Scotland referat


The northern part of the island of Great Britain is Scotland. Rugged uplands separate it from England to the south. Within this border country the Scots fought many wars to keep their independence. In 1707 Scotland joined with England, and the entire island became a single kingdom, Great Britain. The Scots, however, remain a distinct people, and they have a long history different from that of England.

Scotland is a land of romance. It contains ruins of many ancient castles and abbeys, and there is a haunting beauty in its windswept mountains, long deep valleys, and ribbon lakes. It attracts many tourists, particularly from the United States and England. Scotland is a poor country, however, a land in which it is difficult to make a living. Perhaps that is why it has bred such a vigorous people.

The coast of Scotland is deeply pierced by inlets from the sea. The larger inlets are called firths. Long, narrow inlets are called sea lochs (lakes). On the rugged west coast the sea lochs are framed by great cliffs and resemble the fjords of Norway.

Numerous islands line the coast. In the north are two large groups, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands. Close to the west coast are the Hebrides group, Arran, and Bute. (See also Orkney Islands; Shetland Islands.)

The land may be divided into three regions: the Highlands in the north, the central Lowlands, and the southern Uplands.

The Highlands are wild and picturesque. Their rocky, barren summits were chiseled by Ice Age glaciers and the rainfall of many centuries. Purple heather clothes the lower slopes in late summer. The valleys are usually steep-sided glens, with a long, narrow loch at the bottom. A long valley called Glenmore crosses the Highlands from southwest to northeast. The Caledonian Canal links this valley's lochs to form a waterway from the Firth of Lorne to Moray Firth. South of the Highlands are the Grampian Mountains, highest in the British Isles. Ben Nevis, the tallest peak, rises to 4,406 feet (1,343 meters). Better known is Ben Lomond, which rises from the shore of Loch Lomond, Scotland's largest lake.

The central Lowlands are not large. From southwest to northeast the greatest length is nearly 90 miles (145 kilometers), but they are only 30 miles (48 kilometers) across the narrow waist of Scotland from the head of the Firth of Clyde in the west to the Firth of Forth in the east. These firths provide valuable outlets to the sea but constrict communications from north to south into the waist. The soil is fertile, and four coalfields underlie the area. Here is Scotland's chief farming district and also its largest cities. In the east is Edinburgh, Scotland's historic capital. In the west is Glasgow, hub of a great industrial area. Almost 90 percent of Scotland's population live in the Lowlands.

In the southern Uplands the hills are less than 2,000 feet (600 meters) high. Their rounded or flat tops are often capped with dark peat. The slopes are covered with grasses as well as heather. Along this border England and Scotland meet. In the west the boundary runs from the Solway Firth across the crest of the Cheviot Hills. In the east it follows the River Tweed almost to its mouth. The Tweed Valley is the chief gateway into England. The English people often refer to Scotland as of the Tweed.


The wind is usually from the southwest. It blows over the North Atlantic Current, a continuation of the warm Gulf Stream. This makes the climate warmer than it would otherwise be so far north. The average temperature in January is about 40 F (4.4 C); in July it is about 58 F (14.4 C).

The mountainous west coast has the most rainfall. Ben Nevis, which is close to the coast, has an average yearly rainfall of 171 inches (434 centimeters). The east is drier and sunnier. The wettest seasons are autumn and winter. June is the finest month, and June days are long.


The Highlanders are of Celtic descent, and about 90,000 of them still speak Gaelic, an ancient Celtic language (see Celts). The Lowlanders are much like the people of northern England. They speak English, but their Scots dialect is distinct. The Scots have a reputation for being thrifty, cautious, and careful of detail. They are far from being all alike, however. Scotland is a country in which individualism flourishes.

Most of the churchgoing people belong to the national church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian. The congregation of each kirk (church) chooses its own minister after a trial, and every member of the church has some share in governing it. In general, sermon and prayer occupy a larger place in the church service than ritual and music. The Roman Catholic church has many members in the Glasgow area, which has a large Irish population. The Episcopal church of Scotland resembles the Church of England but is an independent body. Other denominations include Baptist, Methodist, and Congregational Union.


The Scots have a great respect for learning, and their history is full of people of humble birth who acquired university educations. Education was made easier for poor students by the Scottish-born American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie. He set up the Carnegie Trust Fund in 1901 to help needy students and to foster research.

The Scottish educational system, like the legal system, is different from that of England. Education is free from nursery school (3 to 5 years) through secondary school. At about 12 years of age the student is tested to determine entrance to a junior secondary school (12 to 15 years) or to a senior secondary school (12 to 18 years). The senior schools lead to the professional schools and the universities. Scotland has eight universities, the oldest being St. Andrews, founded in 1410. Edinburgh is known for its school of medicine. The University of Glasgow emphasizes science and engineering.

Life in the Highlands

On the northwest coast and on the islands there are tenant farmers called crofters. The crofts (small farms) are usually on or near the coast. Houses are built of stone gathered from the hillsides. They are roofed with corrugated iron or a thatch of reeds and heather. Peat cut from the moors furnishes fuel for cooking and heating.

On these crofts barely enough food can be produced for the farm families. They therefore dislike waste and have earned reputations for being extremely frugal. They are good farmers, but rugged ground, poor soil, and excessive rain restrict crops to oats, potatoes, and barley. They add to the family food supply by fishing in lakes and streams if inland or in the sea if near the coast. They raise sheep on the hills and pasture a few cattle in the glens. In other parts of the Highlands, large sheep or beef cattle farms predominate.

In August the tourist season begins in the Highlands. People from the Lowlands and from England flock there to fish for salmon and trout or to hunt deer and grouse. The crofters then work in hotels or serve as guides, boatmen, or gillies (hunters' attendants).

The Highlands are sparsely populated. For centuries many of the young people have been leaving the crofts to find work in the industrial Lowlands or to emigrate to other countries. The government is trying to check this trend. Its reforestation program, for example, gives part-time work to crofters at the same time that it improves timber resources.

Hydroelectric plants on the swift streams furnish light and power for homes and factories. Some of the power is transmitted to the industrial Lowlands. An atomic-research station is at Dounreay on the north coast. It supplies power for a large aluminum plant. In southern Scotland electricity is generated in a nuclear plant located at Hunterston. Major industries in the Highlands are the weaving of woolens and the distilling of Scotch whisky, which is made from barley.

Gatherings of the Clans

In early days the rugged land led to the separation of the Highlanders into small groups called clans. Each clan was ruled by a chief. All the people of a clan had the same surname, which often began with Mac such as MacDonald, MacKinnon, MacLean, or MacLeod. The clansmen wore kilts (short, pleated skirts) which are suitable for climbing the rough hills, and blankets for cloaks. Each clan had its own colorful pattern called a tartan for weaving cloth. (These tartans are now commonly called plaids, and they are marketed throughout the world.) Today the kilt is not a crofter's dress but a national costume, proudly worn for special occasions.

The gatherings of the clans draw many visitors, especially to Inverness, which is called the capital of the Highlands. At these gatherings athletes wearing kilts compete in such ancient Highland sports as throwing the hammer and tossing the caber, a long, heavy pole. Bagpipers and Highland dancers add color and interest to the gatherings.


It has been argued that Scottish culture is merely a regional variation of the dominant British culture, but the Scottish culture has elements of independence. Edinburgh's international festival of music and drama has been a major event since 1947, though Scotland's own contribution to the festival has been modest. The Scottish National Orchestra and the country's opera and ballet companies, which are supported by the Scottish Arts Council, have been widely acclaimed. The Glasgow School of Art is world-famous. The architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) studied there and later designed its buildings (1896-1909).

Scottish writers have had the choice of three languages: Scottish Gaelic; Lallans, or Lowland Scots; and English. The 20th-century poets Sorley Maclean and George Campbell Hay led a Gaelic revival, but a Lallans revival that developed after World War I has faded. After World War II a new generation of Scottish poets was called the Lallans MaKars (makers). The most notable Scottish poets who wrote in Lallans and English were Robert Fergusson (1750-74) and Robert Burns (1759-96).

Scotland's national sport is golf, which developed in the east (see Golf, History. Association football, or soccer, however, is the most popular game. The football game rugby is also played in the south. A traditional sport is the so-called gameof curling, which is played on ice (see Curling).


Scotland's great industrial area centers on Glasgow, its largest city (see Glasgow). On the banks of the River Clyde below the city are world-famous shipyards that once produced every kind of ship. A fall in demand and overseas competition, however, have caused a major decline in the industry. In Glasgow and the cities clustered around it are iron and steel mills and other metal plants, engineering works, machinery factories, chemical works and textile mills. Heavy industries were once based on the iron ore and coal deposits of the Lanarkshire field near the city. Today the iron ore is virtually exhausted, and ore must be imported. The Lanarkshire coal is also depleted, but more is available in fields around the Firth of Forth. The traditional heavy industries of southern Scotland have become less significant, but a new major electronics industry has created considerable employment for people who live in that area.

The industrial area of Glasgow almost meets that of Edinburgh to the east. Edinburgh also has engineering industries, but it specializes in light manufactures printing, paper (made from imported wood pulp), beer, and biscuits (see Edinburgh). North of Edinburgh across the Firth of Forth are Dunfermline, which manufactures linen; Perth, known for its dye works; and Dundee, which specializes in jute manufacture and marmalade. South of Edinburgh in the Tweed Valley are manufacturing towns that produce woolen cloths. Cotton spinning and weaving have declined, but the North Sea petroleum industry has created new jobs in the building and servicing of oil platforms, terminals, and refineries.

Glasgow is by far the largest and busiest port. Following it in volume of foreign trade are Leith, Grangemouth, and Dundee. Freight also moves to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland by coastal vessels and by rail and road.

Scotland's great international airport, Prestwick, is on the west coast southwest of Glasgow. Other major airports are at Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Farming and Fishing

Around the Firth of Forth lies Scotland's richest agricultural area. Here large well-managed farms produce wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, vegetables, and fruits. Scotland's disease-resistant seed potatoes are highly prized in England.

Grass is the chief crop in the southern Uplands. The major product therefore is livestock. In summer thousands of sheep roam over the hills. In winter they are folded into the valley farm. The farmers grow roots and other fodder crops in the valleys. In the southwest the climate is mild and rainy. Here are great dairy farms that furnish milk for the Glasgow area and for cities in northern England. At central points, such as Dumfries, are cooperative creameries. Waste products are returned to the farms to feed pigs.

Fishing towns are scattered all around the coast of Scotland and the islands. The chief fishing port is Aberdeen on the east coast (see Aberdeen). Traditional fishing for herring has declined. White fishing for cod, haddock, plaice (flounder), and hake is carried on by deep-sea trawlers year-round. Lobsters, found in rocky pools, are plentiful on the northwest coast. They are caught in baited wicker traps.

How Scotland Is Governed

Scotland is a part of a monarchy the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (see United Kingdom). It has no parliament of its own. It elects members to the British House of Commons, and it is also represented in the House of Lords. The central administration is in the hands of the secretary of state for Scotland, a British Cabinet officer. The secretary heads an office in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, for handling the country's domestic affairs. Local government is in the hands of burgh (incorporated town) councils.

The Scots still have their own law. It derives from the Roman code and is quite different from that of England. The supreme civil court, called the Court of Sessions, dates from 1532. It sits in Edinburgh in the old Parliament House.


The history of Scotland begins in the 1st century AD, when the Romans invaded Britain. The Romans added southern Britain to their empire as the province Britannia. They were unable, however, to subdue the fierce tribes in the north. To keep these barbarians from invading Britannia, Emperor Hadrian had a massive wall built across the island from sea to sea. The Romans called the land north of the wall Caledonia, and they called the people Picts from the Latin piclus, meaning because they painted their bodies. Parts of Hadrian's Wall still stand on the Scottish border.

In the 5th century Celtic immigrants from Ireland, called Scots, settled north of the Clyde. The Scots were already Christians when they left Ireland. In the next century St. Columba converted the king of the Picts to Christianity. In the 9th century Kenneth MacAlpine, king of the Scots, added the Pictish kingdom to his own. In about the 10th century the land came to be known as Scotland.

After the Normans conquered England in 1066, many Anglo-Saxons from England settled in the Lowlands. Here the Scots gradually took on English ways. Feudalism was established, and the chiefs of the clans became nobles. Towns grew, trade increased, and Scotland prospered.

War of independence. In 1290 Margaret, heiress to the throne, died. Thirteen claimants contested the Crown. Edward I of England claimed the right to bestow it and made John de Baliol king. When Edward asked John for help against the French, however, John entered into an alliance with France. For 260 years Scotland held to this so-called alliancewith England's enemy.

Edward crossed the border in 1296, took John de Baliol prisoner, and proclaimed himself king of Scotland. To symbolize the union he carried off the ancient Stone of Scone, on which Scottish kings had long been crowned, and placed it in Westminster Abbey where it still lies beneath the coronation chair.

The Scots rose again. Led by William Wallace, they routed the English at Stirling Bridge in 1297 and pursued them across the border. The next year Edward returned and inflicted a disastrous defeat on the Scots at Falkirk. Wallace was later captured, and the English hung his head from London Bridge. (See also Wallace.)

The Scots' spirit was still unbroken, and they soon found another great champion in Robert Bruce. The last great battle in the war for independence was fought in 1314 at Bannockburn near Stirling Castle. There Bruce inflicted a disastrous defeat on superior English forces led by Edward II. In 1328 Edward III formally recognized Scotland's independence. (See also Bruce, Robert.)

In the later Middle Ages Scotland suffered from weak kings and powerful nobles. For two centuries there was a constant struggle between the Crown and the barons. Border clashes also continued. James IV of Scotland married Margaret, daughter of Henry VII of England, in 1503. This marriage led to the union of the Crowns of both countries in 1603. When Henry VIII went to war with France, however, James IV invaded England. He fell, with arrows,at Flodden Field in the last great border battle (1513). James V died brokenhearted after his army had been slaughtered at Solway Moss (1542). The throne went to his infant daughter Mary Stuart.

Reformation and its consequences. Meanwhile the Protestant Reformation had swept across Europe and into England. Scotland was still a Roman Catholic country. Its young queen, Mary Stuart, was in France when John Knox returned home to Scotland from Geneva, Switzerland. Knox was a follower of John Calvin, one of the leaders of the Reformation. With fiery eloquence he spread Calvin's Protestant doctrine. When Mary returned, Knox and others drove her out of Scotland, and she fled to England. Queen Elizabeth I made her a prisoner and finally had her executed. In 1560 Scotland's parliament adopted a confession of faith drawn up by Knox and established the Church of Scotland on a Presbyterian basis. (See also Calvin; Knox; Mary, Queen of Scots.)

Mary Stuart's son, James VI, was brought up as a Presbyterian. When Queen Elizabeth of England died in 1603, James inherited the throne of England. In England he was called James I. The two nations were thus united under a single king, but Scotland remained a separate state with its own parliament and government. There was no free trade between England and Scotland, and Scots were excluded from the profitable commerce with England's growing empire. (See also James, Kings of England; Stuart.)

England tried repeatedly to impose the Anglicans' episcopal form of worship and church government on the Scottish kirk. The Scots took up arms against Charles I. When civil war broke out in England, they aided the Puritans against the king. After Oliver Cromwell executed Charles I, however, the Scots welcomed Charles's son as Charles II. Cromwell then marched into Scotland and imposed his rule. When Charles II was restored to the throne, persecution of Presbyterians continued. (See also Charles, Kings of England, Scotland, and Ireland; Cromwell, Oliver.)

Finally, after James II had been driven from the throne, Presbyterianism was firmly established as Scotland's national church. The Highlanders long remained loyal to the exiled Stuarts. In 1715 they attempted to restore the house of Stuart to the throne; James Stuart, known as the Old Pretender, was proclaimed James III. In 1745 they supported his son, Charles Edward, known as the Young Pretender. The youth became famous in Scottish song and story as Bonnie Prince Charlie. (See also Pretender.)

Union with England. The age-old rivalry between Scotland and England ended abruptly in 1707 when the parliaments of both nations agreed to the Act of Union. This act merged the parliaments of the two nations and established the Kingdom of Great Britain (see United Kingdom).

Scotland now had free trade with England and the colonies. As Britain's empire expanded the Scots played a great part in its development. They also shared in the inventions that brought about the Industrial Revolution and in the wealth that flowed into Britain from it. (See also Industrial Revolution.)

The end of the 18th century was Scotland's most creative period. David Hume won world fame in philosophy and history, Adam Smith in political economy, and Robert Burns in poetry. In the next generation Sir Walter Scott made the land and history of Scotland known throughout the world. (See also Burns; Hume; Scott, Walter; Smith, Adam.)

The history of modern Scotland is inseparable from that of England (see England, . Scotland, however, has its own special problems, and a movement has grown up to establish some sort of home rule. The Scottish National party, which favors the setting up of a legislature for purely Scottish affairs, won increasing popular support during the 1960s but a majority of Scots vote for the Labour (Socialist) party.

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