Scottish History: British or European?

Four Nations History Network

Scottish History: British or European?

This week, PhD student Scott Reid (Edinburgh & St Andrews) asks whether Scottish history is British or European.

Scottish_soldiers_in_service_of_Gustavus_Adolphus,_1631‘Scottish soldiers in the service of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden during the Thirty Years war’, 1618-48

In light of the UK’s vote in June 2016 to leave the European Union against Scotland’s wish to remain, the character, if not future, of Scotland’s relationship with Europe has been thrust center stage. Amid the unfolding political fall-out of the so-called ‘Brexit’ vote in Scotland, the MSP and former SNP cabinet member, Michael Russell, made a largely overlooked argument for Scotland’s historical relationship with Europe. He commented that:

It is not half a century of EU membership that has made us European; it is centuries of engagement. We were European before we were British – sending students to the continent, sharing citizenship with France and appealing our very nationhood…

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