Queen Elizabeth IIHead of State of the United Kingdom is descended from King James VI, the first Scottish monarch to also be King of England (James I of England from 1603).
While some controversy has simmered amongst the Scottish public over her official title since her coronation (many believe that, logically, she should use the style "Elizabeth I"), the courts of Scotland have confirmed "Elizabeth II" as her official title. She has said that in future monarchs will follow the international ordinal tradition that, where a monarch reigns in a number of non-independent territories (or independent territories that agree to share a monarch) that each have a differing number of previous monarchs of the same name, the highest ordinal used in any of the territories is the one used across all. (Past Scottish-English monarchs such as James VI & I and James VII & II reigned over legally separate kingdoms and hence used a dual ordinal.)
When vulcanism actively occurred in East Lothian, 350 million years ago, the rocks which now comprise Scotland lay close to the equator, and formed part of the newly amalgamated supercontinent of Pangaea. The continental plates making up Pangaea continued to converge, and a major collision occurred with the continent of Gondwana.
The northern and southern parts of the island of Great Britain became adjoined only 75 million years before the onset of vulcanism in East Lothian. Before then, Scotland lay on the margin of the Laurentian continent, which included North America and Greenland. England and Wales lay some 40° of latitude further south, adjacent to Africa and South America in the Gondwanan continent. In the Early Ordovician, approximately 475 million years ago, England and Wales, on the Avalonian plate, rifted away from Gondwana and drifted northward towards Laurentia. The Iapetus Ocean, which separated the two land masses, began to close. By the mid-Silurian, about 420 million years ago, its margins had become attached along the Iapetus Suture, which roughly follows a line running West to East from the Solway Firth to Northumberland.
When the later episode of vulcanism occurred, approximately 270 million years ago, Scotland still comprised part of Pangaea, but had drifted northward. East Lothian stood at about 8° North. Consolidation of Pangaea had continued so that the nearest ocean, the Tethys seaway, lay between Eurasia and Africa.
By the time of James VI's accession to the English throne the old Scottish Court and Parliament spoke Scots, also known as Lallans. Scots developed from the Anglian spoken in the Northumbrian kingdom of Bernicia, which in the 6th century conquered the Brythonic kingdom of Gododdin and renamed its capital of Dunedin to Edinburgh.
Historically, from at least the reign of David I (ruled 1124 - 1153), Scotland began to show a split into two cultural areas - the mainly Scots, latterly English-speaking Lowlands, and the mainly-Gaelic speaking Highlands. This caused divisions in the country where the Lowlands remained, historically, more influenced by the English to the south: the Lowlands lay more open to attack by invading armies from the south and absorbed English influence through their proximity to and their trading relations with their southern neighbours.
Historically the Lowlands adopted a variant of the feudal system after the Norman Conquest of England, with families of Norman ancestry providing most of the monarchs after approximately 1100 AD. These families included the Stewart or Stuart, Bruce, Douglas, Porteous, and Murray or Moray families.
In 1603 the Scottish King James VI inherited the throne of England, and became James I of England. James moved to London and only returned once to Scotland. In 1707 the Scottish and English Parliaments signed a Treaty of Union. Implementing the treaty involved dissolving both the English and the Scottish Parliaments, and transferring all their powers to a new Parliament in London which then became the United Kingdom Parliament. A customs and currency union also took place.
This state of affairs continued until May1999 when Scotland gained a new Scottish Parliament. Whereas the old Scottish parliament had functioned as a full national parliament of a sovereign state, the new parliament governs the country only on domestic matters, the United Kingdom parliament having retained responsibility for Scotland's defence, international relations and certain other areas.
Scotland also has a separate Scottish education system. The Act of Union guaranteed the rights of the Scottish universities, but more importantly, Scotland became the first country since Sparta in classical Greece to implement a system of general public education. This began with the Education Act of 1696 and became compulsory for children from the implementation of the Education Act of 1872 onwards. As a result, for over two hundred years Scotland had a higher percentage of its population educated at primary, secondary and tertiary levels than any other country in Europe. The differences in education have manifested themselves in different ways, but most noticeably in the number of Scots who went on to become leaderss in their fields during the 18th and 19th centuries.
School students in Scotland sit Higher exams rather than the English A-Level system. Also, a Scottish university's honours degree takes four years of study as opposed to three in the rest of the UK. The university systems in several Commonwealth countries show marked affinities with the Scottish rather than the English system.
The modern system of branch banking (in which banks maintain a nationwide system of offices rather than one or two central offices) originated in Scotland. Only strong political pressure during the 19th century prevented the resultant strong banking system from taking over banking in England. However, although Scottish banks proved unwelcome in England at the time, their business model became widely copied, firstly in England and later in the rest of the world.