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Brief History of Scotland

Scotland is a country that covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain and is part of the United Kingdom. Its capital city is Edinburgh but the largest city is Glasgow. The language used for communication across all the ethnic groups is English. A brief history of Scotland would be of much use to tourists visiting the country, students, historians and other interested parties.


Long time ago in the beginning of times the entire landmass of present day Scotland was covered with repeated glaciations which had made this country inhabitable. Because of this, it is hard to tell whether there was any habitation of humans before and slightly after the Mesolithic times. As the ice retreated after the final glaciation, post- glaciation hunters and gatherers inhabited the land. This was at around 12,800 years ago and they started constructing houses from local stones where they dwelt and this village of Skara Brae dates since then. Much of the prehistory of Scotland is not documented, however, after the Roman invasion the history of this country has since then been documented.

Roman Invasion

By the end of the 1st century, the Romans had somehow conquered the southern part of Britain which was occupied by the Brythonic tribes and somehow had control over it. However, for Scotland which was by then referred to as Caledonia, being filled and controlled by extremely brave warriors this was not the case. In the AD84 the Romans led by their general Julius Agricola engaged in a battle with these warriors with the aim of conquering their land at a place called The Grampian Mountains (Mons Graupius) and they won. Most of the Caledonians bowed down to the Roman ruling. However, there was some resistance to this ruling by the northern tribes and this led to them building the Hadrian’s Wall. During the 4th century, after continued attacks of this wall and death of Emperor Septimius Severus, the invasion of the Romans came to an end as they had to vacate the land.

Early Middle Ages (6th-14th Century)

By the 6th century, a group people called the Scots from Ireland invaded Scotland and settled in Argyll. After their settlement they founded the Dalriada kingdom. Initially during the 5th century, missionaries had already started making converts of Christianity and by the 7th century Christianity had already made roots in the whole of Scotland.

During the 8th century, Angels invaded the southeast of this country to as far as Edinburgh and Dunbar. In the early 9th century there was another invasion by the Vikings who conquered and settled in the Hebrides, Sutherland, Caithness and western coast of the country. In the 10th century after Malcolm III took over leadership, Norman’s influence was greatly being felt in Scotland after they conquered England and their ways were greatly promoted in the Scottish court following his marriage to Margaret, an English woman. Following a sequence of events which led to some English officials being installed to govern the country after Edward withdrew there rose a rebellion against this governance.

During the 13th century, after a long time of rebellion and increased battles between the English and the residents of Scotland, the Scottish independence was assured after the defeat of the English. Regardless of signing of treaties between the two resistant forces, the intermittent war between the English Scots continued during the late 14th and 15th centuries.

Late Middle Ages (16th-20th Century)

In the 16th century, during the reign of James IV, who restored order to the nation, Aberdeen University and the first printing press in Edinburgh came to be. During his reign, he invaded England and where he met his defeat and untimely death. By the late 16th century, James VI became king after the demise of Elizabeth I. The history of Britain merged with that of Scotland in the early 19th century. During this time there was emigration by the Highlanders, ship building, booming of industries and rapid growth of Scottish cities. Railways were built across the nation with one being built from Glasgow to Edinburgh in the mid 19th century. By the end of 19th century, formation of powerful trade unions by Scottish workers boomed.

During the early 20th century, traditional industries suffered depression due to unemployment. Following a nationalist movement in 1928, The National Party of Scotland was formed. However in the mid 20th century, during the Second World War employment opportunities were restored. A party called The Scottish National Party was also formed from The National Party of Scotland in 1934 and the first SNP Member of Parliament was elected. During the late years of this century, service industries and new high technology grew and the nation gained its own parliament in 1999.

21st Century

The Scottish National Party won a majority in the parliament in 2011. In 2014 a majority of the Scots voted against independence.

Next Blog: Historical Sights Top See In Scotland

Discover Scotland's hidden treasures. Book a campervan now. Call +44 (0)131 653 5023



Roseisle Luxury Campervans

My wife and daughter aged 5 and myself just spent one week driving through Scotland. The Landscape, the Scottish People and this particular travelling mode are a great combination. Apart from the last night in Edinburgh we camped "wild", which is very unproblematic in this country. The car was extremely comfortable, starting with the 2x2 m bed, toilet, shower (!!), heating, etc.. The Roseisle-Crew is efficient, professional and very likeable, with a personal way of dealing with the customer. I can recommend this firm without any Reservation. A Kammermeier.


Discover Scotland's hidden treasures. Book a campervan now. Call +44 (0)131 653 5023