At the beginning of the 6th century, Scotland was ruled by Scottish kings and queens, but was divided between different groups of people: the Picts and Celts, who were the oldest inhabitants, the Scots, who came from Northern Ireland, the Britons, who were driven north by the Anglo-Saxon invaders of England, and the Angels, who originally came from what is now Germany. The Romans had left two centuries earlier.
England and Scotland were finally united when, in 1603, the son of Mary Queen of Scots became James I of England. This was because Mary’s cousin Elizabeth I of England had left no heir when she died.
Today Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and is governed from London. There is a special minister in the Government, the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is responsible for education, local government and other important matters in Scotland. Although the legal education and banking systems are slightly different from those in England, life is very similar to the rest of the United Kingdom.
Comprising an area of some 30,000 square miles (about 79,000 sq. km.) Scotland has a population of just over five million people of whom about one third live in the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.
All the inhabitants speak English although about 100,000 still speak Scottish Gaelic. Many of the Scottish accents of English are very strong, and visitors from abroad (or even England) sometimes have difficulty in understanding them.
In terms of physical geography Scotland can be divided into the Southern Uplands, which never rise to much more than about two thousand five hundred feet, the Central Lowlands, which include the valleys of the rivers Tay, Clyde and Forth, and the northern Highlands which are themselves divided by the Great-Glen which runs from Fort William to Inverness. In this area are the tallest peaks, the highest of which is Ben Nevis (4,406 ft high – about 1,342 m) in the Grampian Mountains. The Northern Highlands are sparsely populated but contain much of the most M beautiful and impressive loch, moorland, mountain and coastal scenery in the country.
Scotland is a very mountainous country; three-fourth of the area of Scotland is occupied by mountains with a great amount of moorland, in which few people live.
Scotland is famous for her beautiful large lakes with mountains, round them. They are not like the English ones; there are not so many trees and flowers, and green hills around them as || in England. There are many rivers in Scotland, but they are not long. The longest and the most important Scottish river is the Clyde.
Scottish steel has long been used chiefly by the heavy industries of the Glasgow area where shipbuilding has been paramount. For a time Clydeside was the most famous shipbuilding district in the world. Shipyards extended along both banks of the Clyde estuary for about 30 km.
Clydeside also benefited by having pioneered the building of ships. Foreign competition, which drove Britain from first to fourth place among shipbuilding nations, seriously affected Clydeside. In the 1970s, further beset by the economic crisis, Clydeside lost its place as the leading shipbuilding area in Britain.
Glasgow (715,600) is Scotland’s most populous city and third largest in the British Isles. It stands at the lowest bridging point on the river Clyde and has thus become the outstanding market centre for western Scotland, and commercially and industrially dominates Clydeside.
The industrial picture in Glasgow has rather changed. Engineering has not shrunk to the same extent as coal mining and shipbuilding. But nowadays practically as many workers are in the service industries as in manufacturing. Of the latter, textile and clothing production has long been important, and carpets are among woollen goods. Food products, furniture and office equipment are also manufactured. An activity which is extremely important in Scotland’s export trade is the blending of Scotch whisky produced in Highland distilleries.
Glasgow is also the home of two well-known football clubs, Glasgow Rangers and Celtic.
In the New Towns which emerged in the 1960s to the east of Glasgow new engineering industries developed, especially electronics.
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