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    Flag of Scotland
    Scotland in Europe

    Scotland (Scots: Scotland, Scottish Gaelic: Alba [ˈal̪ˠapə] (About this sound listen)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England to the south, and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the south-west. In addition to the mainland, the country has more than 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, Great Britain itself entered into a political union with the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

    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 union with England.

    In 1997, 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, who, alongside their responsibilities at Deputy First Minister is also a cabinet secretary within the Scottish Government. Scotland is represented in the United Kingdom Parliament 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. Limited self-governing power, covering matters such as education, social services and roads and transportation, is devolved from the Scottish Government to each subdivision. Decisions are made by councillors who are elected at local elections every five years. The head of each subdivision is usually the Lord Provost alongside the Leader of the Council with a Chief Executive being appointed as director of the council area.

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    The Cutty Sark in 2015

    Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship. Built on the River Clyde in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line, she was one of the last tea clippers to be built and one of the fastest, coming at the end of a long period of design development, which halted as sailing ships gave way to steam propulsion.

    The opening of the Suez Canal (also in 1869) meant that steamships now enjoyed a much shorter route to China, so Cutty Sark spent only a few years on the tea trade before turning to the trade in wool from Australia, where she held the record time to Britain for ten years. Improvements in steam technology meant that gradually steamships also came to dominate the longer sailing route to Australia, and the ship was sold to the Portuguese company Ferreira and Co. in 1895 and renamed Ferreira. She continued as a cargo ship until purchased in 1922 by retired sea captain Wilfred Dowman, who used her as a training ship operating from Falmouth, Cornwall. After his death, Cutty Sark was transferred to the Thames Nautical Training College, Greenhithe in 1938 where she became an auxiliary cadet training ship alongside HMS Worcester. By 1954, she had ceased to be useful as a cadet ship and was transferred to permanent dry dock at Greenwich, London, for public display.

    Cutty Sark is listed by National Historic Ships as part of the National Historic Fleet (the nautical equivalent of a Grade 1 Listed Building). She is one of only three remaining original composite construction (wooden hull on an iron frame) clipper ships from the nineteenth century in part or whole, the others being the City of Adelaide, which arrived in Port Adelaide, South Australia on 3 February 2014 for preservation, and the beached skeleton of Ambassador of 1869 near Punta Arenas, Chile. Read more...

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    Samuel Smiles

    Sir David Steel, speaking in 1985.

    Selected biography

    Portrait of James VI attributed to John de Critz, c. 1605

    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 without issue. 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. Read more...

    Did You Know?

    Did you know?



    • ... that Jim McColl, the son of a butcher, reportedly became Scotland's richest man in 2008?

    In the news

    In the news
    6 August 2018 – Swimming at the 2018 European Aquatics Championships – Mixed 4 × 100 metre medley relay
    The British 4x100 mixed medley relay team (Anderson, Davies, Guy, Peaty) break their own European record at the 2018 European Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
    16 July 2018 – British space programme
    The UK Space Agency announces that the country's first spaceport will be located in Sutherland, northern Scotland, with the first launches potentially taking place in the early 2020s. (BBC) (The Guardian)
    27 June 2018 – Politics of Scotland
    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reshuffles her cabinet. Nine new junior ministers are appointed, with the devolved Parliament set to vote on the changes tomorrow. (BBC)
    4 June 2018 – Banking in the United Kingdom, 2008 United Kingdom bank rescue package
    The government of the United Kingdom announces its intent to sell a 7.7% stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland, expected to raise £2.6 billion. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell says there is "no economic justification" for selling the shares. (BBC)
    3 May 2018 – Pan Am Flight 103
    The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission says it will review claims of a possible miscarriage of justice in the conviction of Abdelbasset Ali al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing, in which over 200 people were murdered. (ABC News)
    1 May 2018 – Economy of the United Kingdom
    Following the cancellation of the Williams & Glyn bank formation, the Royal Bank of Scotland announces the closure of 162 RBS and subsidiary NatWest branches across the United Kingdom. (BBC)


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    Scotland(22 C, 8 P)
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    Communications in Scotland(5 C, 1 P)
    Scottish culture(70 C, 101 P)
    Economy of Scotland(33 C, 47 P)
    Education in Scotland(28 C, 63 P)
    Environment of Scotland(16 C, 21 P)
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    Geography of Scotland(30 C, 39 P)
    Health in Scotland(18 C, 11 P)
    History of Scotland(12 C, 6 P)
    Scots law(30 C, 85 P)
    Scottish people(41 C, 8 P)
    Politics of Scotland(25 C, 76 P)
    Scottish Government(11 C, 24 P)
    Scottish society(47 C, 57 P)
    Transport in Scotland(20 C, 22 P)
    Images of Scotland(1 C, 4 F)
    Scotland stubs(19 C, 675 P)

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    Scotland topics

    Related portals

    Ireland Northern Ireland Isle of Man Wales England Cornwall United Kingdom
    Ireland Northern
    Isle of Man Wales England Cornwall United

    Wikipedia in other Scottish languages

    Wikipedia ann an Gàidhlig na h-Alba and Scots Wikipaedia

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