The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia’s article on the nation of Scotland.
Visit http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotland for the entire article.
Scotland (/ˈskɒt.lənd/; Scots: [ˈskɔt.lənd]; Scottish Gaelic: Alba [ˈal̪ˠapə]) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England to the south, and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the south-west. In addition to the mainland, the country is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
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, King of Scots, became King of England and King of 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 Treaty of Union was agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union 1707, passed by the Parliaments of both kingdoms, despite popular opposition and anti-union riots in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and elsewhere.) The union also created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. (In 1801, Great Britain itself entered into a political union with the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the Parliament of Ireland merging with that of Great Britain to form the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Since the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, the United Kingdom has comprised Great Britain and Northern Ireland).
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 union with England.
Edinburgh, the country's capital and second-largest city, was the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, which transformed Scotland into one of the commercial, intellectual, and industrial powerhouses of Europe. Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, was once one of the world's leading industrial cities and now lies at the centre of the Greater Glasgow conurbation. Other major urban areas are Aberdeen and Dundee. Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union. This has given Aberdeen, the third-largest city in Scotland, the title of Europe's oil capital.
Following a referendum in 1997, 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 Scottish National Party, (SNP), which supports Scottish independence, won an overall majority in the 2011 Scottish Parliament general election and legislated for an independence referendum which was held on 18 September 2014; a majority of 55% to 45% rejected independence on an 85% voter turnout. The UK Conservative Party won an overall majority in the 2015 UK general election and legislated for a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union which was held on 23 June 2016; within Scotland, a majority of 62% to 38% rejected withdrawal from the EU on a 67% voter turnout. Scotland is represented in the UK Parliament by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs. Scotland is also a member nation of the British–Irish Council, and the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly.