Although Scotland constitutes more than a third of the land area of Great Britain, it has a population of only 5.4 million. The Highlands are spectacular, but the soil is of little use for agriculture. Most Scots live in the Lowlands, which contain the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state until a “personal union” with England in 1603, when James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne. In 1707, Scotland entered into a political union with England to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. Today, Scotland retains its own Parliament, plus separate legal and educational systems. Renowned for its whisky, Scotland has also developed a thriving culinary culture and acquired a sprinkling of Michelin stars.

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