The Scottish people (Scots: Scots Fowk; Scottish Gaelic: Albannaich, Old English: Scottas) or Scots are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically, they emerged from an amalgamation of two Celtic-speaking peoples, the Picts and Gaels, who founded the Kingdom of Scotland (or Alba) in the 9th century. Later, the neighbouring Celtic-speaking Cumbrians, as well as Germanic-speaking Anglo-Saxons and Norse, were incorporated into the Scottish nation.
In modern usage, “Scottish people” or “Scots” refers to anyone whose linguistic, cultural, family ancestral or genetic origins are from Scotland. The Latin word Scoti originally referred to the Gaels, but came to describe all inhabitants of Scotland. Considered pejorative by some, the term Scotch has also been used for Scottish people, primarily outside Scotland.
People of Scottish descent live in many countries. Emigration, influenced by factors such as the Highland and Lowland Clearances, Scottish emigration to various locales throughout the British Empire, and latterly industrial decline and unemployment, have resulted in Scottish people being found throughout the world. Scottish emigrants took with them their Scottish languages and culture. Large populations of Scottish people settled the New-World lands of North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Canada has the highest level of Scottish descendants per capita in the world and the second-largest population of Scottish descendants, after the United States.
Scotland has seen migration and settlement of many peoples at different periods in its history. Germanic peoples, such as the Anglo-Saxons, arrived beginning in the 7th century, while the Norse settled parts of Scotland from the 8th century onwards. In the High Middle Ages, from the reign of David I of Scotland, there was some emigration from France, England and the Low Countries to Scotland. Some famous Scottish family names, including those bearing names which became Bruce, Balliol, Murray and Stewart, came to Scotland at this time. Today, Scotland is the second-largest and second most-populous country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the majority of people living there are British citizens.
The highest concentrations of people of Scottish descent in the world outside of Scotland are in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada, Otago and Southland in New Zealand, the Falkland Islands, and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom.