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Scotland Scotland is a historically and culturally separate country from England. It has its own legal and educational systems and currency (the value is the same but banknotes have different design). Since 1999 they have had their own Parliament in Ediburgh, too. (Scotland’s first Parliament after nearly 300 years. The new Parliament and Executive were established following a referendum of the Scottish people in 1997. The 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament were elected in May 1999 for a fixed four-year term. Scotland is the country in the north of Great Britain beyond Hadrian’s Wall and it is part of the UK. It is divided into three natural regions: the Southern Uplands, the Central Lowlands and the Highlands and islands. A lot of places in Scotland are a natural paradise, still untouched by man. The landscape is very attractive with glens (narrow deep valleys), wild mountains and deep lochs. The capial is Edinburgh, well known for its castle and for the Edinburgh International Festival which is held every August. Most of Scotland’s 5 million inhabitants live in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen as this is where most of the jobs are. History Scotland has not always been part of the United Kingdom. The Scottish people had their own royal family and fought the English for centuries.In 1603 King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England and Scotland. He moved to London and this ended Scottish independence (personal union). In 1707, Scotland formally became part of the UK when the government of Scotland moved to Westminster, in London. Industry Traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding have declined, but the government has invested a lot of money in Scotland to develop it as an important European centre of computer production. Many of the large American and Japanese electronics companies have set up factories in southern Scotland and there are now many smaller Scottish companies which specialise in computer equipment. People have even started to call the area “Silicon Glen“. In the last 20 years the Scottish economy has benefited from oil and gas drilled from under the North Sea. Some traditional industries, such as high-quality tweeds and other textiles, as well as food and drink, remain important. There are 92 whisky distilleries, and whisky is a major export. Service industries have expanded and now employ over 70 per cent of workforce. The typical products of Scotland are: timber, whisky, slamon, bagpipes and tartans. About 80 per cent of the land area is used for agriculture. Most is grazing land for cattle and sheep. The main arable crop is barley, which is used for making whisky. Scotland accounts for over half of Britain’s forest area and just under half of its timber production. Scottish specificities Clans – the Gaelic name meaning extended families. Members of the same clan wear kilts with the same tartan. (kilt – a special pleated skirt, part of traditional Scottish dress, worn by men, tartan – a special woolen cloth with checked pattern) The Loch Ness Monster – Since 1934, thousands of people have claimed to have seen the monster. Scientists have investigated the loch and taken pictures, but no scientific explanation of the mystery has been given. Whisky – the name “whisky“ which means “water of life“ in Gaelic, is used only for Scotch whisky, i.e. whisky produced in Scotland. If it is produced in Ireland or the USA, it is spelt “whiskey“. Myths and mysteries – every castle has its ghost. Golf – the Scottish natonal sport and it originated there. They also have their own football team representing them on championships (the Olympics are the only exception) Hogmany – 31st Dec. Celebration (Auld Lang Syne “in memory of past times“, written by Robert Burns, is sung. Haggis, a typical Scottish dish is eaten. Language The official language spoken in Scotland is English, of course. Still, Scottish Gaelic, a language of Celtic origin, is even nowadays spoken by some people. Religion At the reformation in the 16th century many Scots became Protestants. The Presbyterian church of Scotland is the main protestant organization.
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