Tourists visiting Scotland will surely come across a country with a lot of history. At least some of it goes back to the days of the Roman Empire, which extended as far northwest at England and Wales –then known as “Britannia” (occupying for periods of time portions of present-day Scotland, confirmed by the presence of various archaeological sites found in the countryside, including Antonine Wall in the central lowlands.
Since at least the 13th century, Scotland has battled to assert its independence from its southern neighbor (England), with varying success. This included the rise of Robert the Bruce – who became Scotland’s King Robert I in the early 1300s, and the later arrival of the Stewarts (who ruled over Scotland through much of the Middle Ages). Curiously, Scotland allied with France during the 15th century in order to maintain its independence from England (such ties with the French highlighted by Mary, Queen of Scots – who was a one-time queen of France). By the early 1700s, the parliaments of Scotland and England passed the Acts of Union, making Scotland part of the united Kingdom of Great Britain. The local economy thrived due to growing trade with Britain’s American colonies, with Scotland benefiting when the Industrial Revolution swept through Britain.
Along with the Industrial Revolution, the Scottish Enlightenment made the country something of an intellectual center of Britain, with the rise in prominence of 19th century writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, JM Barrie, and George MacDonald.
These days, tourists come to Scotland to enjoy one of the country’s distinctive exports: Scotch Whisky. Local distilleries began making whisky (made from wheat and rye) in the late 18th century. Currently, popular brands include Dewar’s, Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, J&B, and Ballantine’s – enjoying success in various global markets (from the Americas to the Far East). History buffs enjoy touring Scotland’s various sites (from the medieval castles found throughout the country – each with their own story), to Roman settlement remains.
Of course, Scotland is also famed for being the country where golf was born. With variants of the game being playing in the Scottish countryside as far back as the 15th century, the game of golf as it’s known today started with the establishment of local golf clubs during the 1700s. The first Open Championship games were held at the Scottish town of Prestwick in 1860. Nowadays, Scotland has over 500 courses (liberally divided within the country’s 10 regions) – boasting more courses per head than anywhere else in the world. The game of golf is another reason why tourists visit the country, with regional airports never failing to receive golf club-totting travelers.
Going into the 21st century, the game of golf can be found throughout the world – driving the promotion of the sport with golf-themed real estate developments in various locations throughout the world, such as the land-rich Dominican Republic in the Caribbean (with resorts like Casa de Campo, PuntaCana Resort and Cap Cana attracting players to their seaside courses), China and elsewhere in the Far East, and now even Marxist Cuba is starting to move forward with golf-themed resorts & real estate ventures.