Purge server cache
     The Scotland Portal   
Main PageSelected articlesSelected biographiesSelected quotesSelected picturesFeatured ContentCategories & Topics

Introduction

Flag of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland in Europe

Scotland (Scots: Scotland, Scottish Gaelic: Alba [ˈal̪ˠapə] (listen)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154-kilometre) border with England to the southeast and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast and east, and the Irish Sea to the south. It also contains more than 790 islands, principally in the archipelagos of the Hebrides and the Northern Isles. Most of the population, including the capital Edinburgh, is concentrated in the Central Belt—the plain between the Scottish Highlands and the Southern Uplands—in the Scottish Lowlands.

Scotland is divided into 32 administrative subdivisions or local authorities, known as council areas. Glasgow City is the largest council area in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. Limited self-governing power, covering matters such as education, social services and roads and transportation, is devolved from the Scottish Government to each subdivision. Scotland is the second-largest country in the United Kingdom, and accounted for 8.3% of the population in 2012.

The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the 9th century and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI of Scotland became king of England and 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 the Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain entered into a political union with the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (in 1922, the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being officially renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1927).

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. 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 incorporating union with England.

In 1999, a Scottish Parliament was re-established, in the form of a devolved unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, having authority over many areas of domestic policy. The head of the Scottish Government is the first minister of Scotland, who is supported by the deputy first minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the United Kingdom Parliament by 59 members of parliament (MPs). It is also a member of the British–Irish Council, sending five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly, as well as being part of the Joint Ministerial Committee, represented by the first minister. (Full article...)

Selected article

Cannon decorate the quayside of Balfour Harbour on Shapinsay, the round tower in the background is The Douche
Cannon decorate the quayside of Balfour Harbour on Shapinsay, the round tower in the background is The Douche

Shapinsay (/ˈʃæpɪnz/, Scots: Shapinsee) is one of the Orkney Islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. There is one village on the island, Balfour, from which roll-on/roll-off car ferries sail to Kirkwall on the Orkney Mainland. Balfour Castle, built in the Scottish Baronial style, is one of the island's most prominent features, a reminder of the Balfour family's domination of Shapinsay during the 18th and 19th centuries; the Balfours transformed life on the island by introducing new agricultural techniques. Other landmarks include a standing stone, an Iron Age broch, a souterrain and a salt-water shower.

With an area of 29.5 square kilometres (11.4 sq mi), Shapinsay is the eighth largest island in the Orkney archipelago. It is low-lying and fertile, consequently most of the area is given over to farming. Shapinsay has two nature reserves and is notable for its bird life.

At the 2011 census, Shapinsay had a population of 307. The economy of the island is primarily based on agriculture with the exception of a few small businesses that are largely tourism-related. Plans for the construction of a wind turbine are under consideration. (Full article...) Read more ...

Selected quotes

" ...   The cruellest lies are often told in silence   ... "

Robert Louis Stevenson

" ...   It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important   ... "

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In the news

Selected biography

Portrait of Anne by Michael Dahl, 1705
Portrait of Anne by Michael Dahl, 1705

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

Anne was born in the reign of Charles II to his younger brother and heir presumptive, James, whose suspected Roman Catholicism was unpopular in England. On Charles's instructions, Anne and her elder sister Mary were raised as Anglicans. Mary married their Dutch Protestant cousin, William III of Orange, in 1677, and Anne married Prince George of Denmark in 1683. 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 William 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. (Full article...) Read more ...

Selected picture

Did You Know...

Help available

Get involved

Scotland Related WikiProjects
and Task forces
Tartans.png
WikiProject Clans of Scotland talk
Celtic harp dsc05425.jpg
WikiProject Medieval Scotland talk
Modified castle icon.png
WikiProject Scottish Castles talk
ScottishIsles.jpg
WikiProject Scottish Islands talk
TV-icon-2.svg
WikiProject Scottish Television talk
WPTIS.png
WikiProject Transport in Scotland talk
Edinburgh castle symbol.png
WikiProject Edinburgh talk
Fife council.PNG
Fife task force talk
Flag of Scotland.svg
Scottish Gaelic task force talk

For editor resources and to collaborate with other editors on improving Wikipedia's Scotland-related articles, see WikiProject Scotland.

To get involved in helping to improve Wikipedia's Scotland related content, please consider doing some of the following tasks or joining one or more of the associated Wikiprojects:


Do you have a question about The Scotland Portal that you can't find the answer to?
Post a question on the Talk Page or consider asking it at the Wikipedia reference desk.

Related portals

Ireland Northern Ireland Wales England Cornwall United Kingdom Scottish islands Clans of Scotland
Ireland Northern
Ireland
Wales England Cornwall United
Kingdom
Scottish
islands
Clans
of Scotland

Other language versions

Wikipedia ann an Gàidhlig na h-Alba and Scots Wikipaedia

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Discover Wikipedia using portals

Purge server cache