History of Scotland Menu
"I see a free and independent kingdom delivering up that, which all the world has been fighting for ... to wit, a power to manage their own affairs by themselves."
~ John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven, 1707
Relics of Scotland's ancient history are strewn across the country, from the southern Borders to the northern reaches of the Orkney Islands. Stone circles bear testament to the land's mysterious Neolithic past while dusty ruins shed some light on lives lived several millennia ago. Ancient abbeys tell the story of the country's conversion to Christianity, as does the development of Scotland's holidays. The languages spoken on the northern half of Britain reflect Norse, French, and Germanic influence, and hint at centuries of warfare and invasion. And Scotland's long war with England is the stuff of national legend.
But along with the temptation to romanticize Scotland's harried past lies a tendency to tack its modern history onto the happenings of a larger Great Britain. Although Scotland was subsumed within the United Kingdom in 1707, it did not lose its independent history: from the Clydeside region's radical labour movement in the early twentieth century to the opening of a devolved Scottish parliament in 1999, modern Scotland has struggled with many small nations across Europe as they've grappled with the choice between economic prosperity and independence.