November 30, 2012 - Saint Andrew's Day – Scotland

St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, so this feast day is Scotland's national day.

 You may wonder why Scotland rates a “national day,” since it is not “really” a nation. Instead, Scotland joins Wales, England, and Northern Ireland in the nation known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Although Scotland has been a part of Great Britain for more than 300 years, it has a separate legal system. Since 1999 Scotland has had a separate parliament that makes laws for “home affairs” (Scottish-only issues). And Scots will vote in 2014 to determine whether Scotland stays part of the U.K. or becomes fully independent.

Right now, it's looking as if less than a third of all Scots want independence, but things could change! I found a lot of debate about whether Scotland should stay or go on the internet. It will be interesting to see what happens...

Explore Scotland...

Did you know...?

Although the ancient Roman Empire ruled the rest of the island of Great Britain (called Britannia by the Romans) from year 43 to around 410, it didn't rule over Scotland (called Caledonia). The natural thing for the Romans was to try to conquer the entire main island, and they did win some battles in Scotland. However, they didn't hold onto Scottish lands, and by the time of Emperor Hadrian's reign, it seemed that the best thing to do was to stop trying to control them. Indeed, Hadrian's orders were to build a wall and defend the Roman-Empire portion of Britain from Caledonia.

The Scots were so fierce and troublesome, apparently, that Hadrian's Wall became the most heavily fortified border in the entire 2.5-million square mile Empire!

Hadrian's Wall was 80 Roman miles long and was made from stone in some areas and from turf in other areas. It varied from 10 to 20 feet wide and from 11 to 20 feet high, and it was fortified by ditches, berms, and forts. We can still see some parts of this wall today!

To learn more about Scotland...

Check out this earlier blog post on tartans, this post on Scotland's northern islands, this other post about the Loch Ness Monster, and this one on Scottish poet Robert Burns

Also on this date:

Yemen's Independence Day 

Benin's National Day 

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