Scotland occupies one-third of Great Britain. It borders on England in the south. In the west and north it is washed by the Atlantic Ocean, and the North Sea washes its east coast. The country was initially called Caledonia.

The early human settlements in Scotland date from the 3rd millennium BC. The region was invaded by the Romans between AD 82 and AD 208.

By the middle of the 9th century the independent kingdoms of the area were united into a Celtic monarchy that existed until King Macbeth (1057). English influence was introduced into the country later. A revolt for independence broke out in Scotland in 1296 and ended in 1328, when Robert Bruce, its leader, was recognized as King Robert I of Scotland.

The Stuart monarchs who succeeded Bruce's son, David II, had close connections With France, England's enemy. With the beginning of the Scottish Reformation French influence and the Catholic church were attacked. In 1567 the Catholic monarch, Mary, Queen of Scots, had to abdicate the Scottish throne in favour of her son, James VI, who after the death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England, in 1603, succeeded the English throne as King James I. Scotland and England remained separate kingdoms until 1707 when the parliaments of both countries passed the Act of Union as a result of which Scotland became an integral part of the United Kingdom.

When Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch, died in 1714, the dynasty of Hanover ascended the British throne. Many Scots rebelled in 1715 and 1745, to restore Stuart pretenders to the British throne.

With the Industrial Revolution of the 1820s shipbuilding, coal mining, iron and steel production replaced traditional Scotland's industries. The late 20th century Scotland became a centre of electronics manufacturing and a base for the offshore extraction of petroleum from the North Sea fields.