Historic Counties of Scotland
Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Alba) is a nation which is part of the United Kingdom.
A Scottish County was an important territorial political division. Many of the names of the Counties are suffixed by the word "shire" recording for posterity that they were once controlled on behalf of the sovereign by a 'Shire Reeve' or Sheriff. Many of the counties can trace their origin back around 1000 years to the time of the Conquest and the Doomsday Book of King William I. As a result of the Doomsday survey William granted much of the land to the control of his followers in his name and although the name 'County' could be connected to the fact that some of them were Counts most were actually Earls.
After the granting of the lands the Counts and Earls proceeded to build castles roughly in the centre of their new lands and it is around these castles that the county towns developed. Markets, Law Courts; originally within the castle as some still are, and other administrative services became established.
All counties represented the administrative sub divisions of the nation until the end of the Victorian period and many have continued to survive as Local Authority administrative areas to the present day. Counties themselves are further sub-divided into Boroughs and Districts some of which are Metropolitan Boroughs and Metropolitan Districts.
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Historic Counties of Scotland
The location on the map below is in [..]
✘ Indicates an abolished County
✔ Indicates unchanged (as near as can be established at this stage! CJB)
Bold, blue links are to those pages so far created - others will follow.
- Aberdeenshire - ABD 
- Angus - ANS 
- Argyllshire - ARL 
- Ayrshire - AYR 
- Banffshire - BAN  ✘ (now split between Moray council and Aberdeenshire council).
- Berwickshire - BEW  ✘ (now part of Borders)
- Buteshire - BUT 
- Caithness - CAI  ✘ (Highland)
- Clackmannanshire - CLK 
- Dumfriesshire - DFS  ✘ (now Dumfries and Galloway)
- Dunbartonshire - DNB 
- East Lothian - ELN  (Haddingtonshire)
- Edinburghshire (now Midlothian) - MLN 
- Fife/Fifeshire - FIF  ✔
- Inverness-shire - INV 
- Kincardineshire - KCD 
- Kinross-shire - KRS  ✘ (now Perth and Kinross)
- Kirkcudbrightshire - KKD  ✘ (now Dumfries and Galloway)
- Lanarkshire - LKS 
- Linlithgowshire (now West Lothian) - WLN 
- Midlothian (Edinburghshire above)
- Moray, Morayshire or Elginshire- MOR 
- Nairn or Nairnshire - NAI  ✘ ( now Highland)
- Orkney - OKI [not shown on map]
- Peeblesshire - PEE  ✘ (now part of Borders)
- Perthshire - PER  ✘ (now Perth and Kinross also part of Stirling)
- Renfrewshire - RFW 
- Ross and Cromarty - ROC [3 & 4]
- Roxburghshire - ROX  ✘ (now part of Borders)
- Selkirkshire - SEL  ✘ (now part of Borders)
- Shetland - SHI [not shown on map]
- Stirlingshire - STI  ✘ (Now Stirling which includes part of Perthshire)
- Sutherland - SUT  ✘ (now Dumfries and Galloway)
- West Lothian - Linlithgowshire above
- Wigtownshire - WIG  ✘ (Now Dumfries and Galloway)
Map of Counties until 1890
- West Lothian (Linlithgowshire)
- Midlothian (Edinburghshire)
- East Lothian (Haddingtonshire)
- Zetland (Shetland)
Counties from 1890 to 1975
- Angus (Forfarshire until 1928)
- County of Bute
- East Lothian (Haddingtonshire until 1921)
- Midlothian (County of Edinburgh until 1890)
- Ross and Cromarty
- West Lothian (Linlithgowshire until 1924)
Council Areas Today
❋ are New areas
- Aberdeen City
The present day Aberdeenshire council area does not include the City of Aberdeen, now a separate council area, from which its name derives. Together, the modern council area and the city formed historic Aberdeenshire - one of the counties of Scotland formerly used for local government purposes.
The boundaries of the present council area are exactly the same as those of the old county minus the City of Dundee.
- Argyll and Bute
The council area can be described also by reference to divisions of the counties which were abolished in 1975. The council area includes most of the county of Argyll (Argyll minus the Morvern area, north of Mull, which became part of the Highland region in 1975), part of the county of Bute (the Isle of Bute) and part of the county of Dunbartonshire (the Helensburgh and Lomond ward).
The County of Clackmannan is one of Scotland's 33 historic local government counties, bordering on Perthshire, Stirlingshire and Fife. It was formed out of part of the north-western area of a territory anciently known as Ross.
- Dumfries and Galloway
It resulted from a union of the historic " region of Galloway " - consisting of the counties of County of Dumfries (Dumfriesshire), Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire, hence "Dumfries and Galloway".
- Dundee City
formerly part of Angus
- East Ayrshire
With South Ayrshire and the mainland areas of North Ayrshire, it formed the former county of Ayrshire.
- East Dunbartonshire
The council area covers part of the historic counties of Dunbartonshire, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire.
- East Lothian
consisted of the local government county of East Lothian, until 1921 called Haddingtonshire, plus the burgh of Musselburgh and the Inveresk district council area, including the villages of Wallyford and Whitecraig, all formerly within the county of Midlothian.
- East Renfrewshire
Until 1975 it formed part of the county of Renfrewshire for local government purposes along with the modern council areas of Renfrewshire and Inverclyde. Although no longer a local authority area, Renfrewshire still remains the registration county and lieutenancy area of East Renfrewshire.
- City of Edinburgh
- Falkirk ❋
Prior to 1975 the majority of the council area was part of the county of Stirlingshire and a small part, namely Bo'ness and Blackness, was part of the former county of West Lothian.
- Fife ✔
- Glasgow City ❋
- Highland ❋
The Highland area covers most of the mainland and inner-Hebridean parts of the former counties of Inverness-shire and Ross and Cromarty, all of Caithness, Nairnshire and Sutherland and small parts of Argyll and Moray.
Together with the East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire council areas, Inverclyde forms part of the historic county of Renfrewshire
formerly encompassed the city of Edinburgh, and within these borders still serves as a registration county. As a result, the county was formerly known as Edinburghshire. It consisted of the local government county of Midlothian, minus the burgh of Musselburgh and Calder, Cramond, Currie and Inveresk areas.
- North Ayrshire
- North Lanarkshire
The council covers parts of the traditional counties of Dunbartonshire, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire.
- Perth and Kinross
It corresponds broadly, but not exactly, with the former counties of Perthshire and Kinross-shire.
contained within the boundaries of the historic county of Renfrewshire, the others being East Renfrewshire to the east and Inverclyde to the west.
- Scottish Borders
The area was created in 1975, by merging the former counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire, and Selkirkshire and part of Midlothian,
- South Ayrshire
covering the southern part of Ayrshire.
- South Lanarkshire
includes part of the historic county of Lanarkshire.
covers most of the former county of Stirling (except Falkirk) and the south-western portion of the former county of Perth. Both counties were abolished for local government purposes under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
- West Dunbartonshire
- West Lothian
- Outer Hebrides Na h-Eileanan Siar
part of Inveress-shire and Ross & Cromarty
- Orkney Islands
- Shetland Islands
Largest cities or towns of Scotland
(In order of size according to population in 2010)
- East Kilbride