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Scotland is a former kingdom located on the northern one third of the island of Great Britain. In 1707, the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain (the King of Scotland had already inherited the English throne in 1603). In 1801 the Kingdom of Great Britain merged with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922, twenty-six of Ireland's thirty-two counties left the UK to form its own Irish Free State. Scotland remains part of the remaining kingdom, now known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In 1999, it received its own regional home rule parliament to govern Scotland on purely Scottish matters.

Queen Elizabeth II, a descendant of the last Scottish monarch, King James VI (who in 1603 became James I of England), reigns over the United Kingdom. (It should be noted that in Scotland, she is the first monarch to reign with this name, and signs all documents "Elizabeth".)

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Scotland, or in Gaelic Alba, is the northern part of Great Britain, bordering to the south on England. Scotland consists of the mainland area plus several island groups, including the Shetland, Orkney, and the Hebrides, divided into the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides. The mainland is divided into three geographical and geological areas, from north to south, the generally mountainous Highlands, the low lying Central Belt, and hilly Southern Uplands. The majority of the Scottish population resides in the Central Belt, which contains four of the five main cities, and many large towns.

History & Culture

Almost all residents speak English although many speak various Scots dialects which are quite different from Standard English and some few, mostly from the Western Isles, still speak Scots Gaelic. The Scots dialect which was spoken in the Scottish Court and Parliament is known as Lallans. It was one of several that developed from the Anglian spoken in the Northumbrian kingdom of Bernicia which in the 6th century conquered the British kingdom of Gododdin and renamed its capital of Dunedin to Edinburgh.

Historically Scotland was divided into two cultural areas - the mainly English (dialect Scots) speaking Lowlands[?] and the mainly Gaelic speaking Highlands. These caused divisions in the country where the Lowlands were, historically, more influenced by the English to the South due to the greater ease with which they could be attacked by invading armies.

The clan system in Highland Scotland was one of its more distinguishing features. It had many similarities to the American Indian tribal system. Notable clans include Clan MacGregor[?], Clan MacDonald[?], Clan MacLeod[?], Clan Robertson[?], Clan Campbell[?]...

Historically the Lowlands adopted a variant on the Feudal system after the Norman Conquest of England, with the major families providing most the monarchs after approximately 1100AD. These families included Stewart[?] or Stuart[?], Bruce[?], Douglas[?], Murray[?] or Moray[?]

During the Wars of Scottish Independence approx. 1290-1333, the Scottish people rose up against English rule, under the leadership of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Bruce won a famous victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

In 1603 the Scottish King James VI inherited the throne of England, and became James I of England. James moved to London and never returned to Scotland. In 1707 a Treaty of Union was signed between the Scottish and English Parliaments. The English and the Scottish Parliaments were dissolved and all their powers transferred to a new Parliament in London which then became the British Parliament. A customs and currency union was also declared. This state of affairs remained until May 1999 when a new Scottish Parliament was created. Though whereas the old Scottish parliament was a national parliament of a sovereign state, the new parliament is a devolved parliament, in effect a sub-parliament under the United Kingdom parliament which both created and in theory can abolish a devolved parliament by a simple Act.

Modern Scotland

(per hectare)
City of Aberdeen 18,216 218,220 11.98
Aberdeenshire 631,736 223,630 0.35
Angus 218,396 111,020 0.51
Argyll and Bute 702,300 139,020 0.20
Clackmannan[?] 15,809 48,660 3.08
Dumbarton and Clydebank[?] 17,573 97,790 5.56
Dumfries and Galloway 644,567 147,900 0.23
City of Dundee 5,500 153,710 27.95
East Ayrshire 127,527 123,820 0.97
East Dunbartonshire 17,551 110,220 6.28
East Lothian 66,558 146,730 2.20
East Renfrewshire 16,802 86,780 5.16
City of Edinburgh 26,001 441,620 16.98
City of Falkirk 29,300 142,610 4.87
Fife 134,045 351,200 2.62
City of Glasgow 17,472 623,850 35.71
Highland 2,611,906 206,900 0.08
Inverclyde 16,724 89,990 5.38
Midlothian 34,966 79,910 2.29
Moray 223,694 86,250 0.39
North Ayrshire 88,755 90,550 1.02
North Lanarkshire 47,648 326,750 6.86
Perthshire and Kinross[?] 539,479 130,470 0.24
Renfrewshire 26,250 176,970 6.74
Scottish Borders 472,749 105,300 0.22
South Ayrshire 123,021 113,960 0.93
South Lanarkshire 177,789 307,100 1.73
Stirling 224,320 81,630 0.36
West Lothian 42,664 146,730 3.44
TOTAL MAINLAND 7,319,318 5,048,200 0.69
Orkneys 102,498 19,760 0.19
Shetland 147,097 22,830 0.16
Western Islands 307,005 29,410 0.10
TOTAL ISLANDS 556,600 72,000 0.13
TOTAL SCOTLAND 7,875,918 5,120,200 0.65

Scotland formerly consisted of the following 33 counties:

Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyllshire[?], Ayrshire, Banffshire[?], Berwick, Buteshire[?], Caithness[?], Clackmannanshire, Dumbartonshire[?], Dumfriesshire[?], East Lothian, Fife, Inverness-shire[?], Kincardineshire[?], Kinross-shire[?], Kirkcudbrightshire, Lanarkshire, Midlothian, Morayshire[?], Nairnshire[?], Orkney, Peeblesshire[?], Perthshire, Renfrewshire, Ross and Cromarty[?], Roxburghshire[?], Selkirkshire[?], Shetland, Stirlingshire[?], Sutherlandshire[?], West Lothian, Wigtownshire[?].

The five major cities in Scotland in order of size are:

Glasgow; Edinburgh, which is the capital; Aberdeen; Dundee and Stirling[?]

Waterways in Scotland:

Scotland is also known for:

After the Union Scotland retained its unique legal system, based on Roman law, which combines the best features of civil law and common law. It is distinct from England's common law system.

In banking there are differences as well. Although the Bank of England is the nationalised bank for the UK Government, its banknotes are not legal tender in Scotland. There are three Scottish private banks which still issue their own banknotes. These are not legal tender in England, or in Scotland for that matter, but banknotes issued by any of the four banks are commonly accepted throughout the UK.

Scotland has also retained a separate education system and a separate State church, the Church of Scotland. Its many separate sports associations, such as the Scottish Football Association[?], give it independent representation at many international sporting events.

Politics of Scotland

Historically the politics of Scotland have reflected those of the UK as a whole, although with some differences. For example besides the main UK-wide poltical parties (Labour, Tories and the Lib-Dems[?]) there are a number of Scottish specific parties in operation. These include the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and the Scottish Green Party.

The traditional political divides of left and right have also been characterised by arguments over devolution, which all the UK-wide parties have supported to some degree throughout their history (although both the Labour Party and Tories have switched a number of times between supporting and opposing it). However, now that devolution has been established the main argument about Scotland's constitutional status is between those who support Scottish independence and those who oppose it.

For a list of kings of Scotland see the List of British monarchs.

See also :

External links

Scotland is also the name of some places in the United States:

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