Country in Northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom
Top 10 Scotland related articles
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Prehistory
- 3 History
- 4 Geography and natural history
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Religion
- 7 Politics and government
- 8 Law and criminal justice
- 9 Health care
- 10 Economy
- 11 Military
- 12 Education
- 13 Culture
- 14 Media
- 15 Sport
- 16 Infrastructure
- 17 See also
- 18 References
- 19 Sources
- 20 Further reading
- 21 External links
|Ethnic groups |
List of ethnicities
|Government||Devolved parliamentary legislature within a constitutional monarchy[e]|
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|• Secretary of State||Alister Jack|
|• House of Commons||59 MPs (of 650)|
|9th century (traditionally 843)|
|17 March 1328|
|3 October 1357|
|1 May 1707|
|19 November 1998|
|77,933 km2 (30,090 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
• 2019 estimate
• 2011 census
|67.5/km2 (174.8/sq mi)|
|GDP (nominal)||2020 estimate|
|£161 billion |
• Per capita
very high · 4th
|Currency||Pound sterling (GBP; £)|
|Time zone||UTC (Greenwich Mean Time)|
• Summer (DST)
|UTC+1 (British Summer Time)|
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (AD)|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-SCT|
|Internet TLD||.scot [f]|
Scotland (Scots: Scotland, Scottish Gaelic: Alba [ˈal̪ˠapə] (
Scotland is divided into 32 administrative subdivisions or local authorities, known as council areas. Glasgow City is the largest council area in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. Limited self-governing power, covering matters such as education, social services and roads and transportation, is devolved from the Scottish Government to each subdivision. Scotland is the second largest country in the United Kingdom, and accounted for 8.3% of the population in 2012.
The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI of Scotland became king of England and Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain. The union also created the Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain entered into a political union with the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (in 1922, the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being officially renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1927).
Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles, titles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland. The legal system within Scotland has also remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland; Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in both public and private law. The continued existence of legal, educational, religious and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 incorporating union with England.
In 1999, a Scottish Parliament was re-established, in the form of a devolved unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, having authority over many areas of domestic policy. The head of the Scottish Government is the first minister of Scotland, who is supported by the deputy first minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the United Kingdom Parliament by 59 MPs. Scotland is also a member of the British–Irish Council, sending five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly, as well as being part of the Joint Ministerial Committee, represented by the first minister.
Scotland Intro articles: 51
Scotland comes from Scoti, the Latin name for the Gaels. Philip Freeman has speculated on the likelihood of a group of raiders adopting a name from an Indo-European root, *skot, citing the parallel in Greek skotos (σκότος), meaning "darkness, gloom". The Late Latin word Scotia ("land of the Gaels") was initially used to refer to Ireland, and likewise in early Old English Scotland was used for Ireland. By the 11th century at the latest, Scotia was being used to refer to (Gaelic-speaking) Scotland north of the River Forth, alongside Albania or Albany, both derived from the Gaelic Alba. The use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass all of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages.
Scotland Etymology articles: 9
Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period. It is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation. At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, and the main form of transport was by water.:9 These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, and the first villages around 6,000 years ago. The well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation, burial, and ritual sites are particularly common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BC.:38
Scotland Prehistory articles: 10
The first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands.:10 During the first millennium BC, the society changed dramatically to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.:11
The Roman conquest of Britain was never completed, and most of modern Scotland was not brought under Roman political control. The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD, when Agricola invaded Scotland; he defeated a Caledonian army at the Battle of Mons Graupius in 83 AD.:12 After the Roman victory, Roman forts were briefly set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands. Remains of Roman forts established in the 1st century have been found as far north as the Moray Firth. By the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan (r. 98–117), Roman control had lapsed to Britain south of a line between the River Tyne and the Solway Firth. Along this line Trajan's successor Hadrian (r. 117–138) erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England:12 and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, and they introduced Christianity to Scotland.:13–14:38
The Antonine Wall was built from 142 at the order of Hadrian's successor Antoninus Pius (r. 138–161), defending the Roman part of Scotland from the unadministered part of the island, north of a line between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth. The successful Roman invasion of Caledonia 208–210 was undertaken by emperors of the imperial Severan dynasty in response to the breaking of treaty by the Caledonians in 197, but permanent conquest of the whole of Great Britain was forestalled by the death of the senior emperor Septimius Severus (r. 193–211) while on campaign at Eboracum (York), and the Caledonians were again in revolt in 210–211. Forts erected by the Roman army of the Severan campaign were placed near those established by Agricola and were clustered at the mouths of the glens in the Highlands.
To the Roman historians Tacitus and Cassius Dio, the Scottish Highlands and the area north of the River Forth was called Caledonia. According to Cassius Dio, the inhabitants of Caledonia were the Caledonians and the Maeatae. Other ancient authors used the adjective "Caledonian" to pertain to anywhere in northern or inland Britain, often mentioning the region's people and animals, its cold climate, its pearls, and a noteworthy region of wooden hills (Latin: saltus) which the 2nd-century AD Roman philosopher Ptolemy, in his Geography, described as being south-west of the Beauly Firth. The name Caledonia is echoed in the place names of Dunkeld, Rohallion, and Schiehallion.
The Great Conspiracy against Roman rule in Britain in the later 4th century, in which the Scoti participated, was defeated by the comes Theodosius. The formation of a new province, called Valentia after the reigning emperor Valens (r. 364–378), which may have been in Scotland, resulted. Roman military government was withdrawn from the island altogether by the early 5th century, resulting in the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain and the immigration of the Saxons to southern Scotland and the rest of eastern Great Britain.
Beginning in the sixth century, the area that is now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland;:25–26 the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria, which had conquered southeastern Scotland;:18–20 and Dál Riata, founded by settlers from Ireland, bringing Gaelic language and culture with them.:20 These societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves (mostly captured in war) through the ninth century.:26–27
Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries.:23–24 Operating in the sixth century on the island of Iona, Saint Columba was one of the earliest and best-known missionaries.:39 The Vikings began to raid Scotland in the eighth century. Although the raiders sought slaves and luxury items, their main motivation was to acquire land. The oldest Norse settlements were in northwest Scotland, but they eventually conquered many areas along the coast. Old Norse entirely displaced Gaelic in the Northern Isles.:29–30
In the ninth century, the Norse threat allowed a Gael named Cináed mac Ailpín (Kenneth I) to seize power over Pictland, establishing a royal dynasty to which the modern monarchs trace their lineage, and marking the beginning of the end of Pictish culture.:31–32 The kingdom of Cináed and his descendants, called Alba, was Gaelic in character but existed on the same area as Pictland. By the end of the tenth century, the Pictish language went extinct as its speakers shifted to Gaelic.:32–33 From a base in eastern Scotland north of the River Forth and south of the River Spey, the kingdom expanded first southwards, into the former Northumbrian lands, and northwards into Moray.:34–35 Around the turn of the millennium, there was a centralization in agricultural lands and the first towns began to be established.:36–37
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with much of Scotland under the control of a single ruler and united by the Gaelic language, a modern nation-state first emerged, as did Scottish national consciousness.:38 The domination of Gaelic was diminished during the reign of David I (1124–53), during which many English-speaking colonists settled in Scotland.:39 David I and his successors centralized royal power:41–42 and united mainland Scotland, capturing regions such as Moray, Galloway, and Caithness, although he did not succeed at extending his power over the Hebrides, which had been ruled by various Scottish clans following the death of Somerled in 1164.:48–49 The system of feudalism was consolidated, with both Anglo-Norman incomers and native Gaelic chieftains being granted land in exchange for serving the king.:53–54 The Scottish kings rejected English demands to subjugate themselves; in fact, England invaded Scotland several times to prevent Scotland's expansion into northern England.:45
The death of Alexander III in March 1286 broke the succession line of Scotland's kings. Edward I of England arbitrated between various claimants for the Scottish crown. In return for surrendering Scotland's nominal independence, John Balliol was pronounced king in 1292.:47 In 1294, Balliol and other Scottish lords refused Edward's demands to serve in his army against the French. Scotland and France sealed a treaty on 23 October 1295, known as the Auld Alliance. War ensued, and John was deposed by Edward who took personal control of Scotland. Andrew Moray and William Wallace initially emerged as the principal leaders of the resistance to English rule in the Wars of Scottish Independence, until Robert the Bruce was crowned king of Scotland in 1306. Victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 proved the Scots had regained control of their kingdom. In 1320 the world's first documented declaration of independence, the Declaration of Arbroath, won the support of Pope John XXII, leading to the legal recognition of Scottish sovereignty by the English Crown. :70, 72
A civil war between the Bruce dynasty and their long-term rivals of the House of Comyn and House of Balliol lasted until the middle of the 14th century. Although the Bruce faction was successful, David II's lack of an heir allowed his half-nephew Robert II, the Lord High Steward of Scotland, to come to the throne and establish the House of Stewart.:77 The Stewarts ruled Scotland for the remainder of the Middle Ages. The country they ruled experienced greater prosperity from the end of the 14th century through the Scottish Renaissance to the Reformation,:93 despite the effects of the Black Death in 1349:76 and increasing division between Highlands and Lowlands.:78 Multiple truces reduced warfare on the southern border.:76, 83
Early modern period
The Treaty of Perpetual Peace was signed in 1502 by James IV of Scotland and Henry VII of England. James married Henry's daughter, Margaret Tudor. James invaded England in support of France under the terms of the Auld Alliance and became the last British monarch to die in battle, at Flodden in 1513. In 1560, the Treaty of Edinburgh brought an end to the Anglo-French conflict and recognized the Protestant Elizabeth I as Queen of England.:112 The Parliament of Scotland met and immediately adopted the Scots Confession, which signalled the Scottish Reformation's sharp break from papal authority and Roman Catholic teaching.:44 The Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate in 1567.
In 1603, James VI, King of Scots inherited the thrones of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Ireland in the Union of the Crowns, and moved to London. The first Union Jack was designed at James's behest, to be flown in addition to the St Andrew's Cross on Scots vessels at sea. James VI and I intended to create a single kingdom of Great Britain, but was thwarted in his attempt to do so by the Parliament of England, which supported the wrecking proposal that a full legal union be sought instead, a proposal to which the Scots Parliament would not assent, causing the king to withdraw the plan.
With the exception of a short period under the Protectorate, Scotland remained a separate state in the 17th century, but there was considerable conflict between the crown and the Covenanters over the form of church government.:124 The military was strengthened, allowing the imposition of royal authority on the western Highland clans. The 1609 Statutes of Iona compelled the cultural integration of Hebridean clan leaders.:37–40 In 1641 and again in 1643 the Parliament of Scotland unsuccessfully sought a union with England which was "federative" and not "incorporating", in which Scotland would retain a separate parliament. The issue of union split the parliament in 1648.
After the execution of the Scottish king at Whitehall in 1649, amid the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and its events in Scotland, Oliver Cromwell, the victorious Lord Protector, imposed the British Isles' first written constitution – the Instrument of Government – on Scotland in 1652 as part of the republican Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The Protectorate Parliament was the first Westminster parliament to include representatives nominally from Scotland. The monarchy of the House of Stuart was resumed with the Restoration in Scotland in 1660.
The Parliament of Scotland sought a commercial union with England in 1664; the proposal was rejected in 1668. In 1670 the Parliament of England rejected a proposed political union with Scotland. English proposals along the same lines were abandoned in 1674 and in 1685. The Battle of Altimarlach in 1680 was the last significant clan battle fought between highland clans. After the fall and flight into exile of the Catholic Stuart king, James VII and II the Glorious Revolution in Scotland and the Convention of Estates replaced the House of Stuart in favour of William III and Mary II who was Mary Stuart.:142 The Scots Parliament rejected proposals for a political union in 1689. Jacobitism, the political support for the exiled Catholic Stuart dynasty, remained a threat to the security of the British state under the Protestant House of Orange and the succeeding House of Hanover until the defeat of the Jacobite rising of 1745.
In common with countries such as France, Norway, Sweden and Finland, Scotland experienced famines during the 1690s. Mortality, reduced childbirths and increased emigration reduced the population of parts of the country about 10–15%. In 1698, the Company of Scotland attempted a project to secure a trading colony on the Isthmus of Panama. Almost every Scottish landowner who had money to spare is said to have invested in the Darien scheme.
After another proposal from the English House of Lords was rejected in 1695, and a further Lords motion was voted down in the House of Commons in 1700, the Parliament of Scotland again rejected union in 1702. The failure of the Darien Scheme bankrupted the landowners who had invested, though not the burghs. Nevertheless, the nobles' bankruptcy, along with the threat of an English invasion, played a leading role in convincing the Scots elite to back a union with England. On 22 July 1706, the Treaty of Union was agreed between representatives of the Scots Parliament and the Parliament of England. The following year, twin Acts of Union were passed by both parliaments to create the united Kingdom of Great Britain with effect from 1 May 1707 with popular opposition and anti-union riots in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and elsewhere. The newly formed Parliament of Great Britain rejected proposals from the Parliament of Ireland that the third kingdom be incorporated in the union.
With trade tariffs with England abolished, trade blossomed, especially with Colonial America. The clippers belonging to the Glasgow Tobacco Lords were the fastest ships on the route to Virginia. Until the American War of Independence in 1776, Glasgow was the world's premier tobacco port, dominating world trade. The disparity between the wealth of the merchant classes of the Scottish Lowlands and the ancient clans of the Scottish Highlands grew, amplifying centuries of division.
The deposed Jacobite Stuart claimants had remained popular in the Highlands and north-east, particularly amongst non-Presbyterians, including Roman Catholics and Episcopalian Protestants. However, two major Jacobite risings launched in 1715 and 1745 failed to remove the House of Hanover from the British throne. The threat of the Jacobite movement to the United Kingdom and its monarchs effectively ended at the Battle of Culloden, Great Britain's last pitched battle.
The Scottish Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution turned Scotland into an intellectual, commercial and industrial powerhouse – so much so Voltaire said "We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation." With the demise of Jacobitism and the advent of the Union, thousands of Scots, mainly Lowlanders, took up numerous positions of power in politics, civil service, the army and navy, trade, economics, colonial enterprises and other areas across the nascent British Empire. Historian Neil Davidson notes "after 1746 there was an entirely new level of participation by Scots in political life, particularly outside Scotland." Davidson also states "far from being 'peripheral' to the British economy, Scotland – or more precisely, the Lowlands – lay at its core."
In the Highlands, clan chiefs gradually started to think of themselves more as commercial landlords than leaders of their people. These social and economic changes included the first phase of the Highland Clearances and, ultimately, the demise of clanship.:32–53, passim
The Scottish Reform Act 1832 increased the number of Scottish MPs and widened the franchise to include more of the middle classes. From the mid-century, there were increasing calls for Home Rule for Scotland and the post of Secretary of State for Scotland was revived. Towards the end of the century Prime Ministers of Scottish descent included William Gladstone, and the Earl of Rosebery. In the late 19th century the growing importance of the working classes was marked by Keir Hardie's success in the Mid Lanarkshire by-election, 1888, leading to the foundation of the Scottish Labour Party, which was absorbed into the Independent Labour Party in 1895, with Hardie as its first leader.
Glasgow became one of the largest cities in the world and known as "the Second City of the Empire" after London. After 1860 the Clydeside shipyards specialised in steamships made of iron (after 1870, made of steel), which rapidly replaced the wooden sailing vessels of both the merchant fleets and the battle fleets of the world. It became the world's pre-eminent shipbuilding centre. The industrial developments, while they brought work and wealth, were so rapid that housing, town-planning, and provision for public health did not keep pace with them, and for a time living conditions in some of the towns and cities were notoriously bad, with overcrowding, high infant mortality, and growing rates of tuberculosis.
While the Scottish Enlightenment is traditionally considered to have concluded toward the end of the 18th century, disproportionately large Scottish contributions to British science and letters continued for another 50 years or more, thanks to such figures as the physicists James Clerk Maxwell and Lord Kelvin, and the engineers and inventors James Watt and William Murdoch, whose work was critical to the technological developments of the Industrial Revolution throughout Britain. In literature, the most successful figure of the mid-19th century was Walter Scott. His first prose work, Waverley in 1814, is often called the first historical novel. It launched a highly successful career that probably more than any other helped define and popularise Scottish cultural identity. In the late 19th century, a number of Scottish-born authors achieved international reputations, such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, J. M. Barrie and George MacDonald. Scotland also played a major part in the development of art and architecture. The Glasgow School, which developed in the late 19th century, and flourished in the early 20th century, produced a distinctive blend of influences including the Celtic Revival the Arts and Crafts movement, and Japonism, which found favour throughout the modern art world of continental Europe and helped define the Art Nouveau style. Proponents included architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
This period saw a process of rehabilitation for Highland culture. In the 1820s, as part of the Romantic revival, tartan and the kilt were adopted by members of the social elite, not just in Scotland, but across Europe, prompted by the popularity of Macpherson's Ossian cycle and then Walter Scott's Waverley novels. However, the Highlands remained poor, the only part of mainland Britain to continue to experience recurrent famine, with a limited range of products exported out of the region, negligible industrial production, but a continued population growth that tested the subsistence agriculture. These problems, and the desire to improve agriculture and profits were the driving forces of the ongoing Highland Clearances, in which many of the population of the Highlands suffered eviction as lands were enclosed, principally so that they could be used for sheep farming. The first phase of the clearances followed patterns of agricultural change throughout Britain. The second phase was driven by overpopulation, the Highland Potato Famine and the collapse of industries that had relied on the wartime economy of the Napoleonic Wars. The population of Scotland grew steadily in the 19th century, from 1,608,000 in the census of 1801 to 2,889,000 in 1851 and 4,472,000 in 1901. Even with the development of industry, there were not enough good jobs. As a result, during the period 1841–1931, about 2 million Scots migrated to North America and Australia, and another 750,000 Scots relocated to England.
After prolonged years of struggle in the Kirk, in 1834 the Evangelicals gained control of the General Assembly and passed the Veto Act, which allowed congregations to reject unwanted "intrusive" presentations to livings by patrons. The following "Ten Years' Conflict" of legal and political wrangling ended in defeat for the non-intrusionists in the civil courts. The result was a schism from the church by some of the non-intrusionists led by Dr Thomas Chalmers, known as the Great Disruption of 1843. Roughly a third of the clergy, mainly from the North and Highlands, formed the separate Free Church of Scotland. In the late 19th century growing divisions between fundamentalist Calvinists and theological liberals resulted in a further split in the Free Church as the rigid Calvinists broke away to form the Free Presbyterian Church in 1893. Catholic emancipation in 1829 and the influx of large numbers of Irish immigrants, particularly after the famine years of the late 1840s, mainly to the growing lowland centres like Glasgow, led to a transformation in the fortunes of Catholicism. In 1878, despite opposition, a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy was restored to the country, and Catholicism became a significant denomination within Scotland.
Industrialisation, urbanisation and the Disruption of 1843 all undermined the tradition of parish schools. From 1830 the state began to fund buildings with grants; then from 1846 it was funding schools by direct sponsorship; and in 1872 Scotland moved to a system like that in England of state-sponsored largely free schools, run by local school boards. The historic University of Glasgow became a leader in British higher education by providing the educational needs of youth from the urban and commercial classes, as opposed to the upper class. The University of St Andrews pioneered the admission of women to Scottish universities. From 1892 Scottish universities could admit and graduate women and the numbers of women at Scottish universities steadily increased until the early 20th century.
Caused by the advent of refrigeration and imports of lamb, mutton and wool from overseas, the 1870s brought with them a collapse of sheep prices and an abrupt halt in the previous sheep farming boom. Land prices subsequently plummeted, too, and accelerated the process of the so-called "Balmoralisation" of Scotland, an era in the second half of the 19th century that saw an increase in tourism and the establishment of large estates dedicated to field sports like deer stalking and grouse shooting, especially in the Scottish Highlands. The process was named after Balmoral estate, purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848, that fuelled the romanticisation of upland Scotland and initiated an influx of the newly wealthy acquiring similar estates in the following decades. In the late 19th century just 118 people owned half of Scotland, with nearly 60 per cent of the whole country being part of shooting estates. While their relative importance has somewhat declined due to changing recreational interests throughout the 20th century, deer stalking and grouse shooting remain of prime importance on many private estates in Scotland.
Scotland played a major role in the British effort in the First World War. It especially provided manpower, ships, machinery, fish and money. With a population of 4.8 million in 1911, Scotland sent over half a million men to the war, of whom over a quarter died in combat or from disease, and 150,000 were seriously wounded. Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig was Britain's commander on the Western Front.
The war saw the emergence of a radical movement called "Red Clydeside" led by militant trades unionists. Formerly a Liberal stronghold, the industrial districts switched to Labour by 1922, with a base among the Irish Catholic working-class districts. Women were especially active in building neighbourhood solidarity on housing issues. However, the "Reds" operated within the Labour Party and had little influence in Parliament and the mood changed to passive despair by the late 1920s.
The shipbuilding industry expanded by a third and expected renewed prosperity, but instead, a serious depression hit the economy by 1922 and it did not fully recover until 1939. The interwar years were marked by economic stagnation in rural and urban areas, and high unemployment. Indeed, the war brought with it deep social, cultural, economic, and political dislocations. Thoughtful Scots pondered their declension, as the main social indicators such as poor health, bad housing, and long-term mass unemployment, pointed to terminal social and economic stagnation at best, or even a downward spiral. Service abroad on behalf of the Empire lost its allure to ambitious young people, who left Scotland permanently. The heavy dependence on obsolescent heavy industry and mining was a central problem, and no one offered workable solutions. The despair reflected what Finlay (1994) describes as a widespread sense of hopelessness that prepared local business and political leaders to accept a new orthodoxy of centralised government economic planning when it arrived during the Second World War.
During the Second World War, Scotland was targeted by Nazi Germany largely due to its factories, shipyards, and coal mines. Cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh were targeted by German bombers, as were smaller towns mostly located in the central belt of the country. Perhaps the most significant air-raid in Scotland was the Clydebank Blitz of March 1941, which intended to destroy naval shipbuilding in the area. 528 people were killed and 4,000 homes totally destroyed.
Perhaps Scotland's most unusual wartime episode occurred in 1941 when Rudolf Hess flew to Renfrewshire, possibly intending to broker a peace deal through the Duke of Hamilton. Before his departure from Germany, Hess had given his adjutant, Karlheinz Pintsch, a letter addressed to Hitler that detailed his intentions to open peace negotiations with the British. Pintsch delivered the letter to Hitler at the Berghof around noon on 11 May. Albert Speer later said Hitler described Hess's departure as one of the worst personal blows of his life, as he considered it a personal betrayal. Hitler worried that his allies, Italy and Japan, would perceive Hess's act as an attempt by Hitler to secretly open peace negotiations with the British.
As in World War I, Scapa Flow in Orkney served as an important Royal Navy base. Attacks on Scapa Flow and Rosyth gave RAF fighters their first successes downing bombers in the Firth of Forth and East Lothian. The shipyards and heavy engineering factories in Glasgow and Clydeside played a key part in the war effort, and suffered attacks from the Luftwaffe, enduring great destruction and loss of life. As transatlantic voyages involved negotiating north-west Britain, Scotland played a key part in the battle of the North Atlantic. Shetland's relative proximity to occupied Norway resulted in the Shetland bus by which fishing boats helped Norwegians flee the Nazis, and expeditions across the North Sea to assist resistance.
Scottish industry came out of the depression slump by a dramatic expansion of its industrial activity, absorbing unemployed men and many women as well. The shipyards were the centre of more activity, but many smaller industries produced the machinery needed by the British bombers, tanks and warships. Agriculture prospered, as did all sectors except for coal mining, which was operating mines near exhaustion. Real wages, adjusted for inflation, rose 25% and unemployment temporarily vanished. Increased income, and the more equal distribution of food, obtained through a tight rationing system, dramatically improved the health and nutrition.
After 1945, Scotland's economic situation worsened due to overseas competition, inefficient industry, and industrial disputes. Only in recent decades has the country enjoyed something of a cultural and economic renaissance. Economic factors contributing to this recovery included a resurgent financial services industry, electronics manufacturing, (see Silicon Glen), and the North Sea oil and gas industry. The introduction in 1989 by Margaret Thatcher's government of the Community Charge (widely known as the Poll Tax) one year before the rest of Great Britain, contributed to a growing movement for Scottish control over domestic affairs. Following a referendum on devolution proposals in 1997, the Scotland Act 1998 was passed by the British Parliament, which established a devolved Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government with responsibility for most laws specific to Scotland. The Scottish Parliament was reconvened in Edinburgh on 4 July 1999. The first to hold the office of first minister of Scotland was Donald Dewar, who served until his sudden death in 2000.
The Scottish Parliament Building at Holyrood opened in October 2004 after lengthy construction delays and running over budget. The Scottish Parliament's form of proportional representation (the additional member system) resulted in no one party having an overall majority for the first three Scottish parliament elections. However, the pro-independence Scottish National Party led by Alex Salmond achieved an overall majority in the 2011 election, winning 69 of the 129 seats available. The success of the SNP in achieving a majority in the Scottish Parliament paved the way for the September 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. The majority voted against the proposition, with 55% voting no to independence. More powers, particularly in relation to taxation, were devolved to the Scottish Parliament after the referendum, following cross-party talks in the Smith Commission.