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Scotland in Europe

Scotland (Scots: Scotland, Scottish Gaelic: Alba [ˈal̪ˠapə] (About this soundlisten)) 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 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 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

Tobermory waterfront, Mull

The Isle of Mull (Scottish Gaelic An t-Eilean Muileach, pronounced [ən 'tjelan ˈmuləx]) or just Mull (English and Scots[mʌl]; Scottish Gaelic: Muile, [ˈmulə] (About this soundlisten)) is the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides (after Skye) and lies off the west coast of Scotland in the council area of Argyll and Bute.

Covering 875.35 square kilometres (337.97 sq mi), Mull is the fourth-largest Scottish island and has the same rank as regards Great Britain. In the 2011 census the usual resident population was 2,800. In 2001 the figure was 2,667. In the summer these are supplemented by many tourists. Much of the population lives in colourful Tobermory, the only burgh on the island until 1973 and its capital.

Tobermory hosts Mull's only single malt Scotch whisky distillery, Tobermory distillery (formerly Ledaig). The isle has numerous sports and the Highland Games competition in July. It also has at least four castles including the towering keep of Moy Castle. A much older stone circle is beside Lochbuie on the south coast. Read more ...

Selected quotes

" ...   Jimmy Hill is to football what King Herod was to babysitting   ... "

Tommy Docherty

" ...   Maybe that's why in England you have better horses, and in Scotland we have better men   ... "

James Boswell responding to Samuel Johnson
("In England we wouldn't think of eating oats. We only feed them to horses.")

In the news

In the news
26 September 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland
Scotland reports 714 new cases, the biggest single-day jump on record since the pandemic began. It amounts to 11.5% of newly-tested individuals, the highest proportion of positivity rate tests. (STV)
19 September 2020 –
A 1634 edition of The Two Noble Kinsmen, the last play written by English playwright William Shakespeare, is discovered at the Royal Scots College's library in Salamanca, Spain. It is believed to be the oldest copy of any of his works in the country. (BBC)
6 September 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland
208 new cases are confirmed in Scotland in the past 24 hours, the highest level since May. (BBC)
1 September 2020 – Proposed second Scottish independence referendum
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces that her party will draft legislation for a new referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom before Scotland's parliament election next year. (Reuters)

Selected biography

Portrait of Lady Grange by Sir John Baptiste de Medina, c. 1710

Rachel Chiesley (baptised 4 February 1679 – 12 May 1745), usually known as Lady Grange, was the wife of Lord Grange, a Scottish lawyer with Jacobite sympathies. After 25 years of marriage and nine children, the Granges separated acrimoniously. When Lady Grange produced letters that she claimed were evidence of his treasonable plottings against the Hanoverian government in London, her husband had her kidnapped in 1732. She was incarcerated in various remote locations on the western seaboard of Scotland, including the Monach Isles, Skye and St Kilda.

Lady Grange's father was convicted of murder and she is known to have had a violent temper; initially her absence seems to have caused little comment. News of her plight eventually reached her home town of Edinburgh and an unsuccessful rescue attempt was undertaken by her lawyer, Thomas Hope of Rankeillor. She died in captivity, after being in effect imprisoned for over 13 years. Her life has been remembered in poetry, prose and plays. Read more ...

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