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British history

History of Scotland

Robert Bruce leads his forces against England.Robert Bruce leads his forces against England. Scotland has a proud history of independence, but throughout its history, it has had to fight for that independence against England to its south. The border between the two countries has often been disputed, while many English kings have tried to conquer Scotland. A long-standing alliance with England’s traditional enemy, France, led Scotland to invade England several times. Yet it was a Scottish king who united the two countries in 1603, and they have lived together peacefully ever since.

Columba arrives on Iona.Columba arrives on Iona.

The coming of Christianity

Christianity first came to Scotland in the 390s. St Ninian, an English scholar, set up a church at Whithorn in Galloway. About 150 years later, Columba, an Irish monk from Derry, set up a monastery on Iona off the west coast of Scotland. From here, missionaries set out to convert the Picts and the Scots, the Celtic peoples who inhabited Scotland. By the time Columba died in 597, Christianity was well established throughout Scotland.

The oldest house still standing in northern Europe dates back to 3700 BC. The stone building is found at Knap of Howar on the island of Papa Westray, Orkney.

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