Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom to the north of England. The line of division between the two lies in the Cheviot Hills. Scotland consists of three regions. The southern uplands are just to the north of England. It’s an area of small towns quite far apart from each other whose economy depends mainly on sheep farming. North of the uplands, is the central plain. Farther north yet are the highlands, consisting of mountains such as the Grampians, deep valleys, and a number of islands off the west coast. Scotland has a low population of fewer than a million people. However, it consists of spectacular natural beauty and is about the same size as Southern England. The local economy depends a lot on tourism and the production of whiskey. Most of the population lives in the central plain and on the east coast. The official language is English though Gaelic and Scots are recognized as well.
The Kingdom of Scotland was an independent state until 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union, despite widespread protest across Scotland, resulted in a union with the Kingdom of England to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. Scotland's legal system continues to be separate from those of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland; Scotland still constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in public and in private law.
Scotland has two major cities. Glasgow is the third largest city in Britain. It’s associated with heavy industry and abominable housing conditions such as in the Gorbals district. Despite this, Glasgow has a strong artistic heritage. It’s even at the forefront of European design and architecture. Many immigrants from Ireland find Glasgow as a destination and the divisions in community reflect themselves in football. The two rival football teams in Glasgow are the Catholic and Protestant.
Edinburgh, the capital city, is half the size of Glasgow. It is one of Europe's largest financial centers. It was the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, which saw Scotland become one of the commercial, intellectual and industrial powerhouses of Europe. Comparatively to Glasgow, Edinburgh has a middle-class image. It is associated with scholarship, law, and administration. It is sometimes called “the Athens of the North” due to its fine historic buildings and the fat that there is a rock in the middle of the city with a castle on top of it. Contributing to its international fame is the annual Edinburgh Festival of the arts. It is known as a historic city partly due to kings and queens that lived there.
An interesting part of Scottish culture is the national dress: the kilt. The kilt is made up of 8 meters of tarpin cloth and looks like a skirt. The national instruments of Scotland are bagpipes. They are wooden pipes and a leather bag covered in tarpin. The poet and songwriter Robert Burns wrote in the Scots language. The writings of Sir Walter Scott and Arthur Conan Doyle were internationally successful during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. More recently, author J.K. Rowling has become one of the most popular authors in the world (and one of the wealthiest) through her Harry Potter series, which were originally written from a coffee-shop in Edinburgh.