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Scotland in Europe

Scotland (Scots: Scotland; Scottish Gaelic: Alba) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It contains nearly one-third of the United Kingdom's land area, consisting of the northern part of the island of Great Britain and more than 790 adjacent islands, principally in the archipelagos of the Hebrides and the Northern Isles. To the south-east, Scotland has its only land border, which is 96 miles (154 km) long and shared with England; the country is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the north-east and east, and the Irish Sea to the south. The population in 2022 was 5,436,600 and accounts for 8% of the population of the UK. Edinburgh is the capital and Glasgow is the largest of the cities of Scotland.

The Kingdom of Scotland emerged in the 9th century. In 1603, James VI inherited England and Ireland, forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. On 1 May 1707 Scotland and England combined to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain, with the Parliament of Scotland subsumed into the Parliament of Great Britain. In 1999 a Scottish Parliament was re-established, and has devolved authority over many areas of domestic policy. The country has a distinct legal system, educational system, and religious history from the rest of the UK, which have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity within the United Kingdom. Scottish English and Scots are the most widely spoken languages in the country, existing on a dialect continuum with each other. Scottish Gaelic speakers can be found all over Scotland, however the language is largely spoken natively by communities within the Hebrides. The number of Gaelic speakers numbers less than 2% of the total population, though state-sponsored revitalisation attempts have led to a growing community of second language speakers.

The mainland of Scotland is broadly divided into three regions: the Highlands, a mountainous region in the north and north-west; the Lowlands, a flatter plain across the centre of the country; and the Southern Uplands, a hilly region along the southern border. The Highlands are the most mountainous region of the UK and contain its highest peak, Ben Nevis, at 4,413 feet (1,345 m). The region also contains many lakes, called lochs; the term is also applied to the many saltwater inlets along the country's deeply indented western coastline. The geography of the many islands is varied. Some, such as Mull and Skye, are noted for their mountainous terrain, while the likes of Tiree and Coll are much flatter. (Full article...)

Selected article

Lewis Grassic Gibbon, who wrote A Scots Quair, one of the defining works of the 20th century Scottish Renaissance

The Scottish Renaissance (Scottish Gaelic: Ath-bheòthachadh na h-Alba; Scots: Scots Renaissance) was a mainly literary movement of the early to mid-20th century that can be seen as the Scottish version of modernism. It is sometimes referred to as the Scottish literary renaissance, although its influence went beyond literature into music, visual arts, and politics (among other fields). The writers and artists of the Scottish Renaissance displayed a profound interest in both modern philosophy and technology, as well as incorporating folk influences, and a strong concern for the fate of Scotland's declining languages.

It has been seen as a parallel to other movements elsewhere, including the Irish Literary Revival, the Harlem Renaissance (in the USA), the Bengal Renaissance (in Kolkata, India) and the Jindyworobak Movement (in Australia), which emphasised indigenous folk traditions. (Full article...) Read more ...

Selected quotes

" ...   A good gulp of whisky at bedtime – it’s not scientific but it helps   ... "

Sir Alexander Fleming

" ...   I have been trying all my life to like Scotchmen, and am obliged to desist from the experiment in despair   ... "

Charles Lamb

In the news

In the news
In the news
17 December 2023 –
The Civil Aviation Authority approves SaxaVord Spaceport on the Scottish island of Unst as the United Kingdom's first spaceport for vertical rocket launches. The first launches are expected to take place in 2024. (BBC News)

Selected biography

John Struthers, c. 1860

Sir John Struthers MD FRCSE FRSE ((1823-02-21)21 February 1823 – (1899-02-24)24 February 1899) was the first Regius Professor of Anatomy at the University of Aberdeen. He was a dynamic teacher and administrator, transforming the status of the institutions in which he worked. He was equally passionate about anatomy, enthusiastically seeking out and dissecting the largest and finest specimens, including whales, and troubling his colleagues with his single-minded quest for money and space for his collection. His collection was donated to Surgeon's Hall in Edinburgh.

Among scientists, he is perhaps best known for his work on the ligament which bears his name. His work on the rare and vestigial ligament of Struthers came to the attention of Charles Darwin, who used it in his Descent of Man to help argue the case that man and other mammals shared a common ancestor ; or "community of descent," as Darwin expressed it.

Among the public, Struthers was famous for his dissection of the "Tay Whale", a humpback whale that appeared in the Firth of Tay, was hunted and then dragged ashore to be exhibited across Britain. Struthers took every opportunity he could to dissect it and recover its bones, and eventually wrote a monograph on it.

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Selected picture

View of the Trossachs countryside through a farm window on a frosty evening
View of the Trossachs countryside through a farm window on a frosty evening

View of the Trossachs countryside through a farm window on a frosty evening.

Photo credit: Michal Klajban

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WikiProject Clans of Scotland talk
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WikiProject Scottish Castles talk
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