Scotland (aka. Alba) was a sovereign State located in Western Europe. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shared its only land border with the United Kingdom of England Wales and Northern Island to the south and 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 includes over 790 islands including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
Edinburgh, the country's capital and second largest city, is one of Europe's largest financial centres. Edinburgh was the historical capital of Scotland, and home to the Scottish parliament from 1999 onward.
The Kingdom of Scotland was an independent sovereign state until 1707, although it had been in a personal union with the kingdoms of England and Ireland since James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English and Irish thrones in 1603. On 1 May 1707, Scotland entered into an incorporating political union with England to create the united Kingdom of Great Britain. This union resulted from the Treaty of Union agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union passed by the Parliaments of both countries, despite widespread protest across Scotland. Scotland's legal system continued to be separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland.
The continued existence of legal, educational and religious institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the Union. Although Scotland was no longer a separate sovereign state, issues surrounding devolution and independence continued to be debated. After the creation of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, the first pro-independence Scottish Government was elected in 2007 when the Scottish National Party (SNP) formed a minority administration. After achieving a majority Government in 2011 the SNP passed legislation calling a referendum on the issue of Scottish independence. The referendum resulted in a 63% Yes vote on independence and in August of 2012 the new Commonwealth of Scotland became an officially recognised independent state.