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Prior to 1707, the Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state, ruled by a monarch and the Parliament of Scotland, though from 1603 when James VI of Scotland also became James I of England, Scotland had shared a single monarch with Kingdom of England. (see Union of the Crowns).

In 1707, as a result of the Treaty of Union agreed the previous year, the Parliaments of England and Scotland each passed Acts of Union to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Later, in 1801, the Kingdom of Ireland merged with the Kingdom of Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which itself became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1927, in recognition of the independence of most of the island of Ireland in 1922.

Between 1707 and 1999, Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom was the sole government with authority over Scotland. However, the existence of distinct Scottish institutions such as its education and legal system led to a degree of administrative separation in the form of the Scottish Office. In 1999, following the passage of the Scotland Act 1998, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive were established with devolved powers.

In August 2007, the incoming SNP administration decided to rename the Scottish Executive 'the Scottish Government'[1] and this terminology has now been generally adopted by the opposition political parties[2][3][4] and the media.


  1. ^ Scottish Executive renames itself BBC News, 3 September 2007
  2. ^ Government must protect ferry routes, 9 September 2008
  3. ^ David Mundell at Conference, accessed 29 October 2008
  4. ^ SNP's CARBON TARGETS - NOTHING BUT HOT AIR, accessed 29 October 2008

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