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Scotland, UK Description
Scotland is the most northern of the UK's four constituent countries, occupying roughly one-third of the island. In the 5th century CE, Irish Celts settled on the west coast of Britain, naming it "Scotland." Scotland's name comes from the Latin Scotia, meaning "land of the Scots." Caledonia is a term frequently used to refer to Scotland, particularly in poetry. Caledonii was the Roman name for a tribe that lived in what is now northwest Scotland.
Scotland's harsh climate and extreme weather conditions have made it difficult for many generations to live there, but they have cherished it for its natural beauty and unique culture. During the Scottish Enlightenment, philosophers like Francis Hutcheson and Adam Smith forged important contributions to political and practical theories of progress. Scottish inventors, engineers, and businessmen like Alexander Graham Bell, James Watt, Andrew Carnegie, and John McAdam helped Scotland's influence far beyond its borders.
Scotland-England relations have been strained since the two countries united in 1707 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Despite heavy English influence, Scotland has long maintained its independence, clinging to historical fact and legend to preserve national identity and the Scots dialect of English.
Geographical Description of Scotland
The Aegean, Atlantic, North, and English Channels border Scotland's southern, western, and northern borders, as well as its eastern border. The west coast is dotted with large islands ranging in size from small rocks to the massive Lewis and Harris, Skye, and Mull landmasses (sea lochs or fjords). Orkney and Shetland islands are located north of Scotland. 274 miles (441 kilometers) from Cape Wrath to the Mull of Galloway, and 154 miles wide from Applecross in the western Highlands to Buchan Ness in the eastern Grampians. Scotland's mainland has two halves: north and south (248 km). With only 30 miles of land separating the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth, Scotland's two major estuarine inlets on its west and east coasts, from the sea, the vast majority of places are within 40 to 50 miles (65 to 80 kilometers) of the sea.
The Highlands are in the north, the Midland Valley (Central Lowlands) is in the middle, and the Southern Uplands are in the south. (The latter two are part of the Lowlands cultural region, which includes the former two.) Low-lying areas run the length of the Midland Valley and the US east coast. The east coast's smoother outline contrasts with the west coast's rugged outline, resulting in a topographic as well as a north-south divide. The Glen Mor (Glen Albyn) fault line separates the Highlands from the rest of the country. To the north of Glen Mor is an ancient plateau eroded into a series of peaks of similar height separated by glens carved by glaciers (valleys). The Lewisian Complex rocks have been worn down by severe glaciation to form a hummocky landscape punctuated by small lochs and protruding rocks from thin, acidic soil. The magnificent Torridonian sandstone mountains have weathered into sheer cliffs, rock terraces, and pinnacles.
The Grampian Mountains are located southeast of Glen Mor, though there are intrusions such as the Cairngorm Mountains' granitic masses. The Grampians are less rocky and rugged than the Northwest Mountains, being more rounded and grassy, with larger plateau areas. The area has some of Britain's highest mountains, including Ben Nevis (4,406 feet), which has cliffs and pinnacles that make climbing difficult (1,343 metres). Rannoch Moor, a desolate expanse of bogs and granitic rocks punctuated by narrow, deep lochs such as Rannoch and Ericht, is the most striking example (Rannoch Moor is the most striking of these). The Highland Boundary Fault runs northeast-southwest from Stonehaven, just south of Aberdeen, to Helensburgh on the River Clyde, passing through Loch Lomond, Scotland's largest freshwater body. The southern boundary of the Midland Valley is divided by a fault that runs from northeast to southwest, beginning with the Lammermuir and Moorfoot hills. It's misleading to call this part of Scotland the Lowlands because, while it's low compared to other parts of Scotland, it's not flat. Volcanic hills like the Sidlaws, Ochils, Campsies, and Pentlands dominate the landscape (579 metres). The Southern Uplands are not as high as the Highlands. Glaciation has created narrow, flat valleys that divide rolling mountains into sections. The gently sloping, grassy, and rounded hills just east of Nithsdale open up into fertile Merse farming land to the south. With time, the landscape west of Nithsdale becomes more rugged, with granitic intrusions around Loch Doon, and the soil becomes more peaty and wet. Merrick's high moorlands and hills can support a sheep farm at 2,766 feet (843 metres) above sea level. The uplands slope down to the Solway Firth's coastal plains in the south and the machair and Mull of Galloway in the west.
The Economy of Scotland
As a result of the problems that plagued many European countries during the 1970s and 1980s, including the widespread failure of heavy industries, Scotland's economy suffered greatly during this period. Unemployment became a significant issue, particularly in areas where major industries were in decline at the same time. A variety of measures were implemented by successive governments to improve the situation. Because of the extraction of North Sea oil and natural gas, as well as the development of high-technology industries and other economic sectors, Scotland's economy began to prosper during the 1980s.
Scotland's economy remains small but open, accounting for approximately 5% of the total export revenue of the United Kingdom. Aside from London and the eastern regions of England, no other region in the United Kingdom has a higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita than the West Midlands, and its unemployment rate is relatively low. To be sure, wealth distribution in Scotland is not evenly distributed, and the average unemployment rate conceals pockets of significantly higher unemployment in specific regions and localities. Scottish economic development, education, and training are all overseen by the Scottish Parliament, despite the fact that the British government has control over macroeconomic policy in the country. This includes central government spending, interest rates, and monetary policy in Scotland.