To many people Scotland's history begins a few centuries, or at least only a couple of millennia, ago. However, many things have happened over hundreds of millions of years that have given us the land that today we call Scotland. Selective though it is this top ten will provide a starter insight into Scotland´s pre-human past.
1. We have very old foundations
Rocks dating back over 3 billion years are found in some parts of Scotland. These rocks go by the name of Lewisian gneiss and were at one time many kilometres deep down in the Earth's crust and then were gradually exposed at the surface. These rocks now form an important part of the landscape of Lewis and Harris and North West Sutherland. Visiting these areas can give one the sense of the immense age of the Earth and its long history.
2. We started off in the Southern Hemisphere
It is possible to identify parts of Scotland, which along with parts of Greenland and North America, existed around 500 million years ago as part of a continent called Laurentia, which existed in the southern hemisphere. For many millions of years this continent moved progressively northwards, crossing the Equator ending up in the Northern Hemisphere.
Geologically Scotland is by no means uniform, on a large scale, we can discern five separate and geologically distinct parts: the Lewisian gneiss and Torridonian of the North West; the Moine rocks of the Central and Northern Highlands west of the Great Glen Fault; the Moine and Dalradian of the Central and Grampian Highlands; the Midland Valley and the Southern Uplands. These areas are separated by big faults or breaks in the Earth´s crust known to geologists as the Moine Thrust in the north-west, the Great Glen Fault, the Highland Boundary Fault and the Southern Upland Fault. Most of these faults can still be identified in landscape.
The period around 410 million years ago was when the original union of Scotland with England took place. This involved the gradual closure of an ocean which separated them with the formation of the Southern Uplands which forms the Border country. With the closing of the ocean, the newly formed Southern Uplands and the other parts of Scotland were gradually shunted together along the fault lines and became `welded´ together.
Geological map of Scotland: