Scotland has a very strong cultural identity that has evolved over thousands of years, and survived attempts to destroy it, in particular English oppression during the 18th century.
Although the national language, Gaelic, is no longer widely spoken (an estimated 65,000 people speak Gaelic) and has been in decline since the Battle of Culloden and the later Highland Clearances, it still forms an important aspect of Scottish culture. Most placenames in Scotland have Gaelic origins, and more and more anglicised placenames now have their Gaelic translations displayed on road signs.
The Scottish Executive are committed to making the teaching of Gaelic more widely-available in schools, and in 2003 proposed a Gaelic Language Bill which would lead to the first Gaelic Language Act in Scottish history, which reflects an upturn in public interest in Gaelic.
Scotland also has a thriving arts scene which consistently produces great artists and designers, actors and film-makers, and musicians.
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