Scottish people facts for kids
|c. 28–40 million worldwideA|
|Regions with significant populations|
Scotland 4,446,000 (2011)
(Scottish descent only)
|United StatesB||6,006,955 Scottish
|Isle of Man||2,403|
|English (Scottish English)
Scottish Gaelic • Scots
|Presbyterianism, Roman Catholicism, Episcopalianism; other minority groups; agnostics, deists and atheists.|
A These figures are estimates based on official
census data of populations and official surveys of
B Scottish Americans and Scotch-Irish Americans.
C Scottish Canadians.
D Scottish born people in England only
G Number of people born in Scotland.
Robert Burns is the national poet of Scotland.
The Scottish people (Scots: Scots Fowk; Scottish Gaelic: Albannaich) or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically, they emerged from an amalgamation of two Celtic-speaking peoples, the Picts and Gaels, who founded the Kingdom of Scotland (or Alba) in the 9th century. Later, the neighbouring Celtic-speaking Cumbrians, as well as Germanic-speaking Anglo-Saxons and Norse, were incorporated into the Scottish nation.
In modern usage, "Scottish people" or "Scots" is used to refer to anyone whose linguistic, cultural, family ancestral or genetic origins are from Scotland. The Latin word Scoti originally referred to the Gaels, but came to describe all inhabitants of Scotland. Considered pejorative, the term Scotch has also been used for Scottish people, primarily outside Scotland.
People of Scottish descent live in many countries. Emigration, influenced by factors such as the Highland and Lowland Clearances, Scottish participation in the British Empire, and latterly industrial decline and unemployment, have resulted in Scottish people being found throughout the world. Scottish emigrants took with them their Scottish languages and culture. Large populations of Scottish people settled the new-world lands of North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Canada has the highest level of Scottish descendants per capita in the world and the second-largest population of Scottish descendants, after the United States.
Scotland has seen migration and settlement of many peoples at different periods in its history. Germanic peoples, such as the Anglo-Saxons, arrived beginning in the 7th century, while the Norse settled parts of Scotland from the 8th century onwards. In the High Middle Ages, from the reign of David I of Scotland, there was some emigration from France, England and the Low Countries to Scotland. Some famous Scottish family names, including those bearing names which became Bruce, Balliol, Murray and Stewart, came to Scotland at this time. Today, Scotland is the second-largest and second most-populous country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the majority of people living there are British citizens.
The highest concentrations of people of Scottish descent in the world outside of Scotland are located in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada, Otago and Southland in New Zealand, the Falklands Islands, and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom.
Ethnic groups of Scotland
In the Early Middle Ages, Scotland saw several ethnic or cultural groups mentioned in contemporary sources, namely the Picts, the Gaels, the Britons, and the Angles, with the last of these settling in the southeast of the country. Culturally, these peoples are grouped according to language. Most of Scotland until the 13th century spoke Celtic languages, and these included, at least initially, the Britons, as well as the Gaels and the Picts. Germanic peoples included the Angles of Northumbria, who settled in south-eastern Scotland in the region between the Firth of Forth to the north and the River Tweed to the south. They also occupied the south-west of Scotland up to and including the Plain of Kyle. Their language, Old English, was the earliest form of the language which eventually became known as Scots.
Use of the Gaelic language spread throughout nearly the whole of Scotland by the 9th century, reaching a peak in the 11th to 13th centuries, but was never the language of the south-east of the country. King Edgar divided the Kingdom of Northumbria between Scotland and England; at least, most medieval historians now accept the 'gift' by Edgar. In any case, after the later Battle of Carham the Scottish kingdom encompassed many English people, with even more quite possibly arriving after the Norman invasion of England in 1066. South-east of the Firth of Forth, then in Lothian and the Borders (OE: Loðene), a northern variety of Old English, also known as Early Scots, was spoken.
As a result of David I, King of Scots' return from exile in England in 1113, ultimately to assume the throne in 1124 with the help of Anglo-Norman military force, David invited Anglo-Norman families from France and England to settle in lands he granted them to spread a ruling class loyal to him. This Davidian Revolution, as many historians call it, brought a European style of feudalism to Scotland along with an influx of people of French descent – by invitation, unlike England where it was by conquest. To this day, many of the common family names of Scotland can trace ancestry to Normans from this period, such as the Stewarts, the Bruces, the Hamiltons, the Wallaces and the Melvilles.
The Northern Isles and some parts of Caithness were Norn-speaking (the west of Caithness was Gaelic-speaking into the 20th century, as were some small communities in parts of the Central Highlands). From 1200 to 1500 the Early Scots language spread across the lowland parts of Scotland between Galloway and the Highland line, being used by Barbour in his historical epic The Brus in the late 14th century in Aberdeen.
From 1500 on, Scotland was commonly divided by language into two groups of people, Gaelic-speaking "Highlanders" (the language formerly called Scottis by English speakers and known by many Lowlanders in the 18th century as "Irish") and the Inglis-speaking "Lowlanders" (a language later to be called Scots). Today, immigrants have brought other languages, but almost every adult throughout Scotland is fluent in the English language.
|Numbers of the Scottish diaspora|
|Census Year||Population||% of the local
|2010 United States ACS||5,460,679||1.5|
|2010 U.S (Scotch-Irish)||3,257,161||1.1|
Today, Scotland has a population of just over five million people, the majority of whom consider themselves Scottish. In addition, there are many more people with Scots ancestry living abroad than the total population of Scotland.
In the 2013 American Community Survey 5,310,285 identified as Scottish and 2,976,878 as of Scots-Irish descent. Americans of Scottish descent outnumber the population of Scotland, where 4,459,071 or 88.09% of people identified as ethnic Scottish in the 2001 Census.
The number of Americans with a Scottish ancestor is estimated to between 9 and 25 million (up to 8.3% of the total US population), and "Scotch-Irish", 27 to 30 million (up to 10% of the total US population), but these subgroups overlap and are often not distinguishable.[is this intended as just through the paternal line, or simply any ancestor? If the latter, it looks like an under-estimate.] The majority of Scotch-Irish originally came from Lowland Scotland and Northern England before migrating to the province of Ulster in Ireland (see Plantation of Ulster) and thence, beginning about five generations later, to North America in large numbers during the 18th century.
As the third-largest ethnic group in Canada and amongst the first Europeans to settle in the country, Scottish people have made a large impact on Canadian culture since colonial times. According to the 2011 Census of Canada, the number of Canadians claiming full or partial Scottish descent is 4,714,970, or 15.10% of the nation's total population.
Many respondents may have misunderstood the question and the numerous responses for "Canadian" does not give an accurate figure for numerous groups, particularly those of British Isles origins. Scottish-Canadians are the 3rd biggest ethnic group in Canada. Scottish culture has particularly thrived in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia (Latin for "New Scotland"). There, in Cape Breton, where both lowland and highland Scots settled in large numbers, Canadian Gaelic is still spoken by a small number of residents. Cape Breton is the home of the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts. Glengarry County in present-day Eastern Ontario is a historic county that was set up as a settlement for Highland Scots, where many from the Highlands settled to preserve their culture in result of the Highland Clearances. Gaelic was the native language of the community since its settlement in the 18th century although the number of speakers decreased since as a result of English migration. As of the modern 21st century, there are still a few Gaelic speakers in the community.
John Kenneth Galbraith in his book The Scotch (Toronto: MacMillan, 1964) documents the descendants of 19th-century Scottish pioneers who settled in Southwestern Ontario and affectionately referred to themselves as 'Scotch'. He states the book was meant to give a true picture of life in the community in the early decades of the 20th century.
By 1830, 15.11% of the colonies' total non-Aboriginal population were Scots, which increased by the middle of the century to 25,000, or 20–25% of the non-Aboriginal population. The Australian Gold Rush of the 1850s provided a further impetus for Scottish migration: in the 1850s 90,000 Scots immigrated to Australia, far more than other British or Irish populations at the time. Literacy rates of the Scottish immigrants ran at 90–95%. By 1860, Scots made up 50% of the ethnic composition of Western Victoria, Adelaide, Penola and Naracoorte. Other settlements in New South Wales included New England, the Hunter Valley and the Illawarra.
Much settlement followed the Highland Potato Famine, Highland Clearances and the Lowland Clearances of the mid-19th century. In the 1840s, Scots-born immigrants constituted 12% of the non-Aboriginal population. Out of the 1.3 million migrants from Britain to Australia in the period from 1861 to 1914, 13.5% were Scots. Just 5.3% of the convicts transported to Eastern Australia between 1789 and 1852 were Scots.
A steady rate of Scottish immigration continued into the 20th century and substantial numbers of Scots continued to arrive after 1945. From 1900 until the 1950s, Scots favoured New South Wales, as well as Western Australia and Southern Australia. A strong cultural Scottish presence is evident in the Highland Games, dance, Tartan Day celebrations, clan and Gaelic-speaking societies found throughout modern Australia.
According to the 2011 Australian census, 130,204 Australian residents were born in Scotland, while 1,792,600 claimed Scottish ancestry, either alone or in combination with another ancestry. This is the fourth most commonly nominated ancestry and represents over 8.9% of the total population of Australia.
Significant numbers of Scottish people also settled in New Zealand. Approximately 20 percent of the original European settler population of New Zealand came from Scotland, and Scottish influence is still visible around the country. The South Island city of Dunedin, in particular, is known for its Scottish heritage and was named as a tribute to Edinburgh by the city's Scottish founders.
Scottish migration to New Zealand dates back to the earliest period of European colonisation, with a large proportion of Pākehā New Zealanders being of Scottish descent. However, identification as "British" or "European" New Zealanders can sometimes obscure their origin. Many Scottish New Zealanders also have Māori or other non-European ancestry.
The majority of Scottish immigrants settled in the South Island. All over New Zealand, the Scots developed different means to bridge the old homeland and the new. Many Caledonian societies were formed, well over 100 by the early twentieth century, who helped maintain Scottish culture and traditions. From the 1860s, these societies organised annual Caledonian Games throughout New Zealand. The Games were sports meets that brought together Scottish settlers and the wider New Zealand public. In so doing, the Games gave Scots a path to cultural integration as Scottish New Zealanders. In the 1961 census there were 47,078 people living in New Zealand who were born in Scotland; in the 2013 census there were 25,953 in this category.
Many people of Scottish descent live in other parts of the United Kingdom. In Ulster particularly the colonial policies of James VI, known as the plantation of Ulster, resulted in a Presbyterian and Scottish society, which formed the Ulster-Scots community. The Protestant Ascendancy did not however benefit them much, as the English espoused the Anglican Church. The number of people of Scottish descent in England and Wales is difficult to quantify due to the many complex migrations on the island, and ancient migration patterns due to wars, famine and conquest. The 2011 Census recorded 708,872 people born in Scotland resident in England, 24,346 resident in Wales and 15,455 resident in Northern Ireland.
Rest of Europe
Other European countries have had their share of Scots immigrants. The Scots have emigrated to mainland Europe for centuries as merchants and soldiers. Many emigrated to France, Poland, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands. Recently some scholars suggested that up to 250,000 Russian nationals may have Scottish ancestry.
A number of Scottish people settled in South Africa in the 1800s and were known for their road-building expertise, their farming experience, and architectural skills.
The largest population of Scots in Latin America is found in Argentina,
Scots in mainland Europe
It is said that the first people from the Low Countries to settle in Scotland came in the wake of Maud's marriage to the Scottish king, David I, during the Middle Ages. Craftsmen and tradesmen followed courtiers and in later centuries a brisk trade grew up between the two nations: Scotland's primary goods (wool, hides, salmon and then coal) in exchange for the luxuries obtainable in the Netherlands, one of the major hubs of European trade.
By 1600, trading colonies had grown up on either side of the well-travelled shipping routes: the Dutch settled along the eastern seaboard of Scotland; the Scots congregating first in Campvere—where they were allowed to land their goods duty-free and run their own affairs—and then in Rotterdam, where Scottish and Dutch Calvinism coexisted comfortably. Besides the thousands (or, according to one estimate, over 1 million) of local descendants with Scots ancestry, both ports still show signs of these early alliances. Now a museum, 'The Scots House' in the town of Veere was the only place outwith Scotland where Scots Law was practised. In Rotterdam, meanwhile, the doors of the Scots International Church have remained open since 1643.
The first Scots to be mentioned in Russia's history were the Scottish soldiers in Muscovy referred to as early as in the 14th century. Among the 'soldiers of fortune' was the ancestor to famous Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov, called George Learmonth. A number of Scots gained wealth and fame in the times of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. These include Admiral Thomas Gordon, Commander-in-Chief of Kronstadt, Patrick Gordon, Paul Menzies, Samuel Greig, Charles Baird, Charles Cameron, Adam Menelaws and William Hastie. Several doctors to the Russian court were from Scotland, the best known being James Wylie.
The next wave of migration established commercial links with Russia.
The 19th century witnessed the immense literary cross-references between Scotland and Russia.
A Russian scholar, Maria Koroleva, distinguishes between 'the Russian Scots' (properly assimilated) and 'Scots in Russia', who remained thoroughly Scottish.
There are several societies in contemporary Russia to unite the Scots. The Russian census lists does not distinguish Scots from other British people, so it is hard to establish reliable figures for the number of Scots living and working in modern Russia.
From as far back as the mid-16th century there were Scots trading and settling in Poland. A "Scotch Pedlar's Pack in Poland" became a proverbial expression. It usually consisted of cloths, woollen goods and linen kerchiefs (head coverings). Itinerants also sold tin utensils and ironware such as scissors and knives. Along with the protection offered by King Stephen in the Royal Grant of 1576, a district in Kraków was assigned to Scottish immigrants.
Records from 1592 mention Scots settlers granted citizenship of Kraków, and give their employment as trader or merchant. Fees for citizenship ranged from 12 Polish florins to a musket and gunpowder, or an undertaking to marry within a year and a day of acquiring a holding.
By the 17th century, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Scots lived in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Many came from Dundee and Aberdeen. Scots could be found in Polish towns on the banks of the Vistula as far south as Kraków. Settlers from Aberdeenshire were mainly Episcopalians or Catholics, but there were also large numbers of Calvinists. As well as Scottish traders, there were also many Scottish soldiers in Poland. In 1656, a number of Scottish highlanders who were disenchanted with Oliver Cromwell's rule went to Poland to join the service of the King of Sweden in his war against it. James Murray created the Polish navy and participated in the Battle of Oliwa. A series of four Polish novels include him as Captain Mora or Flying Scotsman. The writer Jerzy Bogdan Rychliński was supported by navy historian Jerzy Pertek.
The Scots integrated well and many acquired great wealth. They contributed to many charitable institutions in the host country, but did not forget their homeland; for example, in 1701 when collections were made for the restoration fund of the Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scottish settlers in Poland gave generously.
Many royal grants and privileges were granted to Scottish merchants until the 18th century, at which time the settlers began to merge more and more into the native population. "Bonnie Prince Charlie" was half Polish, since he was the son of James Stuart, the "Old Pretender", and Clementina Sobieska, granddaughter of Jan Sobieski, King of Poland. In 1691, the City of Warsaw elected the Scottish immigrant Aleksander Czamer (Alexander Chalmers) as its mayor.
Novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz created a fictional character, Hassling-Ketling of Elgin, played by Jan Nowicki in the film Colonel Wolodyjowski.
By 1592, the Scottish community in Rome was big enough to merit the building of Sant'Andrea degli Scozzesi (St Andrew of the Scots). It was constructed for the Scottish expatriate community in Rome, especially for those intended for priesthood. The adjoining hospice was a shelter for Catholic Scots who fled their country because of religious persecution. In 1615, Pope Paul V gave the hospice and the nearby Scottish Seminar to the Jesuits. It was rebuilt in 1645. The church and facilities became more important when James Francis Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender, set up residence in Rome in 1717, but were abandoned during the French occupation of Rome in the late 18th century. In 1820, although religious activity was resumed, it was no longer led by the Jesuits. Sant'Andrea degli Scozzesi was reconstructed in 1869 by Luigi Poletti. The church was deconsecrated in 1962 and incorporated into a bank (Cassa di Risparmio delle Province Lombarde). The Scottish Seminar also moved away. The Feast of St Andrew is still celebrated there on 30 November.
Gurro in Italy is said to be populated by the descendants of Scottish soldiers. According to local legend, Scottish soldiers fleeing the Battle of Pavia who arrived in the area were stopped by severe blizzards that forced many, if not all, to give up their travels and settle in the town. To this day, the town of Gurro is still proud of its Scottish links. Many of the residents claim that their surnames are Italian translations of Scottish surnames. The town also has a Scottish museum.
Images for kids
Massed pipebands at the Glengarry Highland Games, Ontario, Canada
Scottish people Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.