This result allowed a centuries old partnership to continue. In 1707, Acts of Union were passed by the Scottish and English parliaments, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Whilst the recent debate was a peaceful one, the original act came to being against the backdrop of historical conflicts, broken royal unions and deceit. What then, compelled these two traditionally warring nations to join in union?
In 1698, almost all Scottish land owners invested heavily in the Darien scheme. This attempt at securing a trading colony on the Isthmus of Panama was both daring and, ultimately, a failure. The Scottish elite were left bankrupt and, combined with the threat of an English invasion, were therefore swayed to back the union.
Back in 2014, there was certainly no risk of an English invasion, but the economic impact of independence was key in the debate between Holyrood and Westminster. This complex topic had advocates on both sides. The Scottish leader, SNP politician Alex Salmond, argued that North Sea oil and Scottish tourism are powerful economic forces that would have allowed Scotland to prosper as an independent country.
The UK government, led by the Conservative David Cameron, claimed that Scotland would suffer as a result of leaving the union. The government forecast that Scottish spending, debt and borrowing would increase in the years following independence whilst revenues would fall.
In the months leading up to the referendum Cameron and co. started to play hardball, announcing that a currency union would not happen, meaning an independent Scotland would not be able to keep the British pound. Joining the European Union and potentially the eurozone did, however, seem to be a popular option.
As the debate raged, the Scottish people began making up their minds. Leading up to the referendum, the vast majority of the polls showed that the ‘No’ vote was winning, due, perhaps, to Scots' lacking confidence in the financial prosperity promised by Salmond, or a perceived risk of tax increases.
The 'No' campaign won by a clear ten percent with all regions bar Glasgow, Dundee, West Dumbartonshire and North Lanarkshire voting to stay as part of the United Kingdom. This landmark decision is promised, however, to lead to increased devolution of powers and a re-think of the political relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK.