Today Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and is governed from London. There is a special minister in the Government, the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is responsible for education, local government and other important matters in Scotland. Although the legal education and banking systems are slightly different from those in England, life is very similar to the rest of the United Kingdom.
Comprising an area of some 30 000 square miles Scotland has a population of just over five million people of whom about one third live in the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. All the inhabitants speak English although about 100 000 still speak Scottish Gaelic. Many of the Scottish accents are very strong and visitors from abroad sometimes have difficulties in understanding them.
Scotland is a very mountainous country; three-fourth of its area is occupied by mountains with a great amount of moor land, in which few people live. Scotland is famous for its beautiful lakes with mountains round them.
Scottish steel has long been used chiefly by the heavy industries of Glasgow area, where shipbuilding has been paramount.
People who live in Scotland are Scots. They are also called Scottish or Scotsmen. Scotsmen will be rather annoyed if you call them Englishmen. Every Scotsman belongs to a clan. A clan is a family group: all the people of the same family belong to the same clan. There are about 300 different clans in Scotland. A Scotsman's traditional clothes are socks, shoes, a kilt, a tie, a jacket and a bonnet. Some people in the north of Scotland wear a kilt every day. But in other parts of the country most Scottish people wear just the same clothes as the English. Scottish people like to dance very much. Glasgow has more dancing schools than any other European city.
The Scottish people have a reputation according to which they are the stingiest people in on earth. This is not true, of course, as anyone who visited Scotland will tell you. The Scottish people are very clever and simple, and they also have a natural sense of humour.