Scotland is a country that is steeped in history and culture. It has a rich and varied past, with evidence of human habitation dating back thousands of years.
One question that often arises when discussing Scotland’s history is what it was called in ancient times. In this article, we will explore the various names that Scotland has been known by throughout its long and fascinating history.
The Earliest Times
The earliest known inhabitants of what we now call Scotland were the Picts. They lived in the region from around 3000 BC until the arrival of the Romans in AD 43.
The name “Picts” comes from the Latin word “picti,” which means “painted people.” The Picts were so-called because they painted themselves with tattoos.
The Roman Era
When the Romans arrived in Scotland in AD 43, they referred to it as “Caledonia.” This name is thought to have derived from a Celtic word meaning “hard or tough land.” The Romans never fully conquered Scotland but did establish forts and settlements along Hadrian’s Wall, which marked the northern boundary of their empire.
The Early Middle Ages
After the fall of the Roman Empire, various Germanic tribes invaded Britain, including what is now Scotland. During this time, Scotland was known as “Alba,” which means “white” or “bright” in Gaelic. This name may have referred to the white cliffs of Dover or to the bright white light that can be seen on clear days from across the sea.
The High Middle Ages
In the High Middle Ages, Scotland was ruled by several different kingdoms, including Dalriada and Pictland. During this time, it was known as “Scotia” or “Scotland.”
The name comes from an Irish tribe called the Scoti who migrated to Scotland during the 5th century AD. The name “Scotland” literally means “land of the Scoti.”
The Late Middle Ages
During the late Middle Ages, Scotland was ruled by a series of monarchs, including Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. It was during this time that Scotland began to emerge as a distinct nation with its own identity and culture. The name “Scotland” continued to be used during this time, and it remains the country’s official name to this day.
Scotland has been known by many names throughout its long and fascinating history. From Caledonia to Alba to Scotia, the country’s name has changed over time as different cultures and peoples have left their mark on its land and people. Today, Scotland is a proud and vibrant nation with a rich cultural heritage that is celebrated around the world.