Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Alba) is a former kingdom and constituent country of the United Kingdom. It encompasses the northern part of the island of Great Britain and borders England to the south. Scotland has its own legal system, flag, banknotes and domestic administration and is a constituent country within the United Kingdom. Scotland has over 5.3 million inhabitants. The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh.

Scotland panorama

A referendum was held on 18 September 2014 to decide whether Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom. 55% of the electorate voted against secession, with a majority in all Scottish districts voting against Brexit.

The name Scotland

The name Scotland is derived from the Latin name Scoti, which was used by the Romans to designate the Gaelic people in what is now called Scotland and Ireland to distinguish them from the Picts. The Scoti managed to expand their power in present-day Scotland and mixed with the Pictish people. From the eleventh century, the term ‘Scotia’ was used for Scotland north of the River Forth. From the late Middle Ages, the term got its current meaning.

National symbols

The national flag of Scotland – known as the Saltire or St Andrew’s Cross – was (according to legend) used as early as the ninth century, making it the oldest national flag in the world. The flag has been part of the Union Jack since 1606. There are many official and unofficial national symbols, including the thistle, the national floral emblem, the Declaration of Arbroath (1320), the tartan textile pattern that often varies from clan to clan, and the Lion Rampant flag.

Flower of Scotland is often considered the national anthem of Scotland and is played in football and rugby matches in which the national team plays, for example. Scotland the Brave is used for the Scottish team at the Commonwealth Games. A broader discussion has emerged since Scotland has its own Parliament. Other candidates for the national anthem include: Highland Cathedral, Scots Wha Hae and A Man’s A Man for A ‘That.

St. Andrew’s Day (November 30) is a national holiday and has been a Bank holiday since 2007. Burns’ Night (on or around January 25) is celebrated more exuberantly. Tartan Day is a recent newcomer from Canada.


Scotland’s history begins about 14,000 years ago when the first people entered the region of present-day Scotland when the Ice Age came to an end. Many objects from the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age have been found, but few written sources have been preserved.

The written history of Scotland begins with the arrival of the Roman Empire in Britannia – today’s England, Wales and the Scottish Lowlands. To the north were areas inhabited by the Picts, the area was known to the Romans as Caledonia. Since Scotland is on the edge of Europe, it has long been believed that the elements of civilization came to the country only slowly. Recent research has shown that some developments have permeated Scottish society earlier and more advanced than initially thought. The sea was an important link in this.

Due to Scotland’s geographical orientation and its strong reliance on maritime trade routes, the country had many contacts with Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Ireland, France and the Low Countries. After the Acts of Union, linking Scotland and England in the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Scottish Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, Scotland became one of the commercial, intellectual and industrial centers of Europe. After the Second World War, the industrial sector collapsed, which hit Scotland extra hard. Scotland has been experiencing a cultural and economic renaissance in recent decades, mostly due to a revival in the financial sector, the discovery of oil under the North Sea and limited self-government.