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
Historic Scotland was an executive agency of the Scottish Government from 1991 to 2015, responsible for safeguarding Scotland's built heritage, promoting its understanding and enjoyment. Under the terms of a Bill of the Scottish Parliament published on 3 March 2014, Historic Scotland was dissolved and its functions were transferred to Historic Environment Scotland on 1 October 2015. HES took over the functions of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Historic Scotland was a successor organisation to the Ancient Monuments Division of the Ministry of Works and the Scottish Development Department, it was created as an agency in 1991 and was attached to the Scottish Executive Education Department, which embraces all aspects of the cultural heritage, in May 1999. As part of the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland was directly accountable to the Scottish Ministers. In 2002, proposals to restore Castle Tioram in the West Highlands, by putting a roof back on, were blocked by Historic Scotland, which favoured stabilising it as a ruin.
This position was supported in an extensive local Public Inquiry at which the arguments for both sides were heard. It has been implied. After widespread consultation, Historic Scotland published a comprehensive series of Scottish Historic Environment Policy papers, consolidated into a single volume in October 2008; the agency's Framework Document set out the responsibilities of the Scottish Ministers and the agency's Chief Executive. Its Corporate Plan sets out its targets and performance against them. Historic Scotland and the Glasgow School of Art's Digital Design Studio formed the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualization to promote the documentation and 3D representation of heritage objects and environments with laser scanning and 3D visualization software. Historic Scotland had direct responsibility for maintaining and running over 360 monuments in its care, about a quarter of which are manned and charge admission entry; these properties have additional features such as guidebooks and other resources.
Historic Scotland sought to increase the number of events run at its sites, most designed to engage young people with history. New museums and visitor centres were opened, notably at Arbroath Abbey and Urquhart Castle. There was a hospitality section, which makes some properties available for wedding receptions and other functions. Membership of Historic Scotland was promoted by the organisation, with benefits such as free entry to all their properties and over 400 events for the duration of the annual membership, as well as half price entry to properties in England and the Isle of Man, becoming free in subsequent years. Lifetime memberships were available, all members received a quarterly magazine'Historic Scotland'. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland Scottish Ten Official website
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore. Recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the supreme courts of Scotland; the city's Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The city has long been a centre of education in the fields of medicine, Scots law, philosophy, the sciences and engineering, it is the second largest financial centre in the United Kingdom and the city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the United Kingdom's second most popular tourist destination, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year. Edinburgh is Scotland's second most populous city and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom; the official population estimates are 488,050 for the Locality of Edinburgh, 513,210 for the City of Edinburgh, 1,339,380 for the city region.
Edinburgh lies at the heart of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland city region comprising East Lothian, Fife, Scottish Borders and West Lothian. The city is the annual venue of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, it is home to national institutions such as the National Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery. The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582 and now one of four in the city, is placed 18th in the QS World University Rankings for 2019; the city is famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the world's largest annual international arts festival. Historic sites in Edinburgh include Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the churches of St. Giles and the Canongate, the extensive Georgian New Town, built in the 18th/19th centuries. Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, managed by Edinburgh World Heritage since 1999. "Edin", the root of the city's name, derives from Eidyn, the name for this region in Cumbric, the Brittonic Celtic language spoken there.
The name's meaning is unknown. The district of Eidyn centred on the dun or hillfort of Eidyn; this stronghold is believed to have been located at Castle Rock, now the site of Edinburgh Castle. Eidyn was conquered by the Angles of Bernicia in the 7th century and by the Scots in the 10th century; as the language shifted to Old English, subsequently to modern English and Scots, The Brittonic din in Din Eidyn was replaced by burh, producing Edinburgh. Din became dùn in Scottish Gaelic, producing Dùn Èideann; the city is affectionately nicknamed Auld Reekie, Scots for Old Smoky, for the views from the country of the smoke-covered Old Town. Allan Ramsay said. A name the country people give Edinburgh from the cloud of smoke or reek, always impending over it."Thomas Carlyle said, "Smoke cloud hangs over old Edinburgh,—for since Aeneas Silvius's time and earlier, the people have the art strange to Aeneas, of burning a certain sort of black stones, Edinburgh with its chimneys is called'Auld Reekie' by the country people."A character in Walter Scott's The Abbot says "... yonder stands Auld Reekie--you may see the smoke hover over her at twenty miles' distance."Robert Chambers who said that the sobriquet could not be traced before the reign of Charles II attributed the name to a Fife laird, Durham of Largo, who regulated the bedtime of his children by the smoke rising above Edinburgh from the fires of the tenements.
"It's time now bairns, to tak' the beuks, gang to our beds, for yonder's Auld Reekie, I see, putting on her nicht -cap!"Some have called Edinburgh the Athens of the North for a variety of reasons. The earliest comparison between the two cities showed that they had a similar topography, with the Castle Rock of Edinburgh performing a similar role to the Athenian Acropolis. Both of them had fertile agricultural land sloping down to a port several miles away. Although this arrangement is common in Southern Europe, it is rare in Northern Europe; the 18th-century intellectual life, referred to as the Scottish Enlightenment, was a key influence in gaining the name. Such luminaries as David Hume and Adam Smith shone during this period. Having lost most of its political importance after the Union, some hoped that Edinburgh could gain a similar influence on London as Athens had on Rome. A contributing factor was the neoclassical architecture that of William Henry Playfair, the National Monument. Tom Stoppard's character Archie, of Jumpers, said playing on Reykjavík meaning "smoky bay", that the "Reykjavík of the South" would be more appropriate.
The city has been known by several Latin names, such as Aneda or Edina. The adjectival form of the latter, can be seen inscribed on educational buildings; the Scots poets Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns used Edina in their poems. Ben Jonson described it as "Britaine's other eye", Sir Walter Scott referred to it as "yon Empress of the North". Robert Louis Stevenson a son of the city, wrote, "Edinburgh is what Paris ought to be"; the colloquial pronunciation "Embra" or "Embro" has been used, as in Robert Garioch's Embro to the Ploy. The earliest known human habitation in the Edinburgh area was at Cramond, where evidence was found of a Mesolithi