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THE SCOTLAND PORTAL


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Scotland
Scotland in Europe

Scotland (Scots: Scotland; Scottish Gaelic: Alba [ˈal̪ˠapə] (About this soundlisten)) is a country that is 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 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 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, 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.

The Scottish Parliament, which is 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 also a member of the British–Irish Council, and sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into 32 subdivisions, known as local authorities, or councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area.

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Elgin Cathedral, view from the rear

Elgin Cathedral is a historic ruin in Elgin, Moray, north-east Scotland. The cathedral—dedicated to the Holy Trinity—was established in 1224 on land granted by King Alexander II outside the burgh of Elgin and close to the River Lossie. It replaced the cathedral at Spynie, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) to the north, that was served by a small chapter of eight clerics. The new and bigger cathedral was staffed with 18 canons in 1226 and then increased to 23 by 1242. After a damaging fire in 1270, a rebuilding programme greatly enlarged the building. It was unaffected by the Wars of Scottish Independence but again suffered extensive fire damage in 1390 following an attack by Robert III's brother Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, also known as the Wolf of Badenoch. In 1402 the cathedral precinct again suffered an incendiary attack by the followers of the Lord of the Isles. The number of clerics required to staff the cathedral continued to grow, as did the number of craftsmen needed to maintain the buildings and surrounds. Read more...

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Magnus Magnusson

Muriel Spark

Selected biography

Portrait of James Watt by Carl Frederik von Breda

James Watt FRS FRSE (/wɒt/; 30 January 1736 (19 January 1736 OS) – 25 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer, and chemist who improved on Thomas Newcomen's 1712 Newcomen steam engine with his Watt steam engine in 1776, which was fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.

While working as an instrument maker at the University of Glasgow, Watt became interested in the technology of steam engines. He realised that contemporary engine designs wasted a great deal of energy by repeatedly cooling and reheating the cylinder. Watt introduced a design enhancement, the separate condenser, which avoided this waste of energy and radically improved the power, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of steam engines. Eventually he adapted his engine to produce rotary motion, greatly broadening its use beyond pumping water.

Watt attempted to commercialise his invention, but experienced great financial difficulties until he entered a partnership with Matthew Boulton in 1775. The new firm of Boulton and Watt was eventually highly successful and Watt became a wealthy man. In his retirement, Watt continued to develop new inventions though none was as significant as his steam engine work. Read more...

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In the news

In the news
13 March 2019 –
An avalanche on Ben Nevis kills two French nationals and a Swiss national. A fourth climber is injured and is receiving treatment at a hospital in Glasgow. (BBC)
27 February 2019 – Brexit negotiations
Conservative MP Alberto Costa tables an amendment to secure the rights of EU citizens within the UK and UK citizens abroad. Theresa May tells Commons she opposes the amendment; Home Secretary Sajid Javid subsequently supports it, apparently unaware of May's opposition. Costa resigns as parliamentary private secretary to Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who supports the amendment. The government subsequently announces it will support the amendment. (The Guardian)
24 January 2019 –
Former Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond is charged with two attempted rapes and indecent assault. (NBC News)
16 November 2018 –
Johnston Press, which owns i, The Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post and other UK newspapers, enters administration after failing to secure a buyer. It is set to be de-listed on the London Stock Exchange on 19 November 2018. (The Guardian)
6 August 2018 – Swimming at the 2018 European Aquatics Championships – Mixed 4 × 100 metre medley relay
The British 4x100 mixed medley relay team (Anderson, Davies, Guy, Peaty) break their own European record at the 2018 European Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
16 July 2018 – British space programme
The UK Space Agency announces that the country's first spaceport will be located in Sutherland, northern Scotland, with the first launches potentially taking place in the early 2020s. (BBC) (The Guardian)

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Scotland(22 C, 7 P)
Scotland-related lists(20 C, 23 P)
Communications in Scotland(5 C, 1 P)
Scottish culture(70 C, 101 P)
Economy of Scotland(33 C, 46 P)
Education in Scotland(27 C, 63 P)
Environment of Scotland(17 C, 21 P)
Events in Scotland(16 C, 16 P)
Geography of Scotland(30 C, 39 P)
Health in Scotland(18 C, 10 P)
History of Scotland(12 C, 7 P)
Scots law(30 C, 85 P)
Scottish people(42 C, 10 P)
Politics of Scotland(25 C, 74 P)
Scottish Government(11 C, 24 P)
Scottish society(47 C, 57 P)
Transport in Scotland(20 C, 22 P)
Images of Scotland(1 C, 4 F)
Scotland stubs(19 C, 668 P)

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