The northern portion of the Isle of Britain, together with most of the smaller islands. The Scots as a people are a composite of northern Irish Gael, northern Anglo-Saxon, Norman, Norwegian, and native Caledonian, or Pict. A small land and thinly populated, her skeptical and occasionaly dour children are legendary the world over as soldiers, merchants, doctors, explorers, engineers, and inventors; any trade, in fact, that requires considerable self-discipline combined with a flare of creativity.

Contains: Angus, Argyll, Arran, Atholl, Barra, Buchan, Bute, Caithness, Carrick, DalRiada, Douglas, Dunbar, Fife, Galloway, Gododdin, Hebrides Isles, Iona, Islay, Lennox, Lewis and Harris, Lochaber, Lochow, Lord of the Isles, Lorne, Lothian, Mar, Mearns, MenteithMoray, Mull, the Orkney Isles, the Picts, Rockall, Ross, St. Andrews, St Kilda, Scotland, Selcovia, the Shetland Isles, Skye, Strathclyde, Strathearn, Strathnaver, Strathspey, and Sutherland.


A region in eastern Scotland, comprising highlands in the west, descending across the Vale of Strathmore to the North Sea in the east. The chief town is Forfar. Associated from the late 14th century with the Douglas Clan, it has hosted a notable series of lords who have left a very powerful impact on Scottish history.

ARGYLL Western Scotland, comprising the Firth of Clyde, the Mull of Kintyre, and the highlands northward from thence, and facing the Inner Hebrides.

A large island in the Firth of Clyde, 70 miles (112 km.) west of Glasgow.

ATHOLL A mediaeval Scottish province, successively a mormaerdom, earldom, a marquisate, and a dukedom of Scotland. Atholl is located around the Tilt river valley in central Scotland, with the Firth of Tay to the southeast and Loch Ness to the northwest. The traditional center of the province was Blair Castle. The present Duke of Atholl maintains the only private army in Europe – the Atholl Highlanders.

BARRA (Gael. Barraigh, Eilean Bharraigh)
A predominantly Gaelic-speaking and Roman Catholic island located near the southern end of the Outer Hebrides, the last land of any size in the archipelago in that direction before the open sea - only the little islets of Vatersay, Sandray, Pabbay, Mingulay, and finally Berneray extend further.

BUCHAN An ancient Pictish kingdom, then a Scottish principality, located in the fertile lowlands of eastern Aberdeenshire.

An island at the north end of the Firth of Clyde, some 5 miles (8 km.) northeast of the Isle of Arran.

CAITHNESS The northernmost tip of mainland Scotland. Caithness' population is a mixture of pre-Celtic, Celtic, and Norse elements. The region has a long tradition of independence, even while nominally within one kingdom or another.

CARRICK A region in the north of Galloway, the home of the Bruce dynasty.

DalRIADA The Scots were originally an extended clan located in Northern Ireland, the Gens DalRiada. During the troublous 5th century CE, this group migrated as a nation out of Ireland, and into what is nowadays Argyllshire. Here, they established a kingdom, and commenced extending their control in piecemeal fashion, first into Perthshire, then Lothian, then north into Mar and the Highlands. This brought them into immediate conflict with the native Caledonian population, the Picts. The ensuing wars were an epic whose fury we can only dimly hear at this distance, but the eventual result was the amalgamation of the Pictish and Scottish peoples into a single nation.

A feudal barony in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. Its Scoto-Norman lords (ultimately earls) were extremely powerful in mediaeval Scotland. The town of Douglas (with Douglas Castle immediately to the northeast) is 8½ miles (13½ km.) south-southwest of Lanark city, and about 26 miles (42 km.) southeast of Glasgow.

FIFE Former sub-kingdom and later earldom in eastern Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay. It contains Saint Andrews, seat of Scotland's oldest university and the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland until the Reformation.

GALLOWAY (Gallgeidhael) District in the south-west of Scotland, comprising the counties of Kirkcudbright and Wigtown. It was the Novantia of the Romans, and until the end of the 12th century included Carrick, now the southern division of Ayrshire. Though the designation has not been adopted civilly, its use historically and locally has been long established.

The HEBRIDES The Hebrides comprise a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of Scotland, and in geological terms are composed of the oldest rocks in the British Isles. The archipelago can be divided overall into two main groups: the Inner Hebrides which include Skye, Mull, Islay, Jura, Staffa, Iona, and the Small Isles, and the Outer Hebrides which include Lewis and Harris, Berneray, North Uist, South Uist, Barra, and St Kilda. The Hebrides were historically tied with the Norse settlements in northern and western Scotland. The Norsemen called these islands the "Sudreys" or "South Islands" as opposed to the Nordreys (Orkney and Shetland). See also, generally, Argyll, Isle of Man, Orkney Isles, Shetland Isles. Note as well, Rockall, in the Hebridean Atlantic.

IONA Island off the coast of western Scotland, Just off the southwestern tip of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides. Iona is also known as Ioua, its Pictish name, or as Innis nam Druineach (“ Island of the Cunning Workmen”) or Hy (its Saxon designation). Druids are supposed to have come here to escape the persecution of Imperial Rome, and to have founded a library on the island. In 410 Irish mercenaries in the service of Alaric the Goth added to that library by bringing back books from the plunder of Rome. The island is famous as the early center of Celtic Christianity. St. Columba,  with his companions, landed there from Ireland in 563. They founded a monastery, which was burned by the Danes in the 8th or 9th cent. Iona was a bishopric from 838 to 1098. In 1203 a Benedictine monastery, of which there are remains, was established. The cathedral, formerly the Church of St. Mary, dates from the early 13th cent. The cemetery of St. Oran's Church contains the graves of dozens of monarchs and other lords from Northumbria, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, and France.

ISLAY (pronounced "AI-la"; Scottish Gaelic: Ìle) An island in the Hebrides, the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides. It lies in Argyll just to the west of Jura and around 25 miles (40 km.) north of the Irish coast, which can be seen on a clear day. It is probably best-known worldwide for the many local whiskey distilleries located here.

Scots Gaelic: Leamhnachd) The district of Lennox, often known as "the Lennox", is a region of Scotland centered on the village of Lennoxtown in East Dunbartonshire, eight miles north of Glasgow. It was a medieval Gaelic mormaerdom and at various times in history has been an earldom and a dukedom.

 The largest of the Hebrides Islands (thus making it an extremely distant third place behind Britain and Ireland in the British Isles as a whole), and the most northerly in both Hebridean chains, the two isles are a single unit geographically - but Harris, connected to Lewis at a single narrow point (the Tarbert Isthmus), is typically regarded as a separate island.

A district in western Scotland, located between the Grampian Mountains to the southeast, and Glen More to the northwest, with Badenoch to the east and the head of Loch Linnhe to the southwest. The highest mountain in Scotland, Ben Nevis, is here; the chief town is Fort William.

LOTHIAN Southeastern Scotland; the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, including the modern capital of Edinburgh.

A region in eastern Scotland, in early times comprising the basin of the River Dee from the highlands near Balmoral to the sea - in later centuries the territory evolved into an interior district behind coastal Aberdeenshire involving Alford, Correnie Forest, and the high country between the River Dee and the River Don.
There are, as it happens, two separate and distinct Earldoms of Mar. At the death of the ninth Earl of Mar and eleventh Earl of Kellie in 1866, the Earldom of Kellie and the family's estates passed to Walter Erskine, a cousin of the late Earl, and his heir male. However, it was assumed that Mar itself passed to John Francis Goodeve, the late Earl's nephew, and his heir general. (An heir-male is an heir in a male line, while an heir-general is an heir in either the male or female line. The terms do not refer to the gender of the holder.) Goodeve changed his name to Goodeve Erskine; his claim was generally recognized... except by the Earl of Kellie, who petitioned the House of Lords, asking that the Earldom of Mar be declared his. He died before it could be considered, but his son renewed the petition, and the Lords referred it to their Committee on Privileges. The petition made a number of claims, but the essence of it was that Mar was a territorial title rather than a title of peerage and was therefore "indivisible." (In other words, the territory could not be separated from the title.), and that the creation of Mar in 1565 was not a revival but a new title - a peerage rather than a territorial lordship.
Goodeve Erskine disagreed - he portrayed the Crown's attachment of territorial Mar as an illegal seizure and that since the true earls and their heirs never agreed to terminate their claim, that Queen Mary I's 1565 grant was a restitution of the old territorial Earldom rather than a new creation, and so he should be regarded as the rightful heir, being the late Earl of Mar's heir-general. The House of Lords Committee on Privileges ruling (in 1875) pleased no-one but the Kellies, and was widely regarded as a miscarriage - they said that the Earldom of Mar was newly created in 1565, passing only to heirs-male, and therefore belonged to the Earl of Kellie, and not to Goodeve Erskine. The controversy and antagonism would not fade, and eventually, a parliamentary bill was enacted (The Earldom of Mar Restitution Act 1885 [48 & 49 Vict.]) which declared that because of the doubts relating to the 1565 creation, it would be assumed that there are two Earldoms of Mar. The Earldom created in 1565 would be held by the Earl of Kellie. The ancient Earldom, however, was declared to be still in existence, and was given to John Goodeve Erskine. For the purposes of precedence, it is assumed that the Earldom held by Goodeve Erskine's heirs was created in 1404, when the Stewart annexation took place.

Mearns is a region along the east coast of Scotland, south of the Dee River and north of Angus. The Mormaerdom of Mearns is the most obscure medieval Scottish Mormaerdom. It is known only from one source, which relates that Máel Petair, Mormaer of Mearns, killed Donnchad II.  It is probable that by the time Mormaers begin to be consistently attested, i.e. roughly between 1150 and 1250, Mearns was absorbed by the crown and not regranted.

Scots Gaelic: Tèadhaich) is a district of south Perthshire in central Scotland. It roughly comprises the territory between the Teith and the Forth. The region is named for the river Teith, but the exact sense is unclear, early forms including Meneted, Maneteth and Meneteth. Menteith is one of the mormaerdoms that made up the old Pictish kingdom.

MORAY Northeastern Scotland; the fertile coastal regions from the northern approach to Loch Ness in the west, to Aberdeen in the east.

An island - the second largest after Skye - in the Inner Hebrides, at the entrance to Loch Linnhe.

ORKNEY The Orkney Isles, an archipelago off the north coast of Britain, were in the control of the Kings of Norway for many centuries, but produced a notable series of Jarls who have left an indelible imprint on Scottish history. The following list attempts to trace them, although it must be admitted that it is in a very tentative and confused state. One of the few sources is the Orkneyinga Saga, which is quite eloquent, but omits dates for the most part; these must be supplied, where they can at all, by indirect means.

THE PICTS  The Pictish people were an early folk living in what is now Scotland. The seem to have been Celts, but of a very different strain than the Goidelic and Brythonic sorts in the rest of Britain. A matrilineal people, very little is known about them today. Their language was never transcribed, so all we have of it are some proper names, some of which show signs of Celticization. Their name for themselves is unknown; the Romans coined the term "Picti", meaning "the painted ones, the ones who tattoo themselves", and walled off Caledonia from the rest of Britain, since they could not conquer it. After the withdrawal of the legions, Goidelic Celts began invading Caledonia, touching off a 400 year war with the Picts. During this time, the Picts became loosely organized in a ramshackle kingdom, which this list memorializes. In this era, the Picts gradually came to resemble their opponents more and more. Christianity was introduced, and Scots Gaelic developed as a dominant language. Eventually, the Scots were able to suborn the Picts by marrying Pictish royal women, inheriting the kingdom, and passing it on to their patrilineal heirs. This was tried several times, the Picts overthrowing the alien monarch each time. Eventually though, the Scots were successful. Nevertheless, the Picts have retained a strong grip on the imagination of succeeding generations, albeit the fact that even the Scots themselves didn't know their opponent's name; the Gaels simply refered to them as "An Cruithain", Scottish for "the painted ones, the ones who tattoo themselves"...

ROSS An earldom in northwestern Scotland.

ST. ANDREWS A town in Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, the seat of the Primate of Scotland during the Middle Ages and early modern times. A center of Celtic Christianity since the 6th century, the abbot of Kilrymont was raised to the status of a Bishop based on a church and shrine to St. Andrew in 908, at a time when Roman Christianity was replacing the earlier Celtic form. St. Andrews was made independent of the Archbishopric of York in 1192, made an Archbishopric in 1472, and made Primate of all Scotland with equal authority to that of Canterbury in the south in 1487. After the Reformation, the town decayed to a considerable degree and didn't recover fully until the 19th century. Nowadays, the town is a center for another human activity - golf. The worlds most prestigious golf courses have been sited here from 1754 on.

Gael. Hiort, Norse Skildir) A compact archipelago of tiny islands in the North Atlantic, about 40 miles (64 km.) west-northwest of North Uist, in the Outer Hebrides. The largest islands are Hirta, with Dùn immediately to the southeast and Soay immediately to the northwest - Boreray is about 4 miles (6½ km.) off to the northeast. Soay, being the westernmost point of land in the Outer Hebrides, is 229 miles (368 km.) east of Rockall. The derivation of "St. Kilda" as a name is unknown, and many theories abound - there is no "Kilda" in the calendar of Saints.

SCOTLAND The kingdom of Scotland emerged in the 9th century CE. from the enforced union of the Kingdom of DalRiada, under Kenneth I, with that of the Kingdom of the Picts. The realm was fully extended in 1034 with the absorption of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. The Hebrides, Orkney Isles, and the Shetland Isles (Norwegian and then Danish fiefs) were attached in 1472.

SELCOVIA The ephemeral kingdom of the Selgovae, a British tribe, in what is now Selkirkshire in southern Scotland.

SHETLAND ISLANDS An archipelago of over one hundred small islands in the North Sea, located between the Orkneys to the south and the Faeroe Islands to the northwest. It forms the extreme northern limit of Great Britain (Muckle Flugga lighthouse, 1 mile off the north coast of the island of Unst). The islands have been occupied for several millenia, and were a Norse stronghold throughout the Middle Ages.

SKYE The largest and most northerly island of the Inner Hebrides.

The Hereditary Lord High Stewards The hereditary office of High Steward was created in the 1100's. The High Stewards were the agents of the Kings of Scotland, acting in much the same capacity as the Carolingian Mayors under the Merovingian dynasty. Like the Carolingians, the Stewarts (as the clan came to be known) managed to eventually rise to the throne, through carefully-arranged marriages. See also the English Stewards and the Irish Stewards.

STRATHCLYDE This loosely organized kingdom was located in what is now southwestern Scotland and Northwestern England. Its center was in Ayrshire, at the present-day city of Dumbarton. Situated as it was between Scotland and Cumbria, it retained aspects of both Gaelic and Cymric culture. Its capital destroyed in 870 by Vikings, it fell under Scottish suzerainty in the 10th century, but regained independence for a 55 year period after 962. The penultimate King, Duncan (the murdered sovereign in Shakespeare's Macbeth), gained the Kingdom of Strathclyde as a fief of the Kingdom of Scotland at the demise of the last native king, With his succession to the Scottish throne in 1034, Strathclyde was permanently associated with Scotland.

STRATHEARNA region of east-central Scotland within southern Perthshire, northwest of Fife along the Earn River and adjacent to the western end of the Firth of Tay.

 Scots Gaelic: Srath Nabhair)
The fertile strath of the River Naver, a famous salmon river that flows from Loch Naver to the north coast of Scotland. The term has a broader use as the name of an ancient province also known as the Reay Country, once controlled by the Clan Mackay and extending over most of northwest Sutherland. The clan chief of Clan Mackay has from early times been designated "of Strathnaver". The chief was also from early times seated at Varrich Castle but later moved to Tongue House in Tongue, Highland. The area has traditionally been associated with Clan Mackay but was coveted by the Earls of Sutherland for many centuries before they finally bought it from the Mackay clan chief Lord Reay early in the 18th century. In 1230 the title Lord Strathnaver was created as a courtesy title for the heir to the earldom.

Scots Gaelic, Srath Spè) A district in northern Scotland, eastern Moray along the valley of the Spey River, south of Elgin. The region is a center of  the whiskey industry, with an abundant supply of single-malt distilleries in the area.

SUTHERLAND In the far north, it is named as it is (derived from the Old Norse Sudrland - Southland) from the perspective of the rulers of Orkney, as it lies just to the south of Caithness, on the mainland.  The Earls (now Dukes) of Sutherland are also the chieftains of the Scottish clan bearing the same name. Traditionally they were blood enemies of the Sinclairs of Caithness, and were closely allied with Clan Murray of northeastern Scotland, who were also descended from the same Flemish house.