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Scotland’s lengthy and illustrious history has produced many famous people. Scottish political leaders, artists, writers, scientists, inventors, and philosophers have had a great influence on the world. Memorable political figures like William Wallace whose story was immortalized in the film Braveheart, and monarchs like Robert the Bruce shaped the history of Scotland. Many famous writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who created the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, J. M. Barrie author of Peter Pan, and Robert Louis Stevenson author of the classic novel Treasure Island are from Scotland. Scottish inventors and scientists have made important contributions in their fields.

Robert Adam (1728 – 1792) Architect who designed many famous buildings in Edinburgh.

John Logie Baird (1888 – 1946) Engineer and inventor of the first viable television system.

Sir James Barrie (1860 – 1937) Playwright and author of Peter Pan.

James Braid (1795 – 1860) Surgeon and pioneer in the field of hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

Robert the Bruce (1274 – 1329) Leader of the Scottish fight for independence against the English king Edward I. He was crowned King of Scotland in 1306 and defeated the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) Considered the national poet of Scotland he composed the poem and song Auld Lang Syne.

Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919) U.S. steel magnate and philanthropist.

Sean Connery (1930 – ) Actor best known for his role as Ian Fleming’s British spy James Bond 007. He won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in The Untouchables (1987).

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930) Physician and writer. Creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Adam Ferguson (1723 – 1816) Philosopher known as the father of modern sociology.

Sir Alexander Fleming (1881 – 1955) Biologist and pharmacologist who received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of penicillin.

Thomas Graham (1805 – 1869) Chemist whose study on the diffusion of gases resulted in “Graham’s Law” and is known as the father of colloid chemistry.

David Hume (1711 – 1776) Philosopher known for his theories of empiricism and skepticism.

James Hutton (1726 – 1797) Known as the father of modern geology who developed the theory that the earth was perpetually being formed through erosion and sedimentation.

James VI (1566 – 1625) Son of Mary Queen of Scots, he ascended the throne of Scotland in 1567 (James VI) and became king of England and Ireland (James I) after the death of Elizabeth I.

William Kidd (Captain Kidd) (1645 – 1701) Sailor, pirate and privateer who was tried and executed for piracy.

John Knox (1514 – 1572) Leader of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland.

Joseph Lister (1827 – 1912) Surgeon and the inventor of antiseptic surgery.

Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1812 – 1878) Credited as an early inventor of the bicycle.

Mary Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587) Ruled Scotland from 1542 to 1567. She was forced to abdicate after the suspicious death of her second husband, Lord Darnley. She was tried and executed for he involvement in a plot to overthrown her cousin, Elizabeth I of England.

James Clerk Maxwell (1831 – 1879) Physicist and mathematician who formulated
electro-magnetic theory.

John Muir (1838 – 1914) Naturalist and conservationist who founded the U. S. National Park system and the Sierra Club.

John Napier (1550 – 1617) Mathematician, physicist and astronomer who discovered the logarithm and invented the decimal point.

Allan Pinkerton (1819 – 1884) Detective and spy who created the Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency in Chicago, IL.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900 – 2002) Queen consort of King George VI of England and mother of Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 – 1823) Painter famous for his portraits of Sir Walter Scott.

William Robertson-Smith (1845 – 1894) Biblical scholar, student of comparative religion, and editor of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) Historical novelist and poet whose works include the books Ivanhoe and Rob Roy.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894) Author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

William Wallace (c. 1270 – 1305) Leader of the Scottish resistance during the Wars of Scottish Independence to free Scotland from English rule. He was captured and hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason by King Edward I of England.

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