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Scottish Stereotypes That Aren’t Even Scottish

A brief look at some of the things associated with Scotland that were not even Scottish in the first place.

When you think of Scotland, what do you think of? Do you think of whisky, bagpipes, porridge, kilts, tartans and haggis? All things that are closely associated with the country. Ironic thing is though that none of them are actually Scottish. In fact the name Scotland isn’t even Scottish.

(The Saltire: The flag of Scotland. Image Source)

Scotland

The name Scotland comes from a Celtic tribe from Ireland known as the Scoti. They arrived in what the Romans called Caledonia in the 5th century; by the 11th century they had ‘taken over’ the whole of the mainland and started to call it Scotland. While on this subject; the patron saint of Scotland, ‘Saint Andrew’, was Greek.

Whisky

Whisky originates from China and arrived in Ireland long before arriving in Scotland. The name coming from the Irish translation of the Latin for ‘water of life’.

Bagpipes

Bagpipes were invented in Central Asia and are so ancient they are even mentioned in the Old Testament and in the Greek poetry of the 4th century BC. It was probably the Romans that first brought them to Britain.

Porridge

Porridge has actually been found in the stomachs of 5,000 year old Neolithic bog bodies in Scandinavia. Dating it many many years before it was first tasted in Scotland.

Kilt

The kilt was actually invented by the Irish and it took its name form Denmark (kilte op: tuck up)

Tartan

The elaborate system of clan tartans only came about from the early parts of the 19th century. The fact is that, although originally Scottish, all Highland dress was banned after the 1745 rebellion. It wasn’t until English garrison regiments started to design their own in the early 19th century that the craze started again.

Haggis

Haggis was actually a Greek sausage in ancient times. It is even mentioned in ‘The Clouds’ by Aristophanes in 423BC.

(A typical Scottish stereotype: Image Source)

Typical Scots, you may be thinking just now, taking credit for all the things that they didn’t invent. Funny thing is though it is not the Scots taking the credit; it is more all the foreigners who fall for the stereotypes associated with the country. Of course the truth is that there are plenty of things that did originate from Scotland.

Such as (but not limited to); adhesive stamps, chloroform, colour photography, the decimal point, finger-printing, the fountain pen, hypodermic syringes, insulin, the lawnmower, logarithms, marmalade, the MRI scanner, paraffin, piano pedals, pneumatic tyres, radar, the raincoat, the speedometer, tarmac, the teleprinter, the typhoid vaccine, the ultrasound scanner, the US Navy, vacuum flasks and wave-powered electricity generators.

If you liked this, check out the website: www.scotlandrocks.net

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User Comments
  1. fivegoldstars

    On July 28, 2009 at 10:34 am


    What about Scotch eggs?

  2. Theresa Johnson

    On July 28, 2009 at 10:35 am


    very funny and informative piece.

  3. Payge

    On July 28, 2009 at 10:50 am


    Now that was an interesting informative read about my bloodline.Buy very well written and taught me something.

  4. Katien

    On July 28, 2009 at 11:29 am


    All these things might not have started off Scottish, but I think they’ve become Scottish. Rod Stewart isn’t Scottish either is he?

  5. Tumblemoose

    On July 28, 2009 at 11:32 am


    Hee-hee. The US Navy? lol

  6. Alistair Briggs

    On July 28, 2009 at 11:36 am


    @katien: Yeah Rod Stewart isn’t Scottish, it is just that he soooo wants to be. lol

  7. katie marie

    On July 28, 2009 at 11:36 am


    Very interesting. Thanks for the history lesson.

  8. Lauren Axelrod

    On July 28, 2009 at 11:43 am


    Interesting piece. I like the Scots

  9. Darla Beck

    On July 28, 2009 at 11:48 am


    Very interesting article.

  10. Karen Gross

    On July 28, 2009 at 11:58 am


    Quite fascinating. The items you listed that did originate in Scottland are much more practical and have contributed far more good to mankind than have kilts, bagpipes, and haggis; but they wouldn’t draw nearly as many tourists. You blokes (is that a British colloquialism?) can just sit back and rake in the tourist coin for the heritage that has been dumped on Scotland from everywhere else.

  11. BradONeill

    On July 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm


    enjoyable read! Even if the Scotts hadn’t invented something they certainly will take credit for perfecting it. And if they haven’t improved it, it isn’t perfect yet just ask them.

  12. papaleng

    On July 28, 2009 at 2:18 pm


    I enjoy reading this very interesting article!

  13. lindalulu

    On July 28, 2009 at 3:12 pm


    Nice article…

  14. raptor22

    On July 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm


    Great article. I am shocked at how misinformed I am. Thanks for the eye opener.

  15. George W Whitehead

    On July 28, 2009 at 4:37 pm


    Please God, let The Krankies be real Scots!
    Nice one, Ali.

  16. I Have Had Enough

    On July 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm


    There is a raging debate at the moment as to the origin of tikka masala. Is is believed to have been developed in Glasgow.

  17. Alistair Briggs

    On July 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm


    Don’t know about a ‘raging’ debate. lol

    The story goes something like this:

    Although Chicken Tikka is a traditional Bangladeshi dish which came to Britain in the 1960’s (first used on a British Menu in London) the recipe soon reached Glasgow. In typical fashion, some drunk Glaswegian seeing this ‘new’ thing on the menu decided to be a bit different and asked for a Chicken Tikka with gravy.
    The chef improvised adding tomato soup, spices and cream and in doing so created the Chicken Tikka Masala.

  18. Jaye McCaffery

    On July 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm


    And I believe you have the dubious honour of being the country which invented that culinary delight: the deep-fried Mars Bar!

  19. Inna Tysoe

    On July 28, 2009 at 10:21 pm


    That’s interesting.

    Thanks,

    Inna

  20. Juancav

    On July 28, 2009 at 10:40 pm


    Surprising and anecdotic fact,great writing.

  21. Cynthia Bartlett

    On July 29, 2009 at 2:03 am


    nice. interesting article

  22. Alistair Briggs

    On July 29, 2009 at 2:07 am


    @Jay McCaffrey: I personally haven’t had the pleasure of eating a deep-fried mars bar but know a couple of people who have. Apparently it was quite tasty. :)

  23. DA Cournean

    On July 29, 2009 at 6:57 am


    very interesting!

  24. David

    On July 29, 2009 at 6:43 pm


    Wasn’t the black pudding supper first eaten in Botswana?

  25. revivor

    On July 30, 2009 at 2:30 am


    certainly deep fried pizza!!
    What about the telephone, television and penicillin??
    Nessie – another Scottish invention (LOL)

  26. Alistair Briggs

    On July 30, 2009 at 10:06 am


    @Revivor penicillin wasn\’t discovered by a Scotsman, and neither the telephone or the television was first invented by a Scotsman either (although arguably made famous by)
    :)

  27. jamie mullen

    On August 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm


    Of course the scots have made much more of a contribution exporting ideas and philosophy than anything else.

  28. R J Evans

    On August 3, 2009 at 5:07 pm


    Cool article – I agree with Jamie above! Some surprises here, especially the name of the country itself – but of course being Welsh I do not call my own country Wales! :-)

    I have blogged this at http://www.webphemera.com – hope you do not mind and it gets a few more hits – this article deserves them!

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