This essay focuses on the political, economic, and cultural history of ancient, medieval, industrial, and contemporary Scotland from the 8th millennium BCE to 2016. It is based on four lectures written for the participants in Stanford Travel/Study’s Scottish Highlands by Rail, April 30-May 9, 2012.
I begin by looking at the settlement of ancient Scotland – how its Mesolithic and Neolithic peoples subsisted, how the Britons, Picts, and Scots conquered and settled Scotland, and how Viking raids and settlement influenced Scotland. I then examine why the year 1560 was a turning point in Scottish history, how medieval Scotland’s economy changed, and why Scotland and England united in 1707. I next analyze
imperial Scotland (1707-1914) – how Scotland became a heavy industrial power, why Scotland had clearances and enclosures, and why 2.6 million Scots emigrated. Lastly, I turn to modern Scotland (1914-present) – its economic transformation from industry to services, the parties that dominated Scottish governments, and the role of the Scottish Parliament since devolution in 1998. I append a time line, a bibliography, and a description of sites that I visited in Scotland.
Mesolithic and Neolithic Settlers, Celtic Migrations, Roman Incursions and Anglo-Saxon Migrations, Viking Incursions and Unification of Scotland, Medieval Scotland, Struggle for Independence, Stuart Dynasty, Medieval Scottish Economy, Union with England, Imperial Scotland, Scottish Trade and Enlightenment, Scottish Manufacturing, Scottish Agriculture and Clearances, Scottish Emigration, Modern Scotland, Political Transitions, Scottish Parliament, Glasgow, Spean Bridge and Fort William, Wemyss Bay and Isle of Bute, Edinburgh, Invergordon, Scotland, Skara Brae, Maes Howe, and Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, Fair Isle and Mousa Island, Shetland Islands, Scotland, Jarlshof, Shetland Islands