Scotland’s 300 years of love-hate relationship with England
LONDON: Scotland, one of four nations that makes up the United Kingdom, has long had a lovehate relationship with England.
Tied to London for more than three centuries, it has traditionally maintained a solid rivalry with its larger neighbour.
Accounting for a third of the United Kingdom’s territory and 8.4 per cent of its population, much of its history has been defined by the relationship.
In 122AD, the Romans began constructing Hadrian’s Wall, parts of which still exist, to mark the empire’s northern border. Faced with Norse domination, the Picts and Scots were united under Kenneth MacAlpin, considered the first king of Scots, who died in 858.
But when the succession of his dynasty fell into question and England’s king Edward I was invited to arbitrate, he claimed suzerainty, invaded in 1296, and was nicknamed “Hammer of the Scots”.
The Wars of Scottish Independence lasted until 1357, though king Robert the Bruce had effectively established independence by defeating English forces at Bannockburn in 1314.
The 1502 Treaty of Perpetual Peace, signed by Scotland’s king James IV and England’s king Henry VII, sought to put an end to the intermittent Anglo-Scottish wars, and included a marriage between James and Henry’s daughter, Margaret.
That set the stage for the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when their great-grandson, king James VI, inherited the English throne from Queen Elizabeth.
The two countries remained separate states for more than a century until a languishing Scotland was crippled by a disastrous 1698 attempt to establish a colony of its own in Panama.
Unilateral tit-fortat English and Scottish moves over succession to the throne led in 1707 to a deal to form a united kingdom called Great Britain, also comprising Northern Ireland and Wales.
Modern-day Scotland continues to highlight its Celtic roots and the English language co-exists with Scots and Scottish Gaelic. It has also kept its own flag and a Scottish anthem is traditionally sung before its sports teams play.
Frustrated with domination by Westminster, Scottish nationalists founded the separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) in 1934.
In 1998, Scotland acquired a semi-autonomous status under the “devolution” process, including a Scottish Parliament. Competence for foreign policy and defence remain in London’s hands.
On Sept 18, 2014, more than four million Scots went to the ballot box in a first independence referendum, where 55 per cent voted against leaving the UK.
While the UK voted overall by 52 per cent to leave the European Union in a June 23 last year, Scots voted to remain in the European fold by 62 per cent, restoking the debate over independence. AFP year Scotland