chapter  7
Scottish Gaelic
ByWilliam Gillies
Pages 75

Gaelic was brought into north-western Scotland by settlers from Ireland – around the year 500 AD according to the traditional dating. In the centuries that followed, Gaelic ousted Pictish in the north-east and subsequently became established in the south-west and south-east of what is now Scotland, as the Gaelic kings of the Scots annexed the British kingdom of Strathclyde and the northern part of the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria. This expansionist phase lasted until the twelfth century. Thereafter Gaelic gave way gradually to Scots in the Lowlands (though it continued to be spoken in Galloway until the seventeenth century) and around the north-east coast until, by c. 1400, there emerged a consciously bi-cultural nation in which the Gàidhealtachd (‘Gaeldom’) coincided with the physical Highlands and Islands, as opposed to the Scots-speaking remainder of Scotland – the ‘Lowlands’ or Galldachd.