Scotland

Scotland (Scots: Scotland; Scottish Gaelic: Alba [ˈal̪ˠapə] (listen)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain. The union also created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom. The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922.

Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles, titles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland. The legal system within Scotland has also remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland; Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in both public and private law.[6] The continued existence of legal, educational, religious and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England.[7]

The Scottish Parliament, which is a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs. Scotland is also a member of the British–Irish Council, and sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into 32 subdivisions, known as local authorities, or councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area.

Scotland

Motto: "In My Defens God Me Defend" (Scots)
"In my defence God me defend"
Anthem: Various
Predominantly "Flower of Scotland"
Location of  Scotland  (dark green) – in Europe  (green & dark grey) – in the United Kingdom  (green)
Location of  Scotland  (dark green)

– in Europe  (green & dark grey)
– in the United Kingdom  (green)

StatusCountry
CapitalEdinburgh
55°57′11″N 3°11′20″W / 55.95306°N 3.18889°W
Largest cityGlasgow
Recognised languages
Ethnic groups
(2011)
  • 96.0% White
  • 2.7% Asian
  • 0.7% Black
  • 0.4% Mixed
  • 0.2% Arab
  • 0.1% other[1]
Religion
Church of Scotland
Roman Catholic
No religion
Other Christian
Islam[2]
Demonym(s)
GovernmentDevolved parliamentary legislature within a constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
Nicola Sturgeon
John Swinney
Parliament of the United Kingdom
• Secretary of StateDavid Mundell
• House of Commons59 MPs (of 650)
LegislatureScottish Parliament
Formation
9th century (traditionally 843)
1 May 1707
19 November 1998
Area
• Land
77,933 km2 (30,090 sq mi)[3]
• Water (%)
3.00%
Population
• 2017 estimate
Increase 5,424,800
• 2011 census
5,313,600
• Density
67.5/km2 (174.8/sq mi)
GVA2017[4] estimate
 • Total£138 billion
($177B)
 • Per capita£25,485
($32673)
HDI (2017)0.901[5]
very high
CurrencyPound sterling (GBP£)
Time zoneUTC (Greenwich Mean Time)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+44
Patron saints
ISO 3166 codeGB-SCT
Internet TLD.scot

Etymology

"Scotland" comes from Scotti, the Latin name for the Gaels; Scotia initially referred to Ireland. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland. The use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins.[8][9]:35–36[10]:66–67

History

Early history

Skara Brae house 1 5
The exposed interior of a house at Skara Brae

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 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.[11] At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, and the main form of transport was by water.[9]:9 These 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.[12] Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE.[13]:38

The first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands.[9]:10 During the first millennium BCE, the society changed dramatically to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.[9]:11 The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD, when Agricola invaded Scotland; he defeated a Caledonian army at the Battle of Mons Graupius in 83 AD.[9]:12 After the Roman victory, Roman forts were briefly set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands.[14] The Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England[9]:12 and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire.[15][16] The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, and they introduced Christianity to Scotland.[9]:13–14[13]:38

Middle Ages

Early Medieval Scotland areas
Political divisions in early medieval Scotland
Kingdom of Mann and the Isles-en
Norse kingdoms at the end of the eleventh century

Beginning in the sixth century, the area that is now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland;[9]:25–26 the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria, which had conquered southeastern Scotland;[9]:18–20 Settlers from Ireland founded the kingdom of Dál Riata in western Scotland the sixth century, bringing Gaelic language and culture with them.[9]:20 These societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves (mostly captured in war) through the ninth century.[9]:26–27

Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries.[9]:23–24 Operating in the sixth century on the island of Iona, Saint Columba was one of the earliest and best-known missionaries.[13]:39 The Vikings began to raid Scotland in the eighth century. Although the raiders sought slaves and luxury items, their main motivation was to acquire land. The oldest Norse settlements were in northwest Scotland, but they eventually conquered many areas along the coast. Old Norse entirely displaced Gaelic in the Northern Isles.[9]:29–30

In the ninth century, the Norse threat allowed a Gael named Cináed mac Ailpín (Kenneth I) to seize power over Pictland, establishing a royal dynasty to which the modern monarchs trace their lineage, and marking the beginning of the end of Pictish culture.[9]:31–32[17] The kingdom of Cináed and his descendants, called Alba, was Gaelic in character but existed on the same area as Pictland. By the end of the tenth century, the Pictish language went extinct as its speakers shifted to Gaelic.[9]:32–33 From a base in eastern Scotland north of the River Forth and south of the River Spey, the kingdom expanded first southwards, into the former Northumbrian lands, and northwards into Moray.[9]:34–35 Around the turn of the millennium, there was a centralization in agricultural lands and the first towns began to be established.[9]:36–37

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with much of Scotland under the control of a single ruler and united by the Gaelic language, a modern nation-state first emerged, as did Scottish national consciousness.[10]:38 The domination of Gaelic was cracked during the reign of David I (1124–53), during which many English-speaking colonists settled in Scotland.[10]:39 David I and his successors also centralized royal power[10]:41–42 and united mainland Scotland, capturing regions such as Moray, Galloway, and Caithness, although he did not succeed at extending his power over the Hebrides, which had been ruled by various Scottish clans following the death of Somerled in 1164.[10]:48–49 The system of feudalism was consolidated, with both Anglo-Norman incomers and native Gaelic chieftains being granted land in exchange for serving the king.[10]:53–54 The Scottish kings rejected English demands to subjugate themselves; in fact, England invaded Scotland several times to prevent the latter's expansion into northern England.[10]:45

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

The death of Alexander III in March 1286 broke the succession line of Scotland's kings. Edward I of England arbitrated between various claimants for the Scottish crown. In return for surrendering Scotland's nominal independence, John Balliol was pronounced king in 1292.[10]:47[18] In 1294, Balliol and other Scottish lords refused Edward's demands to serve in his army against the French. Scotland and France sealed a treaty on 23 October 1295, known as the Auld Alliance. War ensued and John was deposed by Edward who took personal control of Scotland. Andrew Moray and William Wallace initially emerged as the principal leaders of the resistance to English rule in the Wars of Scottish Independence,[19] until Robert the Bruce was crowned king of Scotland in 1306.[20] Victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 proved the Scots had regained control of their kingdom. In 1320 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. [21]:70, 72

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 faction was successful, David II's lack of an heir allowed his half-nephew Robert II to come to the throne and establish the House of Stewart.[21]:77 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,[22]:93 despite the effects of the Black Death in 1349[21]:76 and increasing division between Highlands and Lowlands.[21]:78 Multiple truces reduced warfare on the southern border.[21]:76, 83

Early modern period

Portrait of King James I & VI (1618-1620)
James VI succeeded to the English and Irish thrones in 1603.

The Treaty of Perpetual Peace was signed in 1502 by James IV of Scotland and Henry VII of England. James married Henry's daughter, Margaret Tudor.[23] James invaded England in support of France under the terms of the Auld Alliance and became the last British monarch to die in battle, at Flodden in 1513.[24] In 1560, the Treaty of Edinburgh brought an end to the Anglo-French conflict and recognized the Protestant Elizabeth I as Queen of England.[22]:112 The Parliament of Scotland met and immediately adopted the Scots Confession, which signaled the Scottish Reformation's sharp break from papal authority and Catholic teaching.[13]:44 The Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate in 1567.[25]

In 1603, James VI, King of Scots inherited the thrones of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Ireland in the Union of the Crowns, and moved to London.[26] The military was strengthened, allowing the imposition of royal authority on the western Highland clans. The 1609 Statutes of Iona compelled the cultural integration of Hebridean clan leaders.[27]:37–40 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.[28]:124 The Glorious Revolution of 1688–89 saw the overthrow of King James VII of Scotland and II of England by the English Parliament in favour of William III and Mary II.[28]:142 In common with countries such as France, Norway, Sweden and Finland, Scotland experienced famines during the 1690s. Mortality, reduced childbirths and increased emigration reduced the population of parts of the country about 10-15%.[28]:143[29]

In 1698, the Company of Scotland attempted a project to secure a trading colony on the Isthmus of Panama. Although it received a huge investment, the Darien scheme failed, partially due to English hostility. Along with the threat of an English invasion, the resulting bankruptcies played a leading role in convincing the Scots elite to back a union with England.[28]:143 On 22 July 1706, the Treaty of Union was agreed between representatives of the Scots Parliament and the Parliament of England. 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[30] with popular opposition and anti-union riots in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and elsewhere.[31][32]

18th century

The Battle of Culloden
David Morier's depiction of the Battle of Culloden, which is often said to have marked the end of the Scottish clan system.

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.[33] The deposed Jacobite Stuart claimants had remained popular in the Highlands and north-east, particularly amongst non-Presbyterians, including Roman Catholics and Episcopalian Protestants. 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.[34]:157–158

The Scottish Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution turned Scotland into an intellectual, commercial and industrial powerhouse[35]–so much so Voltaire said "We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation."[36] 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. Historian Neil Davidson notes "after 1746 there was an entirely new level of participation by Scots in political life, particularly outside Scotland." Davidson also states "far from being 'peripheral' to the British economy, Scotland – or more precisely, the Lowlands – lay at its core."[37] In the Highlands, clan chiefs gradually started to think of themselves more as commercial landlords than leaders of their people. These social and economic changes included the first phase of the Highland Clearances and, ultimately, the demise of the clan system.[38]:32–53, passim[34]:164 In the last third of the 18th century, Highlanders began to migrate seasonally to Lowland cities for work, and emigration to the New World from both the Highlands and Lowlands became commonplace, even as the population increased.[34]:164

19th century

John Atkinson Grimshaw - Shipping on the Clyde (1881)
Shipping on the Clyde, by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881

The Scottish Reform Act 1832 increased the number of Scottish MPs and widened the franchise to include more of the middle classes.[39] From the mid-century, there were increasing calls for Home Rule for Scotland and the post of Secretary of State for Scotland was revived.[40] In the later 19th century the growing importance of the working classes was marked by Keir Hardie's success in the Mid Lanarkshire by-election, 1888, leading to the foundation of the Scottish Labour Party, which was absorbed into the Independent Labour Party in 1895, with Hardie as its first leader.[41]

Glasgow became one of the largest cities in the world and known as "the Second City of the Empire" after London.[42] After 1860 the Clydeside shipyards specialised in steamships made of iron (after 1870, made of steel), which rapidly replaced the wooden sailing vessels of both the merchant fleets and the battle fleets of the world. It became the world's pre-eminent shipbuilding centre.[43] The industrial developments, while they brought work and wealth, were so rapid that housing, town-planning, and provision for public health did not keep pace with them, and living conditions in some of the towns and cities worsened, with overcrowding, high infant mortality, and growing rates of tuberculosis.[44] The population of Scotland grew steadily in the 19th century, from 1,608,000 in the census of 1801 to 2,889,000 in 1851 and 4,472,000 in 1901.[45] Even with the development of industry, there were not enough good jobs. As a result, during the period 1841–1931, about 2 million Scots migrated to North America and Australia, and another 750,000 Scots relocated to England.[46]

Vuiamor2
Ruined croft houses at Fuaigh Mòr in the Outer Hebrides. The inhabitants were evicted during the Highland Clearances.

While the Scottish Enlightenment is traditionally considered to have concluded toward the end of the 18th century,[47] disproportionately large Scottish contributions to British science and letters continued for another 50 years or more, thanks to such figures as the physicists James Clerk Maxwell and Lord Kelvin, and the engineers and inventors James Watt and William Murdoch, whose work was critical to the technological developments of the Industrial Revolution throughout Britain.[48] This period saw a process of rehabilitation for Highland culture. In the 1820s, as part of the Romantic revival, tartan and the kilt were adopted by members of the social elite, not just in Scotland, but across Europe,[49][50] prompted by the popularity of Macpherson's Ossian cycle[51][52] and then Walter Scott's Waverley novels.[53] In literature, the most successful figure of the mid-19th century was Walter Scott. His first prose work, Waverley in 1814, is often called the first historical novel.[54] It launched a highly successful career that probably more than any other helped define and popularise Scottish cultural identity.[55] Scotland also played a major part in the development of art and architecture. The Glasgow School, which developed in the late 19th century, and flourished in the early 20th century, produced a distinctive blend of influences including the Celtic Revival the Arts and Crafts movement, and Japonism, which found favour throughout the modern art world of continental Europe and helped define the Art Nouveau style. Proponents included architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh.[56]

However, the Highlands remained poor, the only part of mainland Britain to continue to experience recurrent famine, with a limited range of products exported out of the region, negligible industrial production, but a continued population growth that tested the subsistence agriculture. These problems, and the desire to improve agriculture and profits were the driving forces of the ongoing Highland Clearances, in which many of the population of the Highlands suffered eviction as lands were enclosed, principally so that they could be used for sheep farming. The first phase of the clearances followed patterns of agricultural change throughout Britain. The second phase was driven by overpopulation, the Highland Potato Famine and the collapse of industries that had relied on the wartime economy of the Napoleonic Wars.[57]

Disruption forming Free Kirk
The Disruption Assembly; painted by David Octavius Hill.

After prolonged years of struggle in the Kirk, in 1834 the Evangelicals gained control of the General Assembly and passed the Veto Act, which allowed congregations to reject unwanted "intrusive" presentations to livings by patrons. In the Disruption of 1843, roughly a third of the clergy, mainly from the North and Highlands, formed the separate Free Church of Scotland.[58] Catholic emancipation in 1829 and the influx of large numbers of Irish immigrants, particularly after the famine years of the late 1840s, mainly to the growing lowland centres like Glasgow, led to a transformation in the fortunes of Catholicism. In 1878, despite opposition, a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy was restored to the country, and Catholicism became a significant denomination within Scotland.[59] Industrialisation, urbanisation and the Disruption of 1843 all undermined the tradition of parish schools. From 1830 the state began to fund buildings with grants; then from 1846 it was funding schools by direct sponsorship; and in 1872 Scotland moved to a system like that in England of state-sponsored largely free schools, run by local school boards.[60] The historic University of Glasgow became a leader in British higher education by providing the educational needs of youth from the urban and commercial classes, as opposed to the upper class.[61] The University of St Andrews pioneered the admission of women to Scottish universities. From 1892 Scottish universities could admit and graduate women and the numbers of women at Scottish universities steadily increased until the early 20th century.[62]

Early 20th century

The Battle of the Somme, July-november 1916 Q4133
Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in a trench at the Somme, 1916

Scotland played a major role in the British effort in the First World War. It especially provided manpower, ships, machinery, fish and money.[63] With a population of 4.8 million in 1911, Scotland sent over half a million men to the war, of whom about 100,000 died and 150,000 were seriously wounded.[64][65]:203 The socialist "Red Clydeside" movement, led by militant trade unionists, emerged during the war in response to war profiteering by landlords and capitalists.[65]:204–205 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 neighbourhood solidarity on housing issues. However, the "Reds" operated within the Labour Party and had little influence in Parliament and the mood changed to passive despair by the late 1920s.[66]

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.[67] Indeed, the war brought with it deep social, cultural, economic, and political dislocations. Thoughtful Scots pondered their declension, as the main social indicators such as poor health, bad housing, and long-term mass unemployment, pointed to terminal social and economic stagnation at best, or even a downward spiral. Service abroad on behalf of the Empire lost its allure to ambitious young people, who left Scotland permanently. The heavy dependence on obsolescent heavy industry and mining was a central problem, and no one offered workable solutions. The despair reflected what Finlay (1994) describes as a widespread sense of hopelessness that prepared local business and political leaders to accept a new orthodoxy of centralised government economic planning when it arrived during the Second World War.[68]

Royal Scots with flag 01-1945
Royal Scots with a captured Japanese Hinomaru Yosegaki flag, Burma, 1945

As part of the Blitz by Nazi Germany on the UK, factories, shipyards, and coal mines in Scotland came under attack during the Second World War.[69] Cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh were targeted by German bombers, as were smaller towns mostly located in the central belt of the country.[69] Perhaps the most significant air-raid in Scotland was the Clydebank Blitz of March 1941, which intended to destroy naval shipbuilding in the area.[70] 528 people were killed and 4,000 homes totally destroyed.[70] As in World War I, Scapa Flow in Orkney served as an important Royal Navy base. Attacks on Scapa Flow and Rosyth gave RAF fighters their first successes downing bombers in the Firth of Forth and East Lothian.[71] The shipyards and heavy engineering factories in Glasgow and Clydeside played a key part in the war effort, and suffered attacks from the Luftwaffe, enduring great destruction and loss of life.[72] As transatlantic voyages involved negotiating north-west Britain, Scotland played a key part in the battle of the North Atlantic.[73] Shetland's relative proximity to occupied Norway resulted in the Shetland bus by which fishing boats helped Norwegians flee the Nazis, and expeditions across the North Sea to assist resistance.[74]

Scottish industry came out of the depression slump by a dramatic expansion of its industrial activity, absorbing unemployed men and many women as well. The shipyards were the centre of more activity, but many smaller industries produced the machinery needed by the British bombers, tanks and warships.[72] Agriculture prospered, as did all sectors except for coal mining, which was operating mines near exhaustion. Real wages, adjusted for inflation, rose 25% and unemployment temporarily vanished. Increased income, and the more equal distribution of food, obtained through a tight rationing system, dramatically improved the health and nutrition.

Modern day

Opening of the Scottish Parliament, 1999
The official reconvening of the Scottish Parliament in July 1999 with Donald Dewar, then First Minister of Scotland (left) with Queen Elizabeth II (centre) and Presiding Officer Sir David Steel (right)

After 1945, Scotland's economic situation worsened due to overseas competition, inefficient industry, and industrial disputes.[75] Only in recent decades has the country enjoyed something of a cultural and economic renaissance. Economic factors contributing to this recovery included a resurgent financial services industry, electronics manufacturing, (see Silicon Glen),[76] and the North Sea oil and gas industry.[77] 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 Great Britain,[78] contributed to a growing movement for Scottish control over domestic affairs.[79] Following a referendum on devolution proposals in 1997, the Scotland Act 1998[80] was passed by the UK Parliament, which established a devolved Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government with responsibility for most laws specific to Scotland.[81] The Scottish Parliament was reconvened in Edinburgh on 4 July 1999.[82] The first First Minister of Scotland was Donald Dewar, who served until his sudden death in 2000.[83]

The Scottish Parliament Building at Holyrood itself did not open until October 2004, after lengthy construction delays and running over budget.[84] The Scottish Parliament has a form of proportional representation (the additional member system), which normally results in no one party having an overall majority. The pro-independence Scottish National Party led by Alex Salmond achieved this in the 2011 election, winning 69 of the 129 seats available.[85] The success of the SNP in achieving a majority in the Scottish Parliament paved the way for the September 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, in which 55% voted against independence.[86] More powers, particularly in relation to taxation, were devolved to the Scottish Parliament after the referendum, following cross-party talks in the Smith Commission.

Geography and natural history

Scotland topographic map-en
Topographic map of Scotland
Scotland Southern Uplands01 2002-08-16
The hills around Durisdeer from the A702 road, in the Southern Uplands

The mainland of Scotland comprises the northern third of the land mass of the island of Great Britain, which lies off the north-west coast of Continental Europe. The total area is 78,772 km2 (30,414 sq mi),[87] 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. The Atlantic Ocean borders the west coast and the North Sea is to the east. The island of Ireland lies only 21 kilometres (13 mi) from the south-western peninsula of Kintyre;[88] Norway is 305 kilometres (190 mi) to the east and the Faroe Islands, 270 kilometres (168 mi) to the north.

The territorial extent of Scotland is generally that established by the 1237 Treaty of York between Scotland and the Kingdom of England[89] and the 1266 Treaty of Perth between Scotland and Norway.[30] Important exceptions include the Isle of Man, which having been lost to England in the 14th century is now a crown dependency outside of the United Kingdom; the island groups Orkney and Shetland, which were acquired from Norway in 1472;[87] and Berwick-upon-Tweed, lost to England in 1482.

The geographical centre of Scotland lies a few miles from the village of Newtonmore in Badenoch.[90] 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).[91][92]

Geology and geomorphology

The Cuillins on a still morning (9878281443)
View of the Cullin on the Isle of Skye from the mainland

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. It is interspersed with igneous intrusions of a more recent age, remnants of which 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 the highest elevations in the British Isles are found here. Scotland has over 790 islands 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.

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 found. 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.

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.[93][94] The geological foundations largely comprise Silurian deposits laid down some 400–500 million years ago. The high point of the Southern Uplands is Merrick with an elevation of 843 m (2,766 ft).[95][96][97][98] The Southern Uplands is home to the UK's highest village, Wanlockhead (430 m or 1,411 ft above sea level).[94]

Climate

Tiree, Balephuil Bay
Machair on Tiree, one of the sunniest locations in Scotland

The climate of Scotland is temperate and oceanic, and tends to be very changeable. As it is warmed by the Gulf Stream from the Atlantic, it has much milder winters (but cooler, wetter summers) than areas on similar latitudes, such as Labrador, southern Scandinavia, the Moscow region in Russia, and 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 (−17.0 °F) recorded at Braemar in the Grampian Mountains, on 11 February 1895.[99] Winter maxima average 6 °C (43 °F) in the Lowlands, with summer maxima averaging 18 °C (64 °F). The highest temperature recorded was 32.9 °C (91.2 °F) at Greycrook, Scottish Borders on 9 August 2003.[100]

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.[100] Rainfall varies widely across Scotland. The western highlands of Scotland are the wettest, with annual rainfall in a few places exceeding 3,000 mm (120 in).[101] In comparison, much of lowland Scotland receives less than 800 mm (31 in) annually.[102] Heavy snowfall is not common in the lowlands, but becomes more common with altitude. Braemar has an average of 59 snow days per year,[103] while many coastal areas average fewer than 10 days of lying snow per year.[102]

Flora and fauna

Lepus timidus 01-cropped
A mountain hare (Lepus timidus) in Findhorn Valley, May 2004

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.[104] The golden eagle is something of a national icon.[105]

On the high mountain tops, species including ptarmigan, mountain hare and stoat can be seen in their white colour phase during winter months.[106] Remnants of the native Scots pine forest exist[107] and within these areas the Scottish crossbill, the UK's only endemic bird species and vertebrate, can be found alongside capercaillie, Scottish wildcat, red squirrel and pine marten.[108][109][110] Various animals have been re-introduced, including the white-tailed sea eagle in 1975, the red kite in the 1980s,[111][112] and there have been experimental projects involving the beaver and wild boar. Today, much of the remaining native Caledonian Forest lies within the Cairngorms National Park and remnants of the forest remain at 84 locations across Scotland. On the west coast, remnants of ancient Celtic Rainforest still remain, particularly on the Taynish peninsula in Argyll, these forests are particularly rare due to high rates of deforestation throughout Scottish history.[113][114]

The flora of the country is varied incorporating both deciduous and coniferous woodland as well as 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.[115] The five tallest trees in the UK are located in Scotland.[116] Although the number of native vascular plants is low by world standards, Scotland's substantial bryophyte flora is of global importance.[117][118]

Demographics

Scotland population cartogram
Scotland population cartogram. The size of councils show their population.

The population of Scotland in the 2011 census was 5,295,400, the highest ever recorded.[119] The most recent ONS estimate, for mid-2017, was 5,424,800.[120] 62% of Scotland's population stated their national identity as 'Scottish only', 18% as 'Scottish and British', 8% as 'British only', and 4% chose 'other identity only'.[121] Although Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, the largest city is Glasgow, which has just over 584,000 inhabitants. The Greater Glasgow conurbation, with a population of almost 1.2 million, is home to nearly a quarter of Scotland's population.[122] The Central Belt is where most of the main towns and cities are located, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Perth. Scotland's only major city outside the Central Belt is Aberdeen. Because of housing problems in Glasgow and Edinburgh, five new towns were designated between 1947 and 1966. They are East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Cumbernauld, Livingston, and Irvine.[123] Immigration since World War II has given Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee small South Asian communities.[124]

Scotland has fewer than 90 inhabited islands, typically the larger and more accessible ones. The Southern Uplands are essentially rural in nature and dominated by agriculture and forestry.[125][126] The total fertility rate (TFR) in Scotland is below the replacement rate of 2.1 (the TFR was 1.73 in 2011[127]). The majority of births are to unmarried women (51.3% of births were outside of marriage in 2012[128]). Life expectancy for those born in Scotland between 2012 and 2014 is 77.1 years for males and 81.1 years for females.[129] This is the lowest of any of the four countries of the UK.[129]

In 2011, there were an estimated 49,000 ethnically Pakistani people living in Scotland, making them the largest non-White ethnic group.[1] Since the Enlargement of the European Union more people from Central and Eastern Europe have moved to Scotland, and the 2011 census indicated that 61,000 Poles live there.[1][130]

Scotland has four officially recognised languages: English, Scots, Scottish Gaelic and British Sign Language.[131][132] Scottish Standard English, a variety of English as spoken in Scotland, is at one end of a bipolar linguistic continuum, with broad Scots at the other.[133] Scottish Standard English may have been influenced to varying degrees by Scots.[134][135] The 2011 census indicated that 63% of the population had "no skills in Scots".[136] Others speak Highland English. Gaelic is mostly spoken in the Western Isles, where a large proportion of people still speak it; however, nationally its use is confined to just 1% of the population.[137] The number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland dropped from 250,000 in 1881 to 60,000 in 2008.[138]

In the late twentieth century, about 25 million people outside Scotland were of Scottish descent.[139]:225 Before the Act of Union and since the Second World War, the primary destination for emigrants are other countries in Europe; major destinations have included Poland and Northern Ireland. In between, many Scots emigrated to the New World or other British colonies.[139]:229 Although economic downturns caused temporary increases in emigration, the largest exodus occurred during the period of economic growth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and well-educated Scots were more likely to emigrate.[139]:231 In the 2000 Census, 9.2 million Americans self-reported some degree of Scottish descent,[140] while the Scottish-Canadian community accounts for 4.7 million people.[141]

Religion

Abbey on the Isle of Iona - geograph.org.uk - 1459438
Iona Abbey, an early centre of Christianity in Scotland

On the 2011 census, 54% of the Scottish population reported being Christian while nearly 37% reported not having a religion.[143] Since the Scottish Reformation of 1560, the Church of Scotland has been Protestant and Calvinist in theology, including belief in predestination. Since 1690 it has had a Presbyterian system of church government and enjoys independence from the state.[13]:44–45 Historically, the Church of Scotland played a key role in poor relief[13]:48 although secular campaigners have attacked it for its role in witch trials and control over people's personal lives.[13]:58 Thirty-two percent of Scots identified their religion as "Church of Scotland" on the 2011 census, a drop of ten percentage points since 2001.[143]

Most of the sixteen percent of Scots who profess Catholic faith[143] live in Greater Glasgow and the north-west Highlands; many are descended from nineteenth-century Irish immigrants.[13]:52 Other Christian denominations, including the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Free Church of Scotland,[13]:57 account for 5.5% of Scots. Islam is the largest non-Christian religion, with smaller Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Sikh communities. Combined, non-Christian religions account for less than 3% of the Scottish population.[143]

Politics and government

Elizabeth II in Berlin 2015 Nicola Sturgeon Official HQ
Queen Elizabeth II
Monarch
Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister

The head of state of the United Kingdom is the monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952).[144] Scotland has limited self-government within the United Kingdom, as well as representation in the UK Parliament. Executive and legislative powers respectively have been devolved to the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh since 1999. The UK Parliament retains control over reserved matters specified in the Scotland Act 1998, including UK taxes, social security, defence, international relations and broadcasting.[145] The Scottish Parliament has legislative authority for all other areas relating to Scotland. It initially had only a limited power to vary income tax,[146] but powers over taxation and social security were significantly expanded by the Scotland Acts of 2012 and 2016.[147]

Scottish Parliament Building and adjacent water pool, 2017
Holyrood is the seat of the national parliament of Scotland
Bute House, Charlotte Square Edinburgh
Bute House is the official residence and workplace of the First Minister

The Scottish Parliament can give legislative consent over devolved matters back to the UK Parliament by passing a Legislative Consent Motion if United Kingdom-wide legislation is considered more appropriate for a certain issue. The programmes of legislation enacted by the Scottish Parliament have seen a divergence in the provision of public services compared to the rest of the UK. For instance, 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.[148]

The Scottish Parliament is a unicameral legislature with 129 members (MSPs): 73 of them represent individual constituencies and are elected on a first-past-the-post system; the other 56 are elected in eight different electoral regions by the additional member system. MSPs serve for a five-year period (formerly four years from 1999–2011). The Parliament nominates one of its Members, who is then appointed by the Monarch to serve as First Minister. Other ministers are appointed by the First Minister and serve at their discretion. Together they make up the Scottish Government, the executive arm of the devolved government.[149]

In the 2016 election, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won 63 of the 129 seats available.[150] Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP, has been the First Minister since November 2014.[151] The Conservative Party became the largest opposition party in the 2016 elections, with the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party also represented in the Parliament.[150] The next Scottish Parliament election is due to be held on 6 May 2021.[152]

Scotland is represented in the British House of Commons by 59 MPs elected from territory-based Scottish constituencies. In the 2017 general election, the SNP won 35 of the 59 seats.[153] This represented a significant decline from the 2015 general election, when the SNP won 56 seats.[153][154] Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties also represent Scottish constituencies in the House of Commons. The next United Kingdom general election is scheduled for 5 May 2022. The Scotland Office represents the UK government in Scotland on reserved matters and represents Scottish interests within the UK government.[155] The Scotland Office is led by the Secretary of State for Scotland, who sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.[156] Conservative MP David Mundell has held the position since May 2015.[156]

International diplomacy

Bush&McConnell
Former First Minister Jack McConnell welcomes then-President of the United States George W. Bush to Glasgow Prestwick Airport at the start of the G8 Summit in July 2005

Whilst foreign policy remains a reserved matter,[157] the Scottish Government still has the power and ability to strengthen and develop Scotland, the economy and Scottish interests on the world stage and encourage foreign businesses, international devolved, regional and central governments to invest in Scotland.[158] Whilst the First Minister usually undertakes a number of foreign and international visits to promote Scotland, international relations, European and Commonwealth relations are also included within the portfolios of both the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs (responsible for international development)[159] and the Minister for International Development and Europe (responsible for European Union relations and international relations).[160]

During the G8 Summit in 2005, then First Minister Jack McConnell welcomed each head of government of the G8 nations to the countries Glasgow Prestwick Airport[161] on behalf of then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. During McConnell's time as First Minister, several relations with Scotland, including Scottish and Russian relations strengthened following a visit by President of Russia Vladimir Putin to Edinburgh. McConnell, speaking at the end, highlighted that the visit by Putin was a "post-devolution" step towards "Scotland regaining its international identity".[162]

Under the Salmond administration, Scotland's trade and investment deals with countries such as China[163][164] and Canada, where Salmond established the Canada Plan 2010–2015 which aimed to strengthen "the important historical, cultural and economic links" between both Canada and Scotland.[165] To promote Scotland's interests and Scottish businesses in North America, there is a Scottish Affairs Office located in Washington, D.C. with the aim to promoting Scotland in both the United States and Canada.[166]

During a 2017 visit to the United States, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with Jerry Brown, Governor of California, where both signed an agreement committing both the Government of California and the Scottish Government to work together to tackle climate change,[167] as well as Sturgeon signing a £6.3 million deal for Scottish investment from American businesses and firms promoting trade, tourism and innovation.[168] During an official visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2016, Sturgeon claimed that is it "important for Ireland and Scotland and the whole of the British Isles that Ireland has a strong ally in Scotland".[169] During the same engagement, Sturgeon became the first head of government to address the Seanad Éireann, the Upper House of the Irish Parliament.[169]

Constitutional changes

Scottish Parliament Debating Chamber 2
The debating chamber within the Scottish Parliament Building

A policy of devolution had been advocated by the three main UK parties with varying enthusiasm during recent history. A previous Labour leader. John Smith, described the revival of a Scottish parliament as the "settled will of the Scottish people".[170] The devolved Scottish Parliament was created after a referendum in 1997 found majority support for both creating the Parliament and granting it limited powers to vary income tax.[171]

The Scottish National Party (SNP), which supports Scottish independence, was first elected to form the Scottish Government in 2007. The new 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, the three main opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament created a commission to investigate the distribution of powers between devolved Scottish and UK-wide bodies.[172][173] The Scotland Act 2012, based on proposals by the commission, was subsequently enacted devolving additional powers to the Scottish Parliament.[174]

In August 2009 the SNP proposed a bill to hold a referendum on independence in November 2010. Opposition from all other major parties led to an expected defeat.[175][176][177] After the 2011 elections gave the SNP an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament, a referendum on independence for Scotland was held on 18 September 2014.[178] The referendum resulted in a rejection of independence, by 55.3% to 44.7%.[179][180] During the campaign, the three main parties in the UK Parliament pledged to extend the powers of the Scottish Parliament.[181][182] An all-party commission chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin was formed,[182] which led to a further devolution of powers through the Scotland Act 2016.

Following a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union on 23 June 2016, where a UK-wide majority voted to withdraw from the EU whilst a majority within Scotland voted to remain, Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that as a result a new independence referendum was "highly likely".[183][184]

Administrative subdivisions

Historical subdivisions of Scotland included the mormaerdom, stewartry, earldom, burgh, parish, county and regions and districts. Some of these names are still sometimes used as geographical descriptors.

Modern Scotland is subdivided in various ways depending on the purpose. In local government, there have been 32 single-tier council areas since 1996,[185] whose councils are responsible for the provision of all local government services. Decisions are made by councillors who are elected at local elections every five years. The head of each council is the Lord Provost or Provost alongside the Leader of the Council,[186] with a Chief Executive being appointed as director of the council area.[187] Community Councils are informal organisations that represent specific sub-divisions within each council area.

In the Scottish Parliament, there are 73 constituencies and eight regions. For the Parliament of the United Kingdom, there are 59 constituencies. Until 2013, the Scottish fire brigades and police forces were based on a 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 conferred by letters patent.[188] There are seven cities in Scotland: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Stirling and Perth.[189]

Law and criminal justice

Scots law has a basis derived from Roman law,[190] 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 system in Scotland from that of England and Wales.[191] 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.[192]

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, 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 the Lawnmarket. The sheriff court is the main criminal and civil court, hearing most cases. There are 49 sheriff courts throughout the country.[193] District courts were introduced in 1975 for minor offences and small claims. These were gradually replaced by Justice of the Peace Courts from 2008 to 2010. The Court of the Lord Lyon regulates heraldry.

For three centuries the Scots legal system was unique for being the only national legal system without a parliament. This ended with the advent of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, 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", "not guilty" and "not proven".[194] Both "not guilty" and "not proven" result in an acquittal, typically with no possibility of retrial in accordance with the rule of double jeopardy. There is, however, the possibility of a retrial where new evidence emerges at a later date that might have proven conclusive in the earlier trial at first instance, where the person acquitted subsequently admits the offence or where it can be proved that the acquittal was tainted by an attempt to pervert the course of justice – see the provisions of the Double Jeopardy (Scotland) Act 2011. Many laws differ between Scotland and the other parts of the United Kingdom, and many terms differ for certain legal concepts. Manslaughter, in England and Wales, is broadly similar to culpable homicide in Scotland, and arson is called wilful fire raising. Indeed, some acts considered crimes in England and Wales, such as forgery, are not so in Scotland. Procedure also differs. Scots juries, sitting in criminal cases, consist of fifteen jurors, which is three more than is typical in many countries.[195]

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) manages the prisons in Scotland, which collectively house over 8,500 prisoners.[196] The Cabinet Secretary for Justice is responsible for the Scottish Prison Service within the Scottish Government.

Health care

QEUH2
NHS Scotland's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is the largest hospital campus in Europe.[197]

Health care in Scotland is mainly provided by NHS Scotland, Scotland's public health care system. This was founded by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1947 (later repealed by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978) that took effect on 5 July 1948 to coincide with the launch of the NHS in England and Wales. Prior to 1948, the Highlands and Islands Medical Service provided state-funded medical care to people in the Highlands and Islands.[198] Healthcare policy and funding is the responsibility of the Scottish Government's Health Directorates. The current Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport is Jeane Freeman[199] and the Director-General (DG) Health and chief executive, NHS Scotland is Paul Gray.[200] Rates of some noncommunicable diseases, including heart disease and lung cancer, are among the highest in Europe and are leading causes of death.[201]

In 2008, the NHS in Scotland had around 158,000 staff including more than 47,500 nurses, midwives and health visitors and over 3,800 consultants. There are also more than 12,000 doctors, family practitioners and allied health professionals, including dentists, opticians and community pharmacists, who operate as independent contractors providing a range of services within the NHS in return for fees and allowances. These fees and allowances were removed in May 2010, and prescriptions are entirely free, although dentists and opticians may charge if the patient's household earns over a certain amount, about £30,000 per annum.[202]

Economy

Skyline of Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the 13th largest financial centre in Europe and the 43rd largest in the world[203]

Scotland had an estimated nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of up to £152 billion in 2015. In 2014, Scotland's per capita GDP was one of the highest in the EU.[204] Scotland has a Western-style open mixed economy closely linked with the rest of the UK and the wider world. Traditionally, the Scottish economy has been dominated by heavy industry underpinned by 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.

In February 2012, the Centre for Economics and Business Research concluded that "Scotland receives no net subsidy" from the UK, as greater per capita tax generation in Scotland balanced out greater per capita public spending.[205] More recent data, from 2012–13, show that Scotland generated 9.1% (£53.1bn; this included a geographical share of North Sea oil revenue – without it, the figures were 8.2% and £47.6bn) of the UK's tax revenues and received 9.3% (£65.2bn) of spending.[206] Scotland's public spending deficit in 2012–13 was £12bn, a £3.5bn increase on the previous year; over the same period, the UK's deficit decreased by £2.6bn.[207] Over the past thirty years, Scotland contributed a relative budget surplus of almost £20billion to the UK economy.[208]

Glenmorangie Brennblasen
Scotch whisky is a major contributor to the Scottish economy and is sold globally

In the final quarter of 2016, the Scottish economy contracted by 0.2%;[209] the UK as a whole grew by 0.7% in the same period.[210] As of September 2015, the Scottish unemployment rate of 5.9% was above the UK rate of 5.5%, while the Scottish employment rate of 74.0% was higher than the UK figure of 73.5%.[211] De-industrialisation during the 1970s and 1980s saw a shift from a manufacturing focus towards a more service-oriented economy. Between April-June 2018, Scotland's economy was the best performing onshore economy in the United Kingdom, with Scotland outperforming the Economy of the United Kingdom as a whole, when the Scottish economy grew by 0.5% compared to UK economic growth of 0.4%[212]. In the final quarter of 2018 (July-September), Scotland's economy grew by 0.3% in real-terms which compared to the same period in the previous year (July-September 2017), the economy of Scotland has grown +1.5%[213]. Based on recent publications from the Scottish Government, the largest single contributor to this period of growth in Scotland's economy was the construction sector[213][214].

Edinburgh is the financial services centre of Scotland, with many large finance firms based there, including: Lloyds Banking Group (owners of HBOS); the Government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life. Edinburgh was ranked 15th in the list of world financial centres in 2007, but fell to 37th in 2012, following damage to its reputation,[215] and in 2016 was ranked 56th out of 86.[216]

Bank of Scotland, Bank Street building 2014-07-05
The Bank of Scotland has its headquarters in Edinburgh and is one of the oldest operating banks in the world

In 2014, total Scottish exports (excluding intra-UK trade) were estimated to be £27.5 billion.[217] Scotland's primary exports include whisky, electronics and financial services.[218] The United States, Netherlands, Germany, France, and Norway constitute the country's major export markets.[218] Scotland's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), including oil and gas produced in Scottish waters, was estimated at £150 billion for the calendar year 2012.[219] If Scotland became independent, it would hold 95% of the UK's (production - £50 billion per year) current oil and gas reserves if they were split geographically using a median line from the English-Scottish border. If the reserves were split by population, that figure would be reduced to 9%.[220]

Whisky is one of Scotland's more known goods of economic activity. Exports increased by 87% in the decade to 2012[221] and were valued at £4.3 billion in 2013, which was 85% of Scotland's food and drink exports.[222] It supports around 10,000 jobs directly and 25,000 indirectly.[223] It may contribute £400–682 million to Scotland, rather than several billion pounds, as more than 80% of whisky produced is owned by non-Scottish companies.[224]

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.[225]

Currency

Although the Bank of England is the central bank for the UK, three Scottish clearing banks issue Sterling banknotes: the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank. The value of the Scottish banknotes in circulation in 2013 was £3.8 billion, underwritten by the Bank of England using funds deposited by each clearing bank, under the Banking Act 2009, in order to cover the total value of such notes in circulation.[226]

Military

Although Scotland has a long military tradition predating its union with England,[139]:238 its armed forces now form part of the British Armed Forces. Scottish regiments in the British Army include the Royal Regiment of Scotland, the Scots Guards, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the 154 (Scottish) Regiment RLC, an Army Reserve Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps. More than 4,000 Scots serve in the British Army around the world. A single front-line Royal Air Force base is located in Scotland. RAF Lossiemouth, located in Moray, is the most northerly air defence fighter base in the United Kingdom and is home to three fast-jet squadrons equipped with the Eurofighter Typhoon.[227]

Because of their topography and perceived remoteness, parts of Scotland have housed many sensitive defence establishments.[228][229] Between 1960 and 1991, the Holy Loch was a base for the US fleet of Polaris ballistic missile submarines.[230] By 2020, HMNB Clyde will be the base of all Royal Navy submarines. Currently, it hosts several submarines including the four Trident-armed, Vanguard class, ballistic missile submarines that comprise the UK's nuclear deterrent. The naval base is one of Scotland's largest employers, with 6,800 workers on site.[227]

Education

St Andrews University - geograph.org.uk - 135908
University of St Andrews is the oldest University in Scotland and third oldest in the English-speaking world

The Scottish education system has always been distinct from the rest of the United Kingdom, with a characteristic emphasis on a broad education.[231] In the 15th century, the Humanist emphasis on education cumulated with the passing of the Education Act 1496, which decreed that all sons of barons and freeholders of substance should attend grammar schools to learn "perfyct Latyne", resulting in an increase in literacy among a male and wealthy elite.[232] In the Reformation, the 1560 First Book of Discipline set out a plan for a school in every parish, but this proved financially impossible.[233] In 1616 an act in Privy council commanded every parish to establish a school.[234] By the late seventeenth century there was a largely complete network of parish schools in the lowlands, but in the Highlands basic education was still lacking in many areas.[235] Education remained a matter for the church rather than the state until the Education (Scotland) Act 1872.[236]

The Curriculum for Excellence, Scotland's national school curriculum, presently provides the curricular framework for children and young people from age 3 to 18.[237] All 3- and 4-year-old children in Scotland are entitled to a free nursery place. Formal primary education begins at approximately 5 years old and lasts for 7 years (P1–P7); children in Scotland study for National Qualifications. The school leaving age is 16, after which students may choose to remain at school and study for Higher or Advanced Higher qualifications. A small number of students at certain private, independent schools may follow the English system and study towards GCSEs and A and AS-Levels instead.[238]

There are fifteen Scottish universities, some of which are amongst the oldest in the world.[239][240] These include the University of St Andrews, the University of Glasgow, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Edinburgh—many of which are ranked amongst the best in the UK.[241][242] Proportionally, Scotland had more universities in QS' World University Rankings' top 100 in 2012 than any other nation.[243] The country produces 1% of the world's published research with less than 0.1% of the world's population, and higher education institutions account for 9% of Scotland's service sector exports.[244][245] Scotland's University Courts are the only bodies in Scotland authorised to award degrees.

Tuition is handled by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS), which does not charge fees to what it defines as "Young Students". Young Students are defined as those under 25, without children, marriage, civil partnership or cohabiting partner, who have not been outside of full-time education for more than three years. Fees exist for those outside the young student definition, typically from £1,200 to £1,800 for undergraduate courses, dependent on year of application and type of qualification. Postgraduate fees can be up to £3,400.[246] The system has been in place since 2007 when graduate endowments were abolished.[247] Labour's education spokesperson Rhona Brankin criticised the Scottish system for failing to address student poverty.[248]

Scotland's universities are complemented in the provision of Further and Higher Education by 43 colleges. Colleges offer National Certificates, Higher National Certificates, and Higher National Diplomas. These Group Awards, alongside Scottish Vocational Qualifications, aim to ensure Scotland's population has the appropriate skills and knowledge to meet workplace needs. In 2014, research reported by the Office for National Statistics found that Scotland was the most highly educated country in Europe and among the most well-educated in the world in terms of tertiary education attainment, with roughly 40% of people in Scotland aged 16–64 educated to NVQ level 4 and above.[249] Based on the original data for EU statistical regions, all four Scottish regions ranked significantly above the European average for completion of tertiary-level education by 25- to 64-year-olds.[250]

Culture

Scottish music

Scottish piper
The bagpipes are a well known symbol of Scotland.

Scottish music is a significant aspect of the nation's culture, with both traditional and modern influences. A famous traditional Scottish instrument is the Great Highland bagpipe, a wind instrument consisting of three drones and a melody pipe (called the chanter), which are fed continuously by a reservoir of air in a bag. Bagpipe bands, featuring bagpipes and various types of drums, and showcasing Scottish music styles while creating new ones, have spread throughout the world. The clàrsach (harp), fiddle and accordion are also traditional Scottish instruments, the latter two heavily featured in Scottish country dance bands. There are many successful Scottish bands and individual artists in varying styles including Annie Lennox, Amy Macdonald, Runrig, Belle and Sebastian, Boards of Canada, Camera Obscura, Cocteau Twins, Deacon Blue, Franz Ferdinand, Susan Boyle, Emeli Sandé, Texas, The View, The Fratellis, Twin Atlantic and Biffy Clyro. Other Scottish musicians include Shirley Manson, Paolo Nutini, Andy Stewart and Calvin Harris.[251] Scotland hosts several music festivals including the Royal National Mòd and Celtic Connections.[252]

Literature

Scotland has a literary heritage dating back to the early Middle Ages. The earliest extant literature composed in what is now Scotland was in Brythonic speech in the 6th century, but is preserved as part of Welsh literature.[253] Later medieval literature included works in Latin,[254] Gaelic,[255] Old English[256] and French.[257] The first surviving major text in Early Scots is the 14th-century poet John Barbour's epic Brus, focusing on the life of Robert I,[258] and was soon followed by a series of vernacular romances and prose works.[259] In the 16th century, the crown's patronage helped the development of Scots drama and poetry,[260] but the accession of James VI to the English throne removed a major centre of literary patronage and Scots was sidelined as a literary language.[261] Interest in Scots literature was revived in the 18th century by figures including James Macpherson, whose Ossian Cycle made him the first Scottish poet to gain an international reputation and was a major influence on the European Enlightenment.[262] It was also a major influence on Robert Burns, whom many consider the national poet,[263] and Walter Scott, whose Waverley Novels did much to define Scottish identity in the 19th century.[264] Towards the end of the Victorian era a number of Scottish-born authors achieved international reputations as writers in English, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, J. M. Barrie and George MacDonald.[265] In the 20th century the Scottish Renaissance saw a surge of literary activity and attempts to reclaim the Scots language as a medium for serious literature.[266] Members of the movement were followed by a new generation of post-war poets including Edwin Morgan, who would be appointed the first Scots Makar by the inaugural Scottish government in 2004.[267] From the 1980s Scottish literature enjoyed another major revival, particularly associated with a group of writers including Irvine Welsh.[266] Scottish poets who emerged in the same period included Carol Ann Duffy, who, in May 2009, was the first Scot named UK Poet Laureate.[268]

National identity

Cirsium 049
The thistle, Scotland's floral emblem

The image of St. Andrew, martyred while bound to an X-shaped cross, first appeared in the Kingdom of Scotland during the reign of William I.[269] Following the death of King Alexander III in 1286 an image of Andrew was used on the seal of the Guardians of Scotland who assumed control of the kingdom during the subsequent interregnum.[270] Use of a simplified symbol associated with Saint Andrew, the saltire, has its origins in the late 14th century; the Parliament of Scotland decreeing in 1385 that Scottish soldiers should wear a white Saint Andrew's Cross on the front and back of their tunics.[271] Use of a blue background for the Saint Andrew's Cross is said to date from at least the 15th century.[272] Since 1606 the saltire has also formed part of the design of the Union Flag. There are numerous other symbols and symbolic artefacts, both official and unofficial, including the thistle, the nation's floral emblem (celebrated in the song, The Thistle o' Scotland), the Declaration of Arbroath, incorporating a statement of political independence made on 6 April 1320, the textile pattern tartan that often signifies a particular Scottish clan and the royal Lion Rampant flag.[273][274][275]

Although there is no official national anthem of Scotland,[276] Flower of Scotland is played on special occasions and sporting events such as football and rugby matches involving the Scotland national teams and since 2010 is also played at the Commonwealth Games after it was voted the overwhelming favourite by participating Scottish athletes.[277] Other songs that have been suggested as possible national anthems include Scotland the Brave, Caledonia, Highland Cathedral, Scots Wha Hae, A Man's A Man for A' That and I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles).[278][279] St Andrew's Day, 30 November, is the national day, although Burns' Night tends to be more widely observed, particularly outside Scotland. In 2006, the Scottish Parliament passed the St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007, designating the day an official bank holiday.[280]

Cuisine

Scottish cuisine has distinctive attributes and recipes of its own but shares much with wider British and European cuisine as a result of local and foreign influences, both ancient and modern. Traditional Scottish dishes exist alongside international foodstuffs brought about by migration. Scotland's natural larder of game, dairy products, fish, fruit, and vegetables is the chief factor in traditional Scots cooking, with a high reliance on simplicity and a lack of spices from abroad, as these were historically rare and expensive. During the Late Middle Ages and early modern era, French cuisine played a role in Scottish cookery due to cultural exchanges brought about by the "Auld Alliance",[281] especially during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary, on her return to Scotland, brought an entourage of French staff who are considered responsible for revolutionising Scots cooking and for some of Scotland's unique food terminology.

The national dish of Scotland is haggis, a pudding consisting of sheeps' offal, oatmeal, onion, spices and fat, cooked in a casing.[282][283] Scotland's national drink is whisky, though Irn-Bru, a popular carbonated soft drink, is often described as "Scotland's other national drink".[284][285]

Media

John Logie Baird in 1917
Scottish inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated the first working television system on 26 January 1926.[286]

National newspapers such as the Daily Record, The Herald, The Scotsman and The National are all produced in Scotland.[287] Important regional dailies include the Evening News in Edinburgh, The Courier in Dundee in the east, and The Press and Journal serving Aberdeen and the north.[287] Scotland is represented at the Celtic Media Festival, which showcases film and television from the Celtic countries. Scottish entrants have won many awards since the festival began in 1980.[288]

Television in Scotland is largely the same as UK-wide broadcasts, however, the national broadcaster is BBC Scotland, a constituent part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly funded broadcaster of the United Kingdom. It runs three national television stations, and the national radio stations, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, amongst others. Scotland also has some programming in the Gaelic language. BBC Alba is the national Gaelic-language channel. The main Scottish commercial television station is STV which broadcasts on two of the three ITV regions of Scotland.[289]

Scotland has a number of production companies which produce films and television programmes for Scottish, UK and international audiences. Popular films associated with Scotland through Scottish production or being filmed in Scotland include Braveheart (1995),[290] Highlander (1986),[290] Trainspotting (1996),[290] Red Road (2006), Neds (2010),[290] The Angel's Share (2012), Brave (2012)[291] and Outlaw King (2018).[292] Popular television programmes associated with Scotland include the long running BBC Scotland soap opera River City which has been broadcast since 2002,[293] Still Game, a popular Scottish sitcom broadcast throughout the United Kingdom (2002–2007, revived in 2016),[294] Rab C. Nesbitt, Two Doors Down[295] and Take the High Road[296].

Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld is one of Scotland's television and film production studios where the television programme Outlander is produced[297]. Dumbarton Studios, located in Dumbarton is largely used for BBC Scotland programming, used for the filming and production of television programmes such as Still Game, River City, Two Doors Down Shetland.[298]

Sport

R&A Clubhouse, Old Course, Swilcan Burn bridge
The Old Course at St Andrews dates to before 1552[299]

Scotland hosts its own national sporting competitions and has independent representation at several international sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup, the Rugby Union World Cup, the Rugby League World Cup, the Cricket World Cup, the Netball World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. Distinctive features of the national sporting culture include the Highland games, curling and shinty. In boxing, Scotland has had 13 world champions, including Ken Buchanan, Benny Lynch and Jim Watt. Scotland has competed at every Commonwealth Games since 1930 and has won 356 medals in total—91 Gold, 104 Silver and 161 Bronze.[300] Edinburgh played host to the Commonwealth Games in 1970 and 1986, and most recently Glasgow in 2014.[301] The modern game of golf originated in 15th-century Scotland. Affordable public courses, including the Old Course at St Andrews, coexist with exclusive private courses such as The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Golf in Scotland is cheaper and more widely played than in other countries.[13]:145–146

The Scottish Football Association (SFA), the second-oldest national football association in the world, is the main governing body for football in Scotland.[302] It operates the Scotland national football team, which contested the first ever international football match (a 0–0 draw with England on 30 November 1872).[302] The national team last qualified for the World Cup finals in 1998, but finished last in their group stage.[303] The Scotland women's team have achieved more recent success, qualifying for both Euro 2017[304] and the 2019 World Cup.[305] Scottish club sides have achieved some success in European competitions, with Celtic winning the European Cup in 1967,[306] Rangers and Aberdeen winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1972 and 1983 respectively,[307] and Aberdeen also winning the UEFA Super Cup in 1983. Celtic, Rangers and Dundee United have also reached and lost European finals, the most recent of these being in 2008.[306][307][308]

Infrastructure

Energy

Whitelee - Wind turbines - looking south
Whitelee Wind Farm is the largest onshore wind farm on the British isles

Scotland's primary sources for energy are provided though renewable energy (42%), nuclear (35%) and fossil fuel generation (22%).[309] The Scottish Government has a target to have the equivalent of 50% of the energy for Scotland's heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030.[310]

Transport

Haymarket - DRS 68007 evening commuter service
Domestic rail services are operated by Abellio ScotRail
MV Loch Seaforth Departing Stornoway For Ullapool, 24 February 2015
A Calmac ferry departing Stornoway

Scotland has five international airports—Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick, and Inverness—operating scheduled services to Europe, North America and Asia, as well domestic services to England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Highlands and Islands Airports operates eleven airports across the Highlands, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, which are primarily used for short distance, public service operations. Edinburgh Airport is currently Scotland's busiest airport handling over 13 million passengers in 2017.[311] It is also the UK's 6th busiest airport. British Airways, easyJet, flybe, Jet2, and Ryanair operate the majority of flights between Scotland and other major UK and European airports. There are currently two Scottish-based airlines: Hebridean Air Services and Loganair.

Network Rail owns and operates the fixed infrastructure assets of the railway system in Scotland, while Transport Scotland retains overall responsibility for rail strategy and funding in Scotland.[312] Scotland's rail network has around 350 railway stations and 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) of track,[313] a decline of over one-third since the mid-twentieth century.[201] Over 89.3 million passenger journeys are made each year.[313] The East Coast and West Coast main railway lines connect the major cities and towns of Scotland with each other and with the rail network in England. London North Eastern Railway provides inter-city rail journeys between Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness to London. Completed in 1890, the railway bridge over the Firth of Forth has been described as the most iconic image of modern Scotland.[13]:104

The Scottish motorways and major trunk roads are managed by Transport Scotland, while the remainder of the road network is managed by local authorities. Bus transport was privatized in the 1980s.[201]

Regular ferry services operate between the Scottish mainland and outlying islands. Ferries serving both the inner and outer Hebrides are principally operated by the state-owned enterprise Caledonian MacBrayne. Services to the Northern Isles are operated by Serco. Other routes, served by multiple companies, connect southwest Scotland to Northern Ireland. Additional routes are operated by local authorities.

See also

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Cite error: A list-defined reference named "GVA" is not used in the content (see the help page).

Further reading

  • Devine, Thomas Martin; Lee, Clive Howard; Peden, G. C., eds. (2005). The Transformation of Scotland: The Economy Since 1700. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 9780748614332.
  • Donnachie, Ian and George Hewitt. Dictionary of Scottish History. (2001). 384 pp.
  • Tabraham, Chris, and Colin Baxter. The Illustrated History of Scotland (2004) excerpt and text search
  • Trevor-Roper, Hugh, The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History, Yale, 2008, ISBN 0-300-13686-2
  • Watson, Fiona, Scotland; From Prehistory to the Present. Tempus, 2003. 286 pp.

External links

Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Anne (6 February 1665 – 1 August 1714) was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland between 8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.

Anne was born in the reign of her uncle Charles II, who had no legitimate children. Her father, Charles's younger brother James, was thus heir presumptive to the throne. His suspected Roman Catholicism was unpopular in England, and on Charles's instructions Anne and her elder sister, Mary, were raised as Anglicans. On Charles's death in 1685, James succeeded to the throne, but just three years later he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Mary and her husband, the Dutch Protestant William III of Orange (a cousin to Anne and Mary), became joint monarchs. Although the sisters had been close, disagreements over Anne's finances, status and choice of acquaintances arose shortly after Mary's accession and they became estranged. William and Mary had no children. After Mary's death in 1694, William reigned alone until his own death in 1702, when Anne succeeded him.

During her reign, Anne favoured moderate Tory politicians, who were more likely to share her Anglican religious views than their opponents, the Whigs. The Whigs grew more powerful during the course of the War of the Spanish Succession, until 1710 when Anne dismissed many of them from office. Her close friendship with Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, turned sour as the result of political differences. The Duchess took revenge in an unflattering description of the Queen in her memoirs, which was widely accepted by historians until Anne was re-assessed in the late 20th century.

Anne was plagued by ill health throughout her life, and from her thirties, she grew increasingly ill and obese. Despite seventeen pregnancies by her husband, Prince George of Denmark, she died without surviving issue and was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. Under the Act of Settlement 1701, which excluded all Catholics, she was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover.

Celtic F.C.

The Celtic Football Club ( SEL-tik) are a professional football club based in Glasgow, Scotland, which plays in the Scottish Premiership. The club was founded in 1887 with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the immigrant Irish population in the East End of Glasgow. They played their first match in May 1888, a friendly match against Rangers which Celtic won 5–2. Celtic established themselves within Scottish football, winning six successive league titles during the first decade of the 20th century. The club enjoyed their greatest successes during the 1960s and 70s under Jock Stein when they won nine consecutive league titles and the 1967 European Cup.

Celtic have won the Scottish league championship 49 times, most recently in 2017–18, which was their seventh consecutive championship. They have won the Scottish Cup 38 times and the Scottish League Cup 18 times. The club's greatest season was 1966–67, when Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup, also winning the Scottish league championship, the Scottish Cup, the League Cup and the Glasgow Cup. Celtic also reached the 1970 European Cup Final and the 2003 UEFA Cup Final, losing in both.

Celtic have a long-standing fierce rivalry with Rangers, and the clubs are known as the Old Firm, seen by some as the world's biggest football derby. The club's fanbase was estimated in 2003 as being around nine million worldwide, and there are more than 160 Celtic supporters clubs in over 20 countries. An estimated 80,000 fans travelled to Seville for the 2003 UEFA Cup Final.

Charles II of England

Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was king of England, Scotland and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his death.

Charles II's father, Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. Although the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II king on 5 February 1649, England entered the period known as the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth, and the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell defeated Charles II at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, and Charles fled to mainland Europe. Cromwell became virtual dictator of England, Scotland and Ireland. Charles spent the next nine years in exile in France, the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands. A political crisis that followed the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in the restoration of the monarchy, and Charles was invited to return to Britain. On 29 May 1660, his 30th birthday, he was received in London to public acclaim. After 1660, all legal documents were dated as if he had succeeded his father as king in 1649.

Charles's English parliament enacted laws known as the Clarendon Code, designed to shore up the position of the re-established Church of England. Charles acquiesced to the Clarendon Code even though he favoured a policy of religious tolerance. The major foreign policy issue of his early reign was the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1670, he entered into the Treaty of Dover, an alliance with his first cousin King Louis XIV of France. Louis agreed to aid him in the Third Anglo-Dutch War and pay him a pension, and Charles secretly promised to convert to Catholicism at an unspecified future date. Charles attempted to introduce religious freedom for Catholics and Protestant dissenters with his 1672 Royal Declaration of Indulgence, but the English Parliament forced him to withdraw it. In 1679, Titus Oates's revelations of a supposed Popish Plot sparked the Exclusion Crisis when it was revealed that Charles's brother and heir, James, Duke of York, was a Catholic. The crisis saw the birth of the pro-exclusion Whig and anti-exclusion Tory parties. Charles sided with the Tories, and, following the discovery of the Rye House Plot to murder Charles and James in 1683, some Whig leaders were executed or forced into exile. Charles dissolved the English Parliament in 1681, and ruled alone until his death on 6 February 1685. He was received into the Catholic Church on his deathbed.

Charles was one of the most popular and beloved kings of England, known as the Merry Monarch, in reference to both the liveliness and hedonism of his court and the general relief at the return to normality after over a decade of rule by Cromwell and the Puritans. Charles's wife, Catherine of Braganza, bore no live children, but Charles acknowledged at least twelve illegitimate children by various mistresses. He was succeeded by his brother James.

Charles I of England

Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.

Charles was born into the House of Stuart as the second son of King James VI of Scotland, but after his father inherited the English throne in 1603, he moved to England, where he spent much of the rest of his life. He became heir apparent to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on the death of his elder brother, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1612. An unsuccessful and unpopular attempt to marry him to the Spanish Habsburg princess Maria Anna culminated in an eight-month visit to Spain in 1623 that demonstrated the futility of the marriage negotiations. Two years later, he married the Bourbon princess Henrietta Maria of France instead.

After his succession, Charles quarrelled with the Parliament of England, which sought to curb his royal prerogative. Charles believed in the divine right of kings and thought he could govern according to his own conscience. Many of his subjects opposed his policies, in particular the levying of taxes without parliamentary consent, and perceived his actions as those of a tyrannical absolute monarch. His religious policies, coupled with his marriage to a Roman Catholic, generated the antipathy and mistrust of Reformed groups such as the English Puritans and Scottish Covenanters, who thought his views were too Catholic. He supported high church Anglican ecclesiastics, such as Richard Montagu and William Laud, and failed to aid Protestant forces successfully during the Thirty Years' War. His attempts to force the Church of Scotland to adopt high Anglican practices led to the Bishops' Wars, strengthened the position of the English and Scottish parliaments, and helped precipitate his own downfall.

From 1642, Charles fought the armies of the English and Scottish parliaments in the English Civil War. After his defeat in 1645, he surrendered to a Scottish force that eventually handed him over to the English Parliament. Charles refused to accept his captors' demands for a constitutional monarchy, and temporarily escaped captivity in November 1647. Re-imprisoned on the Isle of Wight, Charles forged an alliance with Scotland, but by the end of 1648 Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army had consolidated its control over England. Charles was tried, convicted, and executed for high treason in January 1649. The monarchy was abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared. The monarchy would be restored to Charles's son, Charles II, in 1660.

Countries of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) comprises four countries: England, Scotland and Wales (which collectively make up Great Britain) and Northern Ireland (which is variously described as a country, province or region).Within the United Kingdom, a unitary sovereign state, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have gained a degree of autonomy through the process of devolution. The UK Parliament and British Government deal with all reserved matters for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but not in general matters that have been devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales. Additionally, devolution in Northern Ireland is conditional on co-operation between the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland (see North/South Ministerial Council) and the British Government consults with the Government of Ireland to reach agreement on some non-devolved matters for Northern Ireland (see British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference). England, comprising the majority of the population and area of the United Kingdom, remains fully the responsibility of the UK Parliament centralised in London.

England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are not themselves listed in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) list of countries. However the ISO list of the subdivisions of the UK, compiled by British Standards and the UK's Office for National Statistics, uses "country" to describe England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland, in contrast, is described as a "province" in the same lists. Each has separate national governing bodies for sports and compete separately in many international sporting competitions, including the Commonwealth Games. Northern Ireland also forms joint All-Island sporting bodies with the Republic of Ireland for most sports, including rugby union.The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are dependencies of the Crown and are not part of the UK. Similarly, the British overseas territories, remnants of the British Empire, are not part of the UK.

Historically, from 1801, following the Acts of Union, until 1921 the whole island of Ireland was a country within the UK. Ireland was split into two separate jurisdictions in 1921: Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland. Southern Ireland left the United Kingdom under the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh ( (listen); Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Èideann [ˈt̪uːn ˈeːtʲən̪ˠ]; Scots: Edinburgh) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (formerly "Edinburghshire", prior to 1890), it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.

Recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the supreme courts of Scotland. The city's Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The city has long been a centre of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, literature, philosophy, the sciences and engineering. It is the second largest financial centre in the United Kingdom (after London) and the city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the United Kingdom's second most popular tourist destination (again, after London), attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.Edinburgh is Scotland's second most populous city and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. The official population estimates are 488,050 (2016) for the Locality of Edinburgh (Edinburgh pre 1975 regionalisation plus Currie and Balerno), 513,210 (2017) for the City of Edinburgh, and 1,339,380 (2014) for the city region. Edinburgh lies at the heart of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland city region comprising East Lothian, Edinburgh, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian.The city is the annual venue of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. It is home to national institutions such as the National Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery. The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582 and now one of four in the city, is placed 18th in the QS World University Rankings for 2019. The city is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the world's largest annual international arts festival. Historic sites in Edinburgh include Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the churches of St. Giles, Greyfriars and the Canongate, and the extensive Georgian New Town, built in the 18th/19th centuries. Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, which has been managed by Edinburgh World Heritage since 1999.

Glasgow

Glasgow (; Scots: Glesga [ˈɡlezɡə]; Scottish Gaelic: Glaschu [ˈkl̪ˠas̪əxu]) is the most populous city in Scotland, and the third most populous city in the United Kingdom, as of the 2017 estimated city population of 621,020. Historically part of Lanarkshire, the city now forms the Glasgow City council area, one of the 32 council areas of Scotland; the local authority is Glasgow City Council. Glasgow is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as "Glaswegians" or "Weegies". It is the fourth most visited city in the UK. Glasgow is also known for the Glasgow patter, a distinct dialect of the Scots language that is noted for being difficult to understand by those from outside the city.

Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become the largest seaport in Scotland, and tenth largest by tonnage in Britain. Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the fifteenth century, it became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. From the eighteenth century onwards, the city also grew as one of Great Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.

With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded rapidly to become one of the world's pre-eminent centres of chemicals, textiles and engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. Glasgow was the "Second City of the British Empire" for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period, although many cities argue the title was theirs.In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Glasgow's population grew rapidly, reaching a peak of 1,127,825 people in 1938. Comprehensive urban renewal projects in the 1960s, resulting in large-scale relocation of people to designated new towns; such as Cumbernauld, Livingston, East Kilbride and peripheral suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, reduced the population of the City of Glasgow council area to an estimated 615,070, with 1,209,143 people living in the Greater Glasgow urban area. The wider metropolitan area is home to over 1,800,000 people, equating to around 33% of Scotland's population. The city has one of the highest densities of any locality in Scotland at 4,023/km2.

Glasgow hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the first European Championships in 2018; and is also well known in the sporting world for football (particularly the Old Firm rivalry between Celtic and Rangers), rugby, athletics, tennis, golf and swimming.

Great Britain

Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi), it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan. The island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, and together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago.The island is dominated by a maritime climate with quite narrow temperature differences between seasons. Politically, Great Britain is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and constitutes most of its territory. Most of England, Scotland, and Wales are on the island. The term "Great Britain" is often used to include the whole of England, Scotland and Wales including their component adjoining islands; and is also occasionally but contentiously applied to the UK as a whole in some contexts.A single Kingdom of Great Britain resulted from the union of the Kingdom of England (which had already comprised the present-day countries of England and Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland by the 1707 Acts of Union. More than a hundred years before, in 1603, King James VI, King of Scots, had inherited the throne of England, but it was not until 1707 that the two countries' parliaments agreed to form a political union. In 1801, Great Britain united with the neighbouring Kingdom of Ireland, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which was renamed the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" after the Irish Free State seceded in 1922.

James II of England

James II and VII (14 October 1633O.S. – 16 September 1701) was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland, his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance. However, it also involved the principles of absolutism and divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown.James inherited the thrones of England, Ireland and Scotland with widespread support in all three countries, largely based on the principle of divine right or birth. Tolerance for his personal Catholicism did not apply to it in general and when the English and Scottish Parliaments refused to pass his measures, James attempted to impose them by decree; it was a political principle, rather than a religious one that ultimately led to his removal.In June 1688, two events turned dissent into a crisis; the first on 10 June was the birth of James's son and heir James Francis Edward, threatening to create a Catholic dynasty and excluding his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. The second was the prosecution of the Seven Bishops for seditious libel; this was viewed as an assault on the Church of England and their acquittal on 30 June destroyed his political authority in England. Anti-Catholic riots in England and Scotland now made it seem only his removal as monarch could prevent a civil war.Representatives of the English political elite invited William to assume the English throne; after he landed in Brixham on 5 November 1688, James's army deserted and he went into exile in France on 23 December. In February 1689, Parliament held he had 'vacated' the English throne and installed William and Mary as joint monarchs, establishing the principle that sovereignty derived from Parliament, not birth. James landed in Ireland on 14 March 1689 in an attempt to recover his kingdoms but despite a simultaneous rising in Scotland, in April a Scottish Convention followed their English colleagues by ruling James had 'forfeited' the throne and offered it to William and Mary. After defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690, James returned to France where he spent the rest of his life in exile at Saint-Germain, protected by Louis XIV.

James VI and I

James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciaries, and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union.

James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, positioning him to eventually accede to all three thrones. James succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother was compelled to abdicate in his favour. Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died childless. He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58. After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England (the largest of the three realms) from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, and styled himself "King of Great Britain and Ireland". He was a major advocate of a single parliament for England and Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began.

At 57 years and 246 days, James's reign in Scotland was longer than those of any of his predecessors. He achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie (1597), The True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), and Basilikon Doron (1599). He sponsored the translation of the Bible into English that would later be named after him: the Authorised King James Version. Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom", an epithet associated with his character ever since. Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James's reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch. He was strongly committed to a peace policy, and tried to avoid involvement in religious wars, especially the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) that devastated much of Central Europe. He tried but failed to prevent the rise of hawkish elements in the English Parliament who wanted war with Spain.

James V of Scotland

James V (10 April 1512 – 14 December 1542) was King of Scotland from 9 September 1513 until his death, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. His only surviving legitimate child, Mary, Queen of Scots, succeeded him when she was just six days old.

Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots (8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587), also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland, reigned over Scotland from 14 December 1542 to 24 July 1567.

Mary, the only surviving legitimate child of King James V, was six days old when her father died and she acceded to the throne. She spent most of her childhood in France while Scotland was ruled by regents, and in 1558, she married the Dauphin of France, Francis. He ascended the French throne as King Francis II in 1559, and Mary briefly became queen consort of France, until his death in December 1560. Widowed, Mary returned to Scotland, arriving in Leith on 19 August 1561. Four years later, she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and in June 1566 they had a son, James.

In February 1567, Darnley's residence was destroyed by an explosion, and he was found murdered in the garden. James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, was generally believed to have orchestrated Darnley's death, but he was acquitted of the charge in April 1567, and the following month he married Mary. Following an uprising against the couple, Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. On 24 July 1567 she was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne, she fled southwards seeking the protection of her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England. Mary had once claimed Elizabeth's throne as her own, and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics, including participants in a rebellion known as the Rising of the North. Perceiving her as a threat, Elizabeth had her confined in various castles and manor houses in the interior of England. After eighteen and a half years in custody, Mary was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth in 1586. She was beheaded the following year at Fotheringhay Castle.

Mary II of England

Mary II (30 April 1662 – 28 December 1694) was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, co-reigning with her husband and first cousin, King William III and II, from 1689 until her death; popular histories usually refer to their joint reign as that of William and Mary. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the adoption of the English Bill of Rights and the deposition of her Roman Catholic father, James II and VII. William became sole ruler upon her death in 1694. He reigned as such until his own death in 1702, when he was succeeded by Mary's sister Anne.

Mary wielded less power than William when he was in England, ceding most of her authority to him, though he heavily relied on her. She did, however, act alone when William was engaged in military campaigns abroad, proving herself to be a powerful, firm, and effective ruler.

Presbyterianism

Presbyterianism is a part of the reformed tradition within Protestantism, which traces its origins to Britain, particularly Scotland.

Presbyterian churches derive their name from the presbyterian form of church government, which is governed by representative assemblies of elders. A great number of Reformed churches are organized this way, but the word Presbyterian, when capitalized, is often applied uniquely to churches that trace their roots to the Church of Scotland, as well as several English dissenter groups that formed during the English Civil War. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures, and the necessity of grace through faith in Christ. Presbyterian church government was ensured in Scotland by the Acts of Union in 1707, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. In fact, most Presbyterians found in England can trace a Scottish connection, and the Presbyterian denomination was also taken to North America, mostly by Scots and Scots-Irish immigrants. The Presbyterian denominations in Scotland hold to the Reformed theology of John Calvin and his immediate successors, although there is a range of theological views within contemporary Presbyterianism. Local congregations of churches which use presbyterian polity are governed by sessions made up of representatives of the congregation (elders); a conciliar approach which is found at other levels of decision-making (presbytery, synod and general assembly).

The roots of Presbyterianism lie in the Reformation of the 16th century, the example of John Calvin's Republic of Geneva being particularly influential. Most Reformed churches that trace their history back to Scotland are either presbyterian or congregationalist in government. In the twentieth century, some Presbyterians played an important role in the ecumenical movement, including the World Council of Churches. Many Presbyterian denominations have found ways of working together with other Reformed denominations and Christians of other traditions, especially in the World Communion of Reformed Churches. Some Presbyterian churches have entered into unions with other churches, such as Congregationalists, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Methodists. Presbyterians in the United States came largely from Scottish immigrants, Scotch-Irish immigrants, and also from New England Yankee communities that had originally been Congregational but changed because of an agreed-upon Plan of Union of 1801 for frontier areas. Along with Episcopalians, Presbyterians tend to be considerably wealthier and better educated (having more graduate and post-graduate degrees per capita) than most other religious groups in United States, and are disproportionately represented in the upper reaches of American business, law and politics.

Robert the Bruce

Robert I (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329), popularly known as Robert the Bruce (Medieval Gaelic: Roibert a Briuis; modern Scottish Gaelic: Raibeart Bruis; Norman French: Robert de Brus or Robert de Bruys; Early Scots: Robert Brus; Latin: Robertus Brussius), was King of Scots from 1306 until his death in 1329. Robert was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, and eventually led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland's place as an independent country and is today revered in Scotland as a national hero.

Descended from the Anglo-Norman and Gaelic nobility, his paternal fourth great-grandfather was King David I. Robert's grandfather, Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, was one of the claimants to the Scottish throne during the "Great Cause". As Earl of Carrick, Robert the Bruce supported his family's claim to the Scottish throne and took part in William Wallace's revolt against Edward I of England. Appointed in 1298 as a Guardian of Scotland alongside his chief rival for the throne, John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, and William Lamberton, Bishop of St Andrews, Robert later resigned in 1300 due to his quarrels with Comyn and the apparently imminent restoration of John Balliol to the Scottish throne. After submitting to Edward I in 1302 and returning to "the king's peace", Robert inherited his family's claim to the Scottish throne upon his father's death.

In February 1306, Bruce having wounded Comyn, rushed from the church where they met and encountered his attendants outside. Bruce told them what had happened and said, "I must be off, for I doubt I have slain the Red Comyn," "Doubt?" Roger de Kirkpatrick of Closeburn answered, "I mak sikker," ("I'll make sure," or "I make sure") and rushing into the church, killed Comyn. For this Bruce was then excommunicated by the Pope (although he received absolution from Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow). Bruce moved quickly to seize the throne and was crowned king of Scots on 25 March 1306. Edward I's forces defeated Robert in battle, forcing him to flee into hiding before re-emerging in 1307 to defeat an English army at Loudoun Hill and wage a highly successful guerrilla war against the English. Bruce defeated his other Scots enemies, destroying their strongholds and devastating their lands, and in 1309 held his first parliament. A series of military victories between 1310 and 1314 won him control of much of Scotland, and at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Robert defeated a much larger English army under Edward II of England, confirming the re-establishment of an independent Scottish kingdom. The battle marked a significant turning point, with Robert's armies now free to launch devastating raids throughout northern England, while also extending his war against the English to Ireland by sending an army to invade there and by appealing to the Irish to rise against Edward II's rule.

Despite Bannockburn and the capture of the final English stronghold at Berwick in 1318, Edward II refused to renounce his claim to the overlordship of Scotland. In 1320, the Scottish nobility submitted the Declaration of Arbroath to Pope John XXII, declaring Robert as their rightful monarch and asserting Scotland's status as an independent kingdom. In 1324, the Pope recognised Robert I as king of an independent Scotland, and in 1326, the Franco-Scottish alliance was renewed in the Treaty of Corbeil. In 1327, the English deposed Edward II in favour of his son, Edward III, and peace was concluded between Scotland and England with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, by which Edward III renounced all claims to sovereignty over Scotland.

Robert died in June 1329. His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart was interred in Melrose Abbey and his internal organs embalmed and placed in St Serf’s Chapel, Dumbarton, site of the medieval Cardross Parish church.

Shetland

Shetland (Scots: Shetland, Scottish Gaelic: Sealtainn), also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland, is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies northeast of Scotland.

The islands lie some 80 km (50 mi) to the northeast of Orkney, 168 km (104 mi) from the Scottish mainland and 280 km (170 mi) southeast of the Faroe Islands. They form part of the division between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the North Sea to the east. The total area is 1,466 km2 (566 sq mi), and the population totalled 23,210 in 2011. Comprising the Shetland constituency of the Scottish Parliament, Shetland Islands Council is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland; the islands' administrative centre and only burgh is Lerwick, which has also been the capital of Shetland since taking over from Scalloway in 1708.

The largest island, known as the "Mainland", has an area of 967 km2 (373 sq mi), making it the third-largest Scottish island and the fifth-largest of the British Isles. There are an additional 15 inhabited islands. The archipelago has an oceanic climate, a complex geology, a rugged coastline and many low, rolling hills.

Humans have lived in Shetland since the Mesolithic period. The earliest written references to the islands date to Roman times. The early historic period was dominated by Scandinavian influences, especially from Norway, and the islands did not become part of Scotland until the 15th century. When Scotland became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, trade with northern Europe decreased. Fishing has continued to be an important aspect of the economy up to the present day. The discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s significantly boosted Shetland's economy, employment and public sector revenues.

The local way of life reflects the Scottish and Norse heritage of the isles, including the Up Helly Aa fire festival, and a strong musical tradition, especially the traditional fiddle style. The islands have produced a variety of writers of prose and poetry, often in the distinct Shetland dialect of Scots. There are numerous areas set aside to protect the local fauna and flora, including a number of important sea bird nesting sites. The Shetland pony and Shetland Sheepdog are two well-known Shetland animal breeds. Other local breeds include the Shetland sheep, cow, goose, and duck. The Shetland pig, or grice, has been extinct since about 1930.

The islands' motto, which appears on the Council's coat of arms, is "Með lögum skal land byggja". The Old Norse original of this Icelandic phrase is taken from the Danish 1241 Basic Law, Code of Jutland, and is also mentioned in Njáls saga, and means "By law shall land be built".

Six Nations Championship

The Six Nations Championship (known as the Guinness Six Nations for sponsorship reasons) is an annual international rugby union competition between the teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The current champions are Wales, who won the 2019 tournament.

The Six Nations is the successor to the Home Nations Championship (1883–1909 and 1932–39), played between teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, which was the first international rugby union tournament. With the addition of France, this became the Five Nations Championship (1910–31 and 1947–99), which in turn became the Six Nations Championship with the addition of Italy.

Wales hold the overall record, with 39 victories (27 outright and 12 shared) to England's 38 (10 shared victories), while England hold the record for outright wins with 28. Since the Six Nations era started in 2000, only Italy and Scotland have failed to win the Six Nations title, although Scotland were the last winners of the Five Nations.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

The UK is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state. The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool.

The United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies.The United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a very high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946. It has been a leading member state of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), since 1973; however, a referendum in 2016 resulted in 51.9% of UK voters favouring leaving the European Union, and the country's exit is being negotiated. The United Kingdom is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

William III of England

William III (Dutch: Willem; 4 November 1650 – 8 March 1702), also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from 1672 and King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1689 until his death in 1702. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known in Northern Ireland and Scotland as "King Billy".William inherited the principality of Orange from his father, William II, who died a week before William's birth. His mother, Mary, was the daughter of King Charles I of England. In 1677, William married his fifteen-year-old first cousin, Mary, the daughter of his maternal uncle James, Duke of York.

A Protestant, William participated in several wars against the powerful Catholic King of France, Louis XIV, in coalition with Protestant and Catholic powers in Europe. Many Protestants heralded him as a champion of their faith. In 1685, William's Catholic uncle and father-in-law, James, became king of England, Scotland and Ireland. James's reign was unpopular with the Protestant majority in Britain. William, supported by a group of influential British political and religious leaders, invaded England in what became known as the Glorious Revolution. On 5 November 1688, he landed at the southern English port of Brixham. James was deposed and William and his wife became joint sovereigns in his place. William and Mary reigned together until Mary's death on 28 December 1694, after which William ruled as sole monarch.

William's reputation as a staunch Protestant enabled him to take power in Britain when many were fearful of a revival of Catholicism under James. William's victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is still commemorated by loyalists in Northern Ireland and Scotland. His reign in Britain marked the beginning of the transition from the personal rule of the Stuarts to the more Parliament-centred rule of the House of Hanover.

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