Scotland is a nation that is a constituent member of the United Kingdom (UK). Scotland is located in the northern part of the British Isles and has a border with England to the southeast. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, and the Irish Sea to the south. The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh. In addition, the nation includes more than 790 islands, the most of which are located in the archipelagos of the Hebrides and the Northern Isles. The Scottish Lowlands include the majority of the country's population, which is concentrated in the Central Belt - the plain between the Scottish Highlands and the Southern Uplands – which includes the capital of Edinburgh.
Scots are split into 32 administrative units, sometimes known as local authorities, which are together referred to as council districts. In terms of population, Glasgow City is the most populous council area in Scotland, but Highland is the most populous council area in terms of land area. The Scottish Government has delegated limited self-governing powers to each subdivision, including issues like education, social services, roads and transportation, among others. Scotland is the second most populous nation in the United Kingdom, accounting for 8.3 percent of the total population in 2012.
The Kingdom of Scotland was established as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and lasted until 1707, when it was abolished. In 1603, James VI of Scotland inherited the thrones of England and Ireland, thus bringing the three kingdoms together in a personal union under his rule. On May 1, 1707, the Kingdom of Scotland formed a political union with the Kingdom of England, resulting in the establishment of the new Kingdom of Great Britain. The merger also resulted in the establishment of the Parliament of Great Britain, which took the place of both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of the United Kingdom.