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History of Scotland's bids for independence

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond holds the referendum white paper on independence during its launch in Glasgow, Scotland November 26,
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond holds the referendum white paper on independence during its launch in Glasgow, Scotland November 26,

(Reuters) - Scotland will vote on breaking away from the rest of the United Kingdom in a referendum set for September 18.

In the biggest test of national unity since most of Ireland broke away from the U.K. nearly a century ago, Scottish residents over the age of 16 will be asked: "Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes or No?".

The British government in London is opposed to independence, saying Scotland is better off staying within the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Following is a timeline of milestones in relations between the Scots and the rest of Britain.

1st Century AD - First written records of Scottish history when Romans invade and seize much of the island of Britain, with Emperor Hadrian building Hadrian's Wall from coast to coast. North of the wall is Caledonia and partly occupied by the Picti.

3rd Century - After many battles, the Romans all but depart the land that came to be known later as Scotland.

5th Century - Gaels or Scoti originating from Northern Ireland raid and settle north of the River Clyde.

8th Century - All Scotland's kingdoms overthrown to some extent by Vikings, forcing the Picti, Scoti and other tribes to unite in the 9th Century to form the Kingdom of Scotland.

12th Century - Anglo-Norman barons including the Bruce family lay claim to much of mainland Scotland.

1296-1328 - First War of Independence. Scots led by William Wallace try to throw off English influence after King Edward I of England invades Scotland in 1296. The next year Robert the Bruce leads a revolt and after years of war Scotland defeats the English at Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

1328 - Scotland's independence is recognized.

1332-1357 - Second War of Independence.

1603 - Union of the Crowns. Accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the thrones of England and Ireland and unification for some purposes of the three realms under a single monarch.

1695 - Bank of Scotland is founded a year after Bank of England.

1707 - The Treaty of the Union creates the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the parliamentary union of England - which for administrative purposes also encompasses the Principality of Wales - with Scotland. It takes effect on May 1 but Scotland retains its own legal and educational systems.

1715 - The first Jacobite uprising. British forces crush an attempt by Scottish supporters of the exiled House of Stuart to regain the throne.

1745-46 - The second Jacobite uprising aimed at putting "Bonnie Prince Charlie" Stuart on the British throne ends in defeat at the battle of Culloden.

1916 - The "Provisional Government of the Irish Republic" proclaims Ireland's independence from the United Kingdom.

1922 - Anglo-Irish Treaty establishes Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. The latter remains in the United Kingdom.

1934 - Scottish National Party (SNP) is founded.

1945 - SNP gains first seat in parliament at Westminster.

1950 - Stone of Destiny, traditionally used during the coronation of British monarchs, taken from Westminster Abbey by four Scots students and taken back to Scotland for the first time since being looted by Edward I's army in 1296. Amid public outcry, the Stone is found and returned to London.

1952 - Elizabeth II becomes queen of the United Kingdom.

1973 - United Kingdom joins the European Economic Community which is later renamed the European Union.

1973 - Kilbrandon Commission recommends devolved assemblies for Scotland and Wales after four-year inquiry.

1975 - First North Sea oil is produced.

1979 - A referendum on Scottish devolution is held but does not achieve the necessary 40 percent of the electorate. The SNP experiences an electoral decline during the 1980s.

1989 - Introduction of the Poll Tax by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government helps revive the independence movement.

1996 - Stone of Destiny formally returned to Scotland by the British Government and put on display at Edinburgh Castle.

1997 - Referendum shows overwhelming support for a separate Scottish Parliament with tax-raising powers.

1998 - Scottish Act assigns devolved powers to a Scottish Parliament.

1999 - Elections for first 129-member Scottish Parliament with Labour winning 56 seats and the SNP 35 seats.

2004 - Royal opening of new Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.

2007 - Launch of National Conversation on Scotland's Constitutional Future by Scottish Government.

2007 - SNP overturns Labour majority in election, forming a minority government with 47 seats to Labour's 46 with support from the Greens on some issues.

2011 - SNP led by First Minister Alex Salmond wins a majority in the 129-member parliament with 69 seats to Labour's 37, leading to Scotland's first majority government.

Oct 2012 - Edinburgh Agreement is signed by Salmond and British Prime Minister David Cameron paving the way for a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014.

Nov 2013 - Scottish government publishes "Scotland's Future", making the case for independence.

Sept 18, 2014 - Referendum for independence.

(Compiled by London bureau; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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