Scotland - The religion
Scotland became a protestant country at teh time of the Reformation, although the queen of Scotland, Mary Stuart, was a Roman Catholic. After the death of Elizabeth I, Mary Stuart’s son, James VI of Scotland, became James I of England. In this way the two countries were united for the first time under the same king. The union was final in 1707 with thw act of Union, when Scotland became part of Great Britain. Despites the Act of the Union the Highland of Scotland opposed rule in the 1700s. These families were known ac ‘clans’, and each was governed by a ‘clan chief’. Each wore a distinct tartan by which it could be recognised. The clans rebelled unsuccessfully against the English in 1715 and in 1745. The English treated the rebels with great cruelty, and tried to suppress their traditional way of life. The wearing of tartans was forbidden, as was the use of Gaelic, the traditonal language. Towards the end of the 1700s the clan chief realised that they could become wealthy by raising sheep for their wool. Sheep farming requires much less human labour than kinds of farming. So, the clan chiefs destroyed the old Highland way of life, and many Highland Scots left the country to settle in America, Australia and Canada.
During the twentieth century the Scottish economy was helped by the discovery of oil in the North sea. This discovery contributed to a revival of interest in Scottish independence. In a referendum in 1997 most Scot voted in favour of a Scottish Parliament, and in 1998 the Scottish Executive (whose official name was changed to the Scottish Government in 2007) and the Scottish Parliament were formed. Although Scotland is not independent, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament now decide all things previously decided in London. Today Scotland has an important tourist industry. Many ‘Scottish Americans’, the descendants of Highlanders who left Scotland during the Highland clearance of the past, come to explore their past. It is also a popular holiday destination for people from all over the world, who come to visit Scotland’s celebrated Highlands, lochs, golf courses, and samples its famous whiskies