• Scotland covers an area of just over 30,000 square miles, has a 2300-mile-long coastline and contains over 31,460 lochs. Of its 790 islands, 130 are inhabited. The highest point is the summit of Ben Nevis (4406ft), while the bottom of Loch Morar is 1017 feet below sea level.

• The capital is Edinburgh (population nearly 480,000), and the largest city is Glasgow (population 580,000). While the number of people worldwide who claim Scottish descent is estimated at more than 25 million, the population of the country is just over 5 million – 1.2 percent of whom (roughly 60,000 people) speak Gaelic.

• Scotland is a constituent territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. It is a parliamentary democracy whose sovereign parliament sits at Westminster in London, with elements of government business devolved to the separately elected Scottish Parliament which sits in Edinburgh.

Whisky accounts for 13 percent of Scotland’s exports and is worth over £3 billion annually.

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