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
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments". Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland's population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom.
Most of these were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. However, a significant minority Catholics, were nationalists who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule. Today, the former see themselves as British and the latter see themselves as Irish, while a distinct Northern Irish or Ulster identity is claimed both by a large minority of Catholics and Protestants and by many of those who are non-aligned. For most of the 20th century, when it came into existence, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between these two sides in what First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble, called a "cold house" for Catholics. In the late 1960s, conflict between state forces and chiefly Protestant unionists on the one hand, chiefly Catholic nationalists on the other, erupted into three decades of violence known as the Troubles, which claimed over 3,500 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties; the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including the decommissioning of weapons, although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems, sporadic violence has continued.
Northern Ireland has been the most industrialised region of Ireland. After declining as a result of the political and social turmoil of the Troubles, its economy has grown since the late 1990s; the initial growth came from the "peace dividend" and the links which increased trade with the Republic of Ireland, continuing with a significant increase in tourism and business from around the world. Unemployment in Northern Ireland peaked at 17.2% in 1986, dropping to 6.1% for June–August 2014 and down by 1.2 percentage points over the year, similar to the UK figure of 6.2%. 58.2% of those unemployed had been unemployed for over a year. Prominent artists and sportspeople from Northern Ireland include Van Morrison, Rory McIlroy, Joey Dunlop, Wayne McCullough and George Best; some people from Northern Ireland prefer to identify as Irish while others prefer to identify as British. Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, the rest of the UK are complex, with Northern Ireland sharing both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom.
In many sports, the island of Ireland fields a single team, a notable exception being association football. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games; the region, now Northern Ireland was the bedrock of the Irish war of resistance against English programmes of colonialism in the late 16th century. The English-controlled Kingdom of Ireland had been declared by the English king Henry VIII in 1542, but Irish resistance made English control fragmentary. Following Irish defeat at the Battle of Kinsale, the region's Gaelic, Roman Catholic aristocracy fled to continental Europe in 1607 and the region became subject to major programmes of colonialism by Protestant English and Scottish settlers. A rebellion in 1641 by Irish aristocrats against English rule resulted in a massacre of settlers in Ulster in the context of a war breaking out between England and Ireland fuelled by religious intolerance in government.
Victories by English forces in that war and further Protestant victories in the Williamite War in Ireland toward the close of the 17th century solidified Anglican rule in Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the victories of the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne in this latter war are still celebrated by some Protestants. Popes Innocent XI and Alexander VIII had supported William of Orange instead of his maternal uncle and father-in-law James II, despite William being Protestant and James a Catholic, due to William's participation in alliance with both Protesant and Catholic powers in Europe in wars against Louis XIV, the powerful King of France, in conflict with the papacy for decades. In 1693, Pope Innocent XII recognised James as continuing King of Great Britain and Ireland in place of William, after reconciliation with Louis. In 1695, contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Limerick, a series of penal laws were passed by the Anglican ruling class in Ireland in intense anger at the Pope's recognition of James over William, felt to be a betrayal.
The intention of the la
Sky Limited is a British media and telecommunications conglomerate. Headquartered in London, it has operations in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. Sky is Europe's largest media company and pay-TV broadcaster by revenue, with 23 million subscribers and more than 31,000 employees as of 2019; the company is involved in satellite television and broadband services. Formed in 1990 by the equal merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting, BSkyB became the UK's largest digital pay television company. In 2014, after completing the acquisition of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, the merged company changed its name to Sky plc. Prior to November 2018, Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owned a 39.14% controlling stake in the company. However, after a bidding war that included The Walt Disney Company, U. S. media and telecoms conglomerate Comcast acquired the entirety of Sky in 2018 for £17.28 per-share. Before the acquisition by Comcast, Sky was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index and had a market capitalisation of £18.75 billion as of 2018.
British Sky Broadcasting was formed by the merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting on 2 November 1990. Both companies had begun to struggle financially and were suffering financial losses as they competed against each other for viewers; the Guardian characterised the merger as "effectively a takeover by News Corporation". The merger was investigated by Office of Fair Trading and was cleared a month since many of the represented views were more concerned about contractual arrangements which had nothing to do with competition; the Independent Broadcasting Authority was not consulted about the deal. On 17 November, the IBA decided to terminate BSB's contract, but not as it was deemed unfair to 120,000 viewers who had bought BSB devices. Sam Chisholm was appointed CEO in a bid to reorganise the new company, continued to make losses of £10 million per week; the defunct BSB's HQ, Marco Polo House were sold, 39% of the new company's employees were made redundant to leave just under 1000 employees, many of the new senior BSkyB executive roles were given to Sky personnel with many BSB leaving the company.
In April the nine Sky/BSB channels had been condensed into five, with EuroSport being dropped soon after the Sky Sports launch. Chisholm renegotiated the merged company's expensive deals with the Hollywood studios, slashing the minimum guaranteed payments; the defunct Marcopolo I satellite was sold in December 1993 to Sweden's NSAB, Marcopolo II went to Norway's Telenor in July 1992 after the ITC was unable to find new companies to take over the BSB licences and compete with BSkyB. News International received 50%, Pearson PLC 17.5%, Chargeurs 17.5%, Granada 12%, Reed International 2% of the new shares in the company. By September 1991, the weekly losses had been reduced to £1.5M a week, Rupert Murdoch said "there were strong financial marketing and political reason for making the compromise merger instead of letting BSB die. Many of the lessons had been learnt with more than half the running cost of the combined company". Further cuts in losses were a direct result of 313,000 new customers joining during the first half of 1991.
By March 1992, BSkyB posted its first operating profits, of £100,000 per week, with £3.8 million weekly from subscriptions and £1 million from advertising, but continued to be burdened with £1.28 billion of debt. James Capel forecast BSkyB would still be indebted in 2000. In the autumn of 1991, talks were held for the broadcast rights for Premier League for a five-year period, from the 1992 season. ITV were the current rights holders for the Football League, fought hard to gain the new rights. ITV had increased its offer from £18m to £34m per year to obtain the new rights. BSkyB joined forces with the BBC to make a counter bid; the BBC was given the highlights of most of the matches, while BSkyB paying £304m for the Premier League rights, would give them a monopoly of all live matches, up to 60 per year from the 1992–93 season. Murdoch has described sport as a "battering ram" for pay-television, providing a strong customer base. A few weeks after the deal, ITV went to the High court to get an injunction as it believed their details were leaked before the decision was taken.
ITV asked the Office of Fair Trading to investigate since it believed Rupert Murdoch's media empire via the newspapers had influence the deal. A few days neither action took effect, ITV believed BSkyB was telephoned and informed of its £262m bid, Premier League advised BSkyB to increase its counter bid. BSkyB retained the rights paying £670m for the 1997–2001 deal, but was challenged by On Digital for the rights from 2001–2004, thus it was forced to pay £1.1 billion which gave it 66 live games a year. Following a lengthy legal battle with the European Commission, which deemed the exclusivity of the rights to be against the interests of competition and the consumer, BSkyB's monopoly came to an end from the 2007–08 season. In May 2006, the Irish broadcaster Setanta Sports was awarded two of the six Premiership packages that the English FA offered to broadcasters. Sky picked up the remaining four for £1.3bn. In October 1994, BSkyB announc
Virgin Media Limited is a British company which provides telephone and internet services in the United Kingdom. Its headquarters are in Hampshire. Since 2013, Virgin Media has been a subsidiary of Liberty Global plc, an international television and telecommunications company; the company was listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and London Stock Exchange. Virgin Media is not a sister company of Virgin Mobile USA, owned by Sprint Corporation; the company was founded in March 2006 by the merger of Telewest, which created NTL: Telewest. In July 2006, the company purchased Virgin Mobile UK, creating the first "quadruple-play" media company in the United Kingdom, offering television, mobile phone and fixed-line telephone services. In November 2006, the company signed a deal with Sir Richard Branson to licence the Virgin brand for the combined business. All of the company's consumer services were rebranded under the Virgin Media name in February 2007. Virgin Media owns and operates its own fibre-optic cable network in the United Kingdom, although their optical fibre network does not reach the customer premises, rather they connect to a street cabinet.
As of 31 December 2012, it had a total of 4.8 million cable customers, of whom around 3.79 million were supplied with its television services, around 4.2 million with broadband internet services and around 4.1 million with fixed-line telephony services. At the same date, it had around 3 million mobile telephony customers. Virgin Media competes in broadband with Sky, BT Group and TalkTalk, in mobile with EE, O2, Vodafone and Three; the company's origins lie in both Telewest and NTL, which merged in March 2006. Telewest began in 1984 in Croydon under the name "Croydon Cable", was acquired by United Cable of Denver in 1988; the company expanded during the 1990s and adopted the Telewest name in 1992 following the merger of its then-parent TCI and US West. It expanded into cable television access in 1999 by purchasing the remaining 50% stake in Cable London, one of the first cable TV companies in the UK, from NTL, adding 400,000 homes in north London. In April 2000 Telewest merged with Flextech, in November extended its cable network with the acquisition of Eurobell, taking the total number of homes past 4.9 million.
NTL was established by Barclay Knapp and George Blumenthal in 1993 as "International CableTel", taking advantage of the deregulation of the UK cable market. Cabletel acquired local cable franchises covering Guildford, Northern Ireland and parts of Central Scotland and South Wales. In 1996 CableTel acquired National Transcommunications Limited, the privatised UK Independent Broadcasting Authority transmission network. In 1998 CableTel adopted "NTL" as its new name. NTL purchased the ISP Virgin.net in 2004, having operated it as a joint venture with Virgin Group since it launched in November 1996. It sold ADSL broadband services through BT landlines to those living outside areas served by NTL's cable network and offered subscription-based and subscription-free dial-up Internet access. Prior to acquiring Virgin.net, NTL offered. Telewest and NTL began discussions regarding a merger in late 2003. Thanks to their geographically distinct areas, NTL and Telewest had co-operated as in redirecting potential customers living outside their respective areas.
On 3 October 2005, NTL announced a US$16 billion purchase of Telewest, to form one of the largest media companies in the UK. The merger agreement as structured would have required NTL to negotiate with BBC Worldwide due to a change-of-ownership clause written into the agreement for UKTV, a joint venture with Telewest's Flextech content division. To prevent this, Telewest instead acquired NTL. In December 2005 NTL:Telewest and mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile UK announced that talks had taken place regarding a merger. Virgin Mobile's independent directors rejected the original bid of £817 million, taking the view that NTL's bid "undervalued the business". Sir Richard Branson expressed confidence that a restructured deal could go ahead, in January 2006 NTL increased its offer to £961 million. On 4 April 2006, NTL announced a £962.4 million recommended offer for Virgin Mobile. According to reports, Branson accepted a mix of shares and cash, making him a 10.7% shareholder of the combined company.
NTL and Telewest formally completed their merger on 3 March 2006, making the merged company the UK's largest cable provider, with more than 90% of the market. The combined company renamed itself NTL Incorporated, with ex-NTL shareholders controlling 75% of the stock and ex-Telewest shareholders 25%. Nine of the 11 directors of the new board came with two from Telewest. NTL:Telewest's takeover of Virgin Mobile completed on 4 July 2006, creating the UK's first'quadruple play' media company, bringing together television, mobile phone and fixed-line phone services; the deal included a 30-year exclusive branding agreement that saw NTL adopt the "Virgin" name after it completed its merger with Telewest. NTL:Telewest announced on 8 November 2006 it would change its name to "Virgin Media Inc". On 9 November 2006, NTL announced it had approached the commercial television broadcaster ITV plc about a proposed merger, after a similar announcement by ITV. BSkyB blocked the merger on 17 November 2006 by controversially buying a 17.9% stake in ITV plc, a move that attracted anger from NTL shareholder Richard Branson, an investigation from media and telecoms regulator Ofcom.
On 6 December 2006 NTL announced that it had complained to the Office of Fair Trading about BSkyB's
Brittany is a cultural region in the northwest of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown. Brittany has been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain, it is bordered by the English Channel to the north, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Bay of Biscay to the south. Its land area is 34,023 km². Brittany is the site of some of the world's oldest standing architecture, home to the Barnenez, the Tumulus Saint-Michel and others, which date to the early 5th millennium BC. Today, the historical province of Brittany is split among five French departments: Finistère in the west, Côtes-d'Armor in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine in the north east, Loire-Atlantique in the south east and Morbihan in the south on the Bay of Biscay. Since reorganisation in 1956, the modern administrative region of Brittany comprises only four of the five Breton departments, or 80% of historical Brittany.
The remaining area of old Brittany, the Loire-Atlantique department around Nantes, now forms part of the Pays de la Loire region. At the 2010 census, the population of historic Brittany was estimated to be 4,475,295. Of these, 71 % lived in the region of Brittany. In 2012, the largest metropolitan areas were Nantes and Brest. Brittany is the traditional homeland of the Breton people and is recognised by the Celtic League as one of the six Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history. A nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the French Republic; the word Brittany, along with its French and Gallo equivalents Bretagne and Bertaèyn, derive from the Latin Britannia, which means "Britons' land". This word had been used by the Romans since the 1st century to refer to Great Britain, more the Roman province of Britain; this word derives from a Greek word, Πρεττανικη or Βρεττανίαι, used by Pytheas, an explorer from Massalia who visited the British Islands around 320 BC.
The Greek word itself comes from the common Brythonic ethnonym reconstructed as *Pritanī, itself from Proto-Celtic *kʷritanoi. The Romans called Brittany Armorica, together with a quite indefinite region that extended along the English Channel coast from the Seine estuary to the Loire estuary, according to several sources, maybe along the Atlantic coast to the Garonne estuary; this term comes from a Gallic word, which means "close to the sea". Another name, was used until the 12th century, it means "wide and flat" or "to expand" and it gave the Welsh name for Brittany: Llydaw. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, many Britons settled in western Armorica, the region started to be called Britannia, although this name only replaced Armorica in the sixth century or by the end of the fifth. Authors like Geoffrey of Monmouth used the terms Britannia minor and Britannia major to distinguish Brittany from Britain. Breton-speaking people may pronounce the word Breizh in two different ways, according to their region of origin.
Breton can be divided into the dialect of Vannes. KLT speakers pronounce it and would write it Breiz, while the Vannetais speakers pronounce it and would write it Breih; the official spelling is a compromise with a z and an h together. In 1941, efforts to unify the dialects led to the creation of the so-called Breton zh, a standard which has never been accepted. On its side, Gallo language has never had a accepted writing system and several ones coexist. For instance, the name of the region in that language can be written Bertaèyn in ELG script, or Bertègn in MOGA, a couple of other scripts exist. Brittany has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic; the first settlers were Neanderthals. This population was scarce and similar to the other Neanderthals found in the whole of Western Europe, their only original feature was a distinct culture, called "Colombanian". One of the oldest hearths in the world has been found in Finistère, it is 450,000 years old. Homo sapiens settled in Brittany around 35,000 years ago.
They replaced or absorbed the Neanderthals and developed local industries, similar to the Châtelperronian or to the Magdalenian. After the last glacial period, the warmer climate allowed the area to become wooded. At that time, Brittany was populated by large communities who started to change their lifestyles from a life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers. Agriculture was introduced during the 5th millennium BC by migrants from the east. However, the Neolithic Revolution in Brittany did not happen due to a radical change of population, but by slow immigration and exchange of skills. Neolithic Brittany is characterised by important megalithic production, it is sometimes designated as the "core area" of megalithic culture; the oldest monuments, were followed by princely tombs and stone rows. The Morbihan département, on the southern coast, comprises a large share of these structures, including the Carnac stones and the Broken Menhir of Er Grah in the Locmariaquer megaliths, the largest single stone erected by Neoli