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10 lesser-known facts about Scotland

by 1st Contact | May 06, 2014
  • Albion, Pictland, Pretanikai Nesoi, Cruithintuait, Caledonia – call it what you like, Scotland has as many names as it does wonders. Here, we explore ten unusual facts about the UK’s northernmost country.

    1. Scotland makes 28% of Europe’s PCs
      The electronics sector is huge in Scotland, accounting for 12% of the country’s total manufacturing employment, 14% of GDP, and more than half of all Scottish exports.
    2. Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the world
      Around 13% of the Scottish population has red hair and more than 40 % are carrying the recessive gene.
    3. The official animal of Scotland is a fictitious creature
      No, not the Loch Ness Monster, but rather the unicorn. The unicorn has been the official animal of Scotland since the 12th century, when it was used on an early version of the Scottish coat of arms by William I. In Celtic mythology, the unicorn symbolised innocence and purity, healing powers and joy.
    4. Neither bagpipes nor kilts were invented in Scotland
      The same can be said about haggis, whisky or tartan.
    5. The Scots are an inventive nation
      They’re responsible for giving the world an astounding number of inventions, including the television, telephone, fingerprinting, the pneumatic tyre, video cassette recorder, golf, adhesive stamps, the raincoat, Bovril, chloroform, colour photography, penicillin, bicycle pedals, the lawnmower, the raincoat, ATM Machine, savings banks, the fax machine, motor insurance, the hypodermic syringe and the fountain pen; even Chicken Tikka Masala was a Scottish innovation.
    6. Scotland’s richest man every year since 2010 is Mahdi Al Tajir
      Tajir is an Emirati businessman based in the UK. He owns the Highland Spring Bottled Water Company and his fortune is estimated to be at £1.65bn.
    7. Scotland holds the record for the most consecutive first round eliminations in the Fifa World Cup
      These happened in 1954, 1958, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1998.
    8. Scotland has the shortest scheduled aeroplane flight in the world
      At a ludicrous 2.4km long, the flight is from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands and takes one minute, 14 seconds to complete.
    9. There are as many Scottish people living in North America as in Scotland
      Censuses taken in the USA and Canada estimate the number to be around five million.
    10. The Nobel Prize
      Even though Scots comprise less than 0.5% of the world’s population, 11 % of all Nobel Prize winners have been Scots.

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