Scotland is a country that occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It is part of the United Kingdom, and shares a land border to the south with England. It is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, Scotland consists of over 790 islands including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, King James VI of Scotland became King of England (as James I) and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain. The union also created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. The Treaty of Union was agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union 1707 passed by the Parliaments of both countries, despite some popular opposition and anti-union riots in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and elsewhere. Great Britain itself subsequently entered into a political union with Ireland on 1 January 1801 to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Scotland maintained a separate legal system after union. In 1999, a devolved legislature, the Scottish Parliament, was reconvened with authority over many areas of home affairs following a referendum in 1997. Despite a growing movement for complete Scottish independence in the early 21st century, a referendum held for that purpose on 18 September 2014 was narrowly defeated.
Scotland was where the BritishResistance made its last stand in 1947 after waging a guerrilla campaign against the Germans which lasted six years. After they were defeated, all the rebels were hanged, as reported by Lord Haw-haw.
Though Scotland was a traditional enemy of England, Scottish kings often visited the English capital of London, where a palace with a park was maintained for their uses. However, James, wary of the militant Catholic government of Spanish-backed Queen Isabella, did not visit England during the decade it was part of the Spanish Empire.
Postings on the Anglo-Scottish border were considered extremely undesirable for Spanish soldiers occupying England, and were often assigned as a disciplinary measure. Most Spaniards viewed the Scottish as at least as barbaric as the Irish. Lope de Vega frightened his lazy servant Diego with tales of the brutality of the Scots, and their penchant for taking heads. He also convinced Diego that servants who were sacked by their masters were sent to the Anglo-Scottish border to become cannon fodder against the Scots. It wasn't true, but Diego believed it.