Portal:Scotland
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Portal:Scotland
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Introduction

Flag of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland in Europe

Scotland (Scots: Scotland, Scottish Gaelic: Alba ['alap?] ) 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 km) 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 the Irish Sea to the south. In addition, Scotland includes more than 790 islands; principally within the Northern Isles and the Hebrides archipelagos.

The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the European Early Middle Ages 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 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 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 MPs. Scotland is also a member of the British-Irish Council, sending five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly.

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.

Selected article

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

Shapinsay 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. Read more ...

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" ...   Before anything else, preparation is the key to success   ... "

Alexander Graham Bell

" ...   A good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation   ... "

James Boswell

In the news

In the news
19 September 2020 -
A 1634 edition of The Two Noble Kinsmen, the last play written by English playwright William Shakespeare, is discovered at the Royal Scots College's library in Salamanca, Spain. It is believed to be the oldest copy of any of his works in the country. (BBC)
6 September 2020 - COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland
208 new cases are confirmed in Scotland in the past 24 hours, the highest level since May. (BBC)
1 September 2020 - Proposed second Scottish independence referendum
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces that her party will draft legislation for a new referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom before Scotland's parliament election next year. (Reuters)
31 August 2020 - COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon voices concerns after 160 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Scotland in the last 24 hours, a three-month high. She says the rise in cases was "partly the result of a greater number of people being tested", but it is "undoubtedly a concern" and that any connection between cases is being "carefully considered" by health protection teams. (BBC)

Selected biography

Bust of Robert the Bruce at the National Wallace Monument

Robert I (11 July 1274 - 7 June 1329), popularly known as Robert the Bruce (Medieval Gaelic: Roibert a Briuis; Modern Scottish Gaelic: Raibeart Brus; Norman French: Robert de Brus or Robert de Bruys; Early Scots: Robert Brus; Latin: Robertus Brussius), was King of Scots from 1306 to 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 now revered in Scotland as a national hero.

His paternal fourth great-grandfather was King David I. His maternal line is descended from Aoife MacMurrough of Leinster. 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 resigned in 1300 because of 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. Read more ...

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