Learn About Scotland

 


Learn about Scotland with our collection of interesting and fun facts and fabulous collection of worksheets, designed to engage the kids and encourage them to learn more and expand their knowledge.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
Eilean Donan Castle, overlooking the Isle of Skye in Scotland

A Little Geography

  • Scotland is part of the island of Great Britain, alongside England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is situated off the north-west coast of mainland Europe. It occupies roughly the northern third of Great Britain.
  • Apart from its land border with England, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by sea (the North Sea to the east, the Irish Sea to the southwest, and the Atlantic to the north and west).
  • The border with England runs for 96km from the Solway Firth to just north of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
  • Scotland has a varied landscape which can be roughly divided into three areas – lowlands, Highlands and islands. 
  • Scotland's total land area is 30,400 square miles or 78,800 square kilometres.
  • Ben Nevis in the Grampian Mountains is the highest mountain in all of the British Isles and stands at 4,409 feet above sea level.
  • Many islands line the coast of Scotland. In the north are two large groups, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands. Close to the west coast is the Inner and Outer Hebrides and the islands of Arran and Bute.

A Little History

  • Scotland has been inhabited for around 12,000 years, and the first known people were hunter-gatherers who hunted for fish and wild animals.
  • The first recorded history of Scotland begins in 43 AD, when the Romans invaded Britain. The Romans frequently tried to invade Scotland (Caledonia),  and built Hadrian's wall to defend the northern border and the Antonine Wall across Central Scotland to advance further. However, the Romans never truly conquered Caledonia. 
  • Around 800 AD, Vikings began migrating from Norway and Denmark to trade and settle in Scotland. While Vikings began to settle in the west, the Picts formed the Kingdom of Alba.
  • Scottish clan system became firmly established in the Highlands from the 1200s. These clans were like tribes and were made up of family members who had a loyalty to their chief, and each clan had their own clothes (this was the origin of Scottish clan tartan). 
  • In 1296, Edward I of England proclaimed himself the King of Scotland and the Scots rose against the English led by Sir William Wallace. Under his leadership, they defeated the English in battle at Stirling Bridge in 1297 and pursued them across the border, but Edward returned the following year defeating the Scots at Falkirk. Wallace was imprisoned and was executed.
  • Robert the Bruce followed in Wallace’s footsteps and fought against the English in 1314 at Bannockburn near Stirling Castle. 
  • In 1503, James IV of Scotland married Margaret the daughter of Henry VII of England. When he died the Scottish throne went to his daughter, Mary Stuart. In England, worried about the possibility of a Catholic plot against her, Elizabeth I imprisoned Mary and later had her executed.
  • Mary's son, James VI, took over the throne of Queen Elizabeth in England when she died, and Scotland and England were united under one single king, although Scotland still had its own parliament and government and was a separate state.
  • In 1707 the parliaments of both England and Scotland agreed to the Act of Union, establishing the Kingdom of Great Britain.

And Some Interesting facts

  • Golf was invented in Scotland, with St Andrews considered as the ‘home of golf’. The sport has been played there since the 15th century.
  • The first recorded appearance of the Loch Ness Monster occurred in 565 AD, when a " water beast " attacked one of St. Columba's followers in the loch. 
  • You may have heard of Nessie, but have you heard of Morag, the monster of Loch Morar? Loch Morar is even deeper than Loch Ness, and a female monster is said to have attacked two fishermen there in August 1969. The fishermen described the creature as around 30ft long with rough brown skin, three large humps and a snake-like head. 
  • Edinburgh, the capital city, was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade.
  • Famous Scottish inventions include the television, developed by John Logie Baird in 1925, the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 and penicillin, by Alexander Fleming in 1928.
  • The Bank of Scotland, founded in 1695, is the oldest surviving bank in the UK.
  • Scotland has approximately 790 islands, 130 of which are still inhabited.
  • Scotland has the shortest commercial flight in the world from Westray to Papa Westray in Orkney. The flight is 1.5 miles long and takes just 47 seconds.
  • The first official international football match was played in Scotland at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick in 1872, between Scotland and England.​
  • Scotland's national animal is a unicorn!

Our "Learn About Scotland" Resources

More About Scotland

Scotland Worksheets
Scotland Worksheets

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