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Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Alba, IPA: [ˈalˠ̪apə]) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom.[8][9][10] Occupying the northern third of the island of Great 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 includes over 790 islands[1Compaq Presario CQ40 Battery

1] including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Edinburgh, the country's capital and second largest city, is one of Europe's largest financial centres.[12] 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 the Greater Glasgow conurbation. Compaq Presario CQ42-100 Battery

 Scottish waters consist of a large sector[13] of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union. This has given Aberdeen, the third largest city in Scotland, the title of Europe's oil capital.[14] Compaq Presario CQ42-200 Battery


The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707, although it had been in a personal union with the kingdoms of England and Ireland 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 with England to create the united Kingdom of Great Britain.[15Compaq Presario CQ45 Battery

][16] This union resulted from the Treaty of Union agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union passed by the Parliaments of both countries, despite widespread protest across Scotland.[17][18] Scotland's legal system continues to be separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in public and in private law.[19] Compaq Presario CQ50 Battery


The continued existence of legal, educational and religious 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.[20] In 1999, a devolved legislature, the Scottish Parliament, Compaq Presario CQ50-100 Battery

was founded with authority over many areas of home affairs following a successful referendum in 1997. In 2011 the SNP won an overall majority in the parliament and intend to hold a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom sometime in the current parliamentary term.

Main article: Etymology of ScotlandCompaq Presario CQ50 Battery


Scotland is derived from the Latin Scoti, the term applied to Gaels, people from what is now Scotland and Ireland, and the Dál Riata who have been thought previously to have originated from Ireland and migrated to western Scotland. However, a more recent historical interpretation views Dál Riata as the peoples whom lived on the islands and lands on either side of the "Northern Channel", the Irish Sea, Compaq Presario CQ50T Battery

rather than a migration of people from one side to the other.[21] Accordingly, the Late Latin word Scotia (land of the Gaels) was initially used to refer to Ireland.[ Compaq Presario CQ50Z Battery

22] However, by the 11th century at the latest, Scotia was being used to refer to (Gaelic-speaking) Scotland north of the river Forth, alongside Albania or Albany, both derived from the Gaelic Alba.[23] The use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass all of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages.[15] Compaq Presario CQ60-100 Battery




Main article: History of Scotland

Early history

Main article: Prehistoric Scotland

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-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.[24][25] Compaq Presario CQ60-100 Battery


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. The 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 and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone.[26] Compaq Presario CQ60-120 Battery




The founders of Scotland of late medieval legend, Scota with Goídel Glas, voyaging from Egypt, as depicted in a 15th century manuscript of the Scotichronicon of Walter Bower. Compaq Presario CQ60-200 Battery


The discovery in Scotland of a four thousand year old tomb with burial treasures at Forteviot, near Perth, the capital of a Pictish Kingdom in the 8th and 9th century's AD, is unrivalled anywhere in Britain. It contains the remains of an early Bronze Age ruler laid out on white quartz pebbles and birch bark. It was also discovered for the first time that early Bronze Age people placed flowers in their graves.[27][28] Compaq Presario CQ60-220 Battery


Scotland may have been part of a Late Bronze Age maritime trading-networked culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that also included the other Celtic nations, England, France, Spain and Portugal.[29][30][31][32] Compaq Presario CQ60-400 Battery


Roman influence

Main article: Scotland during the Roman Empire



Skara Brae, a neolithic settlement, located in the Bay of Skaill, Orkney.

The written protohistory of Scotland began with the arrival of the Roman Empire in southern and central Great Britain, when the Romans occupied what is now England and Wales, administering it as a province called Britannia. Compaq Presario CQ60Z Battery

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

According to the Roman historian Tacitus, the Caledonians "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.[33] Compaq Presario CQ61 Battery


In AD 83–84 the general Gnaeus Julius Agricola defeated the Caledonians at the Battle of Mons Graupius. Before the battle Tacitus wrote that the Caledonian leader Calgacus, 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’.[33Compaq Presario CQ62 Battery

] After the Roman victory 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 line). Three years after the battle the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands.[34] Compaq Presario CQ62-200 Battery


The Romans erected Hadrian's Wall to control tribes on both sides of the wall,[35] 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.[36] Compaq Presario CQ70 Battery

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 Votadini and Damnonii would still have been considerable between the first and the fifth century.[35] In the 400s, Gaels from Ireland established the kingdom of Dál Riata.[37][38] Compaq Presario CQ71 Battery




A replica of the Pictish Hilton of Cadboll Stone.

Medieval period

Main articles: Scotland in the Early Middle Ages, Scotland in the High Middle Ages, and Scotland in the Late Middle AgesCompaq Presario CQ72 Battery


The Kingdom of the Picts (based in Fortriu 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, was a natural response to Roman imperialism.[39] Another view places emphasis on the Battle of Dunnichen, and the reign of Bridei m. Beli (671–693), with another period of consolidation in the reign of Óengus mac Fergusa (732–761).[40] Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery


The Kingdom of the Picts as it was in the early 8th century, when Bede 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 a traditional story of an Irish conquest around the ancestor of the contemporary royal dynasty, Cináed mac Ailpín (Kenneth MacAlpin).[2][41Sony VGP-BPS13/B Battery


From a 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; Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

by the end of the 13th century, the kingdom had assumed approximately its modern borders. However, processes of cultural and economic change beginning in the 12th century ensured Scotland looked very different in the later Middle Ages. Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery


The impetus for this change was the reign of King David I and the Davidian Revolution. Feudalism, 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, Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

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.[43][44][45] Sony VGP-BPS13A/S Battery




The Wallace Monument commemorates William Wallace, the 13th-century Scottish hero.

The death of Alexander III in March 1286, followed by the death of his granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway, broke the centuries old succession line of Scotland's kings and shattered a two hundred year golden age that began with King David I. Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery

 This led to the requested arbitration of Edward I of England who organised a process known as the Great Cause to identify the most legitimate claimant for the vacant crown. John Balliol was pronounced king in the Great Hall of Berwick Castle on 17 November 1292 and inaugurated at Scone, 30 November 1292, St. Andrew's Day. Edward I, Sony VGP-BPS13Q Battery

 who had coerced recognition as Lord Paramount of Scotland, the feudal superior of the realm, steadily undermined John's authority.[46] In 1294 Balliol and other Scottish lords refused Edward's demands to serve in his army against the French. Sony VGP-BPS13S Battery

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 (1295–1560). War ensued and King John was deposed by Edward who took personal control of Scotland. Sony VGP-BPS8A Battery

 Andrew Moray and William Wallace initially emerged as the principal leaders of the resistance to English rule in what became known as the Wars of Scottish Independence (1296–1328).[47] Sony VGP-BPS8A Battery


The nature of the struggle changed dramatically when Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick, killed rival John Comyn on 10 February 1306 at Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries.[48Sony VGP-BPS9A/B Battery

] He was crowned king (as Robert I) less than seven weeks after the killing. 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 in 1314 proved that the Scots had regained control of their kingdom. Sony VGP-BPS9A/S Battery

In 1315 Edward Bruce, brother of the King, was briefly appointed High King of Ireland during an ultimately unsuccessful Scottish invasion of Ireland aimed at strengthening Scotland’s position in its wars against England. In 1320 the production of the world's first documented declaration of independence, the Declaration of Arbroath, won the support of Pope John XXII, leading to the legal recognition of Scottish sovereignty by the English Crown. Sony VGP-BPS9B Battery


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, Sony VAIO VGN-FW11E Battery

David II's lack of an heir allowed his nephew Robert II to come to the throne and establish the Stuart Dynasty.[44][49] 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 Renaissance to the Reformation. Sony VAIO VGN-FW11L Battery

The Education Act of 1496 made Scotland the first country since Sparta in classical Greece to implement a system of general public education.[50] This was despite continual warfare with England, the increasing division between Highlands and Lowlands, and a large number of royal minorities.[49][51] Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M Battery


This period was the height of the Franco-Scottish alliance. The Scots Guard – Garde Écossaise – was founded in 1418 by Charles VII of France. The Scots soldiers of the Garde Écossaise fought alongside Joan of Arc against England during the Hundred Years War.[52Sony VAIO VGN-FW11ZU Battery

] In March 1421 a Franco-Scots force under John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan, and Gilbert de Lafayette, defeated a larger English army at the Battle of Baugé. Three years later, at the Battle of Verneuil, the Scots lost around 6000 men, but the Scottish intervention bought France valuable time and likely saved the country from defeat.[53] Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H Battery


Early modern era

Main article: Scotland in the Early Modern Era

In 1502 James signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Henry VII of England. He also married Henry's daughter, Margaret Tudor, setting the stage for the Union of the Crowns. For Henry, the marriage into one of Europe's most established monarchies gave legitimacy to the new Tudor royal line.[ Sony VAIO VGN-FW140AE Battery

54] A decade later James made the fateful decision to invade England in support of France under the terms of the Auld Alliance. He was the last British monarch to die in battle, at the Battle of Flodden.[55] Within a generation the Auld Alliance was ended by the Treaty of Edinburgh. France agreed to withdraw all land and naval forces and in the same year, 1560, Sony VAIO VGN-FW140E Battery

the revolution of John Knox achieved its ultimate goal of convincing the Scottish parliament to revoke papal authority in Scotland.[56] Mary, Queen of Scots, a Catholic and former queen of France, was forced to abdicate in 1567.[57] Sony VAIO VGN-FW140E/W Battery




David Morier's depiction of the Battle of Culloden.

In 1603, 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.[58] With the exception of a short period under the Protectorate, Scotland remained a separate state, Sony VAIO VGN-FW140FE Battery

but there was considerable conflict between the crown and the Covenanters over the form of church government. The Glorious Revolution of 1688–89 saw the overthrow of the King James II of England by the English Parliament in favour of William and Mary. As late as the 1690s, Scotland experienced famine, which reduced the population of parts of the country by at least 20 percent.[59] Sony VAIO VGN-FW140N/W Battery


In 1698, the Scots attempted an ambitious project to secure a trading colony on the Isthmus of Panama. Almost every Scottish landowner who had money to spare is said to have invested in the Darien scheme. Its failure bankrupted these landowners, but not the burghs, Sony VAIO VGN-FW145E/W Battery

 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.[60][61] Sony VAIO VGN-FW160D Battery


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.[16] Sony VAIO VGN-FW160E Battery


18th century

With trade tariffs with England now abolished, trade blossomed, especially with Colonial America. The clippers belonging to the Glasgow Tobacco Lords 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.[6Sony VAIO VGN-FW160F/E Battery

2] The disparity between the wealth of the merchant classes of the Scottish Lowlands and the ancient clans of the Scottish Highlands grew, amplifying centuries of division. Sony VAIO VGN-FW180AE Battery




St. Kildans sitting on the village street, 1886.

The deposed Jacobite Stuart claimants had remained popular in the Highlands and north-east, particularly amongst non-Presbyterians. Sony VAIO VGN-FW180E Battery

However, two major Jacobite risings launched in 1715 and 1745 failed to remove the House of Hanover from the British throne. The 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. Sony VAIO VGN-FW180FU Battery


The Scottish Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution made Scotland into an intellectual, commercial and industrial powerhouse.[63] So much so that Voltaire said "We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation." [6Sony VAIO VGN-FW190EBH Battery

4] 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. Dell inspiron E1505 Battery

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.”[65] Dell inspiron E1505 Battery


19th century

Scotland became known across the world for its excellence in engineering, as typified by the Clyde built ships and locomotives built in Glasgow. Prefabricated cast iron buildings made in Scotland are still in use in India, South America and Australia.[66Dell inspiron 6400 Battery

] Prominent scientists, engineers and architects of the industrial age included David Dale, Joseph Black, Thomas Telford, Robert Stevenson, James Watt, James Nasmyth, Robert Adam and John MacAdam. Dell inspiron 6400 Battery


Scottish diaspora

Scots born migrants also played a leading role in the foundation and principles of the United States [67](John Witherspoon, John Paul Jones, Andrew Carnegie), Canada [68](John A MacDonald, James Murray, Tommy Douglas), Australia [69] (Lachlan Macquarie, Thomas Brisbane, Andrew Fisher), and New Zealand.[70] (James Mckenzie, Peter Fraser) Dell inspiron 6400 Battery


20th century

First and Second World Wars



Royal Scots with captured Japanese flag, Burma, January 1945.

Scotland played a major role in the British effort in the First World War. It especially provided manpower, ships, machinery, fish and money.[7Dell inspiron 9300 Battery

1] With a population of 4.8 million in 1911, Scotland sent 690,000 men to the war, of whom 74,000 died in combat or from disease, and 150,000 were seriously wounded.[72] Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, was Britain's commander on the Western Front. Dell inspiron 600M Battery


The war saw the emergence of a radical movement called "Red Clydeside" led by militant trades unionists. Formerly a Liberal stronghold, the industrial districts switched to Labour by 1922, with a base among the Irish Catholic working class districts. Women were especially active in building neighborhood solidarity on housing issues. Dell xps M1210 Battery

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.[73] Dell xps M1330 Battery


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.[74] Dell xps M1530 Battery

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, Dell xps M170 Battery

 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. Dell xps M1730 Battery

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.[75] Dell xps M1730 Battery


The Second World War brought renewed prosperity—as well as bombing of cities by the Luftwaffe. It saw the invention of radar by Robert Watson-Watt, which was invaluable in the Battle of Britain as was the leadership at RAF Fighter Command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding.[76] Dell Latitude D600 Battery


Since 1945

After 1945, Scotland's economic situation became progressively worse due to overseas competition, inefficient industry, and industrial disputes.[77Dell Latitude E6400 Battery

] 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, (see Silicon Glen), Dell Inspiron Mini 10v Battery

 [7 Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Battery 8] and the North Sea oil and gas industry.[79] The introduction in 1989 by Margaret Thatcher's government of the Community Charge (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.[8Dell Inspiron Mini 1011 Battery

0] Following a referendum on devolution proposals in 1997, the Scotland Act 1998[81] was passed by the United Kingdom Parliament to establish a devolved Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government with responsibility for most laws specific to Scotland.[82] Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (all 8.9 ) Battery


Government and politics


Main articles: Politics of Scotland, Scottish Parliament, and Scottish Government





The 2007 cabinet of the Scottish Government

Scotland's head of state is the monarch of the United Kingdom, currently Queen Elizabeth II (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. Dell Inspiron Mini 9N Battery

 A legal case, MacCormick v. Lord Advocate (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. Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 Battery


The Lord Advocate won the case and it was decided that future British monarchs would be numbered according to either their English or Scottish predecessors, whichever number is higher.[83] 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.)) Dell Inspiron XPS M1710 Battery

 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. Dell Latitude E6400 Battery


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. Dell Latitude E6500 Battery

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 broadcasting.[84] Dell Studio 1735 Battery


The Scottish Parliament has legislative authority for all other areas relating to Scotland, as well as limited power to vary income tax, a power it has yet to exercise. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in a BBC Scotland interview, indicated that the Scottish Parliament could be given more tax-raising powers.[85] Dell Studio 1737 Battery


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. Dell Studio 1536 Battery

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.[86] Dell Studio 1555 Battery




The debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament Building

The Scottish Parliament is a unicameral legislature 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, Dell Studio PP33L Battery

serving for a four year period. The Queen appoints one Member of the Scottish Parliament, (MSP), on the nomination of the Parliament, Dell Mini 10 Battery

to be First Minister. 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 arm of government.[87] Dell Mini 10 Battery


In the 2011 election, the Scottish National Party (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. Dell Mini 1010v Battery

The leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond, continued as First Minister. The Labour Party continued as the largest opposition party, with the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats, and the Green Party also represented in the Parliament. Margo MacDonald is the only independent MSP sitting in Parliament. The next Scottish Parliament general election will be held on 5 May 2016. Dell Mini 1011 Battery


Scotland is represented in the British House of Commons by 59 MPs elected from territory-based Scottish constituencies. The Scotland Office represents the UK government in Scotland on reserved matters and represents Scottish interests within the UK government.[88Dell Mini 1011v Battery

] The Scotland office is led by the Secretary of State for Scotland, who sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, the current incumbent being Michael Moore. Dell Mini 1011n Battery


Administrative subdivisions

Main article: Subdivisions of Scotland



Glasgow City Chambers viewed from George Square

Historical types subdivisions of Scotland include the mormaerdom, stewartry, earldom, burgh, parish, county and regions and districts. The names of these areas are still sometimes used as geographical descriptors. Dell Latitude E6400 Battery

Modern Scotland is subdivided in various ways depending on the purpose. For local government, there have been 32 council areas since 1996,[89] Dell Latitude E6500 Battery

 whose councils are unitary authorities responsible for the provision of all local government services. Community councils are informal organisations that represent specific sub-divisions of a council area. Dell Studio XPS 13 Battery


For the Scottish 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. Dell Studio XPS 1340 Battery

 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. Dell Studio XPS 16 Battery

City status in the United Kingdom is determined by letters patent.[90] There are six cities in Scotland: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, most recently Inverness, and Stirling.[91] Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery


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".[9Dell Studio XPS M1640 Battery

2] The constitutional status of Scotland is nonetheless subject to ongoing debate. In 2007, the Scottish Government established a "National Conversation" on constitutional issues, proposing a number of options such as increasing the powers of the Scottish Parliament, federalism, or a referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. In rejecting the last option, Dell Latitude E5500 Battery

 the three main opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament have proposed a separate Scottish Constitutional Commission to investigate the distribution of powers between devolved Scottish and UK-wide bodies.[93] In August 2009 the SNP proposed a referendum bill to hold a referendum on independence in November 2010. Dell Latitude E5400 Battery

Immediate opposition from all other major parties led to an expected defeat.[94][95] These plans were put on hold by the Scottish National Party until after the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections.[96] 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 justiceSony VGP-BPS9A/B Battery



Main article: Scots law



Parliament House, in Edinburgh, is the home of the Court of Session.

Scots law has a basis derived from Roman law,[97] combining features of both uncodified civil law, dating back to the Corpus Juris Civilis, and common law with medieval sources. The terms of the Treaty of Union with England in 1707 guaranteed the continued existence of a separate legal Sony VGP-BPS9/B Battery

system in Scotland from that of England and Wales.[98] Prior to 1611, there were several regional law systems in Scotland, most notably Udal law in Orkney and Shetland, based on old Norse law. Various other systems derived from common Celtic or Brehon laws survived in the Highlands until the 1800s.[99] Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery


Scots law provides for three types of courts responsible for the administration of justice: civil, criminal and heraldic. The supreme civil court is the Court of Session, although civil appeals can be taken to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (or before 1 October 2009, Sony VGP-BPS13/B Battery

the House of Lords). The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland. The Court of 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 at Lawnmarket. Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

 The sheriff court is the main criminal and civil court, hearing most of the cases. There are 49 sheriff courts throughout the country.[100] District courts were introduced in 1975 for minor offences and small claims. The Court of the Lord Lyon regulates heraldry. Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery


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. Many features within the system have been preserved. Within criminal law, the Scots legal system is unique in having three possible verdicts: "guilty",Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery"not guilty" and "not proven". Both "not guilty" and "not proven" result in an acquittal with no possibility of retrial.[101] Many laws differ between Scotland and the rest of Britain, whereas many terms differ. Manslaughter, in England and Wales, becomes culpable homicide in Scotland, and arson becomes wilful fireraising. Procedure also differs. Scots juries consist of fifteen, not twelve jurors as is more common in English-speaking countries. Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery


The civil legal system has however attracted much recent criticism from a senior Scottish Judge who referred to it as being "Victorian" and antiquated.[102]

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) manages the prisons in Scotland, which collectively house over 8,500 prisoners.[103] The Cabinet Secretary for Justice is responsible for the Scottish Prison Service within the Scottish Government. Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

Geography and natural history


Main article: Geography of Scotland



Loch Tummel in Perth and Kinross

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. The total area is 78,772 km2 (30,414 sq mi), Sony VGP-BPS21B Battery

 [104] 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 on the east coast and the Solway Firth in the west. Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

 The Atlantic Ocean borders the west coast and the North Sea is to the east. The island of Ireland lies only 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the southwestern peninsula of Kintyre;[105] Norway is 305 kilometres (190 mi) to the east and the Faroes, 270 kilometres (168 mi) to the north. Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery


The territorial extent of Scotland is generally that established by the 1237 Treaty of York between Scotland and the Kingdom of England[106] and the 1266 Treaty of Perth between Scotland and Norway.[16] Important exceptions include the Isle of Man, Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery

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;[104] and Berwick-upon-Tweed, lost to England in 1482. Sony VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery


The geographical centre of Scotland lies a few miles from the village of Newtonmore in Badenoch.[107] Rising to 1,344 metres (4,409 ft) 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 190 kilometres (118 mi).[108][109] Sony VGP-BPS13/Q Battery


Geology and geomorphology

Main article: Geology of Scotland



Relief map of Scotland

The whole of Scotland was covered by ice sheets during the Pleistocene ice ages and the landscape is much affected by glaciation. From a geological perspective the country has three main sub-divisions. Dell F802H Battery


Highlands and islands

The Highlands and Islands lie to the north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault, which runs from Arran to Stonehaven. This part of Scotland largely comprises ancient rocks from the Cambrian and Precambrian, which were uplifted during the later Caledonian Orogeny. It is interspersed with igneous intrusions of a more recent age, the remnants of which have formed mountain massifs such as the Cairngorms and Skye Cuillins. Dell F805H Battery


A significant exception to the above are the fossil-bearing beds of Old Red Sandstones found principally along the Moray Firth coast. The Highlands are generally mountainous and the highest elevations in the British Isles are found here. Dell KM904 Battery

Scotland has over 790 islands, which are divided into four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, and the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides. There are numerous bodies of freshwater including Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. Some parts of the coastline consist of machair, a low lying dune pasture land. Dell KM905 Battery


Central lowlands

The Central 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 industrial revolution are to be found. Dell MT264 Battery

This area has also experienced intense volcanism, Arthur’s 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 Campsie Fells are rarely far from view. Dell MT276 Battery


Southern uplands

The Southern Uplands 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 to Dunbar.[110][111][112][113] 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 843 m (2,766 ft). Dell PW773 Battery

The Southern Uplands is home to the UK's highest village, Wanlockhead (430 m/1,411 ft above sea level).[113]


Main article: Climate of Scotland

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Tiree, one of the sunniest locations in Scotland

The climate of Scotland is temperate and oceanic, 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, Dell KM973 Battery

Canada, Moscow, or the Kamchatka 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 −27.2 °C (−16.96 °F) recorded at Braemar in the Grampian Mountains, on 11 February 1895.[117] Winter maximums average 6 °C (42.8 °F) Dell KM978 Battery

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, Scottish Borders on 9 August 2003.[118] Dell MT335 Battery


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. Tiree, in the Inner Hebrides, is one of the sunniest places in the country: it had more than 300 hours of sunshine in May 1975.[118] Rainfall varies widely across Scotland. The western highlands of Scotland are the wettest place, with annual rainfall exceeding 3,000 mm (118.1 in).[11Dell PW823 Battery

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9] In comparison, much of lowland Scotland receives less than 800 mm (31.5 in) annually.[120] Heavy snowfall is not common in the lowlands, but becomes more common with altitude. Braemar experiences an average of 59 snow days per year,[1Dell RM870 Battery

21] while many coastal areas average fewer than 10 days of lying snow per annum.[120]

Flora and faunaSony VAIO VGN-FW51B/W Battery


Main articles: Fauna of Scotland and Flora of Scotland



Mountain Hare

Scotland's wildlife is typical of the north west of Europe, although several of the larger mammals such as the Lynx, Brown Bear, Wolf, Elk and Walrus were hunted to extinction in historic times. There are important populations of seals and internationally significant nesting grounds for a variety of seabirds such as Gannets.[122] The Golden Eagle is something of a national icon. Sony VAIO VGN-FW51MF Battery


On the high mountain tops species including Ptarmigan, Mountain Hare and Stoat can be seen in their white colour phase during winter months.[123] Remnants of the native Scots Pine forest exist[124] and within these areas the Scottish Crossbill, the UK's only endemic bird species and vertebrate, can be found alongside Capercaillie, Sony VAIO VGN-FW51MF/H Battery

Wildcat, Red Squirrel and Pine Marten.[125][126][127] In recent years various animals have been re-introduced, including the White-tailed Sea Eagle in 1975, the Red Kite in the 1980s,[128][129] and more recently there have been experimental projects involving the Beaver and Wild Boar.[130][131] Sony VAIO VGN-FW51MF/H Battery


The flora of the country is varied incorporating both deciduous and coniferous woodland and moorland and tundra 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.[ Sony VAIO VGN-FW51ZF/H Battery

132] The UK's tallest tree is a Grand Fir planted beside Loch Fyne, Argyll in the 1870s , and the Fortingall Yew may be 5,000 years old and is probably the oldest living thing in Europe.[133][134].[135] Although the number of native vascular plants is low by world standards, Scotland's substantial bryophyte flora is of global importance.[136][137] Sony VAIO VGN-FW52JB Battery


Economy and infrastructure


Main article: Economy of Scotland



A drilling rig located in the North Sea

Scotland has a western style open mixed economy that is closely linked with the rest of Europe and the wider world. Traditionally, Sony VAIO VGN-FW81HS Battery

the Scottish economy has been dominated by heavy industry underpinned by the shipbuilding in Glasgow, coal mining and steel industries. Petroleum 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. Sony VAIO VGN-FW81HS Battery


De-industrialisation during the 1970s and 1980s saw a shift from a manufacturing focus towards a more service-oriented 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,[1Sony VAIO VGN-FW81S Battery

38] 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.



Pacific Quay on the River Clyde, an example of the regeneration of Glasgow and the diversifying Scottish econo

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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.[ Sony VAIO VGN-FW82JS Battery

139] Scotland's primary exports include whisky, electronics and financial services. The United States, Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain constitute the country's major export markets.[139] Scotland's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), including oil and gas produced in Scottish waters, was estimated at £137.5 billion for the calendar year 2009.[4] Sony VAIO VGN-NS10J/S Battery


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.[140] Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S Battery


As of May 2009 the unemployment rate in Scotland stood at 6.6%— slightly lower than the UK average and lower than that of the majority of EU countries.[141] Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/L Battery


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.[142] Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/S Battery



Main article: Banknotes of the pound sterling

Although 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 Clydesdale Bank. The current value of the Scottish banknotes in circulation is £1.5 billion.[143] Sony VAIO VGN-NS115N/S Battery


Main article: Transport in Scotland



A Loganair Twin Otter at Barra Airport, the only airport worldwide using a beach runway for scheduled services[144] Sony VAIO VGN-NS11J/S Battery


Scotland has five main international airports (Glasgow International, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow Prestwick and Inverness), which together serve 150 international destinations with a wide variety of scheduled and chartered flights.[1Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/L Battery45] BAA operates three airports, (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow International), and Highland and Islands Airports operates 11 regional airports, (including Inverness), which serve the more remote locations of Scotland.[146] Infratil operates Glasgow Prestwick. Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/P Battery


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 in each of their areas.

Regular ferry 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 Faroe Islands and also Iceland. Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/S Battery




Forth Bridge

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited owns and operates the fixed infrastructure assets of the railway system in Scotland, while the Scottish Government maintains overall responsibility for rail strategy and funding in Scotland.[147] Scotland’s rail network has around 340 railway stations and 3,000 kilometres of track with over 62 million passenger journeys made each year.[148Sony VAIO VGN-SR210J/S Battery

Scotland's rail network is managed by Transport Scotland.[149] 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 ScotRail. Furthermore, Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S Battery

 Glasgow has a small integrated subway system since 1896. Currently, 15 stations searve a daily ridership of just under 40,000. There are plans to extend the subway system in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/H Battery


The East Coast Main Line includes that section of the network that 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".[150] Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/S Battery





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