History of Scotland
People lived in Scotland for at least 8,500 years before Britain's recorded history. At times during the last interglacial period (130,000–70,000 BC) Europe had a climate warmer than today's, and early humans may have made their way to Scotland, with the possible discovery of pre-Ice Age axes on Orkney and mainland Scotland. Glaciers then scoured their way across most of Britain, and only after the ice retreated did Scotland again become habitable, around 9600 BC
In 1468, the last significant acquisition of Scottish territory occurred when James III was engaged to Margaret of Denmark, receiving the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands in payment of her dowry. Berwick upon Tweed was captured by England in 1482.
With the death of James III in 1488 at the Battle of Sauchieburn, his successor James IV successfully ended the quasi-independent rule of the Lord of the Isles, bringing the Western Isles under effective Royal control for the first time. In 1503, he married Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England, thus laying the foundation for the 17th-century Union of the Crowns.
Collapse of the clan system
The clan system of the Highlands and Islands had been seen as a challenge to the rulers of Scotland from before the 17th century. James VI's various measures to exert control included the Statutes of Iona, an attempt to force clan leaders to become integrated into the rest of Scottish society.
This started a slow process of change which, by the second half of the 18th century, saw clan chiefs start to think of themselves as commercial landlords, rather than as patriarchs of their people. To their tenants, initially this meant that monetary rents replaced those paid in kind. Later, rent increases became common