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Scotland*Scotland flag
Basic facts
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The country
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Capital:Edinburgh
Area:244,110 sq km; 94,251 sq miles
Population:5,120,000 (1998 Estimate)
Urbanisation:Urban 89 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 11 per cent (1998 Estimate)
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Economy

Exports:Manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, chemicals, semi-finished goods, transport equipment, professional and scientific instruments, iron and steel products, foodstuff

Industry:Production machinery, including machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railway equipment, ships, aircraft and motor vehicles and parts; electronic and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing and other consumer goods

Agriculture:Principal crops: wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar beet, vegetables, fruits; livestock products: poultry, sheep, cattle, milk, meat, eggs, wool

Currency:1 pound sterling (), consisting of 100 pence

Natural resources:Coal, petroleum, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, silica

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The people

Ethnic:White 94 per cent, Indian 2 per cent, Pakistani 1 per cent, Black and other 3 per cent

Language:English is the official language of Scotland, but the various Scottish accents can be quite distinctive. The Scots also use many terms derived from Gaelic (a Celtic language). For example, the word for dull is dreich; a brae is a hill; a bairn is a baby. The Scots use certain idioms and pronunciations unique to their culture. For example, rather than saying "How's he doing?", a Scot says, "How's he keeping?". Some Gaelic words have been incorporated into Standard English, such as "slogan" and "galore", which are used in other English-speaking countries. Gaelic is still spoken in parts of the Scottish Highlands and islands and use of the language is actively encouraged.

Religion:There is a strong tradition of nonconformism in Scotland and most Scots belong to one of a variety of Protestant churches, including the Church of Scotland (or Presbyterian Church), which has the most members and is the established church. Members of other Protestant denominations include Baptists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Free Presbyterians, and Methodists. Scotland has a sizeable Roman Catholic community. In Glasgow, the city's football teams have traditionally been divided by religion, Rangers being Protestant and Celtic being Catholic. In general, however, religion is becoming less important in everyday life.

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The history

Independence:In 1979 a referendum for limited self-Government failed. The majority of Scots who voted favoured more self-Government, but the number of those who voted did not total 40 per cent of all eligible voters.

Government:A new Scottish parliament, which opened in 1999, has 129 members and a first minister. Scotland elects 72 members of the United Kingdom's House of Commons, which sits in London. The Scottish Parliament has broad powers over education, health, local Government, the environment, economic development and the arts and, unlike the new Welsh National Assembly, also has the authority to pass laws and may increase or decrease taxes levied by the national Government by up to 3 per cent. London maintains control over certain areas, such as Scottish foreign affairs, employment policies and welfare. The voting age is 18.

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