We asked you five questions about Scotland. Check your answers below!
- In the late 1690s, the Darien Scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by Scotland to establish a colony named Caledonia. In what modern-day country was the colony founded?
Panama. The colony was intended to make Scotland a world trading nation and was backed by between a quarter and a half of all the money in circulation in Scotland, but “the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”; poor planning and leadership, the hostility of the Spanish (who had already claimed the territory) and lack of support from King William II of Scotland & III of England (whose English advisers were unwilling to antagonise the Spanish) led to New Edinburgh being abandoned barely two years after it had first been founded.
- What was a Mormaer? Any idea why Orkney was excluded from the list of Mormaers?
A Mormaer was a regional ruler in the mediæval Kingdom of the Scots, roughly analogous to an Earl in Scots- and English-speaking parts of Britain. Exactly what the term originally meant isn’t clear; it may have been “Great Steward” or “Sea Lord”, depending on whether it was originally Gaelic or Pictish in origin. Orkney wasn’t part of the list because, like Shetland and most of the Western Isles, it was Norwegian at the time.
- Which French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher, known for his wit, is credited with saying “We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation”?
François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), better known by his pen-name of Voltaire. The revolution in European philosophy known as the Enlightenment flourished readily in Scotland, where its elements of rationalism and individualism were overlaid with a streak of empiricism absent from the Scottish Enlightenment’s continental counterpart.
- Who was the first Queen of Scots in her own right?
Although Mary Stuart was the first Queen to exercise rule over Scotland, the first to inherit the title was born over 250 years earlier. Margaret, Maid of Norway was born in 1283 to King Erik II of Norway and Margaret, the daughter of King Alexander III of Scotland. After her grandfather died in 1286—having outlived both his legitimate sons—she became Queen of Scots as his sole surviving legitimate grandchild. However, she was never crowned, and never even set foot in Scotland: she died in the Orkney Islands (still part of Norway at the time) when travelling to her kingdom for the first time in 1290.
- Why did John MacCormick take the Lord Advocate to court in 1953? Score an extra point if you know the name of the “War” associated with this dispute!
He objected to the new Queen of the United Kingdom’s style of “Elizabeth the Second”, on the grounds that there had never previously been a Queen of Scots or of the United Kingdom by that name. This objection led some Scots to vandalise or even blow up pillar boxes bearing the “EIIR” Royal Cypher, in what became known as the “Pillar Box War”. As a result, from 1954 pillar boxes for use in Scotland were redesigned to bear the Crown of Scotland with no Royal Cypher.
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