Name of the stateless nation: Scotland
State or states this nation belongs to: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
1. Physical and human environment
Area 78,772 km2
Altimetric zones (% of total surface)
No data available
Biogeographical regions (1) (% of total surface)
Land use (% of total surface)
Inner waters and wetlands 3% (2)
Forests and open spaces 17.5% (3)
Agricultural land 71.5% (4)
Urban and artificial areas 8% (5)
Kenneth MacAlpin is regarded as the founder of the medieval Kingdom of Scotland in 843. The Alpin dynasty was succeeded by the House of Dunkeld and several others during the Medieval and Modern ages, through which they managed to rule most of present day Scotland. Under the Kingdom of Scotland, the Estates of Parliament (own legislature of the country) developed. Being established ca. 1235, three estates were represented: prelates, nobles and representatives of royal burghs. It was disbanded 1st May 1707, at the time of the Acts of Union by which the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England were merged into one single state.
Even being a part of the UK, Scotland kept its own legal system, both in public and private law. It also retained separate educational and religious institutions. Although there was a social and cultural split between the Highlands and Lowlands in the 18th century, Scottish nationalism began to establish a modern idea of Scotland during the 19th century. The rise of Romanticism helped in blurring the Highland-Lowland divide by elevating Highlander symbols to the category of Scottish national symbols. Even the creation of would-be national symbols such as a Scottish national football team helped Scotland to enter the 20th century with a well-defined image of itself, distinguished from an English-based British identity.
Also in the mid-19th century a political movement calling for the restitution of some sort of political autonomy began to take shape in Scotland. This led to the introduction of an autonomy bill in Westminster in 1913, which nonetheless was interrupted by the start of World War I. In 1934, Scottish nationalism gave birth to the first pro-independence political party in Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP).
1: European Environmental Agency.
2: Scottish National Heritage (1980).
3: Forestry Commission (2010).
4: Scottish Government (2011).
5: Yearbook of the Office for National Statistics (2005).
Capital city Edinburgh
Name of President / Prime Minister / Other Nicola Sturgeon (Prime Minister)
Political status as part of the State Self-governing country of the United Kingdom
Competences attributed / recognized by the State
Health, education and training, local government, social work, housing, planning, tourism, economic development and financial assistance to industry, some aspects of transport, including the Scottish road network, bus policy and ports and harbours, law and home affairs, including most aspects of criminal and civil law, the prosecution system and the courts, the Police and Fire services, the environment, natural and built heritage, agriculture, forestry and fishing, sport and the arts, and statistics, public registers and records.
Reserved powers by the State
(a) the Crown, including succession to the Crown and a regency, (b) the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England, (c) the Parliament of the United Kingdom, (d) the continued existence of the High Court of Justiciary as a criminal court of first instance and of appeal, (e) the continued existence of the Court of Session as a civil court of first instance and of appeal. (1)
Still, “the United Kingdom Parliament retains authority to legislate on any issue, whether devolved or not. It is ultimately for Parliament to decide what use to make of that power. However, the UK Government will proceed in accordance with the convention that the UK Parliament would not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters except with the agreement of the devolved legislature. The devolved administrations will be responsible for seeking such agreement as may be required for this purpose on an approach from the UK Government.” (2)
Scottish Parliament (unicameral, 129 members), with legislative capacity
Scottish Courts, including the Court of Session (supreme civil court), High Court of Justiciary (supreme criminal court), Sheriff Courts (criminal and civil courts) and Justice of the Peace Courts (lay court). (3)
Committee of Regions, as a part of the UK delegation. (4)
British-Irish Council (aimed at promoting relationships between Britain, Ireland, Man and the Channel Islands)
British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (aimed at fostering understanding between members of the legislatures of UK, Rep. of Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Man, Jersey and Guernsey)
Offices of the Scottish government in Brussels, Washington and Beijing
Scottish Development International (23 offices in the world, devoted to economic exchange, attract foreign investments...) (6)
VisitScotland (tourism agency, offices around the world)
Territorial and local organization (counties, provinces, districts, municipal bodies, etc.)
Scotland is divided into 32 unitary local authorities, which are responsible for the provision of a range of public services. Each one is governed by a directly elected council.
Main Political Parties
Political parties having (or having had in the past) representatives at the national level
Scottish National Party (SNP). Social democracy, pro-independence
Scottish Green Party (SGP). Green politics, pro-independence
Scottish Socialist Party (SSP). Socialist, pro-independence
Scottish Labour Party. Social democracy, pro-autonomy unionist
Scottish Liberal Democrats. Liberalism, pro-autonomy unionist
Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party. Conservatism, unionist
Nationwide political parties having (or having had in the past) representatives at the local level
Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement. Socialist, pro-independence
Nationalist organizations of civil society
Yes Scotland http://www.yesscotland.net/
(2012) Official pro-independence campaign group, which is led by Prime Minister Alex Salmond himself. The organization is trying to convince Scots about the benefits of Scottish independence.
Scottish Independence Convention http://www.scottishindependenceconvention.org/
(2005) Group established on a non-party basis with the goal of promoting Scottish independence.
Independence for Scotland www.independenceforscotland.com
(2012) Organization established with the goal of rallying people in several demonstrations in support of independence.
Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association (GUSNA) http://gusnaforscotland.blogspot.com
(1297) Student organization and forerunner of the National Party of Scotland, GUSNA has been promoting the idea of Scottish independence in Glasgow since its establishment.
Siol nan Gaidheal http://www.siol-nan-gaidheal.org/
(1978) Nationalist organization that focuses its action in the recovery of the Celtic, non English, character of Scotland.
The Society of William Wallace http://www.thesocietyofwilliamwallace.com/
Organization dedicated to upholding the memory of William Wallace in a way that helps in the advance of the right of Scotland to self-governance.
Crann Tara http://www.cranntara.org.uk
(2005) Organization established with the aim of preserving and maintaining the history, culture and heritage of Scotland so that the national character of the country gets strengthened.
1: The National Archives of the United Kingdom.
2: Memorandum of Understanding and Supplementary Agreements Between the United Kingdom Government, the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers, and the Northern Ireland Ministers (2011).
3: Scottish Courts.
4: Committee of the Regions.
5: Scottish Government International Framework.
6: Scottish Development International.
Total population 5,522,100
Density 66.29 inh.//km2
Urban population 81.9%
In the capital city 9.48%
In other major cities 43,4% (2)
Annual growth 5‰
Net migration rate 4‰ (2)
Men: 75.8 years
Women: 80.3 years
1: Registar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends (2010).
2: General Register Office for Scotland (2011)
Language areas (whether vernacular or not)
Scottish Gaelic: speakers mainly concentrated in the Outer and Inner Hebrides and Western Highlands.
Scots: speakers mainly concentrated in the Lowlands (Eastern and Southern areas of Scotland).
English: speakers are found all across the country.
Number and percentage of speakers of each vernacular language over the total population
Scottish Gaelic: 58,700 (1.2%) (1)
Scots: 1,600,000 (31.5%) (2)
Official languages and languages recognized by the authorities
in the territory of the nation
English, Scottish Gaelic (official status), Scots (officially recognized)
Vernacular languages of the nation which are official in or recognized by the state
Scottish Gaelic, Scots (both officially recognized by the UK under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages)
National vernacular languages official or recognized outside the state (by other states and/or by international organizations)
Scots (official recognition in Northern Ireland)
Scottish Gaelic (official recognition by the EU via Memorandum of Understanding signed by EU and UK in 2009) (3)
Use of vernacular languages
In public administration (4)
Gaelic: “Certain local administrative authorities and other public bodies have developed Gaelic policies, but these tend to be limited in scope. Thus the local authority for the Western Isles, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has established a bilingual policy for its operations, but it has no real strategic plan to institutionalise bilingualism or make Gaelic-medium services systematically available to the public.”
Scots: “Following the decline of Gaelic in Lowland Scotland from the twelfth century onwards, Scots became the language of administration and commerce before gradually losing its prestige from the sixteenth century due to Anglicising forces (see Millar 2005). Although arguably much more widely spoken than Gaelic today, provision for Scots is minimal, and efforts on its behalf tend to focus overwhelmingly on corpus planning and literary matters.”
In justice (4)
Gaelic: “There is nothing in the [Gaelic Language (Scotland)] Act  establishing rights to receive, or obligations to deliver, Gaelic education or to use Gaelic in the courts; indeed, the Act creates no language rights at all.“
The same can be said about Scots.
Gaelic: The number of pupils who are in Gaelic Medium Education at primary school level was 2,418 in the school year 2011/2012. 730 children registered in Gaelic nurseries in 2011/12.
When it comes to Gaelic as a subject, there were 1,104 fluent speakers taking Gaelic as a subject at secondary school in the school year 2011/2012, and 2,643 learners taking Gaelic as a subject in the same year. There are 3,747 high school pupils taking Gaelic classes (2011/2012). (5)
Scots: Not taught as a specific subject. (6)
In place names (toponymy)
All place names in Scotland have their own forms in Gaelic. Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA, Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland) is the national advisory partnership for Gaelic place-names in Scotland.
Gaelic road and street signs are widespread in the Highlands and the Hebrides. (7)
In cultural production (books, movies)
Bòrd na Ghàidlig has some generic information on the role of Gaelic in the cultural sphere on http://www.gaidhlig.org.uk/bord/en/our-work/arts.php
IMDb film database lists 4 Gaelic-language films produced since 1935, 9 of them since 1982. (8)
In the media and the internet
Gaelic: “The use of Gaelic in print media and in publishing is rather less impressive than the position in broadcasting. [...] The only all-Gaelic newspaper, An Gàidheal Ùr, comes out on a monthly basis [...]. Gaelic articles appear twice a week in the nationally distributed Scotsman newspaper and once a week in the Highland edition of the Aberdeen Press and Journal and approximately half a dozen local papers. Gaelic periodicals are very scarce: the long-running Gaelic quarterly Gairm published its last issue in autumn 2002, and its replacement Gath has appeared less regularly.
Book publishing is on a very small scale, a few dozen titles a year, with almost no adult non-fiction being produced. Considerable emphasis has been placed on books for children and teenagers in recent years [...]
“The Gaelic presence on the Internet has expanded rapidly [...including] scores of personal web pages and ‘blogs’ in Gaelic (many of them from outside Scotland) and Gaelic-language sections on web-based encyclopedias. When the growth of e-mail is also taken into account, Gaelic may well be more widely written than ever before.” (4)
Speakers of other languages
No official data for the general population; the record of main home language of pupils in publicly funded schools in 2011 showed Polish, Urdu, Punjabi, Arabic and Cantonese to be the most spoken languages (other than English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic). (9)
1: General Register Office for Scotland. Scotland Census 2001. Gaelic Report.
2: The Scottish Government. Audit of Current Scots Language Provision in Scotland (2009).
3: The Scottish Office.
4: McLeod, Wilson (2006) Gaelic in contemporary Scotland: contradictions, challenges and strategies. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies.
5: Bòrd na Ghàidhlig.
6: British Council. Language Rich Europe.
7: Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba.
8: IMDb, http://www.imdb.com/search/title?languages=gd&sort=moviemeter,asc&title_type=feature
9: Pupils in Scotland 2011 – National Statistics.
5. Transport infrastructure (1)
Five airports operate international flights as of 2012: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Prestwick, Aberdeen and Inverness. Scotland has a total of 38 airdromes.
High speed railways
Density of transport infrastructure
Roads and motorways
140 km / 1000 km2
212 km / 100,000 inhabitants
35 km / 1000 km2
53 km / 100,000 inhabitants
Trans-border connections (Number of trans-border connections for each kind of transport infrastructure / kilometres of border line) (2)
Road: 14 / 154 km = 1 every 11 km
Rail: 2/154 km = 1 every 77 km
Trading ports (more than 1 million tons per year) (3)
Stanraer, Cairnryan, Clyde, Glensalda, Orkney, Sullom Voe, Cromarty Firth, Peterhead, Aberdeen, Dundee and Forth
1: Transport Scotland (2012).
2: Scottish Government (2009).
3: Ports and Harbours of the UK http://ports.org.uk/allportstext.asp
6. Education and culture
Educational attainment of the adult population (%; aged 16 and over) (1):
No attainment at all 12.6%
Lower secondary 19.8%
Upper secondary 27.2%
Culture (expenditure per person / year) €10,108 per household (2)
Museums, libraries, etc.
Other cultural goods or services
Musical works published:
1: Scottish Government (2009).
2: Scottish National Accounts Project of the Scottish Government (2011).
7. Armed and police forces in its territory (Number of troops and police officers)
Army 3,300 (1)
Navy 4,200 (1)
Air force 4,600 (1)
State police There is a number of special police bodies having specific jurisdictions, such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the British Transport Police and others
National police 17,267 (2)
Local police No local police forces.
1: Scotland Office Background Paper (2010).
2: Scottish Govrenment (2014).
Currency British pund sterling (GBP). Three Scottish banks issue specific banknotes for Scotland: the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank
GDP (in million €) 124,296 (1)
Annual growth GDP 1.5% (2)
GDP per capita (€) 23,653 (3)
Composition of GDP (3)
Agriculture 2.59% (4) Industry 20.56% Services 64.50%
* Scottish official figures include a further 15,345 £ (2011) under the title “taxes, less subsidies, on products”, which amounts to 12.35% of the GDP.
Inflation rate Not calculated for Scotland, only UK data available
Unemployment rate 8.2% (5)
Energy balance (thousands of TOE) and energy import coverage rate
Energy production (thousands of TOE) (6)
Natural gas 18.9%
Petroleum products 2.1%
Energy consumption (thousands of TOE)
Imports (mill €)
Exports (mill €) 80,784
Trade balance (+ mill €) and import coverage rate (%)
1: Scottish National Accounts Project of the Scottish Government (2011).
2: Scottish Government.
4: Including mining.
5: StatsWales – Quarterly Unemployment Rate (2012).
6: Department of Energy and Climate Change UK (2009).
7: Scotland's Global Connections Survey 2010. Gas and oil export are not included.
9. National symbols
Saint Andrew's Cross or Saltire
Coat of arms
There is no official coat of arms outside the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom as used in Scotland.
The traditional coat of arms of the Kingdom of Scotland used to be this one, though it has no official use in our days.
There is no official national anthem of Scotland. “God Save the Queen” is the official anthem of the United Kingdom and thus it is used as an official anthem in Scotland when required.
In sporting events, “Flower of Scotland” is played and sung as the national anthem of Scotland, usually in its English language version:
1. O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen.
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's army,
And sent him homeward
To think again.
2. The hills are bare now,
And autumn leaves lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now,
Which those so dearly held
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
To think again.
3. Those days are past now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again!
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
To think again.
There are also versions in Scots and Gaelic. Full texts can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower_of_Scotland