Portal:Scotland
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Portal:Scotland
     The Scotland Portal   

Introduction

Flag of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland in Europe

Scotland (Scots: Scotland, Scottish Gaelic: Alba ['alap?] ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96 mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast and the Irish Sea to the south. In addition, Scotland includes more than 790 islands; principally within the Northern Isles and the Hebrides archipelagos.

The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the European Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI of Scotland became king of England and 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 also 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 entered into a political union with the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (in 1922, the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being officially renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1927).

Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles, titles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland. The legal system within Scotland has also remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland; Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in both public and private law. The continued existence of legal, educational, religious 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.

In 1999, a Scottish Parliament was re-established, in the form of a devolved unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, having authority over many areas of domestic policy. The head of the Scottish Government is the first minister of Scotland, who is supported by the deputy first minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the United Kingdom Parliament by 59 MPs. Scotland is also a member of the British-Irish Council, sending five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly.

Scotland is divided into 32 administrative subdivisions or local authorities, known as council areas. Glasgow City is the largest council area in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. Limited self-governing power, covering matters such as education, social services and roads and transportation, is devolved from the Scottish Government to each subdivision.

Selected article

Aerial view of Doune Castle and the Castle keeper's cottage

Doune Castle is a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune, in the Stirling district of central Scotland. The castle is sited on a wooded bend where the Ardoch Burn flows into the River Teith. It lies 8 miles (13 km) north-west of Stirling, where the Teith flows into the River Forth. Upstream, 8 miles (13 km) further north-west, the town of Callander lies at the edge of the Trossachs, on the fringe of the Scottish Highlands.

Recent research has shown that Doune Castle was originally built in the thirteenth century, then probably damaged in the Scottish Wars of Independence, before being rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (c. 1340-1420), the son of King Robert II of Scots, and Regent of Scotland from 1388 until his death. Duke Robert's stronghold has survived relatively unchanged and complete, and the whole castle was traditionally thought of as the result of a single period of construction at this time. The castle passed to the crown in 1425, when Albany's son was executed, and was used as a royal hunting lodge and dower house. In the later 16th century, Doune became the property of the Earls of Moray. The castle saw military action during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and Glencairn's rising in the mid-17th century, and during the Jacobite risings of the late 17th century and 18th century. By 1800 the castle was ruined, but restoration works were carried out in the 1880s, prior to its passing into state care in the 20th century. It is now maintained by Historic Environment Scotland. Read more ...

Selected quotes

" ...   All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies   ... "

Dr John Arbuthnot

" ...   Where all is compulsion and enforcement, it's the bully that rules   ... "

Neil M. Gunn

In the news

In the news
3 July 2020 -
Scotland's Court of Session fines Greenpeace £80,000 for breaching an injunction against the occupation of a Transocean oil rig in the North Sea. (The Guardian)
26 June 2020 - Glasgow hotel stabbings
Six people are injured in a mass stabbing in central Glasgow, Scotland. The attacker was shot dead by police. (BBC)
30 May 2020 -
Researchers announce a 2.5cm millipede fossil discovered on the island of Kerrera, in the Scottish Inner Hebrides, is the world's oldest-known land animal, which lived 425 million years ago in the Silurian period. (Reuters)
5 April 2020 - 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic
2020 coronavirus pandemic in Scotland
Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood resigns after breaking her own rules on COVID-19 restrictions by visiting her second home in Elie and Earlsferry. She had been warned by police about her conduct. (Reuters)
2 April 2020 - 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic
Scottish comedian and member of comedy double act Little and Large, Eddie Large, dies due to complications from COVID-19 at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. (BBC)

Selected biography

Connolly in June 2012

Sir William Connolly, (born 24 November 1942) is a retired Scottish stand-up comedian, musician, presenter, actor and artist. He is sometimes known, especially in his homeland, by the Scots nickname "The Big Yin" ("The Big One").

Connolly's first trade, in the early 1960s, was as a welder (specifically a boilermaker) in the Glasgow shipyards, but he gave it up towards the end of the decade to pursue a career as a folk singer. He first sang in the folk rock band The Humblebums alongside friends Gerry Rafferty and Tam Harvey, with whom he stayed until 1974, before beginning singing as a solo artist. In the early 1970s, Connolly made the transition from folk singer with a comedic persona to fully-fledged comedian, for which he is now best known. In 1972, he made his theatrical debut, at the Cottage Theatre in Cumbernauld, with a revue called Connolly's Glasgow Flourish. He also played the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 1972, Connolly's first solo album, Billy Connolly Live!, was produced, with a mixture of comedic songs and short monologues.

As an actor, Connolly has appeared in such films as Indecent Proposal (1993), Pocahontas (1995), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), Mrs Brown (1997) (for which he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role), The Boondock Saints (1999), The Last Samurai (2003), Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008), Brave (2012), and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014). On his 75th birthday in 2017, three portraits of Connolly were made by leading artists Jack Vettriano, John Byrne and Rachel Maclean. These were later turned into part of Glasgow's official mural trail. In October of the same year, he was knighted at Buckingham Palace by Prince William, for services to entertainment and charity. Read more ...

Selected picture

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