Scotland is the country that is located on the northern part of the island of Great Britain. The Scottish people are one of the four main nationalities of the British Isles, together with the English, the Welsh, and the Irish. Scotland and its people have played an important part in the history of the English-speaking world.
Scotland can be roughly divided into two main regions. The lowland areas, in the southern part of Scotland, contain most of the population and the two main cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Most of Scotland’s agriculture and industry are located in the lowland areas. The Highland areas, together with the islands that lie off the coast of Scotland, are not so heavily populated. The lakes and mountains of the highlands are known for their beautiful scenery.
One of the main themes of Scottish history is conflict with England. During the Middle Ages, the English and Scottish kings were often at war. Around the year 1300, the Scots repelled some invasions from England. During the 1600s, though, Scotland and England had the same king, and the countries were officially joined as “the United Kingdom” in 1701.
For people in the highlands of Scotland, the eighteenth century was very difficult. Most people worked as farmers on land that was owned by a few wealthy landlords. The landlords decided that they could make more money on the land if they evicted the farmers, so many of the farmers were forced to leave. The highlanders rebelled against the King in 1745, but they were defeated. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many people left the highlands of Scotland. They moved to the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. During the nineteenth century, Scotland was the first country to have universal public education for children. The country produced a great number of famous scientists and inventors during that time.
Scotland is famous for its national costume. This costume includes the “kilt,” which is a knee-length skirt worn by both men and women. The kilt is made from a fabric that contains stripes of different colors and widths, which cross over each other to produce a pattern that is called a “tartan.” In the Scottish highlands, groups of related families, called “clans,” have their own unique tartan.
Another famous part of Scottish heritage is the musical instrument known as the bagpipes. The bagpipes have a distinctive sound that is easily recognized. Bagpipes were originally played to intimidate enemies in battle, but today Scottish people play the bagpipes at parades and other celebrations. People of Scottish heritage around the world celebrate their heritage on January 25th of each year. This day celebrates the birthday of Robbie Burns, the famous Scottish poet. People celebrate this day at parties, where people eat a famous Scottish food called haggis.
Today, Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom, but some Scottish people would like Scotland to become independent. Whatever the Scottish people decide, their country will remain a unique and interesting place.