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Real simple, is Scotland a country and why/why not?

There seem to be conflicting views all over the internet. Most of it seems to be personal views and opinions, I'm interested in facts. Most of them seem to disagree on what a country is as well which I find strange, is it that much of a grey line?

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Actually that link is wrong, it says the United Kingdom is made up of 4 sovereign countries. If Scotland was sovereign then my question would be answered but it's not. –  Ross Drew Dec 14 '13 at 11:14

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Scotland is a country, but not an independent country. In other words, it's not a Sovereign state.

Wikipedia defines a country as:

A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated peoples with distinct political characteristics.

It's quite possible to draw an analogy between the sub-divisions of the United Kingdom and American states - they're both sub-entities of a larger country which have the ability to run themselves within certain limits. However, because Scotland has a long history of being an independent country and the states don't, the terminology is different.

Further reading:

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That's the problem I'm having, that "country" seems to be such a flexible definition. That Wikipedia entry seems to suggest that anything that used to be a sovereign political division is a country but does that still apply if the country has become another country (Abyssinia, Ceylon) or the political boundaries have changed (Bengal, Catalonia) or indeed in Scotlands case, if it doesn't change but merges with another country. –  Ross Drew Dec 10 '13 at 18:38
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I would say anything that used to be a country is still considered a country if it retains some self-governance separate from the parent country. If it doesn't, then it's ceased to exist. –  Bobson Dec 10 '13 at 18:42
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But as the first "further reading" link says, there really isn't any universal definition, so all you have is convention. Since people call it a separate country, it is one. –  Bobson Dec 10 '13 at 18:43
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@RossDrew - Even during that time, it had it's own laws. I haven't found anything either way, but I suspect that the Parliament of Great Britain could have (and probably did) pass Scotland-specific legislation. So it remained a separate entity, even if it wasn't self governing. Whether it would be a country or not during that time really boils down to what people thought of it as. –  Bobson Dec 10 '13 at 19:05
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The Scottish legal system is distinct from the English/Welsh one, and many Scottish specific laws have been passed. –  DJClayworth Dec 10 '13 at 20:31

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