade...

 were amalgamated to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Other distinctively Scottish regiments in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 include the Scots Guards
Scots Guards
The Scots Guards is a regiment of the Guards Division of the British Army, whose origins lie in the personal bodyguard of King Charles I of England and Scotland...

, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and the senior Scottish regiment. It was formed on 2 July 1971 at Holyrood, Edinburgh, by the amalgamation of the 3rd Carabiniers The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (SCOTS DG) is a cavalry regiment of...

 and the Scottish Transport Regiment, a Territorial Army Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps
Royal Logistic Corps
The Royal Logistic Corps provides logistic support functions to the British Army. It is the largest Corps in the Army, comprising around 17% of its strength...

.

Because of their topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 and perceived remoteness, parts of Scotland have housed many sensitive defence establishments, with mixed public feelings. Between 1960 and 1991, the Holy Loch
Holy Loch
The Holy Loch is a sea loch in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.Robertson's Yard at Sandbank, a village on the loch, was a major wooden boat building company in the late 19th and early 20th centuries....

 was a base for the U.S. fleet of Polaris ballistic missile submarine
Ballistic missile submarine
A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

s. Today, Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde
HMNB Clyde
Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy...

, 25 miles (40 km) west of Glasgow, is the base for the four Trident-armed Vanguard class
Vanguard class submarine
The Vanguard class are the Royal Navy's current nuclear ballistic missile submarines , each armed with up to 16 Trident II Submarine-launched ballistic missiles...

 ballistic missile submarine
Ballistic missile submarine
A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

s that comprise the UK's nuclear deterrent
Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom was the third country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon, in October 1952. It is one of the five "Nuclear Weapons States" under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the UK ratified in 1968...

. Scapa Flow
Scapa Flow
right|thumb|Scapa Flow viewed from its eastern endScapa Flow is a body of water in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom, sheltered by the islands of Mainland, Graemsay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Hoy. It is about...

 was the major Fleet
British Grand Fleet
The Grand Fleet was the main fleet of the British Royal Navy during the First World War.-History:It was formed in 1914 by the British Atlantic Fleet combined with the Home Fleet and it included 35-40 state-of-the-art capital ships. It was initially commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe...

 base for the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 until 1956.

Two frontline Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 bases are also located in Scotland. These are RAF Leuchars
RAF Leuchars
RAF Leuchars is the most northerly air defence station in the United Kingdom. It is located in Leuchars, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, near to the university town of St Andrews.-Operations:...

 and RAF Lossiemouth
RAF Lossiemouth
RAF Lossiemouth is a Royal Air Force station to the west of the town of Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland. It is one of the RAF's biggest bases and is currently Britain's main base for Tornado GR4s. From 2013 the Northern QRA force of Typhoon F2 will relocate to Lossiemouth following the closure of...

, the last of which is the most northerly air defence fighter
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 base in the United Kingdom. A third, RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss is a Royal Air Force station near Kinloss, on the Moray Firth in the north of Scotland. It opened on 1 April 1939 and served as an RAF training establishment during the Second World War. After the war it was handed over to Coastal Command to watch over Russian ships and submarines in...

 will be closed as an RAF unit in 2013–14. RAF Leuchars is due to be turned into an army barracks, ending over 100 years of the RAF's connection in Fife
Fife
Fife is a council area and former county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire...

.

The only open-air live depleted uranium
Depleted uranium
Depleted uranium is uranium with a lower content of the fissile isotope U-235 than natural uranium . Uses of DU take advantage of its very high density of 19.1 g/cm3...

 weapons test range in the British Isles is located near Dundrennan
Dundrennan Range
Dundrennan Range is a weapons testing range on the Solway Firth, near Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, in south west Scotland. It is part of the Kirkcudbright Training Area, of farming land acquired by the British Army in 1942 to train forces for the invasion of mainland Europe. The area...

. As a result, over 7,000 radioactive munitions lie on the seabed of the Solway Firth
Solway Firth
The Solway Firth is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria, to the Mull of Galloway, on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. The Isle of Man is also very...

.

Culture



Scottish music is a significant aspect of the nation's culture, with both traditional and modern influences. A famous traditional Scottish instrument is the Great Highland Bagpipe
Great Highland Bagpipe
The Great Highland Bagpipe is a type of bagpipe native to Scotland. It has achieved widespread recognition through its usage in the British military and in pipe bands throughout the world. It is closely related to the Great Irish Warpipes....

, a wind instrument consisting of three drones and a melody pipe (called the chanter), which are fed continuously by a reservoir of air in a bag. Bagpipe band
Pipe band
A pipe band is a musical ensemble consisting of pipers and drummers. The term used by military pipe bands, pipes and drums, is also common....

s, featuring bagpipes and various types of drums, and showcasing Scottish music styles while creating new ones, have spread throughout the world. The clàrsach
Clàrsach
Clàrsach or Cláirseach , is the generic Gaelic word for 'a harp', as derived from Middle Irish...

 (harp), fiddle and accordion
Accordion
The accordion is a box-shaped musical instrument of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist....

 are also traditional Scottish instruments, the latter two heavily featured in Scottish country dance
Scottish country dance
A Scottish country dance is a form of social dance involving groups of mixed couples of dancers tracing progressive patterns according to a predetermined choreography...

 bands. Today, there are many successful Scottish bands and individual artists in varying styles.

Scottish literature
Scottish literature
Scottish literature is literature written in Scotland or by Scottish writers. It includes literature written in English, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Brythonic, French, Latin and any other language in which a piece of literature was ever written within the boundaries of modern Scotland.The earliest...

 includes text written in English, Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic language
Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Primitive Irish....

, Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

, French, and Latin. The poet and songwriter Robert Burns
Robert Burns
Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide...

 wrote in the Scots language
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

, although much of his writing is also in English, and in a "light" Scots dialect that is more accessible to a wider audience. Similarly, the writings of Sir Walter Scott
Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time....

 and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

 were internationally successful during the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

J. M. Barrie
J. M. Barrie
Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan. The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland. He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright...

 introduced the movement known as the "Kailyard school
Kailyard school
The Kailyard school of Scottish fiction was developed about the 1890s as a reaction against what was seen as increasingly coarse writing representing Scottish life complete with all its blemishes. It has been considered as being an overly sentimental representation of rural life, cleansed of real...

" at the end of the 19th century, which brought elements of fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 and folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 back into fashion. This tradition has been viewed as a major stumbling block for Scottish literature, as it focused on an idealised, pastoral picture of Scottish culture. Some modern novelists, such as Irvine Welsh
Irvine Welsh
Irvine Welsh is a contemporary Scottish novelist, best known for his novel Trainspotting. His work is characterised by raw Scottish dialect, and brutal depiction of the realities of Edinburgh life...

 (of Trainspotting
Trainspotting (novel)
Trainspotting is the first novel by Scottish writer Irvine Welsh. It is written in the form of short chapters narrated in the first person by various residents of Leith, Edinburgh, who either use heroin, are friends of the core group of heroin users, or engage in destructive activities that are...

 fame), write in a distinctly Scottish English
Scottish English
Scottish English refers to the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. It may or may not be considered distinct from the Scots language. It is always considered distinct from Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language....

 that reflects the harsher realities of contemporary life. More recently, author J.K. Rowling has become one of the most popular authors in the world (and one of the wealthiest) through her Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 series, which she began writing from a coffee-shop in Edinburgh.

Scottish theatre has for many years played an important role in Scottish society, from the music hall variety of Sir Harry Lauder and his contemporaries to the more serious plays put on at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and many other theatres throughout Scotland.

The national broadcaster is BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland is a constituent part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly-funded broadcaster of the United Kingdom. It is, in effect, the national broadcaster for Scotland, having a considerable amount of autonomy from the BBC's London headquarters, and is run by the BBC Trust, who...

 (BBC Alba
BBC Alba
BBC Gàidhlig is the department of BBC Scotland that produces Scottish Gaelic language programming. This includes TV programmes for BBC Alba and BBC Two Scotland, the BBC Radio nan Gàidheal radio station and the BBC Alba website.-Television:...

 in Gaelic), a constituent part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly funded broadcaster of the United Kingdom. It runs three national television stations, though the newest BBC Alba, is co-owned by a private firm, and the national radio stations, BBC Radio Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland is BBC Scotland's national English-language radio network. It broadcasts a wide variety of programming, including news, sport, light entertainment, music, the arts, comedy, drama, history and lifestyle...

 and BBC Radio nan Gaidheal
BBC Radio nan Gàidheal
BBC Radio nan Gàidheal is a British radio station, broadcasting in Scottish Gaelic. It is operated by the BBC as part of its portfolio of television and radio services broadcasting to Scotland....

, amongst others. The main Scottish commercial television station is STV. National newspapers such as the Daily Record
Daily Record (Scotland)
The Daily Record is a Scottish tabloid newspaper based in Glasgow. It had been the best-selling daily paper in Scotland for many years with a paid circulation in August 2011 of 307,794 . It is now outsold by its arch-rival the Scottish Sun which in September 2010 had a circulation of 339,586 in...

, The Herald
The Herald (Glasgow)
The Herald is a broadsheet newspaper published Monday to Saturday in Glasgow, and available throughout Scotland. As of August 2011 it had an audited circulation of 47,226, giving it a lead over Scotland's other 'quality' national daily, The Scotsman, published in Edinburgh.The 1889 to 1906 editions...

, and The Scotsman
The Scotsman
The Scotsman is a British newspaper, published in Edinburgh.As of August 2011 it had an audited circulation of 38,423, down from about 100,000 in the 1980s....

 are all produced in Scotland. Important regional dailies include the Evening News
Edinburgh Evening News
The Edinburgh Evening News is a local newspaper based in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is published daily . It has a circulation of 68,000 and is owned by Johnston Press, which also owns The Scotsman and many regional titles throughout the UK.Much of the copy contained in the Evening News concerns local...

 in Edinburgh The Courier in Dundee in the east, and The Press and Journal
Press and Journal (Scotland)
The Press and Journal, often called the P&J, is a daily regional newspaper serving the northern counties of Scotland including the cities of Aberdeen and Inverness...

 serving Aberdeen and the north. Scotland is represented at the Celtic Media Festival
Celtic Media Festival
The Celtic Media Festival, previously known as the Celtic Film and Television Festival, aims to promote the languages and cultures of the Celtic nations on screen and in broadcasting. The festival is an annual three-day celebration of broadcasting and film from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall...

, which showcases film and television from the Celtic countries. Scottish entrants have won many awards since the festival began in 1980.

As one of the Celtic nations
Celtic nations
The Celtic nations are territories in North-West Europe in which that area's own Celtic languages and some cultural traits have survived.The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common traditional identity and culture and are identified with a traditional...

, Scotland and Scottish culture is represented at interceltic events at home and over the world. Scotland hosts several music festivals including Celtic Connections
Celtic Connections
The Celtic Connections festival started in 1994 in Glasgow, Scotland, and has since been held every January. Featuring over 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops, the festival focuses on the roots of traditional Scottish music and also features international...

 (Glasgow), and the Hebridean Celtic Festival
Hebridean Celtic Festival
The Hebridean Celtic Festival is an international Celtic music festival, which takes place annually in Stornoway on Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The biggest headliners to date have been Runrig, The Waterboys, Proclaimers and Van Morrison...

 (Stornoway). Festivals celebrating Celtic culture, such as Festival Interceltique de Lorient
Festival Interceltique de Lorient
The Festival Interceltique de Lorient or Gouelioù Etrekeltiek An Oriant was founded in Lorient, Brittany in 1971 by Polig Montjarret...

 (Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

), the Pan Celtic Festival
Pan Celtic Festival
The Féile Pan Cheilteach or Pan Celtic Festival is held in the Republic of Ireland and was first held in 1971 in Killarney, Ireland. It has been held annually in the week following Easter annually since then....

 (Ireland), and the National Celtic Festival (Portarlington
Portarlington, Victoria
Portarlington is a historic coastal township located on the Bellarine Peninsula, 27km from the city of Geelong, in the state of Victoria, Australia. The gently rising hills behind the town feature vineyards and olive groves, overlooking Port Phillip Bay. Portarlington is a popular family holiday...

, Australia), feature elements of Scottish culture such as language, music and dance.

Sport




Sport
Sport in Scotland
Sport plays a central role in Scottish culture. The temperate, oceanic climate has played a key part in the evolution of sport in Scotland, with all-weather sports like association football, rugby union and golf dominating the national sporting consciousness...

 is an important element in Scottish culture, with the country hosting many of its own national sporting competitions. It enjoys independent representation at many international sporting events including the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

, the Rugby Union World Cup, the Rugby League World Cup
Rugby League World Cup
The Rugby League World Cup is an international rugby league competition contested by members of the Rugby League International Federation . It has been held nearly once every 4 years on average since its inaugural tournament in France in 1954...

, the Cricket World Cup
Cricket World Cup
The ICC Cricket World Cup is the premier international championship of men's One Day International cricket. The event is organised by the sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council , with preliminary qualification rounds leading up to a finals tournament which is held every four years...

 and the Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years....

, but not at the Olympic Games where Scottish athletes are part of the Great Britain team. Scotland has its own national governing bodies
Sport governing body
A sport governing body is a sports organization that has a regulatory or sanctioning function. Sport governing bodies come in various forms, and have a variety of regulatory functions. Examples of this can include disciplinary action for rule infractions and deciding on rule changes in the sport...

, such as the Scottish Football Association
Scottish Football Association
The Scottish Football Association is the governing body of football in Scotland and has the ultimate responsibility for the control and development of football in Scotland. Members of the SFA include clubs in Scotland, affiliated national associations as well as local associations...

 (the second oldest national football association in the world) and the Scottish Rugby Union
Scottish Rugby Union
The Scottish Rugby Union is the governing body of rugby union in Scotland. It is the second oldest Rugby Union, having been founded in 1873, as the Scottish Football Union.-History:...

. Variations of football have been played in Scotland for centuries with the earliest reference dating back to 1424. Association football
Football in Scotland
Association football is the national sport in Scotland and highly popular throughout the country. There is a long tradition of "football" games in Orkney, Lewis and southern Scotland, especially the Scottish Borders, although many of these include carrying the ball and passing by hand, and despite...

 is now the most popular sport and the Scottish Cup
Scottish Cup
The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup,, commonly known as the Scottish Cup or the William Hill Scottish Cup for sponsorship purposes, is the main national cup competition in Scottish football. It is a knockout cup competition run by and named after the Scottish Football Association.The...

 is the world's oldest national trophy.

Scotland contested the first ever international football game in 1872, a 0–0 draw against England. The match took place at Hamilton Crescent
Hamilton Crescent
Hamilton Crescent is a cricket ground located in the Partick area of Glasgow, Scotland. It is the home of the West of Scotland Cricket Club.Hamilton Crescent is famous for holding the first ever international football match, played between Scotland and England...

, Glasgow, home of the West of Scotland Cricket Club
West of Scotland Cricket Club
The West of Scotland Cricket Club is a large cricket club based in Glasgow, Scotland. Their ground is Hamilton Crescent located in the Partick area of Glasgow's West End...

. Scottish clubs have been successful in European competitions with Celtic
Celtic F.C.
Celtic Football Club is a Scottish football club based in the Parkhead area of Glasgow, which currently plays in the Scottish Premier League. The club was established in 1887, and played its first game in 1888. Celtic have won the Scottish League Championship on 42 occasions, most recently in the...

 winning the European Cup
European Champion Clubs' Cup
The European Champion Clubs' Cup, also known as Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens, or simply the European Cup, is a trophy awarded annually by UEFA to the football club that wins the UEFA Champions League...

 in 1967, Rangers
Rangers F.C.
Rangers Football Club are an association football club based in Glasgow, Scotland, who play in the Scottish Premier League. The club are nicknamed the Gers, Teddy Bears and the Light Blues, and the fans are known to each other as bluenoses...

 and Aberdeen
Aberdeen F.C.
Aberdeen Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Aberdeen...

 winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was a football club competition contested annually by the most recent winners of all European domestic cup competitions. The cup is one of the many inter-European club competitions that have been organised by UEFA. The first competition was held in the 1960–61 season—but...

 in 1972 and 1983 respectively, and Aberdeen
Aberdeen F.C.
Aberdeen Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Aberdeen...

 also winning the UEFA Super Cup in 1983. Dundee United have also made it to a European final, reaching the UEFA Cup Final in 1987, but losing on aggregate 2-1 to IFK Göteborg
IFK Göteborg
IFK Göteborg is a Swedish professional football club based in Gothenburg. Founded in 1904, the club has won 18 national championship titles, five national cup titles, and two UEFA Cups....

. The Fife
Fife
Fife is a council area and former county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire...

 town of St. Andrews is known internationally as the Home of golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

 and to many golfers the Old Course
Old Course at St Andrews
The Old Course at St Andrews is the oldest golf course in the world. The Old Course is a public course over common land in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland and is held in trust by The St Andrews Links Trust under an act of Parliament...

, an ancient links
Links (golf)
A links is the oldest style of golf course, first developed in Scotland. The word "links" comes from the Scots language and refers to an area of coastal sand dunes and sometimes to open parkland. It also retains this more general meaning in the Scottish English dialect...

 course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of pilgrimage. There are many other famous golf courses in Scotland
Golf in Scotland
Golf in Scotland was first recorded in the 15th century, and the modern game of golf was first developed and established in the country. The game plays a key role in the national sporting consciousness....

, including Carnoustie
Carnoustie Golf Links
The Carnoustie Golf Links are in Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland. Its historic championship golf course is one of the venues in the Open Championship rotation.-History:...

, Gleneagles
Gleneagles, Scotland
Gleneagles is a glen which connects with Glen Devon to form a pass through the Ochil Hills of Perth and Kinross in Scotland...

, Muirfield
Muirfield (Scotland)
Muirfield is a privately owned links which is the home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Located in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland, overlooking the Firth of Forth, Muirfield is one of the golf courses used in rotation for The Open Championship.Muirfield has hosted The Open...

, and Royal Troon. Other distinctive features of the national sporting culture include the Highland games
Highland games
Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &(-è_çà in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. Certain...

, curling
Curling
Curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area. It is related to bowls, boule and shuffleboard. Two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones, also called "rocks", across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a...

 and Shinty, which, given its arrival with the Gaelic language and the original Scottish culture from Antrim, can claim to be Scotland's national sport. Scotland played host to the Commonwealth Games in 1970
1970 British Commonwealth Games
The 1970 British Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh, Scotland from 16 July to 25 July 1970.This was the first time the name British Commonwealth Games was adopted, the first time metric units rather than imperial units were used in events, and also the first time the games were held in...

 and 1986
1986 Commonwealth Games
The 1986 Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh, Scotland for the second time. The Games were held from 24 July-2 August 1986.-Organisation and Controversy:...

, and will do so again in 2014
2014 Commonwealth Games
The 20th Commonwealth Games in 2014 will be held in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. The winning city was announced by the Commonwealth Games Federation on 9 November 2007 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Games will run over 11 days of competition from 24 July to 3 August 2014...

 with Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 the host city.

National symbols



The national flag of Scotland
Flag of Scotland
The Flag of Scotland, , also known as Saint Andrew's Cross or the Saltire, is the national flag of Scotland. As the national flag it is the Saltire, rather than the Royal Standard of Scotland, which is the correct flag for all individuals and corporate bodies to fly in order to demonstrate both...

, known as the Saltire or St. Andrew's Cross, dates from the 9th century, and is thus the oldest national flag
Flag
A flag is a piece of fabric with a distinctive design that is usually rectangular and used as a symbol, as a signaling device, or decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic design employed by a flag, or to its depiction in another medium.The first flags were used to assist...

 still in use. Since 1606 the Saltire has also formed part of the design of the Union Flag
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

. There are numerous other symbols and symbolic artefacts, both official and unofficial, including the thistle
Thistle
Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation that protects the...

, the nation's floral emblem
National emblem
A national emblem symbolically represents a nation. Most national emblems originate in the natural world, such as animals or birds, but another object may serve. National emblems may appear on many things such as the national flag, coat of arms, or other patriotic materials...

, 6 April 1320 statement of political independence the Declaration of Arbroath
Declaration of Arbroath
The Declaration of Arbroath is a declaration of Scottish independence, made in 1320. It is in the form of a letter submitted to Pope John XXII, dated 6 April 1320, intended to confirm Scotland's status as an independent, sovereign state and defending Scotland's right to use military action when...

, the textile pattern tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

 that often signifies a particular Scottish clan
Scottish clan
Scottish clans , give a sense of identity and shared descent to people in Scotland and to their relations throughout the world, with a formal structure of Clan Chiefs recognised by the court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms which acts as an authority concerning matters of heraldry and Coat of Arms...

, and the Lion Rampant flag. Highlanders can thank James Graham, 3rd Duke of Montrose
James Graham, 3rd Duke of Montrose
James Graham, 3rd Duke of Montrose KG, KT, PC , styled Marquess of Graham until 1790, was a Scottish nobleman and statesman.-Background:...

, for the repeal in 1782 of the Act of 1747 prohibiting the wearing of tartans.

Although there is no official National anthem of Scotland
National Anthem of Scotland
There is no official national anthem of Scotland. However, a number of songs are used as de facto Scottish anthems, most notably Flower of Scotland and Scotland the Brave...

, Flower of Scotland
Flower of Scotland
Flower of Scotland is a Scottish song, used frequently at special occasions and sporting events. Although there is no official national anthem of Scotland, Flower of Scotland is one of a number of songs which unofficially fulfil this role, along with the older Scots Wha Hae, Scotland the Brave...

 is played on special occasions and sporting events such as football and rugby matches involving the Scotland national teams and as of 2010 is also played at the Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years....

 after it was voted the overwhelming favourite by participating Scottish athletes. Other less popular candidates for the National Anthem of Scotland include Scotland the Brave
Scotland the Brave
"Scotland the Brave" is a Scottish patriotic song. It was one of several songs considered an unofficial national anthem of Scotland.Scotland the Brave is also the authorised pipe band march of The British Columbia Dragoons of the Canadian Forces, and is played during the Pass in Review at Friday...

, Highland Cathedral
Highland Cathedral
Highland Cathedral is a popular melody for the great highland bagpipe.This melody was composed by German musicians Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb in 1982 for a Highland games held in Germany. It has been proposed as the Scottish national anthem to replace unofficial anthems Scotland the Brave...

, Scots Wha Hae
Scots Wha Hae
Scots Wha Hae is a patriotic song of Scotland which served for centuries as an unofficial national anthem of the country, but has lately been largely supplanted by Scotland the Brave and Flower of Scotland....

 and A Man's A Man for A' That
A Man's A Man for A' That
"Is There for Honest Poverty", commonly known as "A Man's a Man for A' That", is a 1795 Scots song by Robert Burns, famous for its expression of egalitarian ideas of society, which may be seen as anticipating the ideas of liberalism that arose in the 18th century, and those of socialism which arose...

.

St Andrew's Day, 30 November, is the national day
National Day
The National Day is a designated date on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or non-sovereign country. This nationhood can be symbolized by the date of independence, of becoming republic or a significant date for a patron saint or a ruler . Often the day is not called "National Day"...

, although Burns' Night tends to be more widely observed, particularly outside Scotland. Tartan Day
Tartan Day
Tartan Day is a celebration of Scottish heritage on April 6, the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. A one-off event was held in New York City in 1982, but the current format originated in Canada in the mid 1980s. It spread to other communities of the Scottish diaspora in...

 is a recent innovation from Canada. In 2006, the Scottish Parliament passed the St. Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007, designating the day to be an official bank holiday
Bank Holiday
A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom or a colloquialism for public holiday in Ireland. There is no automatic right to time off on these days, although the majority of the population is granted time off work or extra pay for working on these days, depending on their contract...

.

See also


  • Celtic languages
    Celtic languages
    The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

  • Celtic nations
    Celtic nations
    The Celtic nations are territories in North-West Europe in which that area's own Celtic languages and some cultural traits have survived.The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common traditional identity and culture and are identified with a traditional...

  • Celts
  • Ethnic groups in Europe


Further reading


  • Brown, Dauvit, (1999) Anglo-French acculturation and the Irish element in Scottish Identity in Smith, Brendan (ed.), Insular Responses to Medieval European Change, Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    , pp. 135–53
  • Brown, Michael (2004) The Wars of Scotland, 1214–1371, Edinburgh University Press., pp. 157–254
  • Devine, T.M [1999] (2000). The Scottish Nation 1700–2000 (New Ed. edition). London:Penguin. ISBN 0-14-023004-1
  • Flom, George Tobias
    George T. Flom
    George T. Flom was an American professor of linguistics and author of numerous reference books.-Background:...

    . Scandinavian influence on Southern Lowland Scotch. A Contribution to the Study of the Linguistic Relations of English and Scandinavian (Columbia University Press
    Columbia University Press
    Columbia University Press is a university press based in New York City, and affiliated with Columbia University. It is currently directed by James D. Jordan and publishes titles in the humanities and sciences, including the fields of literary and cultural studies, history, social work, sociology,...

    , New York. 1900)
  • MacLeod, Wilson (2004) Divided Gaels: Gaelic Cultural Identities in Scotland and Ireland: c.1200–1650. Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    .
  • Pope, Robert (ed.), Religion and National Identity: Wales and Scotland, c.1700–2000 (University of Wales Press
    University of Wales Press
    The University of Wales Press was founded in 1922 as a central service of the University of Wales. It publishes academic journals and around sixty books a year in the English and Welsh languages, based around a core of six subjects: History; Political Philosophy and Religious Studies;Welsh and...

    , 2001)
  • Sharp, L. W. The Expansion of the English Language in Scotland, (Cambridge University Ph.D. thesis
    Thesis
    A dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings...

    , 1927), pp. 102–325;
  • Trevor-Roper, Hugh, The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History, Yale, 2008, ISBN 0-300-13686-2


External links


  • Gazetteer for Scotland – Extensive guide to the places and people of Scotland, by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society
    Royal Scottish Geographical Society
    The Royal Scottish Geographical Society is a learned society founded in 1884 and based in Perth. The Society has a membership of 2500 and aims to advance the science of geography worldwide by supporting education, research, expeditions, through its journal , its newsletter and other publications...

     and University of Edinburgh
    University of Edinburgh
    The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

  • Maps and digital collections at the National Library of Scotland
    National Library of Scotland
    The National Library of Scotland is the legal deposit library of Scotland and is one of the country's National Collections. It is based in a collection of buildings in Edinburgh city centre. The headquarters is on George IV Bridge, between the Old Town and the university quarter...

  • National Archives of Scotland – official site of the National Archives of Scotland
    National Archives of Scotland
    Based in Edinburgh, the National Archives of Scotland are the national archives of Scotland. The NAS claims to have one of the most varied collection of archives in Europe...

  • Scottish Census Results On Line – official government site for Scotland's census results
  • Scottish economic statistics 2005 (pdf) – from the Scottish Executive
  • Scottish Government – official site of the Scottish Government
  • Scotland.org – the official online gateway to Scotland, managed by the Scottish Government
  • Scottish Parliament – official site of the Scottish Parliament
    Scottish Parliament
    The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

  • ScotlandsPeople – official government resource for Scottish genealogy
  • Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics – Scottish Government's programme of small area statistics in Scotland
  • Visit Scotland – official site of Scotland's national tourist board