is made up of thirty-three historic counties of whose boundaries
can be seen on the map
on the Association of British Counties website.
historic Scottish counties
Includes the Shetland Islands (the northern most point of the British
Isles), the Orkney
Islands and the Inner and Outer Hebrides.
Also includes Ben
Nevis (1,343 metres), the highest mountain in the British Isles.
About 75,000 people speak Scottish
Gaelic in Scotland, mainly on the Hebrides.
It is one of only four Celtic languages that are still spoken today;
Irish Gaelic, Welsh and Breton being the other three. Scottish Gaelic
developed out of Irish Gaelic which came over from Ireland in the
5th century. Manx is also closely related and was spoken on the Isle
of Man until it became extinct towards the end of the 20th century.
privateer turned pirate William
Kidd, better known as Captain Kidd, was born around 1645
in Greenock, Strathclyde. Having worked as a privateer protecting
trade routes in the West Indies, Kidd was sent to Madagascar to protect
East India Company ships against pirates in the Indian Ocean. It was
on this expedition that Kidd became a pirate himself, a decision which
would eventually lead to his execution in London in 1701.
Selkirk was born in Largo, Fife in 1676. In 1704 he was a crewmember
under the command of the pirate William Dampier in the South Pacific.
Due to Dampier's cruelty Selkirk asked to be left on one of the Juan
Fernández Islands which lie in the Pacific Ocean off the coast
of Chile. Selkirk stayed on the uninhabited island for over four years
before being eventually rescued, a story which is said to have been
the basis for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.
Alexander Mackenzie was born at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis
in 1764. He entered the fur business in Canada and while there discovered
the Mackenzie River in 1789. In 1792 he set out to become the first
European to cross the Rocky Mountains and reached the Pacific Ocean
the following year.
Livingstone, was born in 1813 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire. He took
part in numerous expeditions in Africa and discovered the Victoria
Falls on the Zambezi River. While on an expedition to find the disputed
source of the Nile in 1873 he became ill and died in Old Chitambo
(now in Zambia). He is buried in Westminster
people buried at Westminster Abbey
to US parents in Glasgow in 1886, Sir Arthur
Whitten Brown was the navigator in 1919 when together with
the pilot Sir John William Alcock they became the first people to
fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean in 1919. They took off from
Newfoundland in Canada and crash-landed at Clifden, County Galway
Macdonald was born on South Uist in the Hebrides in 1722. A
Jacobite sympathiser, in 1746 she helped the Young Pretender
Edward Stuart to escape the country
after defeat at the Battle
of Culloden. Disguising Bonnie Prince
Charlie as her maid, she took him by boat from Benbecula to Portree
on the Isle of Skye from where he was able to flee to the continent.
She was later arrested and imprisoned in the Tower
of London until 1747.
Battle of Culloden
people imprisoned at the Tower of London
Carnegie was born in Dunfermline,
Fife in 1835 and his family emigrated to the USA in 1848. He was to
become one of the richest people in history through iron and steel
after which he spent the rest of his life donating money to philanthropic
projects. He returned to live in Scotland in 1901, taking up residence
at Skibo Castle, Sutherland.
Muir was born in Dunbar,
East Lothian in 1838. In 1849 his family emigrated to the USA where
he was to become a pioneer in the national park movement and an early
voice for the importance of protecting the wilderness.
Watt was born in Greenock, Renfrewshire in 1736.
inventor and telephone pioneer Alexander
Graham Bell was born in 1847 in Edinburgh.
He moved to the USA where in 1875 he made the very first telephone
transmission. He patented the telephone the following year a few hours
before his rival, the American Elisha Gray. In 1882 Bell became a
television pioneer John
Logie Baird was born in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire in 1888. His
design was used by the BBC in 1929.
House of Stuart
House of Stuart
first King of both England and Scotland James
I, was born at Edinburgh
Castle in 1566. Acceding to the Scottish throne in 1567
as James VI, on the death of the childless Elizabeth I in 1603,
he became King of England due to him being the great-great-grandson
of Henry VII. He reigned until his death in 1625.
I was born at Dunfermline
Palace, Fife in 1600. He came to the throne in 1625 and
ruled until 1649 when, after losing the English Civil War, he
was beheaded in front of the Banqueting House in London. The
republican Commonwealth followed until 1660 when the monarchy
was restored with his son Charles II.
execution of Charles I
University of St Andrews - Scotland's oldest - was founded
in 1413. In the UK only the universities at Oxford
pre-date the institution.
of Glasgow was founded in 1451. It is the fourth oldest
in the English-speaking world.
of Aberdeen was founded as King's College in 1495. In 1860
it joined with Marischal College (founded 1593) to form the
modern university. Aberdeen is the fifth oldest university in
the English-speaking world.
of Edinburgh was established in 1582, receiving a Royal
Charter from James
It is the sixth oldest in the English-speaking world.
Prime Minister from 1762-63, the Earl
was buried in 1792 on the Isle of Bute.
Prime Minister in 1852-55, was born as George Gordon in Edinburgh
in 1784. His administration was responsible for Britain entering the
Crimean War in 1854 and due to its mismanagement he was forced to
resign in 1855.
Mackenzie was born in Logierait, Perthshire in 1822 and emigrated
to Canada in 1842. He entered Canadian politics and from 1873-78 served
as the Canada's first ever Liberal Prime Minister.
Minister from 1905-08, Sir
was born in Kelvinside, Glasgow in 1836. In 1908 he was buried at
the church in Meigle in Perthshire.
James Balfour, Prime Minister from 1902-05, was born at the family
home Whittingehame House near Stenton in East Lothian in 1848. On
his death in 1930 his remains were buried in the grounds of the house.
as James Ramsay MacDonald in Lossiemouth, Morayshire in 1866, Ramsay
became the first Labour Prime Minister from 1924-27 and again from
1929-35. He died in 1937 on a liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean. His
ashes were interred at Old Spynie churchyard near his birthplace of
We hear war called murder. It is not: it is suicide.
was born as James Gordon Brown in Glasgow in 1951. After 10 years
as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Brown became Prime Minister in 2007,
taking over mid-term from Tony Blair who resigned after losing the
confidence of his Cabinet and party. Gordon Brown resigned as Prime
Minister in 2010 after Labour failed to win a majority in the general
Prime Minister from 1997 until 2007, Tony
was born in Edinburgh in 1953. Blair became leader of the Labour Party
in 1994 on the death of John Smith and with the election win of 1997
ended 18 years of Conservative governments. The third youngest Prime
Minister ever, his party has since won reelection twice.
Prime Minister in 1963-64, died in 1995 at The Hirsel, the ancestral
home of his family near Coldstream in Berwickshire.
remotest islands, St
Kilda was designated a World
Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1986 and the site was extended
The old and new towns of Scotland's capital city Edinburgh,
were designated a World Heritage Site in 1995.
The neolithic monuments on the island of Orkney
were designated a World Heritage Site in 1999.
The 18th century industrial village of New
Lanark in Lanarkshire was designated a World Heritage Site in
2001. The village, designed by the philanthropist Robert
around the newly introduced cotton mills, became a model for industrial
communities developed around the needs of people.
Built in 1890 to connect Fife with Edinburgh across the Firth, the
2,529 metre Forth
Bridge was designated a World Heritage Site in 2015.
writer and philosopher David Hume was
born in Edinburgh in 1711. In 1739 A Treatise Upon Human Nature
was published. He died in Edinburgh in 1776 and is buried in the
It is not contrary to reason to prefer the
destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.
A Treatise upon Human Nature (1737)
writer, economist and philosopher Adam
Smith, was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife in 1723. In 1776 he
published Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
He died in 1790 in Edinburgh where he is also buried.
With the greater part of rich people, the
chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches, which
in their eyes is never so complete as when they appear to possess
those decisive marks of opulence which nobody can possess but themselves.
Wealth of Nations (1776)
To found a great empire for the sole purpose
of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project
fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether
unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation
whose government is influenced by shopkeepers.
Wealth of Nations (1776)
Burns was born in 1759 in a small thatched cottage
in Alloway, Ayrshire. He died in 1796 in Dumfries, Dumfriesshire
and is buried in the town.
Robert Burns website
But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white - then melts for ever.
Tam o' Shanter (1791)
historical novelist Sir
Walter Scott, was born in 1771 in Edinburgh. He died in 1832 at
his home Abbotsford
in Roxburgh, Roxburghshire. He is buried at Dryburgh
Sir Walter Scott website
historian and philosopher Thomas Carlyle
was born at the Arched House in Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire in 1795.
On his death in 1881 in London - where he had lived since 1834 - he
was buried in the village of his birth.
Man's unhappiness, as I construe, comes of
his greatness; it is because there is an Infinite in him, which with
all his cunning he cannot quite bury under the Finite.
Sartor Resartus (1834)
author of Treasure Island Robert Louis
Stevenson, was born in 1850 in Edinburgh. He died in 1894 at
his estate on Samoa in the South Seas where he is also buried.
There is no duty we so much underrate as the
duty of being happy.
Virginibus Puerisque (1881)
Here lies one who meant well, tried a little,
failed much: surely that may be his epitaph, of which he need not
Across the Plains (1892)
Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock
was born in Edinburgh in 1859.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate
Sherlock Homes Society
You see, but you do not observe.
Scandal in Bohemia - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
writer and creator of Peter Pan Sir J.M. Barrie
was born as James Matthew Barrie in a weaver's
cottage in Kirriemuir, Angus in 1860.
To die will be an awfully big adventure.
Peter Pan (1928)
author of The Thirty-Nine Steps John
Buchan, was born in Perth, Perthshire in 1875.
John Buchan Society
poet Hugh MacDiarmid was born as Christopher
Murray Grieve in Langholm, Dumfriesshire in 1892. He died in Edinburgh
Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow in 1955. In 2009 she became the
first woman to hold the position of Poet
succeeding Andrew Motion who had held the post since 1999. Previously
held for life, the position of poet laureate is now restricted to
a 10-year period.