Tories (British political party)
The Tories were members of two political parties which existed sequentially in the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from the 17th to the early 19th centuries. The first Tories emerged in 1678 in England, when they opposed the Whig-supported Exclusion Bill which set out to disinherit the heir presumptive James, Duke of York, who became James II of England and VII of Scotland; this party ceased to exist as an organised political entity in the early 1760s, although it was used as a term of self-description by some political writers. A few decades a new Tory party would rise to establish a hold on government between 1783 and 1830, with William Pitt the Younger followed by Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool; the Earl of Liverpool was succeeded by fellow Tory Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, whose term included the Catholic Emancipation, which occurred due to the election of Daniel O'Connell as a Catholic MP from Ireland.
When the Whigs subsequently regained control, the Representation of the People Act 1832 removed the rotten boroughs, many of which were controlled by Tories. In the following general election, the Tory ranks were reduced to 180 MPs. Under the leadership of Robert Peel, the Tamworth Manifesto was issued, which began to transform the Tories into the Conservative Party. However, Peel lost many of his supporters by repealing the Corn Laws, causing the party to break apart. One faction, led by Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, survived to become the modern Conservative Party, whose members are still referred to as Tories as they still follow and promote the ideology of Toryism; the first Tory party could trace its principles and politics, though not its organization, to the English Civil War which divided England between the Royalist supporters of King Charles I and the supporters of the Long Parliament upon which the King had declared war. This action resulted from this parliament not allowing him to levy taxes without yielding to its terms.
In the beginning of the Long Parliament, the King's supporters were few, the Parliament pursued a course of reform of previous abuses. The increasing radicalism of the Parliamentary majority, estranged many reformers in the Parliament itself and drove them to make common cause with the King; the King's party thus comprised a mixture of supporters of royal autocracy and of those Parliamentarians who felt that the Long Parliament had gone too far in attempting to gain executive power for itself and, more in undermining the episcopalian government of the Church of England, felt to be a primary support of royal government. By the end of the 1640s, the radical Parliamentary programme had become clear: reduction of the King to a powerless figurehead and replacement of Anglican episcopacy with a form of Presbyterianism; this prospective form of settlement was prevented by a coup d'état which shifted power from Parliament itself to the Parliamentary New Model Army, controlled by Oliver Cromwell. The Army had King Charles I executed and for the next eleven years the British kingdoms operated under military dictatorship.
The Restoration of King Charles II produced a reaction in which the King regained a large part of the power held by his father. No subsequent British monarch would attempt to rule without Parliament, after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, political disputes would be resolved through elections and parliamentary manoeuvring, rather than by an appeal to force. Charles II restored episcopacy in the Church of England, his first "Cavalier Parliament" began as a royalist body, passed a series of acts re-establishing the Church by law and punishing dissent by both Roman Catholics and non-Anglican Protestants. These acts did not reflect the King's personal views and demonstrated the existence of a Royalist ideology beyond mere subservience to the Court. A series of disasters in the late 1660s and 1670s discredited Charles II's governments, powerful political interests began to agitate for a greater role of Parliament in government, coupled with more tolerance for Protestant dissenters; these interests would soon coalesce as the Whigs.
As direct attacks on the King were politically impossible and could lead to execution for treason, opponents of the power of the Court framed their challenges as exposés of subversive and sinister Catholic plots. Although the matter of these plots was fictitious, they reflected two uncomfortable political realities: first, that Charles II had undertaken measures to convert the kingdom to Catholicism; as a political term, "Tory" entered English politics during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681. The Whigs, were those who supported the exclusion of James, the Duke of York from the succession to thrones of Scotland and England and Ireland and the Tories were those who opposed the Exclusion Bill; the Whigs tried to link the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Duke of Ormonde, with the foremost Irish Tory, Redmond O'Hanlon
Scotch-Irish Americans are American descendants of Ulster Protestants, who migrated during the 18th and 19th centuries. In the 2017 American Community Survey, 5.39 million reported Scottish ancestry, an additional 3 million identified more with Scotch-Irish ancestry, many people who claim "American ancestry" may be of Scotch-Irish ancestry. The term Scotch-Irish is used in the United States, with people in Great Britain or Ireland who are of a similar ancestry identifying as Ulster Scots people. Most of these emigres from Ireland had been recent settlers, or the descendants of settlers, from the Kingdom of England or the Kingdom of Scotland who had gone to the Kingdom of Ireland to seek economic opportunities and freedom from the control of the episcopal Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church; these included 200,000 Scottish Presbyterians who settled in Ireland between 1608 and 1697. Many English-born settlers of this period were Presbyterians, although the denomination is today most identified with Scotland.
When King Charles I attempted to force these Presbyterians into the Church of England in the 1630s, many chose to re-emigrate to North America where religious liberty was greater. Attempts to force the Church of England's control over dissident Protestants in Ireland were to lead to further waves of emigration to the trans-Atlantic colonies; the term is first known to have been used to refer to a people living in northeastern Ireland. In a letter of April 14, 1573, in reference to descendants of "gallowglass" mercenaries from Scotland who had settled in Ireland, Elizabeth I of England wrote: "We are given to understand that a nobleman named'Sorley Boy' and others, who be of the Scotch-Irish race..." This term continued in usage for over a century before the earliest known American reference appeared in a Maryland affidavit in 1689/90. Scotch-Irish says Leyburn, "is an Americanism unknown in Scotland and Ireland, used by British historians." It is "The more usual term in North America" says the Oxford English Dictionary, which gives it a score of 3/8 in terms of current usage.
It became common in the United States after 1850. The term is somewhat ambiguous because some of the Scotch-Irish have little or no Scottish ancestry at all: numerous dissenter families had been transplanted to Ulster from northern England, in particular the border counties of Northumberland and Cumberland. Smaller numbers of migrants came from Wales and the southeast of England, others were Protestant religious refugees from Flanders, the German Palatinate, France. What united these different national groups was a base of Calvinist religious beliefs, their separation from the established church; that said, the large ethnic Scottish element in the Plantation of Ulster gave the settlements a Scottish character. Upon arrival in North America, these migrants at first identified as Irish, without the qualifier Scotch, it was not until a century following the surge in Irish immigration after the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s, that the descendants of the earlier arrivals began to call themselves Scotch-Irish to distinguish themselves from the newer, predominantly Catholic and poor immigrants.
At first, the two groups had little interaction in America, as the Scots-Irish had become settled decades earlier in the backcountry of the Appalachian region. The new wave of Catholic Irish settled in port cities such as Boston, New York, Chicago and New Orleans, where large immigrant communities formed and there were an increasing number of jobs. Many of the new Irish migrants went to the interior in the 19th century, attracted to jobs on large-scale infrastructure projects such as canals and railroads; the usage Scots-Irish developed in the late 19th century as a recent version of the term. Two early citations include: 1) "a grave, elderly man of the race known in America as "Scots-Irish". Twentieth-century English author Kingsley Amis endorsed the traditional Scotch-Irish usage implicitly in noting that "nobody talks about butterscottish or hopscots...or Scottish pine", that while Scots or Scottish is how people of Scots origin refer to themselves in Scotland, the traditional English usage Scotch continues to be appropriate in "compounds and set phrases".
The word "Scotch" was the favored adjective for things "of Scotland", including people, until the early 19th century, when it was replaced by the word "Scottish". People in Scotland refer to themselves as Scots, as a noun, or adjectivally/collectively as Scots or Scottish; the use of "Scotch" as an adjective for anything but whiskey has been out of favor in the U. K. for 200 years, but remains in use in the U. S. in place names, names of plants, breeds of dog, a type of tape, etc. and in the term Scotch-Irish. Although referenced by Merriam-Webster dictionaries as having first appeared in 1744, the American term Scotch-Irish is undoubtedly older. An affidavit of William Patent, dated March 15, 1689, in a case against a Mr. Matthew Scarbrough in Somerset County, quotes Mr. Patent as saying he was told by Scarbrough that "... it was no more sin to kill me to kill a dogg, or any Scotch Irish dogg..."Leyburn cites the following as early American uses of the term before 1744. The earlies
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Parliament of Great Britain
The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the separate English and Scottish parliaments in favour of a single parliament, located in the former home of the English parliament in the Palace of Westminster, near the City of London; this lasted nearly a century, until the Acts of Union 1800 merged the separate British and Irish Parliaments into a single Parliament of the United Kingdom with effect from 1 January 1801. Following the Treaty of Union in 1706, Acts of Union ratifying the Treaty were passed in both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, which created a new Kingdom of Great Britain; the Acts dissolved both parliaments, replacing them with a new parliament, referred to as the'Parliament of Great Britain', based in the home of the former English parliament. All of the traditions and standing orders of the English parliament were retained, as were the incumbent officers, members representing England comprised the overwhelming majority of the new body.
It was not considered necessary to hold a new general election. While Scots law and Scottish legislation remained separate, new legislation was thereafter to be enacted by the new parliament. After the Hanoverian King George I ascended the British throne in 1714 through the Act of Settlement of 1701, real power continued to shift away from the monarchy. George was a German ruler, spoke poor English, remained interested in governing his dominions in continental Europe rather than in Britain, he thus entrusted power to a group of his ministers, the foremost of whom was Sir Robert Walpole, by the end of his reign in 1727 the position of the ministers — who had to rely on Parliament for support — was cemented. George I's successor, his son George II, continued to follow through with his father's domestic policies and made little effort to re-establish monarchical control over the government, now in firm control by Parliament. By the end of the 18th century the monarch still had considerable influence over Parliament, dominated by the English aristocracy, by means of patronage, but had ceased to exert direct power: for instance, the last occasion on which the Royal Assent was withheld was in 1708 by Queen Anne.
At general elections the vote was restricted to freeholders and landowners, in constituencies that had changed little since the Middle Ages, so that in many "rotten" and "pocket" boroughs seats could be bought, while major cities remained unrepresented, except by the Knights of the Shire representing whole counties. Reformers and Radicals sought parliamentary reform, but as the French Revolutionary Wars developed the British government became repressive against dissent and progress towards reform was stalled. George II's successor, George III, sought to restore royal supremacy and absolute monarchy, but by the end of his reign the position of the king's ministers — who discovered that they needed the support of Parliament to enact any major changes — had become central to the role of British governance, would remain so after. During the first half of George III's reign, the monarch still had considerable influence over Parliament, which itself was dominated by the patronage and influence of the English nobility.
Most candidates for the House of Commons were identified as Whigs or Tories, but once elected they formed shifting coalitions of interests rather than dividing along clear party lines. At general elections the vote was restricted in most places to property owners, in constituencies which were out of date and did not reflect the growing importance of manufacturing towns or shifts of population, so that in the rotten and pocket boroughs seats in parliament could be bought from the rich landowners who controlled them, while major cities remained unrepresented. Reformers like William Beckford and Radicals beginning with John Wilkes called for reform of the system. In 1780, a draft programme of reform was drawn up by Charles James Fox and Thomas Brand Hollis and put forward by a sub-committee of the electors of Westminster; this included calls for the six points adopted by the Chartists. The American Revolutionary War ended in the defeat of a foreign policy seeking to forcibly restore the thirteen American colonies to British rule which King George III had fervently advocated, in March 1782 the king was forced to appoint an administration led by his opponents which sought to curb royal patronage.
In November 1783 he took the opportunity to use his influence in the House of Lords to defeat a bill to reform the British East India Company, dismissed the government of the day, appointed William Pitt the Younger to form a new government. Pitt had called for Parliament to begin to reform itself, but he did not press for long for reforms the king did not like. Proposals Pitt made in April 1785 to redistribute seats from the "rotten boroughs" to London and the counties were defeated in the House of Commons by 248 votes to 174. In the wake of the French Revolution of 1789, Radical organisations such as the London Corresponding Society sprang up to press for parliamentary reform, but as the French Revolutionary Wars developed the government took extensive repressive measures against feared domestic unrest aping the democratic and egalitarian ideals of the French Revolution and progress toward reform was stalled for decades. In 1801, the Parliament of the United Kingdom was created when the Kingdom of Great Britain was merged with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800.
List of Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain List of Parliaments of Great Britain First Parliament of Great Br
1754 British general election
The 1754 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 11th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. Owing to the extensive use of corruption and the Duke of Newcastle's personal influence in the pocket boroughs, the government was returned to office with a working majority; the old parties had disappeared completely by this stage. While'Tory' and'Whig' were still used to refer to particular political leanings and tendencies, parties in the old sense were no longer relevant except in a small minority of constituencies, such as Oxfordshire, with most elections being fought on local issues and the holders of political power being determined by the shifting allegiance of factions and aristocratic families rather than the strength or popularity of any organised parties. A small group of members of parliament still considered themselves Tories, but they were totally irrelevant to practical politics and excluded from holding public office.
The resulting eleventh Parliament of Great Britain was convened on 31 May 1754 and sat through eight sessions until its dissolution on 20 April 1761. See British general election, 1796 for details; the constituencies used were the same throughout the existence of the Parliament of Great Britain. The general election was held between 13 April 1754 and 20 May 1754. At this period elections did not take place at the same time in every constituency; the returning officer in each county or parliamentary borough fixed the precise date. 11th Parliament of Great Britain MPs elected in the British general election, 1754 British general election, 1754 British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher
Computus is a calculation that determines the calendar date of Easter. Because the date is based on a calendar-dependent equinox rather than the astronomical one, there are differences between calculations done according to the Julian calendar and the modern Gregorian calendar; the name has been used for this procedure since the early Middle Ages, as it was considered the most important computation of the age. For most of their history Christians have calculated Easter independently of the Jewish calendar. In principle, Easter falls on the Sunday following the full moon that follows the northern spring equinox. However, the vernal equinox and the full moon are not determined by astronomical observation; the vernal equinox is fixed to fall on 21 March. The full moon is an ecclesiastical full moon determined by reference to a lunar calendar, which again varied in different areas. While Easter now falls at the earliest on the 15th of the lunar month and at the latest on the 21st, in some areas it used to fall at the earliest on the 14th and at the latest on the 20th, or between the sixteenth and the 22nd.
The last limit arises from the fact that the crucifixion was considered to have happened on the 14th and the resurrection therefore on the sixteenth. The "computus" is the procedure of determining the first Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon falling on or after 21 March, the difficulty arose from doing this over the span of centuries without accurate means of measuring the precise tropical year; the synodic month had been measured to a high degree of accuracy. The schematic model, accepted is the Metonic cycle, which equates 19 tropical years to 235 synodic months. In 1583, the Catholic Church began using 21 March under the Gregorian calendar to calculate the date of Easter, while the Eastern Churches have continued to use 21 March under the Julian calendar; the Catholic and Protestant denominations thus use an ecclesiastical full moon that occurs four, five or thirty-four days earlier than the eastern one. The earliest and latest dates for Easter are 22 March and 25 April, in the Gregorian calendar as those dates are understood.
However, in the Orthodox Churches, while those dates are the same, they are reckoned using the Julian calendar. Easter is the most important Christian feast, the proper date of its celebration has been the subject of controversy as early as the meeting of Anicetus and Polycarp around 154. According to Eusebius's Church History, quoting Polycrates of Ephesus, churches in the Roman Province of Asia "always observed the day when the people put away the leaven", namely Passover, the 14th of the lunar month of Nisan; the rest of the Christian world at that time, according to Eusebius, held to "the view which still prevails," of fixing Easter on Sunday. Eusebius does not say. Other documents from the 3rd and 4th centuries reveal that the customary practice was for Christians to consult their Jewish neighbors to determine when the week of Passover would fall, to set Easter on the Sunday that fell within that week. By the end of the 3rd century some Christians had become dissatisfied with what they perceived as the disorderly state of the Jewish calendar.
The chief complaint was that the Jewish practice sometimes set the 14th of Nisan before the spring equinox. This is implied by Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, in the mid-3rd century, who stated that "at no time other than the spring equinox is it legitimate to celebrate Easter", and it was explicitly stated by Peter, bishop of Alexandria that "the men of the present day now celebrate before the equinox...through negligence and error." Another objection to using the Jewish computation may have been that the Jewish calendar was not unified. Jews in one city might have a method for reckoning the Week of Unleavened Bread different from that used by the Jews of another city; because of these perceived defects in the traditional practice, Christian computists began experimenting with systems for determining Easter that would be free of these defects. But these experiments themselves led to controversy, since some Christians held that the customary practice of holding Easter during the Jewish festival of Unleavened Bread should be continued if the Jewish computations were in error from the Christian point of view.
At the First Council of Nicaea in 325, it was agreed that the Christians should observe a common date, independent from the Jewish method. The council agreed to two rules without explicitly stating them, that 14 Nisan was to occur after the vernal equinox, that Easter was to occur on the Sunday after 14 Nisan; the first prevented two Easters in one solar year, while the second prevented Christians from celebrating Easter at the same time as the Jews celebrated Passover. The council ignored the fact that the Christian vernal equinox was a day rather than an astronomical instant, that the Christian 14 Nisan was a different day than the Jewish 14 Nisan, that Alexandria and Rome used different Easter tables; the Patriarchy of Alexandria celebrated Easter on the Sunday after the 14th day of the moon that falls on or after the vernal equinox, which they placed on 21 March. However, the Patriarchy of Rome stil
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 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 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 and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational 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; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce