One of my earlier blogposts looked at the origins of the Scots, and at the old idea that they came from Ireland versus a more recent theory that they were indigenous to Britain. Since writing the post, I’ve toyed with the idea of adding a sequel which would examine why other peoples, such as the Picts and North Britons, eventually became ‘Scots’. I still hope to produce something along these lines, when I get around to it. In the meantime, I’m putting up a signpost to a useful article that touches on this topic. It was published fifteen years ago, in the journal History Today, and is currently available online. The author, Dauvit Broun, is one of the foremost authorities on medieval Scotland and has written a number of groundbreaking papers on the evolution of the kingdom. This one is somewhat less academic than his usual output but it provides a good summary of where his ideas were taking him in the mid-1990s. It argues that the concept of a unified Scottish nation, and the political reality of a country called Scotland, were fairly late developments. Professor Broun (as he is now) suggests the 13th century as a plausible context. England, by contrast, already had a well-defined sense of unity and nationhood by c.1000. The article is a quick and easy read but it gives an excellent overview of a complex and controversial subject. At a time when Scottish independence is back on the political agenda the question of how the country came into being has a certain relevance.
Dauvit Broun, When did Scotland become Scotland? History Today vol.46, no.10 (October 1996), pp.16-21
* * * * * * *