Scotland is a picturesque country that lies in the north of Great Britain. In fact, with a total area of 78 772 square kilometres, Scotland actually makes up about a third of the whole of the United Kingdom. Apart from its southern border, which is shared with England, Scotland enjoys the watery borders of the North Sea, North Channel and Atlantic Ocean. In addition to the mainland, the area of Scotland includes almost 800 individual islands. The capital city of this country is the bustling epicentre of Edinburgh. However, Glasgow remains its largest city.
Being part of the United Kingdom means that Scotland is under the political administration and rulership of the monarchy, currently headed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The history of Scotland extends back tens of thousands of years, when ice sheets had retreated from the land and the first hunter-gatherers could make this their home. Then, just before the start of our Common Era (CE), the Romans occupied Britain and Wales. They soon took the land over from the people that lived off of it and occupied Scotland too. This influence carried on well into our Common Era, as records show their military power still being significant at around 400 CE. Then, the Kingdom of the Picts began to emerge as a Gaelic force against Roman rule. By the 900’s, the Gaelic culture dominated this kingdom. Slowly, these ones started gaining control of larger and larger portions of the country. In 1603, the King of Scots, James VI, became the King of England. Scotland remained a separate state until 1706, when the Treaty of Union was finally agreed upon. The Acts of Union were signed the following year and Scotland was incorporated into the United Kingdom. Despite this integration, Scotland has retained its own legal, religious and educational institutions. This has meant that it has held onto a distinct culture, maintaining an identity different to that of the rest of the United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland).
Glen Cluanie in the Scottish Highlands.
Scotland is a mountainous country, and its highest peak is Ben Nevis (at 1344 metres above sea level). The Central Lowlands comprises a deep rift valley, which yields ample supplies of coal and iron. These metals play an integral role in supporting and supplying the industrial sector of the country.
Its climate is temperate, but has the tendency to change unpredictably. The western areas are generally warmer than those lying in the east. Summer highs seldom rise above 30 degrees, but are generally warm and sunny. Winters are snowy and cold, but can still boast a fair amount of sunshine during the day. The countryside is characterised by deciduous and coniferous woodland and moorland, giving the natural vistas an undeniable sense of beauty. Scotland is ideal for grazing, which has earned it an acclaimed reputation as a prime sheep farming district.
Its natural splendour and complex history has given Scotland an air of intrigue. Tourists from all over the world visit this prime destination every year, immersing themselves in its fascinating heritage.
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