Portal:Scotland

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Introduction

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Scotland
Scotland in Europe

Scotland (Scots: Scotland, Scottish Gaelic: Alba [ˈal̪ˠapə] (listen)) 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-kilometre) 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 east, and the Irish Sea to the south. It also contains more than 790 islands, principally in the archipelagos of the Hebrides and the Northern Isles. Most of the population, including the capital Edinburgh, is concentrated in the Central Belt—the plain between the Scottish Highlands and the Southern Uplands—in the Scottish Lowlands.

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. Scotland is the second-largest country in the United Kingdom, and accounted for 8.3% of the population in 2012.

The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the 9th century 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 the 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 incorporating 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 members of parliament (MPs). It is also a member of the British–Irish Council, sending five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly, as well as being part of the Joint Ministerial Committee, represented by the first minister. (Full article...)

Selected article

The Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in Tamfourhill, Falkirk, in central Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. It reconnects the two canals for the first time since the 1930s. It opened in 2002 as part of the Millennium Link project.

The plan to regenerate central Scotland's canals and reconnect Glasgow with Edinburgh was led by British Waterways with support and funding from seven local authorities, the Scottish Enterprise Network, the European Regional Development Fund, and the Millennium Commission. Planners decided early on to create a dramatic 21st-century landmark structure to reconnect the canals, instead of simply recreating the historic lock flight.

The wheel raises boats by 24 metres (79 ft), but the Union Canal is still 11 metres (36 ft) higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel. Boats must also pass through a pair of locks between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal. The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, and one of two working boat lifts in the United Kingdom, the other being the Anderton Boat Lift. (Full article...) Read more ...

Selected quotes

" ...   Peace is that state in which fear of any kind is unknown   ... "

John Buchan

" ...   There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why   ... "

William Barclay

In the news

In the news
16 January 2023 – LGBT rights in Scotland
The British government says that it will block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament despite objections from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, saying that the proposed law would conflict with "equality protections" across Great Britain. (BBC News)
22 December 2022 – LGBT rights in Scotland
The Scottish Parliament passes the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill by 86–39 votes, amending the Gender Recognition Act 2004 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to simplify the legal gender change process in Scotland. The bill now awaits royal assent. (AFP via Manila Bulletin)
23 November 2022 – Proposed second Scottish independence referendum
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom unanimously denies the Scottish government the right to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom without approval from the British government. (The Guardian)

Selected biography

Photograph of William Speirs Bruce, before 1905

William Speirs Bruce FRSE (1 August 1867 – 28 October 1921) was a British naturalist, polar scientist and oceanographer who organized and led the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (SNAE, 1902–04) to the South Orkney Islands and the Weddell Sea. Among other achievements, the expedition established the first permanent weather station in Antarctica. Bruce later founded the Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory in Edinburgh, but his plans for a transcontinental Antarctic march via the South Pole were abandoned because of lack of public and financial support.

In 1892 Bruce gave up his medical studies at the University of Edinburgh and joined the Dundee Whaling Expedition to Antarctica as a scientific assistant. This was followed by Arctic voyages to Novaya Zemlya, Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land. In 1899 Bruce, by then Britain's most experienced polar scientist, applied for a post on Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition, but delays over this appointment and clashes with Royal Geographical Society (RGS) president Sir Clements Markham led him instead to organise his own expedition, and earned him the permanent enmity of the geographical establishment in London. Although Bruce received various awards for his polar work, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen, neither he nor any of his SNAE colleagues were recommended by the RGS for the prestigious Polar Medal. (Full article...) Read more ...

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