“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The answer was “no”. The people of Scotland voted to decide if the area should be a separate nation or continue to be a part of the United Kingdom (UK). Scotland has been part of the UK for more than 300 years. However, some wanted Scotland to be its own independent nation. With the consent of the United Kingdom’s government, this vote was held on September 18, and the majority chose to stay with the UK.

In 1603, when the Queen of England, Elizabeth I (image), died, England and Scotland were independent kingdoms. The problem after her death was that she was not married and did not have any children. Who should the throne be passed on to? It went to her cousin James VI (also know as James I), who was the King of Scotland. He tried to unite the two kingdoms as they now shared the same monarch. However, he was not successful. Finally, over a hundred years later, in 1707, the two kingdoms united and were called the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

One of Scotland’s landmarks is the Eilean Donan, a castle first built in the 13th century. You can take a virtual tour of it here. Some famous people of Scottish origin are Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and Alexander Fleming, who discovered the antibiotic penicillin. The unicorn is the official animal of Scotland. One of Scotland’s famous myths is of the Loch Ness monster, a creature people claim to have seen in the water body called Loch Ness. Another is of the dog called Bobby. After his master’s death in the city of Edinburgh, he stayed at his master’s grave for 14 years until his own death in 1872. Some things associated with Scotland  (though their origins are from elsewhere) are bagpipes (a musical instrument), kilts (knee-length clothing), and tartans (a pattern of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical colors). Today, Scotland generates a lot of wealth because of its oil and gas reserves.

Do you ever feel confused when the UK is also referred to as “England” or “Britain”? What are the differences amongst the three? Well, the United Kingdom is made up of four main areas called Northern Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland. The part of the UK called Northern Ireland is located on the island of Ireland, an island that is shared with another country called the Republic of Ireland (and often just called Ireland). The other three parts are all part of the island known as the Great Britain. This explains why the full name of the United Kingdom is “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. (There are some more smaller islands that are part of the UK.)

Here are two videos about Scotland’s independence vote.



Did you know?

The current monarch of the United Kingdom is Queen Elizabeth II (age 88). Her son Prince Charles (age 65), is next in line, followed by his son Prince William (age 32), and then Prince William’s son, Prince George (age 1).

Image Credits: National Portrait Gallery, London for Queen Elizabeth I’s image, http://www.eastwestcareers.com/ for United Kingdom’s map, http://www.your-kilt.com/ for Scottish man’s image
Sources: http://www.parliament.uk/, http://www.eileandonancastle.com, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/, http://www.scotsman.com/, http://greyfriarsbobby.co.uk/