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Scotland, administrative division of the United Kingdom, occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain. Scotland is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean; on the east by the North Sea; on the southeast by England; on the south by Solway Firth and by the Irish Sea; and on the west by the North Channel and by the Atlantic Ocean. As a geopolitical entity Scotland includes 186 nearby islands, a majority of which are contained in three groups—the Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, situated off the western coast; the Orkney Islands, situated off the northeastern coast; and the Shetland Islands, situated northeast of the Orkney Islands. The largest of the other islands is the Island of Arran. The total land area, including the islands, is 78,790 sq km (30,420 sq mi). Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and its second largest city.
The population of Scotland (1996 estimate) was 5,128,000. The population density was about 65 persons per sq km (169 per sq mi). The highest density is in the Central Lowlands, where nearly three-quarters of the Scots live, and the lowest is in the Highlands. About two-thirds of the population are urban dwellers.
Edinburgh (population, mid-1996, 448,850) is the capital of Scotland, and is also a major industrial area and seaport. Scotland's most populous city is Glasgow (616,430). The metropolis of Clydeside, which includes the cities of Glasgow and Clydebank, is the largest shipbuilding and marine engineering center in Britain. Other major cities are Aberdeen (217,260) and Dundee (150,250).
The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination, is the official state church (see Scotland, Church of). The Roman Catholic church is second in importance. Other leading denominations are the Episcopal Church in Scotland, Congregationalist, Baptist, Methodist, and Unitarian. Jews are a small minority.
English is generally spoken; fewer than 100,000 Scots (mainly inhabitants of the Highlands and island groups) also speak the Scottish form of Gaelic.
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