Population: 5,295,000 (est.)
Language(s): English (official), Scottish Gaelic
National Dish: Haggis, neeps and tatties.
- The GBP£ is the official currency of Scotland.
- Although the Bank of England is the central bank for the UK, three Scottish clearing banks still issue their own Sterling banknotes: the Bank of Scotland; the Royal Bank of Scotland; and the Clydesdale Bank.
- Christianity is the largest religion in Scotland.
- Around 65% of the population is Christian, with around 28% of the population not following any religion.
- The economy of Scotland is closely linked with the rest of the United Kingdom and the wider European Economic Area. Scotland has the second largest GVA per capita of countries in the United Kingdom after England, though it is still lower than the average of the United Kingdom as a whole.
- Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire-brigade.
- Scotland is considered the home land of golf.
- The unicorn is one of two national animals of Scotland, along with the Red Lion.
- Scotland will soon hold a referendum on whether it would like to become independent from the United Kingdom.
- Scotland is well known in the world for its whisky.
- Glasgow has one of the highest murder rates in Western Europe.
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, Scotland is made up of more than 790 islandsincluding the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
Edinburgh, the country’s capital and second largest city, is one of Europe’s largest financial centres. Edinburgh was the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, which transformed Scotland into one of the commercial, intellectual and industrial powerhouses of Europe. Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, was once one of the world’s leading industrial cities and now lies at the centre of the Greater Glasgow conurbation. Scottish waters consist of a large sectorof the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union. This has given Aberdeen, the third largest city in Scotland, the title of Europe’s oil capital.
The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707, although it had been in a personal union with the kingdoms of England and Ireland since James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English and Irish thrones in 1603. On 1 May 1707, Scotland entered into an incorporating political union with England to create the united Kingdom of Great Britain.This union resulted from the Treaty of Union agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union passed by the Parliaments of both countries, despite popular opposition and anti-union riots in Edinburgh, Glasgow and elsewhere.
Scotland’s legal system continues to be separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in public and private law. The continued existence of legal, educational and religious institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the Union. In 1999, a devolved legislature, the Scottish Parliament, was reconvened with authority over many areas of home affairs following a referendum in 1997. In 2011, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won an overall majority in parliament and intends to hold a referendum on independence in the autumn of 2014.
Scotland is a member nation of the British–Irish Council, the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly and also participates within the Common Travel Area agreement.