Top 10 Scottish Contributions to the World

Your comprehensive guide to the best that Scotland has to offer us all.

Believe it or not, the Scots have done a lot more for the world than just make some baller whisky and bless us with bagpipe covers of pop songs (see: The Red Hot Chili Pipers). Although it has a population of just five million, Scotland has made its mark on everything from art to medicine. Here are ten reasons to thank your nearest Scot.

1. Supply and Demand

If you failed your introductory Econ course, you can blame Scot Adam Smith who basically invented the whole blasted field. Bad for our GPAs, good for our understanding of the world.

2. Advances in surgery

Hey, do you enjoy not dying from infection after surgery? Thank Joseph Lister, who developed antiseptic surgery techniques while at the University of Glasgow.

3. Sherlock Holmes

The famed detective is British, but his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is Scottish, and he based the character on one of his professors at The University of Edinburgh.

4. Literature in general

Robert Burns, one of the most famous poets of all time, Sir Walter Scott, the ultrapopular novelist, and J.K. Rowling, who wrote about wizards or something, all hail from Scotland.

5. Weird systems of temperature measurement

Actually, U of Glasgow-bred Lord Kelvin did a lot more than lend his name to an obscure temperature scale; he was a huge pioneer in the field of thermodynamics

6. Art

The Glasgow Boys, or “The Boys,” as they embarrassingly referred to themselves, were a group of innovative eighteenth or nineteenth-century artists who made a worldwide splash

7. Scottish accents

Och aye, yer aff yer heid—if you don’t think this accent is wonderful.

8. The world’s best aquatic monster

Has any creature of the deep captured hearts like Nessie? Bigfoot can’t hold a candle to her.

9. Scotch Whisky

Yeah, you knew it would make the list. The earliest distillery records in Scotland date back to 1494 and the most recent whisky consumption records date to us, five minutes ago.

10. The song “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers

Screw it, this should be number one. Not many countries can claim a jam so singable we’ve been singing it at the top of our lungs for decades. Honestly, Scotland, we’re forever in your debt for this one.

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