Kingdom of Scotland
Scotland (Engl. and Anglo-Scottish Scotland , Gaelic: Alba ) – in the past (before 1707) an independent kingdom in northern Europe, today – the most autonomous part (having its own parliament, legal system and state church, etc.) of all the parts that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Scotland occupies the north of the island of Great Britain and borders England by land.
The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament is a unicameral legislative body of Scotland. Emergence of Scottish parliament dates back to the XIII century. In 1707 after union of England and Scotland into one kingdom of Great Britain parliament ceased to exist and was restored only in 1999 under the Scotland Act of 1998.
Scientists believe that the first humans appeared in Scotland about 8,000 years ago. The first permanent settlements date back to 6,000 years ago. The written history of Scotland begins with the Roman conquest of Britain, when the territories of present-day England and Wales were occupied, given the status of Roman provinces and began to be called Britain. Part of southern Scotland was briefly brought under indirect Roman control. To the north lay lands free from Roman conquest, Caledonia, inhabited by Pictish and Gaelic tribes. After the Roman withdrawal, several kingdoms were established by these tribes, including the Dal Riad, located on parts of the 2 islands of Ireland and Great Britain. The Scottish part was located approximately in what is now Argyll. Pictia was part of Fortree, but the history of the Scottish kingdom traditionally dates back to 843 when Kenneth MacAlpin became king of the combined kingdom of the Scots and Picts.
Over the next centuries, the territory of the Scottish kingdom expanded to an area roughly the size of present-day Scotland. This period was marked by relatively good relations with the Wessex rulers of England and by a strong fragmentation, which did not, however, prevent a successful expansionist policy. Some time after the invasion of Strathclyde by King Edmund I of England in 945, the province was ceded to Malcolm I. During the reign of King Indulf (954-62) the Scots occupied a fortress, later called Edinburgh, their first stronghold in Lothian. In the reign of Malcolm II the unity of the Scottish lands was strengthened. The turning point may have been 1018 when Malcolm II defeated Northumbria at the Battle of Carham.
The Norman conquest of England in 1066 set in motion a chain of events that radically changed Scotland. Malcolm III married Margaret, sister of Edgar Etling, a deposed Anglo-Saxon claimant to the English throne who was later supported by Scotland. Margaret was instrumental in reducing the influence of Celtic Christianity. Her son, David I, married and became a strong ruler. He promoted feudalism in Scotland and encouraged an influx of people from the Netherlands to the “burghs” to strengthen trade links with continental Europe. By the end of the thirteenth century, many Norman and Anglo-Norman families received gifts of Scottish land.
Despite some rapprochement between the countries, the wars between them did not subside. Thus, the grandson of David I, William I the Lion, taking advantage of the rebellion of his sons against King Henry II of England, attempted to reclaim the province of Northumberland, previously owned by the kings of Scotland but lost. The Scottish army invaded the northern counties of England, but was defeated near Alnwick in 1174, and William I the Lion was taken prisoner. He could regain his freedom only by agreeing to a treaty at Fales which recognized the subjection of Scotland to England and of the Church of Scotland to the Church of England. Later these negative consequences were dispensed with: the Scottish Church was proclaimed independent of the English Church and directly subordinate to the papacy. And English King Richard I the Lionheart, who needed money for a crusade, recognized the independence of Scotland for 10,000 marks by a new treaty made in Canterbury in 1189.
The end of the 13th century was a serious test for Scotland. After the death in 1286 of King Alexander III there were no direct male heirs and Margaret, granddaughter of Alexander III, was proclaimed queen, born by his daughter who married King Eirik II of Norway. King Edward I of England tried to regain control of Scotland and insisted on a marriage between his son, the future King Edward II, and Queen Margaret, despite her young age. But neither the wedding nor even Queen Margaret’s coronation took place, the girl caught cold on the way and died in the Orkney Islands before reaching Scottish soil.
As the direct line fell, in 1290 several candidates laid claim to the throne, including John Balliol, grandson of the eldest daughter of David of Huntingdon, brother of Kings Malcolm IV and William I of Leo, and Robert the Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale, son of David’s middle daughter. One of the claimants was Edward I, who was a descendant of Matilda of Scotland. But the English king, realizing his slim chances of election, chose to preside over the court for the “Great Controversy. In 1292, Edward I ruled in John Balliol’s favor, and on November 30, 1292, John was crowned King of Scotland. As thanks for his support, John I Balliol recognized the suzerainty of England.
Despite the coronation, John’s rights to the throne refused to be recognized by some of the Scottish barons, led by Robert the Bruce, Lord of Annandale. And Edward I began to treat Scotland as a vassal territory, forcing John to appear in English courts as a defendant in Scottish lawsuits and placing English garrisons in Scottish forts. To weaken his dependence on England, John Balliol renewed his alliance with France and Norway in 1295 and openly opposed Edward I.
In response to these actions, Edward I declared John I of Balliol a rebellious vassal. In 1296 an English army invaded Scotland and routed the Scots at the Battle of Spotsmoor, conquering the whole country with relative ease. John was captured and signed a renunciation of the Scottish throne on July 10, 1296; he was stripped of his knighthood and coats of arms – from this his subsequent nickname “The Empty Cloak”. As suzerain of a relinquished vassal, Edward I declared himself King of Scotland, with the result that the country lost its independence.
The regime imposed by English authorities was so cruel that as early as 1297 the Scots rebelled, led by William Wallace and Andrew de Moray, the English army was defeated at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. But unfortunately Andrew de Moray was seriously wounded in this battle and died shortly thereafter. Scotland was liberated from English forces and William Wallace was elected Guardian of Scotland.
Edward I was enraged by the resistance of the Scots, led the next invasion personally and defeated the Scots in 1298 at the Battle of Folkerke. William Wallace was forced to flee and go into hiding. Later in 1305 he was betrayed by the Scottish knight John de Mentes, arrested by the English, accused of high treason, which he did not admit as he did not consider the English king, and executed in London on August 23. His body was chopped up into pieces, which were displayed in the largest cities of Scotland.
After the Battle of Folkirk, resistance was led by the descendants of the claimants to the throne of Scotland during the “Great Controversy,” Red Comyn and the future king, Robert I Bruce, who remained rivals in their quest to seize the throne of Scotland. Bruce eliminated his rival by killing him in a church during a meeting and ascended the throne as King Robert I on March 25, 1306. After a long and strenuous war he won a final victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. King Edward II of England’s troops were defeated, and the king himself fled and did not dismount from his horse as far as the English border. But when Robert the Bruce died, war for Scotland broke out again (1332-1357), with Edward Balliol, backed by Edward III of England, claiming the throne from Robert the Bruce’s heirs.
Through a long and grueling war, Robert I Bruce’s son David II succeeded to the throne, but he died childless, so after his death Robert Stuart, as his closest heir, was crowned King Robert II in Scone on March 26, 1371. More than three hundred years of Stuart dynasty rule began.
By the end of the Middle Ages Scotland was divided into two cultural zones: the plains, whose inhabitants spoke Anglo-Scots, and Highland Scotland, whose population used Gaelic. The Gaelic Gaelic dialect persisted, perhaps until the eighteenth century, in the remote parts of the southwest that comprised the county of Galloway. Historically, lowland Scotland was culturally closer to Europe. In highland Scotland one of the distinctive features of the region was the Scottish clan system. The powerful clans retained their influence even after the Act of Union in 1707.
In 1603 King James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne and became King James I of England. With the exception of the Commonwealth period, Scotland remained a separate state, but at the same time there was considerable conflict between the monarch and the Scottish Presbyterians over the form of ecclesiastical government. After the Glorious Revolution and the overthrow of the Catholic James VII by William III and Mary II, Scotland briefly threatened to elect a Protestant monarch of its own, but under the threat of England severing trade and transport links, the Scottish Parliament joined with the English in passing the “Act of Union” in 1707. As a result of the union, the kingdom of Great Britain was formed.
Nevertheless, there remained many supporters of the deposed Stuart dynasty in Scotland. After the accession of George I the rebellion broke out in Scotland: in the autumn of 1715 a force of 10-15 thousand armed Jacobites under the command of Earl of Mar penetrated into England but were defeated at Preston. James Francis Edward Stuart, only son of James II and Mary of Modena, known as ‘the Old Pretender’, landed in Scotland, almost without an entourage, and was crowned James VIII at Scone on 27 January 1716 but soon forced to flee to the Continent.
At the latest attempt to restore the Stuart dynasty to the throne (1745-1746), the leader of the rebellion was no longer the senile James, but his son Charles Edward, also known as Handsome Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender. In July 1745, the prince landed at Eriskay, Scotland, hoisted his father’s banner and began a Jacobite rebellion. The pretender was supported mainly by members of Scotland’s mountain clans. Quickly taking the Scottish capital Edinburgh without a fight, on September 21 Charles defeated the only government army in Scotland at Prestonpans and marched south to England at the head of an army of 6,000 men. After occupying Carlisle and reaching Derbyshire, the prince turned back to Scotland at the request of his advisors, as the Jacobite movement had not gained mass support in England.
An English army led by the king’s son William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, whom George II had recalled from the European battlefields of the War of the Austrian Succession, was sent against him. On April 16, 1746, the armies met at the Battle of Culloden, three miles east of Inverness, in northern Scotland. In the open countryside the Jacobite army found itself defenseless against the powerful artillery fire of Cumberland and was soon dispersed; the prince’s adviser, Lord George Murray, managed to withdraw the rest of the army in combat readiness to Ruthven, intending to continue the war, but Charles, thinking himself betrayed, decided to abandon the rebels. The battle of Culloden was the last battle on the Isle of Great Britain.
James died at Albano in 1766 and is buried in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, while Charles-Edward died at age 67 on January 31, 1788 and is buried there. After Charles-Edward, who left no legitimate children, Cardinal Stuart (as “Henry IX and I”) became a Jacobite pretender. With his death in 1807 the Stuart line was cut short.
After the passage of the Act of Union, the Scottish Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, the country became a powerful European commercial, scientific and industrial center. It should be noted that Scotland in many respects occupies a unique position in the United Kingdom because of its history of unification with England and its participation in the state parliament, while maintaining its administrative and judicial system. And since the administrative and political systems of the two countries remained distinct, it provided a secure basis for maintaining national strength in Scotland.  After World War II, Scotland experienced a sharp decline in manufacturing, but in recent decades there has been a cultural and economic renaissance in the region through the development of financial transactions and electronics manufacturing. Scotland has long been viewed by the central government as a region with low industrial potential and stunted development, due to the decline in some old industries such as coal mining, textiles, and shipbuilding. Foreign investment, mainly by North American and Japanese companies, played a major role in Scotland’s economic reorientation  as well as revenues from offshore oil and gas production in the North Sea. In 1999 elections were held to the Scottish Parliament whose establishment was enshrined in the “Scottish Act” in 1998.
Since early 2000, the influence of the Nationalists has been growing in Scotland. In 2007 the National Party won elections to the Scottish Parliament and its leader announced that he would push for a referendum on Scottish independence in 2010.
The countries which are part of Great Britain
What countries are part of Great Britain? This state is rich in history and culture, with the traditions of four historical and geographical areas interwoven with their religious peculiarities. This island nation has many interesting facts.
Tower of London, England
How was the United Kingdom formed?
The history of the creation of the United Kingdom goes back several centuries. The advantageous geographical position of the British Isles and access to the Atlantic Ocean made these lands the object of invasions and internecine wars. These factors played an important role in the defense of the nation.
The history of the formation of Britain dates back to the first century B.C., when virtually all of the land came under Roman rule. The latter initiated the building of cities and proclaimed Christianity. Later, in the fifth century A.D., Germanic tribes invaded the islands and drove the Romans out, giving the country the name England.
In the ninth and eleventh centuries Britain was regularly attacked by the Vikings. Britain was regularly attacked by Vikings, and in 1066 the island was conquered by the Norman Duke William, who later became King William I of England. Around this time, the English language was formed, combining Scandinavian, German, and French words.
England was growing rapidly. And at the end of the sixteenth century, international trade became the most developed kind of activity.
The main competitor of the state in this industry was Spain, which at that time was at war with Holland. In this struggle, England actively supported Holland. Later Britain repeatedly showed its strength in the war effort by seizing and colonizing new lands in Australia, Asia, America, Africa, and Oceania.
Map of the Colonies of the British Empire
In 1707 Great Britain consisted of England, Wales, and Scotland, and 100 years later Ireland joined the union. But at the beginning of the twentieth century, part of Ireland defended its independence and withdrew from the union, and Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the country began to grow rapidly economically. Trade still occupied a significant place. Gradually, Great Britain gained the status of a great naval state, becoming an industrialized power.
In the XX century, the world was shaken by two wars, in which Britain took the position of future winners. But over time, the influence of the state became smaller, and in the second half of the twentieth century it lost some of its colonies.
Interesting facts about Great Britain are told in this video:
In 1973, the United Kingdom joined the European Union and English became an international language. But later the country suffered a severe economic downturn, to which the migration of Africans contributed unemployment. More recently, the government has been busy developing industry and science.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is located in the British Isles, located in Western Europe. The islands are separated from the mainland by two straits: the English Channel and the Pas de Calais. The state occupies the whole of the island of Great Britain, the northern part of the island of Ireland and a large number of British islands.
The country occupies an area of 244 thousand square kilometers. There are about 65 million people living in Great Britain. The capital of the state is London and its acting ruler is Queen Elizabeth II.
London, the capital of Great Britain
As you know, Britain is a constitutional monarchy, the government of which consists of the reigning monarch and Parliament, forming the House of Lords and House of Commons. Such a government has virtually unlimited influence in matters concerning the population and territory. The succession to the throne is by seniority. The eldest son, or the eldest daughter if there are no sons in the family, is appointed monarch.
Composition of the United Kingdom
The countries that make up Great Britain are as follows:
- Northern Ireland.
Everyone knows England as the Foggy Albion. It drizzles with rain almost every day here. But the government of England cares about the environment of the capital and the whole country. Despite the dreary weather, the state capital, London, is a city with a friendly population. It is visited by many tourists, because there is something to see. The most famous attractions are the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the British Museum, Westminster Abbey. Buckingham Palace, the home of the royal family, has become accessible to tourists.
In 2012 there was a referendum in Scotland. According to its results Scotland has decided to remain a part of Great Britain. The country is famous for whisky, kilt and bagpipes. The country consists of 787 islands. The capital of the country is Edinburgh. The state has not only thousands of years of tradition and a rich history filled with wars, but also an enchanting nature. The majestic castles, mountain spirit and rocky shores make Scotland a popular tourist destination. The Scots have a willful temperament, they are independent and eccentric, sociable and friendly, but they don’t like to open up to the stranger.
The Principality of Wales occupies a small territory in the western part of the island of Great Britain with a population of 3 million people. The capital of Wales is Cardiff. The country is a land of amazing landscapes and majestic medieval castles, of which there are countless.
Talking about the beauty of the area, it is impossible to convey in words all the uniqueness of the architecture. This historical region of Britain is famous for its cheeses, tender beef and lamb, seafood is also popular here.
Northern Ireland is known as a major European student center and has a rich culture. The capital of Ireland is Belfast, the city known as the builder of the liner Titanic.
Among the attractions of Northern Ireland are the Giant’s Causeway, the national parks of Oxford, Glenarith and Cable, and Coulee Castle.
The Town Hall in Belfast
The UK is a country of a mix of nations
The ethnic composition of Great Britain is rather motley for a European state. As the British Isles were subjected to numerous attacks from continental Europe, the Romans, Normans, Saxons, and Danes occupied the lowlands, driving the native population into the mountains and into the west and north of the island.
As the British Isles were a colonial state, the composition of the population changed markedly. There was a migration of people from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Chinese, Pakistanis, Indians, and Africans diluted the ethnic composition.
As early as the Middle Ages, three main ethnic communities were formed in Great Britain, represented by the English, the Scottish, and the Welsh. The relationship between these indigenous peoples has always played a special role in the political sphere of the country.
The national composition of Great Britain is not as diverse as its ethnic composition. After World War II, the British Isles received an influx of 1 million workers from European countries. In addition, every year the country is populated by 50,000 Europeans and Asians who come here in search of work.
Englishmen with about 53 million predominate among 65 million people. They live mainly in England, with smaller share of Englishmen in Wales and Scotland.
In second place in number are the Scots, who are represented by 6 million people. Most of the Celtic people live in the northwestern part of the island of Great Britain and numerous northern islands.
The Irish make up 1.5 million of the population of the British Isles, and the Welsh make up 1.2 million. The other nations of Great Britain number about 3 million people.
What is the dominant religion in Great Britain?
No European state has as many religions as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Although there are only two state churches, Anglican in England and Presbyterian in Scotland, the religious composition is quite diverse. Wales and Northern Ireland have no state religion.
Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Also the head of the Anglican Church.
Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism are also widespread. Besides these religions more than 200 sects are active in the country. Among British people there are also convinced atheists.
There are many people of faith in Great Britain. Every citizen of the state has the right to choose his or her own religion. Moreover, any Englishman is entitled to affiliate himself with any religion, even if he is the only representative of it.
Christianity is the dominant religion, practiced by about 70% of the population, which mainly belongs to the Anglican Church. About 2 million people are Muslims, 650,000 are Hindus, 320,000 are Jews, and 200,000 are Buddhists. Twenty percent of the population of the British Isles are atheists.
The Church occupies an important place in the life of every Briton. For this reason religion is a compulsory subject in schools, and lessons begin and end with prayer. In addition to spreading religion in educational institutions, there are Sunday schools in Great Britain. But parents have the right to exempt their children from this subject.
The country does not maintain a church, but finances it in order to restore historical monuments. It is worth noting that the money goes not only to Christian churches.
Great Britain in the European Union
After the end of World War II, European states began to unite in unions. The UK made its first attempts to get into the community in the 1970s, when the European Economic Community consisted of France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries.
Britain in the EU
At that time, Britain’s economy was failing, and many representatives of the powers that were members of the EEC expressed their dissatisfaction with its accession. In 1973, the British Isles did become part of the union. Later, the community introduced a single currency, the euro.
During the entire membership of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the EU, there have been several conflicts between London and Brussels. In 2011, relations between the partners became tense again, which led to a referendum on Britain’s exit from the EU. But then only 10% of citizens voted for it. Nevertheless, Britain as part of the EU had its privileges.
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In the summer of 2016 the UK held another referendum on EU membership. Fifty-two percent of the population supported the idea.
Legally, the referendum does not commit to anything, but it also cannot be ignored by a minister.
Why did Britain decide to take such a step? On the one hand, the state is isolated on the island, but on the other hand, the country is part of Europe. Since the indigenous population of the British Isles has always sought independence, it is clear that London does not want to depend on Brussels.
What will happen to the United Kingdom after it leaves the EU? Proponents argue that such a step will only strengthen the economy of the state, creating new jobs and signing lucrative contracts with other countries. Opponents assure that this decision will radically change the economic sphere, because 52% of goods are sold in the EU, which will make exports much more difficult.
We recommend watching this video: Britain’s exit from the EU.
In addition, a large percentage of the population could lose their jobs and London would lose its influence on the world stage. So the UK seemed to us from another side, full of mystery and mystery.
With its historical traditions, numerous museums and sights, the country inspires and motivates us to visit it. Each historical and geographical area of the British Isles is a unique terrain and history.