Scotland (Gaelic: Alba) is a country that is
part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of
Britain, it shares a border with England to the south
and is bounded by the North
Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North
Channel and Irish
Sea to the southwest. In addition to the
mainland, Scotland consists of over 790 islands including the
Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
Edinburgh, the country's capital and second largest city, is one
of Europe's largest financial
Edinburgh was the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment
of the 18th
century, which transformed Scotland into one of the commercial,
intellectual and industrial powerhouses of Europe. Glasgow, Scotland's
largest city, was once one of the world's leading industrial cities and now lies at the centre of
Glasgow conurbation. Scottish waters
consist of a large sector of
the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest
in the European Union
. This has given
Aberdeen, the third largest city in Scotland, the title of
Europe's oil capital.
Kingdom of Scotland was an
independent sovereign state before 1
May 1707 when it entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England to create the united
This union resulted from the Treaty of Union
agreed in 1706 and enacted
by the twin Acts of Union
by the Parliaments of both countries, despite widespread protest
across Scotland. Scotland's legal system
continues to be
separate from those of England, Wales
and Northern Ireland
Scotland still constitutes a distinct jurisdiction
and in private
The continued existence of legal
institutions distinct from
those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the
continuation of Scottish culture
and national identity
since the Union. Although Scotland is no longer a separate
sovereign state, issues surrounding devolution
continue to be debated.
creation of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, the first ever pro-independence Scottish Government was elected in 2007
when the Scottish National
Party formed a minority
is from the Latin
, the term applied to Gaels
, people from what is now Scotland and Ireland,
both pirates and the Dal Riada
come from Ireland to reside in the Northwest of what is now
Scotland, in contrast, for example, to the Picts
. Accordingly, the Late
Latin word Scotia (land of
the Gaels) was initially used to refer to Ireland.
However, by the 11th century at the latest, Scotia
being used to refer to (Gaelic-speaking) Scotland north of the
, alongside Albania
, both derived from the Gaelic Alba
. The use of the words Scots
to encompass all of what is now Scotland became
common in the Late
, 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-gatherers arrived in Scotland around
12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet
retreated after the last
glaciation.Sites at Cramond dated to 8500 BC and near Kinloch, Rùm from 7700 BC
provide the earliest known evidence of human occupation in
Scotland. See "The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map: Rubbish dump
reveals time-capsule of Scotland's earliest settlements"
megalithic.co.uk. Retrieved 10 February 2008 and Edwards, Kevin J.
and Whittington, Graeme "Vegetation Change" in Edwards, Kevin J.
& Ralston, Ian B.M. (Eds) (2003) Scotland After the Ice
Age: Environment, Archaeology and History, 8000 BC–AD 1000.
University Press. Page 70.
Groups of settlers began
building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around
9,500 years ago, and the first villages around 6,000 years ago.
well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the Mainland of Orkney dates from
this period. Neolithic
habitation, burial and ritual sites are particularly common and
well-preserved in the Northern Isles
Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being
built of local stone. A four thousand year old tomb with burial
treasures was discovered at Forteviot, near Perth, the capital
of a Pictish Kingdom in the eighth/ninth century AD.
Unrivalled anywhere in Britain, it contains the remains of an
early Bronze Age
ruler laid out
on white quartz
pebbles and birch bark, with
possessions including a bronze and gold dagger, a wooden bowl and a
The written protohistory
began with the arrival of the Roman
in southern and central Great Britain, when the Romans
occupied what is now England
administering it as a province
. Roman invasions
and occupations of southern Scotland were a series of brief
83–84 the general Gnaeus Julius
Agricola defeated the Caledonians at
the Battle of Mons Graupius,
and Roman forts were briefly set along the
Gask Ridge close to the Highland line (only Cawdor near Inverness is known to have been constructed beyond that
Three years after the battle the Roman armies
had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands
Romans erected Hadrian's
Wall to control tribes on both sides of the wall, and
the Limes Britannicus became the
northern border of the empire, although the army held the Antonine Wall in the Central Lowlands for two short periods—the last of these during the
time of Emperor Septimius Severus
from 208 until 210.
The extent of Roman military occupation of any significant part of
northern Scotland was limited to a total of about 40 years,
although their influence on the southern section of the country
occupied by Brythonic
tribes such as the
would still have been considerable between
the first and the fifth century.
The Kingdom of the Picts
by the 6th century) was the state
which eventually became known as "Alba" or "Scotland". The
development of "Pictland", according to the historical model
developed by Peter Heather
, was a
natural response to Roman imperialism. Another view places emphasis
on the Battle of Dunnichen
the reign of Bridei m.
(671–693), with another
period of consolidation in the reign of Óengus mac Fergusa
Kingdom of the Picts as it was in the early 8th century, when
was writing, was largely the same as the
kingdom of the Scots in the reign of Alexander
(1107–1124). However, by
the tenth century, the Pictish kingdom was dominated by what we can
recognise as Gaelic
culture, and had developed
an Irish conquest myth around the ancestor of the contemporary
royal dynasty, Cináed mac
base of territory in eastern Scotland north of the River Forth and south of the River Oykel, 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 and Norse-speaking Caithness; by the end of the 13th century, the kingdom had
assumed approximately its modern
However, processes of cultural and economic
change beginning in the 12th century ensured Scotland looked very
different in the later Middle Ages. The stimulus for this was the
reign of King David I
, government reorganisation and the first
legally defined towns (called burghs
) began in
this period. These institutions and the immigration of French and
Anglo-French knights and churchmen facilitated a process of
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 death of Alexander III
in March 1286, followed by the death of his granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway
, broke the
succession line of Scotland's kings. This led to the intervention
of Edward I of England
manipulated this period of confusion to have himself recognised as
feudal overlord of Scotland. Edward organised a process to identify
the person with the best claim to the vacant crown, which became
known as the Great
, and this resulted in the enthronement of John Balliol
as king. The Scots were
resentful of Edward's meddling in their affairs and this
relationship quickly broke down. War ensued and King John was
deposed by his overlord, who took personal control of Scotland.
and William Wallace
initially emerged as the
principal leaders of the resistance to English rule in what became
known as the Wars of
nature of the struggle changed dramatically when Robert de Brus, Earl of Carrick, killed
rival John Comyn on
10th February 1306
Kirk in Dumfries.
He was crowned king (as Robert I) less than
seven weeks after the killing. Robert I battled to win Scottish
Independence as King for over 20 years, beginning by winning
Scotland back from the English invaders piece by piece.
at The Battle
of Bannockburn in 1314 proved that the Scots had won their
kingdom, but it took 14 more years and the production of the
world's first documented declaration of independence the
Declaration of Arbroath in
1320 to finally win legal recognition by the English.
However war with England was to continue 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
lack of an heir allowed his
nephew Robert II
to come to
the throne and establish the Stewart
. The Stewarts ruled Scotland for the remainder of
the Middle Ages
. The country they ruled
experienced greater prosperity from the end of the 14th century
through the Scottish
to the Reformation
. This was despite continual
warfare with England, the increasing division between Highlands
, and a large number of royal
James VI King of Scots
inherited the throne of the Kingdom
of England, and became King James I of England, and left
Edinburgh for London.
With the exception of a short period under the Protectorate
, Scotland remained a
, but there was
considerable conflict between the crown and the Covenanters
over the form of church government
. After the
abolition of episcopacy
and the overthrow
of the Roman Catholic James VII
by William and Mary
, Scotland briefly
threatened to select a different Protestant
monarch from England. On 22 July 1706 the
Treaty of Union was agreed between
representatives of the Scots
Parliament and the Parliament
of England and the following year twin Acts of Union were passed by both
parliaments to create the united Kingdom of
Great Britain with effect from 1 May 1707.
The deposed Jacobite Stuart
remained popular in the Highlands and north-east, particularly
. However, two
major Jacobite risings
1715 and 1745 failed to remove the House of Hanover
from the British throne.
threat of the Jacobite movement to the United Kingdom and its
monarchs effectively ended at the Battle of Culloden, Great Britain's last pitched battle.
This defeat paved the
way for large-scale removals of the indigenous populations of the
Highlands and Islands, known as the Highland Clearances
The Scottish Enlightenment
and the Industrial Revolution
made Scotland into an intellectual, commercial and industrial
powerhouse. After World War II
Scotland experienced an industrial decline which was particularly
severe. Only in recent decades has the country enjoyed something of
a cultural and economic renaissance. Economic factors which have
contributed to this recovery include a resurgent financial services
, (see Silicon Glen
and the North Sea oil
a referendum on
devolution proposals in 1997, the Scotland Act 1998 was passed by the
Kingdom Parliament to establish a devolved Scottish
Government and politics
Scotland's head of state
monarch of the United
, currently Queen Elizabeth II
1952). The title Elizabeth II
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
(1953 SC 396), was
taken to contest the right of the Queen to title herself
within Scotland, arguing that to do so would
be a breach of Article 1 of the Treaty of Union. The case was lost
and it was decided that future British monarchs would be numbered
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.))
whilst 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 in
Edinburgh. The United Kingdom Parliament retains power over a set list of areas explicitly
specified in the Scotland Act 1998
as reserved matters, including, for
example, levels of UK taxes, social security, defence, international relations and
Parliament has legislative
all other areas relating to Scotland, as well as limited power to vary income tax
, a power it has
yet to exercise. The Prime Minister, in a BBC Scotland
interview, has 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
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
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
comprising 129 Members
, 73 of whom
represent individual constituencies
elected on a first past the post
system; 56 are elected in eight different electoral regions by the
, serving for a four year period. The Queen appoints one
Member of the Scottish
, (MSP), on the nomination of the Parliament, to be
Ministers are also appointed by the Queen on the nomination of the
Parliament and together with the First Minister they make up the
arm of government
In the 2007
, the Scottish
(SNP), which campaigns for Scottish independence
, won the
election by a one seat majority. The leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond
, was elected First Minister on 16
May 2007 as head of a minority
. The Labour
became the largest opposition party, with the Conservative Party
, the Liberal Democrats
, and the
represented in the Parliament. Margo
is the only independent
MSP sitting in
is represented in the British House of Commons by 59 MPs elected
from territory-based Scottish
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
, who sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom
the current incumbent being Jim
Historical types subdivisions of Scotland include the mormaerdom
and regions and districts
names of these areas are still sometimes used as geographical
Modern Scotland is subdivided in various ways depending on the
purpose. For local
, there have been 32 council
since 1996, whose councils are unitary authorities
responsible for the
provision of all local government services. Community councils
organisations that represent specific sub-divisions of a council
Parliament, there are 73 constituencies
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
City status in the
is determined by letters patent
. There are six cities
in Scotland: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, most recently Inverness, and Stirling.
Scotland within the UK
A policy of devolution
had been advocated
by the three main UK parties with varying enthusiasm during recent
history. The late Labour leader John Smith
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
" on constitutional issues, proposing a number of
options such as increasing the powers of the Scottish Parliament,
, or a referendum on Scottish independence
from the United
Kingdom. In rejecting the last option, the three main opposition
parties in the Scottish Parliament have proposed a separate
to investigate the distribution of
powers between devolved Scottish and UK-wide bodies. In August 2009
the SNP proposed a
in order to hold a referendum on independence
planned for November 2010, although because of immediate opposition
from all other major parties, it was expected to be defeated.
Law and criminal justice
law has a basis derived from Roman law
combining features of both uncodified civil law
, dating back to the
Corpus Juris Civilis
and common law
. The terms of the Treaty of Union with England in 1707
guaranteed the continued existence of a separate legal system
in Scotland from
that of England and Wales
. Prior to 1611, there
were several regional law systems in Scotland, most notably
Udal law in Orkney and Shetland, based on old Norse
Various other systems derived from common Celtic
or Brehon laws
survived in the Highlands
Scots law provides for three types of courts
responsible for the administration
of justice: civil
. The supreme civil court is the Court of
Session, although civil appeals
can be taken to the House of
Lords. The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland.
Session is housed at Parliament House, in Edinburgh, which was the home of the pre-Union
Parliament of Scotland with
the High Court
of Justiciary and the Supreme Court of Appeal currently located
is the main criminal and civil court, hearing most of the
cases. There are 49 sheriff courts throughout the country. District courts
in 1975 for minor offences and small claims. The Court of the Lord Lyon
For many decades the Scots legal system was unique for a period in
being the only legal system without a parliament
. This ended with the advent of the Scottish
Parliament which legislates for Scotland.
within the system have been preserved. Within criminal law, the
Scots legal system is unique in having three possible verdicts
" and "not proven
". Both "not guilty" and "not
proven" result in an acquittal
possibility of retrial
. Many laws differ
between Scotland and the rest of Britain, whereas
many terms differ. Manslaughter
in England and Wales
in Scotland, and
becomes wilful fireraising. Procedure
also differs. Scots juries consist of fifteen, not twelve jurors as
is more common in English-speaking
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
(SPS) manages the prisons in Scotland which contain between them
over 8,500 prisoners. The Cabinet Secretary for Justice
is responsible for the Scottish Prison Service within the Scottish
Geography and natural history
land 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. The total area is ,
comparable to the size of the Czech Republic, making Scotland the 117th
largest country in the world. Scotland's only land
border is with England, and runs
for between the basin of the River Tweed
on the east coast and the Solway Firth in the west. The Atlantic Ocean borders the west coast and the North Sea is to the east. The island of
Ireland lies only from the southwestern peninsula of
Kintyre; Norway is to the
east and the Faroes, to the
territorial extent of Scotland is generally that established by the
1237 Treaty of York between Scotland
and Kingdom of England and the
1266 Treaty of Perth between
Scotland and Norway.
exceptions include the Isle of Man, which having been lost to England in the 14th
century is now a crown dependency
outside of the United Kingdom; the island groups Orkney and Shetland, which were acquired from Norway in 1472; and
Berwick-upon-Tweed, lost to England in 1482.
geographical centre of
Scotland lies a few miles from the village of Newtonmore in Badenoch.
above sea level, Scotland's highest point is the summit of Ben Nevis, in Lochaber, while
Scotland's longest river, the River Tay, flows for a distance of .
Map of Scotland
Geology and geomorphology
Relief map of Scotland
The whole of Scotland was covered by ice sheets during the Pleistocene ice ages
the landscape is much affected by glaciation
. From a geological
perspective the country has three main
Highlands and islands
Highlands and Islands lie to
the north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault, which runs
from Arran to
This part of Scotland largely comprises
ancient rocks from the Cambrian
which were uplifted during
the later Caledonian Orogeny
interspersed with igneous intrusions of a
more recent age, the remnants of which have formed mountain massifs
such as the Cairngorms and Skye Cuillins.
A significant exception to the above are
the fossil-bearing beds of Old Red
found principally along the Moray Firth
coast. The Highlands are generally mountainous and
the highest elevations in the British Isles are found here. Scotland has over 790
islands, divided into four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, and the
numerous bodies of freshwater including
Lomond and Loch
Some parts of the coastline consist of
, a low lying dune
Lowlands is a rift valley mainly
comprising Paleozoic formations.
Many of these sediments have economic significance for it is here
that the coal and iron bearing rocks that fuelled Scotland's
be found. This area has also experienced intense
Seat in Edinburgh being the remnant of a once much larger
volcano. This area is relatively low-lying, although
even here hills such as the Ochils and
Fells are rarely far from view.
The Southern Uplands
are a range of
hills almost long, interspersed with broad valleys. They lie south of a
second fault line (the Southern Uplands
fault) that runs from Girvan to
The geological foundations largely comprise Silurian
deposits laid down some 4–500 million
years ago. The high point of the Southern Uplands is
Merrick with an elevation of .
Southern Uplands is home to the UK's highest village, Wanlockhead ( above sea level).
The climate of Scotland is temperate
, and tends to be very
changeable. It is warmed by the Gulf Stream from the Atlantic, and as such has much milder winters (but cooler,
wetter summers) than areas on similar latitudes, for example
Labrador, Canada, Moscow, or the
Peninsula on the opposite side of Eurasia. However, temperatures are generally lower
than in the rest of the UK, with the coldest ever UK temperature of
recorded at Braemar in the Grampian Mountains, on 11 February 1895.
average in the lowlands, with summer maximums averaging . The
highest temperature recorded was at Greycrook
on 9 August 2003.
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. Tiree, in the
Hebrides, is one of
the sunniest places in the country: it had 300 days of sunshine in
Rainfall varies widely across Scotland. The western
highlands of Scotland are the wettest place, with annual rainfall
exceeding . In comparison, much of lowland Scotland receives less
than annually. Heavy snowfall is not common in the lowlands, but
becomes more common with altitude. Braemar experiences an average of 59 snow days per year,
while coastal areas have an average of fewer than 10
Flora and fauna
Scotland's wildlife is typical of the north west of Europe
, although several of the larger mammals such
as the Lynx
, Brown Bear
were hunted to extinction in historic times
along with smaller mammals such as Beaver
are important populations of seals
internationally significant nesting grounds for a variety of
such as Gannet
. The Golden
is something of a national icon.
On the high mountain tops species including Ptarmigan
can be seen in their white
colour phase during winter months. Remnants of the native Scots Pine
forest exist and within these areas
the Scottish Crossbill
bird, can be found alongside
, Red Squirrel
and Pine Marten
The flora of the country is varied incorporating both deciduous
woodland and moorland
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
plants and animals. The UK's tallest tree is the Stronardron
Douglas Fir located in Argyll, and the
Yew may be 5,000 years old and is probably the oldest
living thing in Europe.
Although the number of native
is low by world
standards, Scotland's substantial bryophyte
flora is of global importance.
Economy and infrastructure
has a western style open mixed economy
which is closely linked with
that of the rest of Europe and the wider world. Traditionally, the
Scottish economy has been dominated by heavy industry underpinned by the shipbuilding in Glasgow, coal mining and
related industries associated with the extraction of North Sea oil
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
economy. Edinburgh is the financial services centre
of Scotland and the sixth largest financial centre in Europe in
terms of funds under management, behind London, Paris, Frankfurt,
Zurich and Amsterdam, with many large finance firms based there,
including: Lloyds Banking Group
(owners of the Halifax Bank of
Scotland); the Government owned Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life.
In 2005, total Scottish exports
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
electronics and financial services. The United States, The
Netherlands, Germany, France and
Spain constitute the country's major export
In 2006, the Gross Domestic Product
Scotland (excluding oil and gas production from 'Scottish' waters)
was just over £86 billion, giving a per capita GDP of
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
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 2006/7) suggest that
Scotland would be in budget surplus to the tune of more than £800m
if it received its geographical share of North Sea revenues. The
net fiscal balance, which is the budget balance plus capital
investment, reported a deficit of £2.7 billion (2.1% of GDP)
including Scotland's full geographical share of North Sea revenue,
or a £10.2bn deficit if the North Sea share is excluded.
the Bank of
England is the central bank for
the UK, three Scottish clearing banks
still issue their own Sterling
banknotes: the Bank of Scotland; the Royal Bank of Scotland; and the
value of the Scottish banknotes in circulation is £1.5
Scotland has five main international airports
, Glasgow Prestwick
) which together serve 150 international
destinations with a wide variety of scheduled and chartered flights
operates three airports, (Edinburgh, Glasgow
and Aberdeen), and Highland and Islands
operates 11 regional airports, (including Inverness),
which serve the more remote locations of Scotland. Infratil
operates Glasgow Prestwick.
The Scottish motorways
and major trunk roads
are managed by Transport Scotland
. The rest of the road
network is managed by the Scottish local authorities
each of their areas.
services operate between the
Scottish mainland and island
communities. These services are mostly run by Caledonian MacBrayne
, but some are
operated by local councils. Other ferry routes, served by multiple
companies, connect to Northern Ireland, Belgium, Norway, the
Islands and also Iceland.
Network Rail Infrastructure Limited
owns and operates the fixed infrastructure assets of the railway
system in Scotland, while the Scottish Government
responsibility for rail strategy and funding in Scotland.
Scotland’s rail network has around 340 railway stations and 3,000
kilometres of track with over 62 million passenger journeys made
Scotland's rail network is managed by Transport Scotland
. The East Coast and West
Coast Main Railway lines and the Cross Country Line 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
. Furthermore in Glasgow there is a small integrated
subway system which has been in existence since 1896
. There are currently 15 stations and there is a
daily ridership of just under 40,000. There are plans to extend the
subway system in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Coast Main Line includes that section of the network which crosses
the Firth of
Forth via the Forth Bridge.
Completed in 1890, this cantilever bridge
has been described as
"the one internationally recognised Scottish landmark".
The population of Scotland in the 2001 census was 5,062,011. This
has risen to 5,168,500 according to June 2008 estimates. This would
make Scotland the 112th largest country by population
were a sovereign state
. Although Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland it is not the largest
city. With a population of just over 584,000 this
honour falls to Glasgow. Indeed, the Greater Glasgow conurbation, with a population of over 1.1 million,
is home to over a fifth of Scotland's population.
The Central Belt
is where most of the
main towns and cities are located. Glasgow is to the west, while Edinburgh and Dundee lie on the
east coast. Scotland's only major city outside the
Central Belt is Aberdeen, on the east coast to the north.
Highlands are sparsely populated, although the city of Inverness has experienced rapid growth in recent
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, Glenrothes, Livingston, Cumbernauld, and Irvine.
Because of immigration since World War
, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee have small South Asian
communities. Since the recent Enlargement of the European
there has been an increased number of people from
and Eastern Europe
moving to Scotland, and it is
estimated that between 40,000 and 50,000 Poles
are now living in the country. As of 2001, there are 16,310
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
and Scottish Gaelic
. Almost all Scots
speak Scottish Standard
, and in 1996 the General Register Office for
estimated that 30% of the population are fluent
mostly spoken in the Western Isles, where a large number of people still speak it;
however, nationally its use is confined to just 1% of the
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 kind of Scottish
descent. It is estimated that
there are more than 27 million descendants of the Scots-Irish
migration now living in the
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.
Scottish education system has always remained distinct from
education in the rest of United Kingdom, with a characteristic
emphasis on a broad education
was the first country since Sparta in classical Greece
to implement a system of general public
education. Schooling was made compulsory for the first
time in Scotland with the Education
Act of 1496, then, in 1561, the Church of Scotland set out a national programme for spiritual reform,
including a school in every parish.
Education continued to be a matter for the church rather than the
state until the Education
The "Curriculum for Excellence" 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
place. Formal primary education
begins at approximately
5 years old and lasts for 7 years (P1–P7); Today, children in
Scotland sit Standard Grade
, or more
approximately 15 or 16. The school leaving age is 16, after which
students may choose to remain at school and study for Access
or Higher Grade
and Advanced Higher
exams. A small
number of students at certain private, independent schools
may follow the
There are 14 Scottish
, some of which are amongst the oldest in
. These include the University
of St Andrews, the University of Glasgow, the University
of Edinburgh, the University
of Aberdeen and the University of Dundee - many of which are ranked amongst the best in the
The country produces 1% of the world's published research
with less than 0.1%
of the world's population, and higher education institutions
account for nine per cent of Scotland's service sector
Just over two-thirds (67%) of the Scottish population reported
having a religion in 2001 with Christianity representing all but 2%
of these. 28% of the population reported having no religious
Scottish Reformation of 1560,
the national church (the Church of
Scotland, also known as The Kirk) 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
structure, with every community in
Scotland having a local congregation. Scotland also has a
population, 17% claiming that faith, particularly in
the west. After the Reformation, Roman Catholicism
continued in the Highlands and
some western islands like Uist and
Barra, and was
strengthened, during the 19th century by immigration from Ireland.
denominations in Scotland include the Free Church of Scotland
various other Presbyterian offshoots, and the Scottish Episcopal Church
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
communities, especially in Glasgow. The Samyé Ling monastery near Eskdalemuir, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2007,
includes the largest Buddhist temple in
Healthcare in Scotland
mainly provided by NHS Scotland
Scotland's public healthcare system. The service was founded by the
Health Service Act 1947
(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 healthcare, provided by the Highlands and Islands
. In 2006, NHS Scotland employed around 158,000
staff including more than 47,500 nurses, midwives and health
visitors and over 3,800 consultants. In addition, there were also
more than 12,000 doctors, family practitioners and allied health
professionals, including dentists, opticians and community
pharmacists, who operate as independent contractors providing a
range of services within the NHS in return for fees and allowances.
Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
is responsible to the
Scottish Parliament for the work of NHS Scotland.
Scotland has a long military tradition that predates the Treaty of Union
with England, its armed forces
now form part of the British Armed Forces
, with the notable
exception of the Atholl
, Europe's only legal private army. In 2006, the
of the Scottish Division
were amalgamated to form
the Royal Regiment of
. Other distinctively Scottish regiments in the
include the Scots Guards
, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
the Scottish Transport
, a Territorial Army Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps
Because of their topography
remoteness, parts of Scotland have housed many sensitive defence
establishments, with mixed public feelings. Between 1960 and
1991, the Holy
Loch was a base for the U.S. fleet of Polaris ballistic missile
submarines. Today, Her Majesty's Naval
25 miles (40 km) west of Glasgow, is the base for the
four Trident-armed Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines
that comprise the UK's nuclear
Flow was the major Fleet base for the Royal Navy until 1956.
Three frontline Royal Air Force
bases are also located in Scotland. These are RAF Lossiemouth, RAF
Kinloss and RAF
Leuchars, the last
of which is the most northerly air defence fighter base in the United
open-air live depleted uranium
weapons test range in the British Isles is located near Dundrennan. As a result, over 7000 radioactive munitions
lie on the seabed of the Solway Firth.
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
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
, featuring bagpipes and various types
of drums, and showcasing Scottish music styles while creating new
ones, have spread throughout the world. The clàrsach
are also traditional Scottish
instruments, the latter two heavily featured in Scottish country dance
there are many successful Scottish bands and individual artists in
text written in English
, Scottish Gaelic
. The poet and songwriter
wrote in the Scots language
, although much of his writing
is also in English and in a "light" Scots dialect which is more
accessible to a wider audience. Similarly, the writings of Sir Walter Scott
and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
internationally successful during the late 19th and early 20th
Centuries. J. M. Barrie
introduced the movement known as the "Kailyard school
" at the end of the 19th
century, which brought elements of fantasy
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
fame), write in a
distinctly Scottish English
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
series, which she began
writing from a coffee-shop in Edinburgh.
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
The national broadcaster is BBC
in Gaelic), a
constituent part of the British Broadcasting
, the publicly funded broadcaster of the United
Kingdom. It runs two national television stations
national radio stations, BBC
and BBC Radio nan Gaidheal
others. The main Scottish commercial television station is STV
. National newspapers
such as the Daily Record
, The Herald
, and The Scotsman
are all produced in Scotland.
Important regional dailies include the Evening News
in Dundee in the east, and The Press and Journal
serving Aberdeen and the north.
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
, the Rugby Union World Cup
, the Rugby League World Cup
, the Cricket World Cup
and the Commonwealth Games
, but not at the
where Scottish athletes
are part of the Great
. Scotland has its own national governing bodies
, such as the Scottish Football Association
(the second oldest national football association in the world) and
the Scottish Rugby Union
Variations of football have been played in Scotland for centuries
with the earliest reference dating back to 1424. Association football
is now the
and the Scottish Cup
is the world's oldest national
trophy. Scotland (and England) fielded the first international
football team. Scottish clubs have been successful in European
competitions with Celtic
winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
in 1972 and 1983
respectively, and Aberdeen
winning the UEFA Super Cup
Fife town of St. Andrews is known internationally as the Home of
Golf and to many golfers the Old
Course, an ancient links
course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of
pilgrimage. There are many other famous golf courses in Scotland, including
Carnoustie, Gleneagles, Muirfield and Royal
Other distinctive features of the national
sporting culture include the Highland
. Scotland played host to the Commonwealth
Games in 1970
, and will do so again
The national flag of Scotland
known as the Saltire or St. Andrew's Cross, dates (at least in
legend) from the 9th century, and is thus the oldest national
still in use. Since 1606 the Saltire has
also formed part of the design of the Union
. There are numerous other symbols and symbolic artefacts,
both official and unofficial, including the thistle
, the nation's floral emblem
, the 6 April 1320 statement of
political independence the Declaration of Arbroath
, the textile
that often signifies a
particular Scottish clan
, and the
Flower of Scotland
popularly held to be the National Anthem of Scotland
is played at events such as football or rugby matches involving the
Scotland national team. Scotland
is used for the Scottish team at the Commonwealth Games
. However, since
devolution, more serious discussion of the issue has led to the use
of Flower of Scotland
being disputed. Other candidates
, Scots Wha
and A Man's A
Man for A' That
St Andrew's Day
, 30 November, is the
, although Burns' Night
tends to be more widely observed.
Tartan Day is a recent innovation from Canada.
In 2006, the Scottish Parliament passed the
Andrew's Day Bank Holiday Act 2007
, designating the day to be
an official bank holiday
- The Countries of the UK statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved
10 October, 2008.
- Aberdeen City Council website "Aberdeen's
buoyant modern economy - is fuelled by the oil industry, earning
the city its epithet as 'Oil Capital of Europe'." Retrieved 01
- Collier, J.G. (2001) Conflict of Laws (Third edition)(pdf)
Cambridge University Press. "For
the purposes of the English conflict of laws, every country in the
world which is not part of England and Wales is a foreign country and
its foreign laws. This means that not only totally foreign
independent countries such as France or Russia... are foreign countries but also
Colonies such as the Falkland Islands. Moreover, the other parts
of the United Kingdom Scotland and Northern Ireland are foreign
countries for present purposes, as are the other British Islands, the
Isle of Man,
Jersey and Guernsey."
- Devine, T.M (1999), The Scottish Nation 1700–2000,
P.288–289, ISBN 0-14-023004-1 "created a new and powerful
local state run by the Scottish bourgeoisie and reflecting
their political and religious values. It was this local state,
rather than a distant and usually indifferent Westminster
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Scotland: The Story of Scotland Before History. London. Thames
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(2003) Scotland After the Ice Age: Environment, Archeology and
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- Peter Heather, "State Formation in Europe in the First
Millennium A.D.", in Barbara Crawford (ed.), Scotland in Dark
Ages Europe, (Aberdeen, 1994), pp. 47–63
- For instance, Alex
Woolf, "The Verturian Hegemony: a mirror in the North", in M.
P. Brown & C. A. Farr, (eds.), Mercia: an Anglo-Saxon
Kingdom in Europe, (Leicester, 2001), pp. 106–11.
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that England and Scotland could not have the same sovereign in the
future unless the London Parliament granted Scots 'Free
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London. Eyre Methuen ISBN 978-0413303806
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Highlands of Scotland. London. Collins. ISBN 0002111357
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Braemar on 10 January 1982 and at Altnaharra, Highland, on 30 December 1995.
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