| Robin Millard |
LONDON (AFP) – Scotland is home to nearly 5.3 million people, mostly concentrated in the southern lowlands, and its territory extends up to the Shetland Islands which are closer to the Norwegian coast than to Edinburgh.
Here is a factfile ahead of the independence referendum on September 18:
Population and Cities
Population (2011): 5,295,400
Biggest city: Glasgow
Other cities: Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Perth, Stirling.
Flag: Saint Andrew’s Cross (white saltire on a blue field)
Patron saint: Saint Andrew
National day: November 30, Saint Andrew’s Day
National anthem: None. “Flower of Scotland” commonly used at sporting events.
Floral emblem: Thistle
National heroes: Robert the Bruce (king),
Robert Burns (poet), William Wallace
Area: 78,772 square kilometres (30,414 squaremiles)
Highest point: Ben Nevis (1,344 metres/4,409 feet)
Longest river: River Tay (193 kilometres/119 miles)
Largest lake: Loch Lomond
Largest island: Lewis and Harris (Outer
Island groups: Orkney, Shetland, Outer
Hebrides, Inner Hebrides.
Borders: England (154 kilometres/96 miles)
World heritage sites: the Antonine Wall, the
Roman empire’s northernmost frontier; the
Orkney Islands’ neolithic monuments; New
Lanark cotton mill village; the Old and New
Towns of Edinburgh; the abandoned island of
Main ethnic groups: According to the 2011
census: White Scottish (84 per cent); White
other British (7.9 per cent); Other White (1.9
per cent); White Polish (1.2 per cent); White
Irish (1.0 per cent); Pakistani (0.9 per cent);
Black or Caribbean Scottish (0.12 per cent)
Main religions: Church of Scotland (32.4 per
cent); Roman Catholic (15.9 per cent); other
Christian (5.5 per cent); Islam (1.4 per cent);
Hinduism (0.3 per cent).
Recognised languages: English, Gaelic
(spoken by 1.1 per cent), Scots.
Life expectancy at birth: female – 80.1 years;
male – 75.3 years.
Currency: pound sterling
Gross domestic product: £130 billion
(£24,300 per capita) on-shore; £148
billion (£27,700 per capita) including
geographical share of off-shore activity –
about the same as Austria.
Growth: 1.0 per cent during the first quarter
of 2014; 2.6 per cent on same period last year.
Unemployment (January-March): 6.4 per
Biggest employer worldwide: First Group
(bus and train firm), 120,000.
Biggest turnover: SSE (electricity distribution
and supply) £31,724 million, Royal Bank of
Scotland £28,937 million.
Total value of exports (2012): £26 billion,
excluding oil and gas.
Top export: Whisky (£4.3 billion)
Top export destinations (2012): Rest of UK,
United States, Netherlands, France, Germany,
Oil and gas: Projected revenues from the
offshore energy industry, with the Scottish
government predicting up to £38.7 billion
over the next five years.
Britain is forecasting £17.6 billion.
122: Romans construct Hadrian’s Wall.
858: Death of Kenneth MacAlpin, king of the
Picts and founder of the dynasty that ruled
Scots for centuries to come.
1296-1357: Wars of Independence with
1314: King Robert the Bruce defeats the
English forces at Bannockburn, establishing
de facto independence.
1560: Protestant reformation.
1603: Union of the Crowns. King James VI of
Scotland, from the House of Stuart, becomes
James I of England too.
1707: Acts of Union: England and Scotland
merge to form Kingdom of Great Britain with
one crown and one parliament.
1999: Reconstituted Scottish Parliament
meets for first time, following referendum.
2014: Referendum on Scottish independence.
Government And Politics
UK head of state: Queen Elizabeth II
UK prime minister: David Cameron
First minister: Alex Salmond (Scottish
Deputy FM: Nicola Sturgeon (SNP)
Main parties in the 129-seat Scottish
parliament: SNP (65); Labour (38);
Matters devolved to Edinburgh: Health,
justice, education, agriculture, environment,
Matters reserved for London: Finance,
defence, energy, foreign affairs,
constitution, civil service, immigration,
transport, pensions, social security, transport.
Food: Haggis, shortbread, porridge, fish
and chips, Scotch broth, Arbroath smokies,
smoked salmon, neeps and tatties, oatcakes,
scones, Dundee cake.
Drink: Whisky, Irn-Bru (soft drink),
Drambuie, McEwan’s beer, Tennent’s lager.
Cultural events: Burns Night, Edinburgh
Festival, Edinburgh International Film
Festival, Highland Games, Hogmanay, Royal
Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Royal
Highland Show, T in the Park, Up Helly Aa.
National daily newspapers: Daily Record, The
Herald, The Scotsman.
TV stations: STV, BBC Alba (Gaelic-language).
Famous philosophers and scientists:
Alexander Flaming, discoverer of
penicillin; Adam Smith, the forefather of
liberal economics, and David Hume, a
leading Enlightenment philosopher.
Famous actors: Sean Connery, Ewan
McGregor,Gerard Butler, Tilda Swinton,
Robert Carlyle, Robbie Coltrane, Billy
Connolly, James McAvoy.
Famous musicians: Bay City Rollers, Belle
and Sebastian, Susan Boyle, Franz
Ferdinand, Annie Lennox, Primal Scream,
The Proclaimers, Simple Minds, Travis,
Wet Wet Wet.
Main sports: Football, rugby union, golf.
Leading sports clubs: Celtic, Rangers
(football); Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors
(rugby union); The Royal and Ancient Golf
Club of St Andrews; Edinburgh Athletic Club.
Famous sports stars: Andy Murray, Alex
Ferguson, Chris Hoy, Jackie Stewart,
Colin Montgomerie, Kenny Dalglish.
Reigning Olympic champions: Tim Baillie
(canoeing); Scott Brash (equestrian);
Chris Hoy (cycling); Katherine Grainger
(rowing); Andy Murray (tennis);
Heather Stanning (rowing).