A History of Scotland

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Ratings: 8.49/10 from 49 users.

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A History of ScotlandLandmark documentary series presented by Neil Oliver.

The Last of the Free - At the dawn of the first millennia, there was no Scotland or England.

Hammers of the Scots - Oliver charts the 13th century story of the two men who helped transform the Gaelic kingdom of Alba into the Scotland of today.

Bishop makes King - Robert Bruce's 22-year struggle to secure the Scots' independence is one of the most important chapters in Scotland's story.

Language is Power - At one time, Gaelic Scotland - the people and the language - was central to the identity of Scots.

Project Britain - Oliver describes how the ambitions of two of Scotland's Stuart monarchs were the driving force that united two ancient enemies, and set them on the road to the Great Britain we know today.

God's Chosen People - Neil Oliver continues his journey through Scotland's past with the story of the Covenanters, whose profound religious beliefs were declared in the National Covenant of 1638.

Let's Pretend - Bitterly divided by politics and religion for centuries, this is the infamous story of how Scotland and England came together in 1707 to form Great Britain.

The Price of Progress - Through the winning and losing of an American empire and the impact of the Scottish Enlightenment, Neil Oliver reveals how in the second half of the 18th century Scotland was transformed from a poor northern backwater with a serious image problem into one of the richest nations on Earth.

This Land Is Our Land - At the start of the 19th century, everything familiar was swept away. People fled from the countryside into the industrial towns of Scotland's central belt.

Project Scotland - As a partner in the British Empire, Scotland began the 20th century with an advanced economy and a world-beating heavy industry.

Despite being hailed by BBC Scotland as "one of its most ambitious projects ever", the show has not been without controversy. There have been some claims, on the website of the BBC, that the programme made some errors.

Further, the 10-part series has come under fire over claims that it is too "anglocentric". The failure to front it with a historian (Neil Oliver is an archaeologist) has also been attacked. A couple of Scottish academic advisers also resigned before some programmes were completed.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • http://www.richarddawkins.com Atheist ruler

    good docu about the brawe scots:D

  • RareJunk

    A quality un-Anglicised doc from the perspective of Scotland and her people.

  • Waldo

    Wow, I had Scottish history all wrong. I study history religiously, have a associates degree in western civ., but almost everything I had read or heard about Scottish history was completely false. Just goes to show you, this is what they mean when they say history goes to the victor. An excellent documentary that tells the true story of how Scotland came about and how it had to defend itself against the English, Romans (at this point they were not called Scottland, but they sure looked like the classic image of the Scottish warrior- beautiful and terrifying)and themselves. Even tells the real story of Wlliam Wallace, instead of the Mel Gibson story. He was a much more flawed man, but still very brave and capable. In fact I have much more respect for his character this way, he seems real now- not so much the Holly Wood archeatype anymore. This gets a ten out of ten in my book, a must see.

  • ProudinUS

    This was the most beautiful and articulat Doc. I have ever seen.Good job with the narration and the beautiful aireal seens.Scotland is truly one of the worlds most gorgeous countries .I was truly honored to watch and hear the history of this country.

    A must see!

  • Sweevo

    Aye I watched this series it was great and a highly recomended watch, even for Scots like me :)

  • Waldo

    You tube must be swamped tonight, in fact it has been running much slower than usual for me all holiday weekend. Is it just me, or is everyone noticing?

  • stevie

    the song @8:12,any one know what its called?

  • stevie

    scratch that last comment,the song is at 7:08 and its on the second part of the first vid

  • macca420

    Despite being hailed by BBC Scotland as “one of its most ambitious projects ever”, the show has not been without controversy. There have been some claims, on the website of the BBC, that the programme made some errors.

    Further, the 10-part series has come under fire over claims that it is too “anglocentric”. The failure to front it with a historian (Neil Oliver is an archaeologist) has also been attacked. A couple of Scottish academic advisers also resigned before some programmes were completed.

    copied from above discription

  • Imightberiding

    @macca420
    OK? You copied from the above description. What was the comment you intended to leave regarding this doc? We all read the above description prior to viewing the video.

  • christopher.miller

    Thank you so much V. This has brought me back in touch with my heritage and for that I could never thank you enough. I went ahead and downloaded them all for safe keeping and to show my entire family that is Scottish. They will love it too.

  • macca420

    @Imightberiding

    actually "we all" clearly do not,by above posts but thanks for be so observant

  • fifimsp

    I'm sorry, but this host is just too cute for words. Even my husband thought he was adorable.

  • Jo McKay

    Thank you so much for this documentary. I have been doing a lot of research on Scotland lately and this helped tremendously. WOW. It is so true that history is WHO does the writing...now I will have to watch all 8 hours a couple more times (next time take some notes)... Beautiful visuals and commentary.

  • Iain

    Most of Scotlands top historians refused to have anything to do with this series as it was so Anglocentric and gives the impression that Scotland was nothing until we became a part of the abomination that was,and is,the British Empire! If you want an unbiased,non-British Establishment History of Scotland then avoid this like the plague! Neil Oliver isn't even a trained Historian for God's sake,he's an Archaeologist!

  • Iain

    SAOR ALBA!

  • BEN

    ABSOLUTLY ONE OF THE BEST DOCUMENTARIES I HAVE EVER SEEN -THANKS VLAKO & THANKS NEIL, I AM MORE PROUD OF MY SCOTTISH ANCESTRY THAN BEFORE, PLUS NOW I CAN UNDERSTAND HOW AND WHY MY GRAND-DAD CAME HERE TO AMERICA..."BUT ALAS A MELANCHOLY DOTH FILL MY HEART...TO BE IN SCOTLAND SOMEDAYS." =CHARLES CAMPBELL. OH AND LAIN - GOD BLESS SCOTLAND.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001364556096 Iain Macmillan

    The name's "Iain" with an "I" not an "L"! The correct spelling of the Scottish Gaelic version of John! Why can't you Americans figure that out,it really isn't difficult you know? Alba Gu Brath! Saor Alba!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MFDZKIK3F4J5VRNNLGHG2BUKVQ Ross

    Ive seen Neil Oliver on location of making this and the other series and i must tell you all..He is an arrogant vain twat!
    Praise to the researchers for making Neils script, but the host "can get tae!"

  • http://www.facebook.com/Layluhhuh Layla Phelps

    Who cares if he's an ass. Its the contents of the show I care about. And I find it really irritating that people find it amusing to run around trying to convert people into what they deem as the correct religion. I will never convert into Christianity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Layluhhuh Layla Phelps

    Yeah Britain likes to take credit for alot. Just saying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Layluhhuh Layla Phelps

    Okay woah that's crazy. Here I was all this time thinking William Wallace was some kind of hero. To find out he wasn't was just woah.

  • tomkezaunkoenig

    i as a german (= neutral) don't see how the series "gives the impression that Scotland was nothing until we became a part of the abomination that was,and is,the British Empire" it rather points out the high level of civilization the old scottish tribes when they were independant.
    but the whole series is based on lots of emotions and is not as serious and down-to-earth as a documentary should be... :(

  • tomkezaunkoenig

    well i dont really see how the series "gives the impression that Scotland was nothing until we became a part of the abomination that was,and is,the British Empire!" i think it rather shows ho civilized the scottish tribes have already been when they were independant.

    the only thing that is really disgusting about it is the incredible lack of seriousness. how can a "documentary" be so emotional?!?

  • seanmf667

    Clár iontach taiteann sé sin go mór liom. Go leor pointe conspóideach ann, tá sé an-suimúil na shean nascanna idir ar dhá thír a feicáil. Sláinte ó Éireann. Éire Abú, Alban Abú :)

  • Leofwin

    Stop viewing things in terms of black and white based on what one or another documentary tell you. William Wallace was still a hero. He was an ultranationalist fighter who did what needed to be done to secure Scotland. He killed "innocent" people along the way, and he was very brutal. But he got shit done. It was a very brutal age with violence on all sides.

  • Leofwin

    You do realise that the footage was the Caledonians was actually modern re-enactment footage with actors and make-up artists and costume designers . . . they didn't actually have video cameras in the first century, and that's not really Calgacus . . . it's an actor.

  • Leofwin

    Christianity? It's not Christianity that's running around trying to convert people, it's Islam. No Christian has ever tried to convert me to Christianity, but many Muslims have tried to convert me to Islam. Where the hell do you live?

  • Leofwin

    Britain includes Scotland.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/polarjoa Jo McKay

    I like historians, they are often good story tellers, but I prefer historians who work 'with' archaeologists. A historian who relies only on what has been found of writings and art is just, well, telling His Story isn't he? It's a story until archaeologists provide 'evidence'.

  • Beau1952

    Question; does anyone know what town in Scotland used to behead English prisoners to use their heads to run through the town, today it is still done but with a ball, it was on a documentary within the last week [05/09/2011-15/09/2011] but I can't remember what town was stated, many thanks in advance for any help. Anne of Aberdeenshire.

  • jimmi johnson

    I have only watched this through once before, and the memory of it is hazy, but I am failing to see the anglocentricism as I watch it for the second time. Does anyone here have any arguments to support the claim of this being anglocentric?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YS4NSMINZLID44BUQJ7S7B6BH4 Tommy

    The British empire was build with Scotland and Scotland is much loved by the English. Wallace is considered an amazing person by both countries and when I lived in Scotland the people joked about my english backround but never hated me for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Ruane/1493604123 Michael Ruane

    Fabulous music...beautiful photography... well worth watching if one can overlook the fascistic, nationalistic, perverse and morally reprehensible twaddle that passes for history in this picture postcard infotainment era...

  • Deals34

    I've always wondered whether my last name, Calloway, was Scottish or English. This doc is fascinating, nonetheless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.kipper David Kipper

    This show is rad!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DBRDCTLJZ74RYLDS4HR2ZKJEQU Ben

    Even if it is inaccurate, one should never use a single source for history. If the same information pops up from a variety of sources, it's probably safe to accept it as fact.

  • BrandiBoo

    My thanks to Neil Oliver and the rest of the crew. I enjoyed this show. I loved how it was presented.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IUSBEBYMVW7V5T5TBGXLZITICU William K

    What's the difference?

  • rygrant12

    Poor bigotted, bad-tempered, bitter Iain !

    -Nothing wrong with being British (whether English or Scottish in origin )

  • Nicole Aguilar

    I love the emotion Oliver brings to this documentary and really opens my eyes to true Scottish history. My Gran used to tell me stories of her life back in "Alba" as she called it. My Gran was a bit of a history buff as well but the only thing that was not new to me was William Wallace and the British Flag.

    Truly a document worth watching and let me tell you that accent is to die for. My Gran had all but lost hers by time I came around and Southern Alabama drawl had all but taken over. All in all, a great film. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tanzanos-Eleytheros/100002217607141 Tanzanos Eleytheros

    As always BBC excels in documentaries!

  • Kateye70

    "The name's "Iain" with an "I" not an "L"! The correct spelling of the Scottish Gaelic version of John! Why can't you Americans figure that out,it really isn't difficult you know?"

    It wouldn't be difficult at all if American schools taught any foreign language other than spanish or french...I love learning how oddly-spelled (to my eye) words are actually pronounced. I would never have equated Iain with John, though...And in all fairness, a sanserif typeface makes it hard distinguish capital I from lower case l.

    "Alba Gu Brath! Saor Alba!" wtf??? I have no clue what this means, much less how to pronounce it, although I'm guessing not at all how it looks to my American eye!!

    (Yes, I know this is an old comment, but it's interesting! Maybe some current reader can enlighten me!)

  • Giacomo della Svezia

    Alba gu brath: Scotland for ever
    Saor Alba: Free Scotland

    I love the Scottish accent in English, but I don't speak Scottish.

  • Kateye70

    I've heard england (I guess) referred to as "Albion;" that must be where it comes from. Thanks!

    I love regional accents of all kinds!

  • Giacomo della Svezia

    I had the same thought. My curiosity was raised so I just looked it up on Wikipedia:
    "The name for Scotland in the Celtic languages is related to Albion: Alba in Scottish Gaelic." Sounds pretty definite. : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/filliu.traynor Filliu Traynor

    Except the majority of Scots were not asked and the deal was made by people loyal to England and English Royalty are hhmm German. oh and by the way My family had an Irish King (Gormondus) 5th 6th cent. an entire county of my relatives on my mothers side were thrown off of hundreds of acres of land so the English could take control of it.. So try not to look down ur nose as if you did anyone a favor

  • adam zapel

    Good series and probably the only work you'll see that has the facts that Scotland won the Wars of Independence against England. English folk, I find, like to tell people the world over that they basically rule the UK, and have just being their 'mighty' English self to force Scotland into being a part of Great Britain. Online I like to correct them that they never won either wars of independence against Scotland, when they spout off about kicking Scotlands arse, when they absolutely never. Facts are facts, which English chroniclers of the past loved to try cover up, ie- Longshanks - Hammer of the Scots - a name given to him in the 1600s, 300 years after he died, as to try cover up the fact that he died an absolute failure, he got kicked out of Scotland by Wallace and had to rely on a traitor for Wallaces capture, all in all he left the English kingdom in absolute turmoil, losing the war against Scotland and France.

  • adam zapel

    The name Alba has nothing to do with England, it's Celtic. It was around before the English language altogether.

  • gpfan

    What language do they speak in the U.S.?

  • gpfan

    And if we had hated you for it, you would have
    taken it with good grace and a sense of humour.

    Then, crushed us! LOL

  • Anonymous

    The name Albion does indeed mean "England" but it comes from the Latin word albus, which means white, and refers to the white cliffs of Dover that can be seen from the North Sea when travelling to England by boat