Scotland (English and Scots)
Alba (Scottish Gaelic) 
Flag of Scotland Coat of arms of Scotland
Flag of Scotland Coat of arms
Motto: Nemo me impune lacessit
(Latin for "No one provokes me with impunity")1
Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems
Location of Scotland
Capital Edinburgh
Largest city Glasgow
Official language(s) English, Gaelic, Scots 2
Government Constitutional monarchy
 - Queen Queen Elizabeth II
 - Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair MP
 - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP
 - by Kenneth I 843 
 - Total 78,772 km² (2nd in UK)
  30,414 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 1.9
 - 20054 est. 5,094,800 (2nd in UK)
 - 2001 census 5,062,011
 - Density 64/km² (4th in UK)
167.5/sq mi 
GDP (PPP) 2002 estimate
 - Total US$130 billion
 - Per capita US$25,546
Currency Pound sterling (GBP)
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 - Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Internet TLD .uk5 (also .eu as part of the European Union)
Calling code +44
Patron Saint St Andrew6 
1Traditionally rendered in Scots as Wha daur meddle wi me?[1]. The Royal motto of the United Kingdom is Dieu et mon droit (French for "God and my right") and is only used in Scotland by UK-wide bodies

2 Officially recognised languages: In addition to English (whose use is established by precedent), Scottish Gaelic has the status of being officially developed to become "an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language" [6] since 2005 Act.
3From the General Register Office for Scotland4Figures for the UK
5ISO 3166-1 is GB, but .gb is unused
6By convention. St Andrew was the patron saint of the bishopric and archbishopric of St Andrews, the most powerful Scottish bishopric. Columba held higher status among the Scots until the later middle ages

Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Alba) is a nation in northwest Europe and one of the four constituent countries[2] of the United Kingdom. It occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shares a land border to the south with England. It 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. Apart from the mainland, Scotland consists of over 790 islands.[3]

Edinburgh, the capital and second largest city, is one of Europe's largest financial centres.[4] Scotland's largest city is Glasgow, which is the centre of the Greater Glasgow conurbation. Greater Glasgow is home to approximately 40% of Scotland's population. Scottish waters consist of a large sector[5] of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union.

The Kingdom of Scotland was an independent state until 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union resulted in a political union with the Kingdom of England to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. Scotland's legal system continues to be separate from those of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and Scotland still constitutes a discrete jurisdiction in public and in private international law.[6] The continued independence of Scots law, the Scottish education system, and the Church of Scotland have been the three cornerstones contributing to the continuation of Scottish culture and Scottish national identity since the Union. However, Scotland is no longer a sovereign state and does not have direct membership of either the United Nations or the European Union.




The word Scot was borrowed from Latin and has been used to refer to Scotland since at least the beginning of the 10th century, when it first appeared in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as a reference to the Land of the Gaels, analogous to the Latin word Scotia. Scottish kings adopted the title Basileus Scottorum or Rex Scottorum (meaning High King of the Gaels), and Rex Scotiae (King of Gael-land) some time in the 11th century, likely influenced by the style Imperator Scottorum, known to have been employed by Brian Boru of Ireland in 1005.

In modern times the word Scot is applied equally to all inhabitants regardless of their ancestral ethnicity, as the nation has had a civic, rather than an ethnic or linguistic, orientation for most of the last millennium.




Early Scotland

Skara Brae, a neolithic settlement, located in the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of mainland Orkney.
Skara Brae, a neolithic settlement, located in the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of mainland Orkney.

Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land-mass of modern Scotland, have destroyed any traces of human habitation before the mesolithic period. It is believed that the first post-glacial group(s) of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 11,000 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last ice age. Groups of settlers began building the first permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, and the first villages around 6,000 years ago. A site from this period is the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the Mainland of Orkney. Neolithic habitation, burial and ritual sites are particularly common and well-preserved in the Northern and Western Isles, where lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone.

The written history 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 Roman province called Britannia. Part of southern Scotland was briefly controlled by Rome. To the north was Caledonia, territory not conquered by the Romans. The name represents that of a Pictish tribe, the Caledonii, one amongst several in the region, but perhaps the dominant tribe. Pictland became dominated by the Pictish sub-kingdom of Fortriu. The Gaels of Dál Riata, an Irish tribe called the Scots, peopled Argyll. From this people came Cináed mac Ailpín, who united the Kingdom of Scotland in 843, when he became the King of the Picts and Scots. According to legend, the Scottish Saltire was adopted by King Óengus II of Fortriu in 832 after a victory over the Northumbrians at Athelstaneford.


Medieval Scotland

The decisive victory of Robert the Bruce over the English at Bannockburn was a defining moment in the forging of the Kingdom of the Scots.
The decisive victory of Robert the Bruce over the English at Bannockburn was a defining moment in the forging of the Kingdom of the Scots.

In the following centuries, the Kingdom of Scotland expanded to something closer to modern Scotland. The period was marked by comparatively good relations with the Wessex rulers of England, internal dynastic struggles and, despite this, relatively successful expansionary policies. Sometime after an invasion of the Kingdom of Strathclyde by King Edmund of England in 945, the province was handed over to King Malcolm I. During the reign of King Indulf (954-962), the Scots captured the fortress later called Edinburgh, their first foothold in Lothian. The reign of Malcolm II saw fuller incorporation of these territories. The critical year was perhaps 1018, when Malcolm II defeated the Northumbrians at the Battle of Carham.

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 began a chain of events which moved the Kingdom of Scotland away from its Gaelic cultural orientation. Malcolm III married Margaret the sister of Edgar Ætheling the deposed Anglo-Saxon claimant to the throne of England, who subsequently received some Scottish support. Margaret played a major role in reducing the influence of Celtic Christianity. When her youngest son David I became king, Scotland gained something of its own gradual "Norman Conquest". Already an important Anglo-Norman lord through marriage, David was instrumental in introducing feudalism into Scotland and in encouraging an influx of settlers from the Low Countries to the newly-founded burghs, to enhance trading links with mainland Europe and Scandinavia. By the late 13th century, scores of Norman and Anglo-Norman families had been granted Scottish lands. The first meetings of the Parliament of Scotland were convened in this period.

Mary, Queen of Scots is one of the most famous women in Scottish history
Mary, Queen of Scots is one of the most famous women in Scottish history

After the death of the Maid of Norway, last direct heir of Alexander III of Scotland, Scotland's nobility asked Edward I, King of England, to adjudicate between rival claimants to the vacant Scottish throne. John Balliol was chosen as king, having the strongest claim in feudal law, but Edward used the concessions he gained to undermine and then depose King John. The Scots resisted under the leadership of William Wallace and Andrew de Moray in support of John Balliol, and later under that of Robert the Bruce. Bruce, crowned as King Robert I on March 25, 1306, won a decisive victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn on 23 June - 24 June 1314, but warfare flared up again after his death during the Second War of Scottish Independence from 1332 to 1357 in which Edward Balliol unsuccessfully attempted to win back the throne from Bruce's heirs, with the support of the English king. Eventually, with the emergence of the Stewart dynasty in the 1370s, the situation in Scotland began to stabilise. By the end of the Middle Ages, Scotland was showing a split into two cultural areas — the mainly Scots-speaking Lowlands, and the mainly Gaelic-speaking Highlands. However, Galwegian Gaelic persisted in remote parts of the southwest, which had formed part of the Lordship of Galloway, probably up until the late 18th century. Historically, the Lowlands were closer to mainstream European culture. By comparison, the clan system of the Highlands formed one of the region's more distinctive features, with a number of powerful clans remaining dominant until after the Acts of Union 1707.


Modern Scotland

In 1603, James VI King of Scots inherited the throne of the Kingdom of England, and became also King James I of England. With the exception of a short period under The Protectorate, Scotland remained a separate state, but there was considerable conflict between the crown and the Covenanters over the form of church government. After the Glorious Revolution and the overthrow of the Roman Catholic James VII by William and Mary, Scotland briefly threatened to select a different Protestant monarch from England. In 1707, however, following English threats to end trade and free movement across the border, the Scots Parliament and the Parliament of England enacted the twin Acts of Union, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Two major Jacobite risings launched from the Highlands of Scotland in 1715 and 1745 failed to remove the House of Hanover from the British throne. The deposed Jacobite Stuart claimants had remained popular in the Highlands and north-east, particularly amongst non-Presbyterians.

Following the Scottish Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, Scotland became one of the commercial, intellectual and industrial powerhouses of Europe. After World War II, Scotland experienced an industrial decline which was particularly acute. Only in recent decades has the country enjoyed something of a cultural and economic renaissance. Factors which have contributed to this recovery include a resurgent financial services and electronics sector (see Silicon Glen), the proceeds of North Sea oil and gas, and latterly the devolved Scottish Parliament, established by the UK government under the Scotland Act 1998.



The Royal Arms of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland. A version without the helm is used by the Scottish Executive
The Royal Arms of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland. A version without the helm is used by the Scottish Executive

As one of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom, the head of state in Scotland is the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952). Constitutionally the United Kingdom is a unitary state with one sovereign parliament and government. Under a system of devolution (or home rule) adopted after Scottish and Welsh referendums on devolution proposals in 1997, most of the constituent countries within the United Kingdom were given limited self-government, (except England). The British Parliament in Westminster retains the ability to amend, change, broaden or abolish the devolved governmental systems at will. As such the Scottish Parliament is not sovereign. However, it is thought unlikely that any British parliament would unilaterally abolish a home rule parliament and government without consultation via a referendum with the voters of the constituent country.

Executive power in the United Kingdom is vested in the Queen-in-Council, while legislative power is vested in the Queen-in-Parliament (the Crown and the Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster in London). Under devolution executive and legislative powers in certain areas have been constitutionally delegated to the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh respectively. The United Kingdom Parliament retains active power over Scotland's taxes, social security system, the military, international relations, broadcasting, and some other areas explicitly specified in the Scotland Act 1998 as reserved matters. The Scottish Parliament has legislative authority for all other areas relating to Scotland, and has limited power to vary income tax, but has never exercised this power. The Scottish Parliament can refer devolved matters back to Westminster to be considered as part of United Kingdom-wide legislation by passing a Legislative Consent Motion if United Kingdom-wide legislation is considered to be more appropriate for certain issues. 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 is the first country in the UK to ban smoking in public places.[7]

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, first elected on the 6th May 1999 and serving for a four year period. The Queen appoints one of the members of the Parliament, on the nomination of the Parliament, 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 Scottish Executive, the executive arm of government. The current (since 2001) First Minister is Jack McConnell of the Labour Party, who forms the government on a coalition basis with the Liberal Democrats, the leader of whom is the Deputy First Minister, currently Nicol Stephen. The main opposition party is the Scottish National Party, which campaigns for Scottish independence. Other parties include the Conservative and Unionist Party, the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party.

The debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament Building contains a shallow horseshoe of seating for the Members of the Scottish Parliament
The debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament Building contains a shallow horseshoe of seating for the Members of the Scottish Parliament

Scotland is represented in the British House of Commons by 59 MPs elected from territory-based Scottish constituencies. The Scotland Office, a department of the United Kingdom government led by The Secretary of State for Scotland, is responsible for reserved matters. The Secretary of State for Scotland sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and prior to devolution headed the system of government in Scotland. The current Secretary of State for Scotland is Douglas Alexander. Until 1999, Scottish peers were entitled to sit in the House of Lords.

Political debate in Scotland has revolved around the constitution and this dominated the Scottish political scene in the latter half of the 20th century. Under the pressure of growing support for Scottish independence all three UK-wide parties advocated a policy of devolution to some degree during their history (although Labour and the Conservatives have also at times opposed it). Now that devolution has occurred, debate continues over whether the Scottish Parliament should accrue additional powers (for example over fiscal policy), or seek to obtain full independence with full sovereign powers (either through independence, a federal United Kingdom or a confederal arrangement). It remains to be seen whether the current devolution system satisfies Scottish demands for self-government or will strengthen demands for full-blown independence.



Parliament House in Edinburgh is home to the High Court of Justiciary and the Court of Session which are the supreme courts of Scotland
Parliament House in Edinburgh is home to the High Court of Justiciary and the Court of Session which are the supreme courts of Scotland

Scots 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 with mediaeval sources. 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 Law. Various other systems derived from common Celtic or Brehon Laws survived in the Highlands until the 1800s.

Scots law provides for three types of courts responsible for the administration of justice in Scotland: civil, criminal and heraldic. The supreme civil court is the Court of Session, although civil appeals can be taken to the House of Lords in London. The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court. Both courts are housed at Parliament House, Edinburgh which was the home of the pre-Union Parliament of Scotland. The sheriff court is the main criminal and civil court. There are 49 sheriff courts throughout the country.[8] District courts were introduced in 1975 for minor offences. The Court of the Lord Lyon regulates heraldry in Scotland.

Scots law is also unique in that it allows three verdicts in criminal cases including the controversial 'not proven' verdict.[9][10]


Geography & Natural History

Map of Scotland
Map of Scotland

Scotland comprises the northern third of the island of Great Britain, which lies off the coast of north west Europe. The total land mass is 78,772 km² (30,414 mi²).[11] Scotland's only land border is with England, and runs for 96 kilometres (60 miles) between 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 30 kilometres (20 mi) from the south western peninsula of Kintyre, Norway is 400 kilometres (250 mi) to the north east, and the Faroes and Iceland are to the north.

The territorial extent of Scotland is generally that established by the 1237 Treaty of York between Scotland and England[12] and the 1266 Treaty of Perth between Scotland and Norway.[13] Exceptions include: the Isle of Man, which is now a crown dependency outside the United Kingdom, the 15th century acquisitions of Orkney and Shetland from Norway;[11] and Rockall, a small rocky islet in the North Atlantic which was annexed by the UK in 1955 and later declared part of Scotland by the Island of Rockall Act 1972.[14][15] However, the legality of the claim is disputed by the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Iceland and it is probably unenforceable in international law.[16][17]


Geology & Geomorphology

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. 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. These foundations are interspersed with many 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 Sandstones found principally along the Moray Firth coast. The Highlands are generally mountainous and are bisected by the Great Glen. The highest elevations in the British Isles are found here, including Ben Nevis, the highest peak at 1,344 metres (4,409 ft). Scotland has over 790 islands, divided into four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, and the Hebrides, sub-divided into the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides. There are numerous bodies of freshwater including Loch Lomond and Loch Ness.

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. This area has also experienced intense vulcanism, Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh being the remnant of a once much larger volcano active in the Carboniferous period some 300 million years ago. Also known as the Midland Valley, this area is relatively low-lying, although even here hills such as the Ochils and Campsie Fells are rarely far from view.

The Southern Uplands are a range of hills almost 200 km (125 miles) long, interspersed with broad valleys. They lie south of a second fault line running from Stranraer towards Dunbar. The geological foundations largely comprise Silurian deposits laid down some 4-500 million years ago.[18][19][20]


Geographical Subdivisions

The City Chambers in George Square, Glasgow.
The City Chambers in George Square, Glasgow.

Historical 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.

Modern Scotland is subdivided in various ways depending on the purpose. For local government, 32 council areas were set up in 1996,[21] which are administered by 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.

For the Scottish Parliament, there are 73 constituencies. For the Parliament of the United Kingdom there are 59 constituencies. The Scottish fire brigades and police forces are still based on the system of regions introduced in 1975. For healthcare and postal districts, and a number of other governmental and non-governmental organisations such as the churches, there are other long-standing methods of subdividing Scotland for the purposes of administration.

City status in the United Kingdom is determined by letters patent. There are six cities in Scotland: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and more recently Inverness, and Stirling.



Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles, is in Lochaber, the wettest district in the British Isles
Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles, is in Lochaber, the wettest district in the British Isles

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 Oslo or Moscow. 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 and 10 January 1982 and also at Altnaharra, Highland, on 30 December 1995. [22] Winter maximums average 6°C (42.8°F) in the lowlands, with summer maximums averaging 18°C (64.4°F). The highest temperature recorded was 32.9°C (91.22°F) at Greycrook, Scottish Borders on 9 August 2003. [23]

In general, the west of Scotland is usually warmer than the east, due to the influence of the 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 300 days of sunshine in 1975. Rainfall varies widely across Scotland. The western highlands of Scotland are the wettest place, with annual rainfall exceeding 3,000 mm (120 inches).[23] In comparison, much of lowland Scotland receives less than 800 mm (31 inches) annually.[23] Heavy snowfall is not common in the lowlands, but becomes more common with altitude. Braemar experiences an average of 59 snow days per year,[24] while coastal areas have an average of fewer than 10 days.[23]


Flora and Fauna

Scotland's wildlife is typical of the north west of Europe although several of the larger mammals such as the Brown Bear, Wolf and Walrus were hunted to extinction in historic times. A population of Wild Cats remains.[25] There are important populations of seals and internationally significant nesting grounds for a variety of seabirds such as Northern Gannets.[26] The Golden Eagle is something of a national icon, and White-tailed Eagles and Ospreys are recent re-colonisations. The Scottish Crossbill is Britain's only endemic bird.[27] The flora of the country is varied incorporating both deciduous and coniferous woodlands, and moorland and tundra species. Significant remnants of the native Scots Pine forest, can be found in places.[28]



Scotland has a highly developed 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, 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. De-industrialisation during the 1970's and 1980's saw a shift from a manufacturing focus towards a more services orientated economy. Edinburgh is the financial services centre of Scotland and the sixth largest financial centre in Europe,[29] with many large finance firms based there, including: the Royal Bank of Scotland (the second largest bank in Europe); HBOS (owners of the Bank of Scotland); and Standard Life.

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.[30] 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 markets.[30] In 2002, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Scotland was just over £74 billion ($130 billion), giving a per capita GDP of £14,651 ($25,546).[31] As of 2006, the unemployment rate in Scotland stood at 5.1% - marginally above the UK average, but lower than in the majority of EU countries.[32]

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. These notes have no status as legal tender anywhere in the United Kingdom, although they are fungible with the Bank of England banknotes.[33] Despite this, Scottish-issued notes are often refused in England and they are not always accepted by banks and exchange bureaus outside the UK. The Royal Bank of Scotland still produces a £1 note, unique among British banks.[34] The current value of the Scottish banknotes in circulation is £1.5 billion.[33]



The ruins of St Andrew's Cathedral in Fife.
The ruins of St Andrew's Cathedral in Fife.

The population of Scotland in the 2001 census was 5,062,011. This has risen to 5,094,800 according to July 2005 estimates.[35] This would make Scotland the 112th largest country by population if it were a sovereign state. Although Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland it is not the largest city. With a population of 629,501, this honour falls to Glasgow. Indeed, the Greater Glasgow conurbation, with a population of up to 2.2 million, is home to almost half of Scotland's population.[36][37]

The Central Belt is where most of the main towns and cities are located. Glasgow is to the west whilst the other three main cities of Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen lie on the east coast. The Highlands are sparsely populated although the city of Inverness has experienced rapid growth in recent years. In general only the more accessible and larger islands retain human populations and fewer than 90 are currently inhabited. The Southern Uplands are essentially rural in nature and dominated by agriculture and forestry.[38][39]

Due to immigration since World War II, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee have significant ethnically Asian populations.[40] Since the recent Enlargement of the European Union there has been an increased number of people from Central and Eastern Europe moving to Scotland, and it is estimated that between 40,000 and 50,000 Poles are now in living in the country.[41] As of 2001, there are 16,315 ethnic Chinese residents in Scotland.[42]

Scotland has three officially recognised languages: English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic. Almost all Scots speak Scottish Standard English, and in 1996 the General Register Office for Scotland estimated that 30% of the population are fluent in Scots.[43] Gaelic is mostly spoken in the Western Isles, where its use is confined to just 1% of the population.[44]

The Church of Scotland, also sometimes popularly known as The Kirk, is the national church and has a Presbyterian system of church government. Other Christian denominations in Scotland include the Free Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and Roman Catholicism. The latter survived the Reformation, on islands like Uist and Barra, and was strengthened, particularly in the west of Scotland, during the 19th century by immigration from Ireland. Islam is the largest non-Christian religion in Scotland (estimated population, 50,000).[45] There are also significant Jewish and Sikh communities, especially in Glasgow. 28% of the population regard themselves as belonging to 'no religion'. [45]



Vanguard class submarines of the Royal Navy, which carry the UK's nuclear deterrent, are based in Scotland
Vanguard class submarines of the Royal Navy, which carry the UK's nuclear deterrent, are based in Scotland

Although Scotland has a long military tradition that predates the Act of Union with England, its armed forces now form part of the British Armed Forces. In 2006, the regiments of the Scottish Division were amalgamated to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Due to their topography and perceived 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 Base Clyde, 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 deterrent. HMS Caledonia at Rosyth in Fife is the support base for navy operations in Scotland and also serves as the Naval Regional Office (NRO Scotland and Northern Ireland). The Royal Navy's submarine nuclear reactor development establishment, is located at Dounreay, which was also the site of the UK's fast breeder nuclear reactor programme. HMS Gannet is a search and rescue station based at Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire and operates three Sea King Mk 5 helicopters. RM Condor at Arbroath, Angus is home to 45 Commando, Royal Marines.

Three important Royal Air Force bases are in Scotland today. These are RAF Lossiemouth, the RAF's primary base for the Panavia Tornado GR4 strike aircraft, RAF Kinloss, home to the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft and RAF Leuchars, the most northerly air defence fighter base in the United Kingdom. The only open air live depleted uranium weapons test range in the British Isles is located near Dundrennan.[46] As a result, over 7000 radioactive munitions lie on the seabed of the Solway Firth.[47] This has led to many environmental concerns.[48] The large number of military bases in Scotland has led some to use the euphemism "Fortress Scotland".[49] In 2004, the MoD land holdings in Scotland (owned, leased or with legal rights) was 115,200 hectares representing around 31% of the MoD's UK estate.[50]



The education system in Scotland is distinct from the rest of the United Kingdom and 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 since it forced all nobles and freeholders to educate their eldest sons in Latin, followed by the Arts, and Scots law. Then, in 1561, the Kirk 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 Act of 1872. As a result, for over two hundred years Scotland had a higher percentage of its population educated at primary, secondary and tertiary levels than any other country in Europe.[citation needed]

Today, children in Scotland sit Standard Grade exams at the age of 15 or 16, sometimes earlier, for up to eight subjects (although some schools study for nine) including compulsory exams in English, mathematics, a foreign language, a science subject and a social subject. Each school may vary these compulsory combinations. The school leaving age is 16, after which students may choose to remain at school and study for Access, Intermediate or Higher Grade and Advanced Higher exams. A small number of students at certain private, independent schools may follow the English system and study towards GCSEs instead of Standard Grades, and towards A and AS-Levels instead of Higher Grade and Advanced Higher exams.

The Scottish Funding Council funds over forty further and higher education colleges where students can study for more vocational qualifications; degree-entry qualifications such as diplomas; and specialist courses in the arts or agriculture. Scotland has 13 universities and one university college. This includes the four ancient universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews which were founded during the mediaeval period. Bachelor's degrees at Scottish universities are bestowed after four years of study, some conferred by the ancient universities being confusingly known as Masters of Arts (MA), with the option to graduate with an ordinary degree after three years or continue with the fourth year of study to obtain an honours degree. Unlike the rest of the United Kingdom, Scottish students studying at a Scottish university do not have to pay for tuition fees. The Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) pay course fees for all Scottish students domiciled in Scotland and offer bursaries to eligible students. Scottish students have the option of accepting a loan from the Student Loans Company (SLC), and if eligible, this is paid back after graduation. Scottish students studying outside of Scotland but within the UK have to pay for tuition, but at a reduced rate depending upon how much their chosen institution charges. All Scottish universities attract a high percentage of overseas students, and many have links with overseas institutions.



A piper playing the Great Highland Bagpipe.
A piper playing the Great Highland Bagpipe.

Over the course of many centuries, an amalgamation of various traditions has moulded the culture of Scotland. There is a robust arts scene, with both music and literature heavily influenced by Scottish sources and a variety of national media outlets. Several Scottish sporting traditions are unique to the British Isles, and co-exist with more popular games such as Football and Rugby.

The Scottish music scene is a significant aspect of Scottish culture, with both traditional and modern influences. An example of a traditional Scottish instrument is the Great Highland Bagpipe, a wind instrument consisting of one or more musical pipes which are fed continuously by a reservoir of air in a bag. The Clàrsach, fiddle and accordion are also traditional Scottish instruments, the latter two heavily featured in Scottish country dance bands. Scottish emigrants took traditional Scottish music with them and it influenced early local styles such as country music in North America. Today, there are many successful Scottish bands and individual artists in varying styles.[51]

Scottish literature includes text written in English, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, French, and Latin. The poet and songwriter Robert Burns 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 Arthur Conan Doyle were internationally successful during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.[52] J. M. Barrie introduced the movement known as the "kailyard tradition" at the end of the 19th century, which brought elements of fantasy and folklore back into fashion.[53] This tradition has been viewed as a major stumbling block for Scottish literature, as it focused on an idealised, pastoral picture of Scottish culture.[53] Some modern novelists, such as Irvine Welsh (of Trainspotting fame), write in a distinctly Scottish English that reflects the harsher realities of contemporary life.[54]

The national broadcaster is BBC Scotland (BBC Alba in Gaelic), a constituent part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly-funded broadcaster of the United Kingdom. It runs two national television stations and the national radio stations, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio nan Gaidheal amongst 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.[55] Important regional dailies include The Courier in Dundee in the east, and The Press and Journal serving Aberdeen and the north.[55]

The Old Course at St Andrews.
The Old Course at St Andrews.

Sport is an important element in Scottish culture, with the country hosting many of its own national sporting competitions, and enjoying independent representation at many international sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, the Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games (although not the Olympic Games). Scotland has its own national governing bodies, such as the Scottish Football Association (the second oldest national football association in the world)[56] and the Scottish Rugby Union. Variations of football have been played in Scotland for centuries with the earliest reference being in 1424.[57] Association football is now the national sport and the Scottish Cup is the world's oldest national trophy.[58] The Fife town of St. Andrews is known internationally as the Home of Golf[59] and to many golfers the Old Course, an ancient links course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of pilgrimage.[60] There are many other famous golf courses in Scotland, including Carnoustie, Gleneagles, Muirfield and Royal Troon. Other distinctive features of the national sporting culture include the Highland games, curling and shinty. Scotland played host to the Commonwealth Games in 1970 and 1986.



A Loganair aircraft at Barra Airport, the only airport in the world where scheduled air services land on a beach runway.
A Loganair aircraft at Barra Airport, the only airport in the world where scheduled air services land on a beach runway.

Scotland has four main international airports (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick and Aberdeen) that serve a wide variety of European and intercontinental routes with scheduled and chartered flights. Highland and Islands Airports operate 10 regional airports serving the more remote locations of Scotland.[61] There is technically no national airline, however various airlines have their base in Scotland including Loganair (operates as a franchise of British Airways), Flyglobespan, City Star Airlines, Air Scotland and ScotAirways.

Scotland has a large and expanding rail network, which, following the Railways Act of 2005, is now managed independently from the rest of the UK. [62] The East Coast and West Coast Main Railway lines and the Cross Country Line connect the major cities and towns of Scotland with the English network. First ScotRail operate services within Scotland. The Scottish Executive has pursued a policy of building new railway lines, and reopening closed ones. Operators to English destinations include First ScotRail, GNER and Virgin Trains.

The Scottish motorways and major trunk roads are managed by the Scottish Executive. The rest of the road network is managed by the Scottish local authorities in each of their areas. The country's busiest motorway is the M8 which runs from the outskirts of Edinburgh to central Glasgow, and on to Renfrewshire.

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.


National symbols

The distinctive Royal Stewart Tartan is the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II.
The distinctive Royal Stewart Tartan is the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II.


  1. "Nemo me impune lacessit - which translates as, "touch me not with impunity", or more commonly, "wha daur meddle wi' me".", The Daily Telegraph, 25 October 2004
  2. The website of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom refers to "Countries within a country", stating "The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland".
  3. Scottish Executive Resources. Scotland in Short. Retrieved on September 14, 2006.
  4. Edinburgh, Inspiring Capital - Information for Journalists - "Edinburgh is Europe's sixth largest fund management centre".
  5. Image showing 1999 Scottish Fishing and Territorial Waters
  6. pdf file "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 British 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." Conflict of Laws, JG Collier, Fellow of Trinity Hall and lecturer in Law, University of Cambridge
  7. BBC Scotland News Online "Scotland begins pub smoking ban", BBC Scotland News, 2006-03-26. Retrieved on 2006-07-17. (in English)
  8. Scottish Court Information
  9. Jury Service in Victoria, Chapter 6. This three verdict system is unique to Scotland and has existed there for around 300 years. Retrieved on September 13, 2006.
  10. Law Society of Scotland. England may adopt "Not Proven" Verdict. Retrieved on September 13, 2006.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Whitaker's Almanack (1991) London. J. Whitaker and Sons.
  12. National Archives. [1] Retrieved 21.11.06
  13. Mackie, J.D. (1969) A History of Scotland. London. Penguin.
  14. "In 1972 the Isle of Rockall Act was passed, which made the rock officially part of Inverness-shire, Scotland.",
  15. House of Lords Hansard, June 24 1997
  16. Oral Questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Dáil Éireann, November 1, 1973 Retrieved 17.01.2007.
  17. MacDonald, Fraser (2006) The last outpost of Empire: Rockall and the Cold War. Journal of Historical Geography 32. P627-647. available in pdf
  18. Keay, J. & Keay, J. (1994) Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland. London. HarperCollins.
  19. Murray, W.H. (1973) The Islands of Western Scotland. London. Eyre Methuen
  20. Murray, W.H. (1977) The Companion Guide to the West Highlands of Scotland. London. Collins.
  21. Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994
  22. BBC Weather Features UK Records UK Records
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Met Office. Met Office - Details for Scotland. Retrieved on September 14, 2006.
  24. BBC Weather features Scottish Weather Part One
  25. Matthews, L.H. (1968) British Mammals. London. Bloomsbury.
  26. Fraser Darling, F. & Boyd, J.M. (1969) Natural History in the Highlands and Islands. London. Bloomsbury.
  27. Gooders, J. (1994) Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Ireland. London. Kingfisher.
  28. Preston, C.D., Pearman, D.A., & Dines, T.D. (2002) New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Oxford University Press.
  29. Milner M. and Treanor J.. "Devolution may broaden financial sector's view", The Guardian, 1999-06-02. Retrieved on 2006-08-08. (in English)
  30. 30.0 30.1 Global Connections Survey. Scottish Executive. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.
  31. The Scottish Executive (2006). Scottish Economic Statistics. The Scottish Executive. Retrieved on 2006-08-08.
  32. Unemployment in Scotland lowest since records began. The Scotsman. Retrieved on 2006-12-04.
  33. 33.0 33.1 History of Scottish Banknotes. Scottish Clearing Banks. Retrieved on 2006-12-04.
  34. Banknote Design. Scottish Clearing Banks. Retrieved on 2006-12-04.
  35. Scotland's Population rises for the third year in a row. General Register Office for Scotland April 2006
  36. Strathclyde Passenger Transport [2]
  37. TalentScotland, Scottish Enterprise [3]
  38. Clapperton, C.M. (ed) (1983) Scotland: A New Study. London. David & Charles.
  39. Miller, J. (2004) Inverness. Edinburgh. Birlinn.
  40. Urdustan. net 2004 Scotland speaks Urdu
  41. The Pole Position (August 6, 2005). Glasgow. Sunday Herald newspaper.
  42. Scottish Executive, Statistics [4]
  43. Scotland's Census 2001, Part 1: Census User Needs and Legislation. General Register Office for Scotland.
  44. Dr. Kenneth MacKinnon. A Century on the Census - Gaelic in Twentieth Century Focus. University of Glasgow.
  45. 45.0 45.1 General Register Office for Scotland 2001 Census analysis.
  46. BBC Scotland News Online "DU shell test-firing resumes", BBC Scotland News, 2001-02-21. Retrieved on 2006-09-13. (in English)
  47. Parliament of the United Kingdom - Debates 7 February 2001 Depleted Uranium (Shelling)
  48. Mackay, N and Wilson, A.. "MOD "lied" over depleted Uranium", Sunday Herald, 2004-02-29. Retrieved on 2006-09-06. (in English)
  49. Spaven, Malcolm (1983) Fortress Scotland. London. Pluto Press in association with Scottish CND.
  50. UK Defence Statistics, 2004 [5].
  51. Best Scottish Band of All Time. Retrieved on 2006-08-02.
  52. Barbara Buchenau. 'Wizards of the West'? How Americans respond to Sir Walter Scott, the 'Wizard of the North'. Goettingen University. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  53. 53.0 53.1 Scottish Literature. University of Glasgow Faculty of Arts. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  54. Contemporary Writers. British Council. Retrieved on 2006-12-12.
  55. 55.0 55.1 Newspapers and National Identity in Scotland. IFLA University of Stirling. Retrieved on 2006-12-12.
  56. Soccer in South Asia: Empire, Nation, Diaspora. By James Mills, Paul Dimeo: Page 18 - Oldest Football Association is England's FA, then Scotland and third oldest is the Indian FA.
  57. Gerhardt, W.. The colourful history of a fascinating game. More than 2000 Years of Football. FIFA. Retrieved on August 11, 2006.
  58. Official Site of the Tennents Scottish Cup. The Tennents Scottish Cup. Retrieved on 2006-12-10.
  59. TALES from PINEHURST: Stories from the Mecca of American Golf. By Robert Hartman: Page 89.
  60. Science and Golf IV: proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. By Eric Thain: Page 849.
  61. Informational Site of Highlands and Islands Airports
  62. Transport Scotland, Official transportation site of the Scottish Executive
  63. BBC Scotland News Online "Anthem demand falls on deaf ears", BBC Scotland News, 2004-11-24. Retrieved on 2006-09-13. (in English)
  64. BBC Scotland News Online "Pride call on St Andrew's Day", BBC Scotland News, 2006-11-30. retreived on 2007-01-20. (in English)

See also


External links

Retrieved from "http://localhost../../art/c/i.html"

This text comes from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for a given article, visit the corresponding entry on the English Wikipedia and click on "History" . For more details about the license of an image, visit the corresponding entry on the English Wikipedia and click on the picture.