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
Wrexham is the largest town in the north of Wales and an administrative, commercial and educational centre. Wrexham is situated between the Welsh mountains and the lower Dee Valley alongside the border with England. Part of Denbighshire, the town became part of Clwyd in 1974 and since 1996 has been the centre of the Wrexham County Borough. At the 2011 Census, Wrexham had a population of the fourth largest urban area in Wales. Human activity in the Wrexham area dates back to the Mesolithic period. By the early Middle Bronze Age the area had developed into a centre for an innovative metalworking industry. A Roman civilian settlement was located in the Plas Coch area of Wrexham and excavations have revealed evidence of agriculture and trade with the wider Roman world. By the end of the 6th century AD, the area was being contested between the Celtic-speaking inhabitants and the English-speaking invaders advancing from the east; the Anglo-Saxons went on to dominate north-east Wales from the 8th to 10th centuries and the settlement of Wrexham was founded by Mercian colonists on the flat ground above the meadows of the River Gwenfro during the 8th century.
The origins of the name "Wrexham" may be traced back to this period. Renewed Welsh and Viking attacks led to a reduction in Anglo-Saxon power in north Wales from the early 10th century. Following the Welsh reconquest of the area during the 11th century, Wrexham formed part of the native Welsh lordship of Maelor. During the 12th century the lordship was disputed between the English; the first recorded reference to the town in 1161 is to a Norman motte and bailey castle at "Wristlesham", founded in the Erddig area around 1150 by Hugh de Avranches, earl of Chester. However, by the early 13th century Wrexham was undisputedly in the hands of the Welsh house of Powys Fadog. Stability under the princes of Powys enabled Wrexham to develop as a trading town and administrative centre of one of the two commotes making up the Lordship. In 1202 Madoc ap Gruffydd Maelor, Lord of Dinas Brân, granted some of his demesne lands in ‘Wrechcessham’ to his newly founded Cistercian abbey of Valle Crucis and in 1220 the earliest reference to a church in Wrexham is made.
Following the loss of Welsh independence on the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1282, Wrexham became part of the semi-independent Marcher lordship of Bromfield and Yale. Wrexham increased in importance throughout the Middle Ages as the lordship's administrative centre, the town's position made it a suitable centre for the exchange of the produce of the Dee valley and Denbighshire uplands, whilst iron and lead were mined locally. From 1327 onwards, the town is referred to as a villa mercatoria and by 1391 Wrexham was wealthy enough for a bard, juggler and goldsmith to earn their living there; the traditional pattern of Welsh life remained undisturbed, until the close of the Middle Ages the pattern was for English incomers to be assimilated into Wrexham's Welsh society, for instance adopting Welsh patronymics. At the beginning of the 15th century, the local gentry and peasants backed the rebellion led by Owain Glyndŵr which proved economically disastrous for the town. Local poet Glyn Guto'r Glyn wrote of Sion ap Madog, the great-nephew of Owain Glyndŵr, as Alecsander i Wrecsam.
In the mid-15th century, the parish church was gutted by fire. The main part of the current church was built in the late early 16th centuries; the Acts of Union passed during the reign of Henry VIII brought the lordship into the full system of English administration and law. It became part of the new shire of Denbighshire in 1536; the economic character remained predominantly agricultural into the 17th century but there were workshops of weavers, nailers as well as dye houses. A grammar school was established in 1603 by Alderman Valentine Broughton of Chester. During the English Civil War, Wrexham was on the side of the Royalists, as most Welsh gentry supported the King, but local landowner Sir Thomas Myddelton, owner of Chirk Castle, supported Parliament; the 1620 Norden's jury of survey of Wrexham Regis stated that four-fifths of the land-holding classes of Wrexham bore Welsh names and every field except one within the manor bore a Welsh or semi-Welsh name. The Industrial Revolution began in Wrexham in 1762 when the entrepreneur John Wilkinson, known as "Iron Mad Wilkinson", opened Bersham Ironworks.
Wilkinson's steam engines enabled a peak of production at Minera Lead Mines on the outskirts of Wrexham. From the late 18th century numerous large-scale industrialised collieries operated in the southern section of the North East Wales coalfield, alongside hundreds of more traditional small-scale pits belonging to a mining tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. Wrexham was known for its leather industry; the artist J. M. W. Turner visited the town and painted a watercolour of a street scene entitled "Wrexham, Denbighshire" dated 1792–3. By 1851, the population of Wrexham was 6,714. Wrexham benefited from good underground water supplies which were essential to the brewing of beer: by the mid-19th century, there were 19 breweries in and around the town. Wrexham Lager brewery was established in 1882 in Central Road and became the first brewery in the United Kingdom to produce lag
Éire is Irish for "Ireland", the name of an island and a sovereign state. The modern Irish Éire evolved from the Old Irish word Ériu, the name of a Gaelic goddess. Ériu is believed to have been the matron goddess of Ireland, a goddess of sovereignty, or a goddess of the land. The origin of Ériu has been traced to the Proto-Celtic reconstruction *Φīwerjon-; this suggests a descent from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction *piHwerjon- related to the adjectival stem *piHwer-. This would suggest a meaning of "abundant land"; this Proto-Celtic form became Īveriū in Proto-Goidelic. It is likely that explorers borrowed and modified this term. During his exploration of northwest Europe, Pytheas of Massilia called the island Ierne. In his book Geographia, Claudius Ptolemaeus called the island Iouernia. Based on these historical accounts, the Roman Empire called the island Hibernia; the evolution of the word would follow as such: Proto-Celtic *Φīwerjon- Proto-Goidelic *Īweriū or *Īveriū Old Irish Ériu Modern Irish ÉireA 19th century proposal, which does not follow modern standards of etymology, derives the name from Scottish Gaelic: ì + thairr + fónn, which together give ì-iar-fhónn, or "westland isle"This is similar in meaning to the Norse name for Irish people, "west men", which subsequently gave its name to the Icelandic island of Vestmannaeyjar.
While Éire is the name for the island of Ireland in the Irish language, sometimes used in English, Erin is a common poetic name for Ireland, as in Erin go bragh. The distinction between the two is one of the difference between cases of nouns in Irish. Éire is the nominative case, the case, used for nouns that are the subject of a sentence, i.e. the noun, doing something as well as the direct object of a sentence. Erin derives from Éirinn, the Irish dative case of Éire, which has replaced the nominative case in Déise Irish and some non-standard sub-dialects elsewhere, in Scottish Gaelic and Manx, where the word is spelled "Nerin," with the initial n- representing a fossilisation of the preposition in/an "in"; the genitive case, Éireann, is used in the Gaelic forms of the titles of companies and institutions in Ireland e.g. Iarnród Éireann, Dáil Éireann, Poblacht na hÉireann or Tuaisceart Éireann Article 4 of the Irish constitution adopted in 1937 by the government under Éamon de Valera states that Éire is the name of the state, or in the English language, Ireland.
The Constitution's English-language preamble described the population as "We, the people of Éire". Despite the fact that Article 8 designated Irish as the "national" and "first official" language, Éire has to some extent passed out of everyday conversation and literature, the state is referred to as Ireland or its equivalent in all other languages; the name "Éire" has been used on Irish postage stamps since 1922. "Éire" is used on the Seal of the President of Ireland. After 1937 the United Kingdom insisted on using only the name "Eire" and refused to accept the name "Ireland", it adopted the Eire Act 1938 putting in law that position. At the 1948 Summer Olympics in London the organisers insisted that the Irish team march under the banner "Eire" notwithstanding that every other team was marching according to what their name was in English; the UK Government used what some Irish politicians stated were "sneering titles such as Eirish". The UK Government would refer to "Eire Ministers" and the "Eireann Army" and avoid all reference to "Ireland" in connection with the state.
The Ireland Act 1949 changed this to "Republic of Ireland". It was not until after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that the UK government accepted the preferred name of "Ireland", at the same time as Ireland dropped its territorial claim over Northern Ireland. Before the 1937 Constitution, "Saorstát Éireann" was used. During the Emergency, Irish ships had "EIRE" painted large on their sides and deck, to identify them as neutrals. In the 1947 Sinn Féin Funds case, a co-defendant was cited as the "the Attorney General of Eire" in the High and Supreme Court cases, there were similar cases where "Eire" was used in the late 1940s as a descriptor of the state in English. In 1922–1938 the international plate on Irish cars was "SE". From 1938 to 1962 it was marked "EIR", short for Éire. In 1961 statutory instrument no. 269 allowed "IRL", by 1962 "IRL" had been adopted. Irish politician Bernard Commons TD suggested to the Dáil in 1950 that the government examine "the tourist identification plate bearing the letters EIR... with a view to the adoption of identification letters more associated with this country by foreigners".
"EIR" is shown in other legislation such as the car insurance statutory instrument no. 383 of 1952 and no. 82 of 1958. Under the 1947 Convention Irish-registered aircraft have carried a registration mark starting "EI" for Éire. From January 2007, the Irish government nameplates at meetings of the European Union have borne both Éire and Ireland, following the adoption
Asturias the Principality of Asturias, is an autonomous community in north-west Spain. It is coextensive with the province of Asturias, contains some of the territory, part of the larger Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages. Divided into eight comarcas, the autonomous community of Asturias is bordered by Cantabria to the east, by Castile and León to the south, by Galicia to the west, by the Bay of Biscay to the north; the most important cities are the communal capital, the seaport and largest city Gijón, the industrial town of Avilés. Other municipalities in Asturias include Cangas de Onís, Cangas del Narcea, Gozón, Langreo, Laviana, Llanes, Siero, Valdés, Vegadeo and Villaviciosa. Asturias is home of the Princess of Asturias Awards. Asturias was inhabited, first by Homo erectus by Neanderthals. Since the Lower Paleolithic era, during the Upper Paleolithic, Asturias was characterized by cave paintings in the eastern part of the area. In the Mesolithic period, a native culture developed, that of the Asturiense, with the introduction of the Bronze Age and tumuli were constructed.
In the Iron Age, the territory came under the cultural influence of the Celts. Today the Astur Celtic influence persists in place names, such as those of mountains. With the conquest of Asturias by the Romans under Augustus, the region entered into recorded history; the Astures were subdued by the Romans but were never conquered. After several centuries without foreign presence, they enjoyed a brief revival during the Germanic invasions of the late 4th century AD, resisting Suevi and Visigoth raids throughout the 5th Century AD, ending with the Moorish invasion of Spain. However, as it had been for the Romans and Visigoths, the Moors did not find mountainous territory easy to conquer, the lands along Spain's northern coast never became part of Islamic Spain. Rather, with the beginning of the Moorish conquest in the 8th century, this region became a refuge for Christian nobles, in 722, a de facto independent kingdom was established, the Regnum Asturorum, to become the cradle of the incipient Reconquista.
In the 10th century, the Kingdom of Asturias gave way to the Kingdom of León, during the Middle Ages the geographic isolation of the territory made historical references scarce. Through the rebellion of Henry II of Castile in the 14th century, the Principality of Asturias was established; the most famous proponents of independence were Gonzalo Peláez and Queen Urraca, while achieving significant victories, were defeated by Castilian troops. After its integration into the Kingdom of Spain, Asturias provided the Spanish court with high-ranking aristocrats and played an important role in the colonisation of America. Since 1388, the heir to the Castilian throne has been styled Prince of Asturias. In the 16th century, the population reached 100,000 for the first time, within another century that number would double due to the arrival of American corn. In the 18th century, Asturias was one of the centres of the Spanish Enlightenment; the renowned Galician thinker Benito de Feijóo settled in the Benedictine Monastery of San Vicente de Oviedo.
Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, a polymath and prominent reformer and politician of the late 18th century, was born in the seaside town of Gijón. During the Napoleonic Wars, Asturias was the first Spanish province to rise up against the French following the abdication of King Ferdinand VII on 10 May 1808. Riots began in Oviedo and on 25 May the local government formally declared war on Napoleon with 18,000 men called to arms to resist invasion; the Industrial Revolution came to Asturias after 1830 with the discovery and systematic exploitation of coal mines and iron factories at the mining basins of Nalón and Caudal. At the same time, there was significant migration to the Americas; these entrepreneurs were known collectively as'Indianos', for having visited and made their fortunes in the West Indies and beyond. The heritage of these wealthy families can still be seen in Asturias today: many large'modernista' villas are dotted across the region, as well as cultural institutions such as free schools and public libraries.
Asturias played an important part in the events. In October 1934 Asturian miners and other workers staged an armed uprising to oppose the coming to power of the right-wing CEDA party, which had obtained three ministerial posts in the centralist government of the Second Spanish Republic. For a month, a Popular Front Committee exercised control in southern Asturias, while local workers committees sprang up elsewhere in the region. A war committee dominated by anarcho-syndicalist supporters took power in Oviedo. Troops under the command of a unknown general named Francisco Franco Bahamonde were brought from Spanish Morocco to suppress the revolt. Franco applied tactics reserved for overseas colonies, using troops of the Spanish Legion and Moroccan troops: ferocious oppression followed; as a result, Asturias remained loyal to the republican governme
Scottish Gaelic or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a Celtic language native to the Gaels of Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced by Gaelic-language placenames. In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001; the highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides. There are revival efforts, the number of speakers of the language under age 20 did not decrease between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Outside Scotland, Canadian Gaelic is spoken in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of either the United Kingdom. However, it is classed as an indigenous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the British government has ratified, the Gaelic Language Act 2005 established a language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Aside from "Scottish Gaelic", the language may be referred to as "Gaelic", pronounced or in English. "Gaelic" may refer to the Irish language. Scottish Gaelic is distinct from Scots, the Middle English-derived language varieties which had come to be spoken in most of the Lowlands of Scotland by the early modern era. Prior to the 15th century, these dialects were known as Inglis by its own speakers, with Gaelic being called Scottis. From the late 15th century, however, it became common for such speakers to refer to Scottish Gaelic as Erse and the Lowland vernacular as Scottis. Today, Scottish Gaelic is recognised as a separate language from Irish, so the word Erse in reference to Scottish Gaelic is no longer used. Gaelic was believed to have been brought to Scotland, in the 4th–5th centuries CE, by settlers from Ireland who founded the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata on Scotland's west coast in present-day Argyll.:551:66 However, archaeologist Dr Ewan Campbell has argued that there is no archaeological or placename evidence of a migration or takeover.
This view of the medieval accounts is shared by other historians. Regardless of how it came to be spoken in the region, Gaelic in Scotland was confined to Dál Riata until the eighth century, when it began expanding into Pictish areas north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. By 900, Pictish appears to have become extinct replaced by Gaelic.:238–244 An exception might be made for the Northern Isles, where Pictish was more supplanted by Norse rather than by Gaelic. During the reign of Caustantín mac Áeda, outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than as the kingdom of the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear a process of Gaelicisation was under way during the reigns of Caustantín and his successors. By a certain point during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become Gaelicised Scots, Pictish identity was forgotten. In 1018, after the conquest of the Lothians by the Kingdom of Scotland, Gaelic reached its social, cultural and geographic zenith.:16–18 Colloquial speech in Scotland had been developing independently of that in Ireland since the eighth century.
For the first time, the entire region of modern-day Scotland was called Scotia in Latin, Gaelic was the lingua Scotica.:276:554 In southern Scotland, Gaelic was strong in Galloway, adjoining areas to the north and west, West Lothian, parts of western Midlothian. It was spoken to a lesser degree in north Ayrshire, the Clyde Valley and eastern Dumfriesshire. In south-eastern Scotland, there is no evidence that Gaelic was widely spoken. Many historians mark the reign of King Malcom Canmore as the beginning of Gaelic's eclipse in Scotland, his wife Margaret of Wessex spoke no Gaelic, gave her children Anglo-Saxon rather than Gaelic names, brought many English bishops and monastics to Scotland.:19 When Malcolm and Margaret died in 1093, the Gaelic aristocracy rejected their anglicised sons and instead backed Malcolm's brother Donald Bàn. Donald had spent 17 years in Gaelic Ireland and his power base was in the Gaelic west of Scotland, he was the last Scottish monarch to be buried on Iona, the traditional burial place of the Gaelic Kings of Dàl Riada and the Kingdom of Alba.
However, during the reigns of Malcolm Canmore's sons, Alexander I and David I, Anglo-Norman names and practices spread throughout Scotland south of the Forth–Clyde line and along the northeastern coastal plain as far north as Moray. Norman French displaced Gaelic at court; the establishment of royal burghs throughout the same area under David I, attracted large numbers of foreigners speaking Old English. This was the beginning of Gaelic's status as a predominantly rural language in Scotland.:19-23 Clan chiefs in the northern and western parts of Scotland continued to support Gaelic bards who remained a central feature of court life there. The semi-independent Lordship of the Isles in the Hebrides and western coastal mainland remained Gaelic since the language's recovery there in the 12th century, providing a political foundation for cultural prestige down to the end of the 15th century.:553-6By the mid-14th century what came to be called Scots emerged as the official language of government and law.:139 Scotland's emergent nat
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, the twentieth-largest on Earth. Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers five-sixths of the island, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.6 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. Just under 4.8 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland. The island's geography comprises low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain, with several navigable rivers extending inland, its lush vegetation is a product of its mild but changeable climate, free of extremes in temperature. Much of Ireland was woodland until the end of the Middle Ages. Today, woodland makes up about 10% of the island, compared with a European average of over 33%, most of it is non-native conifer plantations.
There are twenty-six extant mammal species native to Ireland. The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus moderate, winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC. Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD; the island was Christianised from the 5th century onward. Following the 12th century Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State, which became sovereign over the following decades, Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following a political agreement in 1998. In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same. Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures in the field of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language; the island's culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, sports such as association football, horse racing, golf. The names Éire derive from Old Irish Eriu; this in turn comes from the Proto-Celtic *Iveriu, the source of Latin Hibernia. Iveriu derives from a root meaning'fat, prosperous'. During the last glacial period, up until about 10,000 BC, most of Ireland was periodically covered in ice. Sea levels were lower and Ireland, like Great Britain, formed part of continental Europe.
By 16,000 BC, rising sea levels due to ice melting caused Ireland to become separated from Great Britain. Around 6000 BC, Great Britain itself became separated from continental Europe; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC, demonstrated by a butchered bear bone found in a cave in County Clare. It is not until about 8000 BC, that more sustained occupation of the island has been shown, with evidence for Mesolithic communities around the island; these Mesolithic communities lived as hunter-gatherers across the island until about 4000 BC. Some time before 4000 BC, Neolithic settlers arrived introducing cereal cultivars, domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep, large timber building, stone monuments; the earliest evidence for farming in Ireland or Great Britain is from Co.. Kerry, where a flint knife, cattle bones and a sheep's tooth were carbon-dated to c. 4350 BC. Field systems were developed in different parts of Ireland, including at the Céide Fields, preserved beneath a blanket of peat in present-day Tyrawley.
An extensive field system, arguably the oldest in the world, consisted of small divisions separated by dry-stone walls. The fields were farmed for several centuries between 3500 BC and 3000 BC. Wheat and barley were the principal crops; the Bronze Age – defined by the use of metal – began around 2500 BC, with technology changing people's everyday lives during this period through innovations such as the wheel. According to John T. Koch and others, Ireland in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-network culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that included Britain, western France and Iberia, that this is where Celtic languages developed; this contrasts with the traditional view that their origin lies in mainland Europe with the Hallstatt culture. During the Iron Age, a Celtic language and culture emerged in Ireland. How and when the island became Celtic has been debated for close to a century, with the migrations of the Celts being one of the more enduring themes of archaeological and linguistic studies.
The most recent genetic research s
The Nordic Council is the official body for formal inter-parliamentary co-operation among the Nordic countries. Formed in 1952, it has 87 representatives from Denmark, Iceland and Sweden as well as from the autonomous areas of the Faroe Islands and the Åland Islands; the representatives are members of parliament in their respective countries or areas and are elected by those parliaments. The Council holds ordinary sessions each year in October/November and one extra session per year with a specific theme. In 1971, the Nordic Council of Ministers, an intergovernmental forum, was established to complement the Council; the official and working languages of both the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers are Danish and Swedish, which comprise the first language of around 80% of the region's population and learned as a foreign language by the remaining 20%. The Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers are involved in various forms of cooperation with neighbouring areas, amongst them being the Baltic Assembly and the Benelux, as well as Russia and Schleswig-Holstein.
During World War II, Denmark and Norway were occupied by Germany. Following the war, the Nordic countries pursued the idea of a Scandinavian defence union to ensure their mutual defence. However, due to its Paasikivi-Kekkonen policy of neutrality and FCMA treaty with the USSR, could not participate, it was proposed that the Nordic countries would unify their foreign policy and defence, remain neutral in the event of a conflict and not ally with NATO, which some were planning at the time. The United States, keen on getting access to bases in Scandinavia and believing the Nordic countries incapable of defending themselves, stated it would not ensure military support for Scandinavia if they did not join NATO; as Denmark and Norway sought US aid for their post-war reconstruction, the project collapsed, with Denmark and Iceland joining NATO. Further Nordic co-operation, such as an economic customs union failed; this led Danish Prime Minister Hans Hedtoft to propose, in 1951, a consultative inter-parliamentary body.
This proposal was agreed by Denmark, Iceland and Sweden in 1952. The Council's first session was held in the Danish Parliament on 13 February 1953 and it elected Hans Hedtoft as its president; when Finnish-Soviet relations thawed following the death of Joseph Stalin, Finland joined the council in 1955. On 2 July 1954, the Nordic labour market was created and in 1958, building upon a 1952 passport-free travel area, the Nordic Passport Union was created; these two measures helped ensure Nordic citizens' free movement around the area. A Nordic Convention on Social Security was implemented in 1955. There were plans for a single market but they were abandoned in 1959 shortly before Denmark and Sweden joined the European Free Trade Area. Finland became an associated member of EFTA in 1961 and Denmark and Norway applied to join the European Economic Community; this move towards the EEC led to desire for a formal Nordic treaty. The Treaty of Helsinki outlined the workings of the Council and came into force on 24 March 1962.
Further advancements on Nordic cooperation were made in the following years: a Nordic School of Public Health, a Nordic Cultural Fund, Nordic House in Reykjavík were created. Danish Prime Minister Hilmar Baunsgaard proposed full economic cooperation in 1968. Nordek was agreed in 1970, but Finland backtracked, stating that its ties with the Soviet Union meant it could not form close economic ties with potential members of the EEC. Nordek was abandoned; as a consequence and Norway applied to join the EEC and the Nordic Council of Ministers was set up in 1971 to ensure continued Nordic cooperation. In 1970 representatives of the Faroe Islands and Åland were allowed to take part in the Nordic Council as part of the Danish and Finnish delegations. Norway turned down EEC membership in 1972 while Denmark acted as a bridge builder between the EEC and the Nordics. In 1973, although it did not opt for full membership of the EEC, Finland negotiated a free trade treaty with the EEC that in practice removed customs duties from 1977 on, although there were transition periods up to 1985 for some products.
Sweden did not apply due to its non-alliance policy, aimed at preserving neutrality. Greenland subsequently has since sought a more active role in circumpolar affairs. In the 1970s, the Nordic Council founded the Nordic Industrial Fund and the Nordic Investment Bank; the Council's remit was expanded to include environmental protection and, in order to clean up the pollution in the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic, a joint energy network was established. The Nordic Science Policy Council was set up in 1983 and, in 1984, representatives from Greenland were allowed to join the Danish delegation. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Nordic Council began to cooperate more with the Baltic states and new Baltic Sea organisations. Sweden and Finland joined the European Union, the EEC's successor, in 1995. Norway had applied, but once again voted against membership; however and Iceland did join the European Economic Area which integrated them economically with the EU. The Nordic Passport Union was subsumed into the EU's Schengen Area in 1996.
The Nordic Council became more outward-looking, to the Arctic, Baltic and Canada. The Øresund Bridge linking Sweden and Denmark led to a large amount of cross-border travel, which in turn led to further efforts to reduce barriers. However, the envisioned tasks and functions of the Nordic Council have be