Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Alba) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom (for the moment although another Independence referendum is, no doubt, not far away) along with England, Wales and Ulster (Northern Ireland). Occupying approximately one third of the land mass of the actual island of Great Britain and is bordered on three of it sides by sea, with the last being the land border with England. In addition to the mainland, Scotland includes over 790 islands with the largest being the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
Edinburgh, on the east coast, is the country's capital and second largest city and until recently (pre banking crisis) was one of Europe's largest financial centres. Historically important as the main centre for the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century. This was the intellectual and commercial movement which transformed Scotland into one of the powerhouses of Europe. Glasgow, on the West coast, is Scotland's largest city.
The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until the union of the Crowns in 1603 when James the VI became James the I of England also. Although this is often viewed as a mere personal union the "real end" came in 1707. The Act of 1707 when Scotland entered into a political union with England to create the united Kingdom of Great Britain was in essence the "death knell" for Scottish Independence.
Whatever your reason for visiting these pages, be it that you are considering a vacation, interested in learning more about Scottish history or even Scottish Names, a holiday or are simply looking for information on Scottish culture or living in Scotland, then hopefully you will find it here.