New Web Site Sweeps Through 5000 Years of Scottish History

Submitted by edg on Wed, 28 Oct '09 11.52am

A new scottish history web site developed for pupils, teachers and the general public is now up and running. Beginning with the earliest known inhabitants, Scotland's History Online covers a range of subjects over a period of 5,000 years from post Ice Age up to the present day challenges of climate change.

The site breaks Scottish history into around 200 articles with links to over 1,000 other online sources such as video clips from the BBC (for UK residents) and Channel 4.

"For too long Scottish history has been neglected in our schools. That's why - for the first time - learning about Scotland's history, heritage and culture is embedded within the curriculum and this new resource helps ensure schools can deliver informed, exciting and varied Scottish history teaching," said Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

"During our Year of Homecoming and beyond, Scotland's History Online will stimulate interest in our past, present and future. Not only will this site be an outstanding resource for pupils and teachers integrated to the new Curriculum for Excellence, it will also help inform all Scots - both at home and abroad - and everyone who shares an interest in learning about our country.”

Some of the choices of the Scottish Government funded site are obvious, others less so. The tone of the articles is accessible and more populist than heavily academic.

Earlier on there's coverage of the Romans who "conquered vast areas of the known world but failed to defeat the guerrilla tactics of the Caledonians and Picts."

William Wallace, "a national hero who fought and died to free Scotland from English rule", is obviously in here with Robert the Bruce and the tumultuous life of Mary Queen of Scots.

The Union of Parliaments and the Jacobites are covered in a series of articles featuring Bonnie Prince Charlie ("a tragic romantic hero") and Flora MacDonald ("a Jacobite heroine").

As we move closer to the present day, Edinburgh features more prominently with articles on the Scottish Enlightenment ("many historians believe that the ideas and advances that emerged from the Scottish Enlightenment helped to shape the modern world"), the Forth Road Bridge ("one of the great engineering achievements of the Victorian era"), and the Forth and Clyde Canal ("one of Scotland’s busiest canals").

Scottish characters featured include Walter Scott (“best known for his series of magnificent historical novels ”), David Livingston (“one of the first Europeans to explore the ‘Dark Continent’”), Burke and Hare, and Greyfriars Bobby ("a world famous Scottish icon").

The last of the articles deals optimistically with Scotland's response to climate change - "new green technologies and sustainable design are helping to reduce the impact of human activity on our world and build a sustainable future.”

Revealing its true public information credentials the final article adds: “In Scotland, you can switch to a green energy tariff, micro-generate your own electricity, drive a hybrid car, ride a scooter powered by a lithium ion battery or simply walk or ride a bicycle."


  • Early People (Prehistoric)
  • Caledonians, Picts, Britons and Romans (Ancient)
  • Wars of Independence (Medieval)
  • Medieval life (Medieval)
  • Renaissance, Mary Queen of Scots and the Reformation (Early Modern)
  • Union of the Crowns to Union of Parliaments (Early Modern)
  • Jacobites, the Clearances and Enlightenment (Early Modern)
  • Making of Industrial and urban Scotland (Modern)
  • Scotland in the 20th and 21st centuries (Modern)

Scottish History Online site