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Scotland


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The northern part of Great Britain and of the United Kingdom. Sparsely populated until Celtic peoples arrived from the Continent during the Bronze and Early Iron Age, the inhabitants of Scotland were named the Picts by the Romans, who established a northerly line at the Antonine Wall for about 40 years. An independent country in the Middle Ages, after the unification of various small Dark Age kingdoms of the Picts, Scots, Britons, and Angles between the 9th and 11th centuries, Scotland successfully resisted English attempts at domination but was amalgamated with her southern neighbour as a result of the union of the crowns in 1603 and of the parliaments in 1707. Broadly divided into Highland and Lowland regions, Scotland has a heavily indented west coast with numerous islands to the west (Inner and Outer Hebrides) and north (Orkney and Shetland Islands). The Highlands to the north and the Southern Uplands north of the English border are sparsely populated, the greater proportion of the Scottish population being concentrated in the Central Lowlands between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth. Oil and natural gas, agricultural produce, timber, textiles, whisky, paper, and high-tech electronic goods are amongst its chief industrial products. Scotland is divided into 32 administrative regions (unitary authorities). A referendum on devolution was held in 1997 in which the electorate overwhelmingly voted in favour of a measure of devolution. This included a Scottish parliament with 129 MPs elected by proportional representation in elections that took place in May 1999. Power was transferred to the new body in July 1999, with Labour's Donald Dewar (1937–2000) as first minister. The Scottish parliament has powers to make laws on domestic matters and to vary the basic rate of income tax by up to 3p.

Subjects: Arts and Humanities.


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