What was Scotland called before?

Answered by Willie Powers

Before Scotland was called Scotland, it was known by a different name – Alba. This name was used by the Gaels, the people who inhabited the region, to refer to their land. The term “Alba” can be traced back to the Gaelic language, where it meant “white” or “bright.” It is believed to have referred to the white-clad mountains and highlands that are characteristic of Scotland.

The Gaels, also known as the Goidelic people, were the dominant group in Scotland during ancient times. They were a Celtic-speaking people who migrated to the region from Ireland and established their own distinct culture. The Romans, who had a significant presence in Britain during the 3rd and 4th centuries, referred to these Gaels as “Scoti.”

The term “Scoti” was not a neutral or positive term used by the Romans. Instead, it was a racially derogatory term that essentially meant “pirates” or “raiders.” The Romans saw the Gaelic-speaking Gaels as a threat due to their seafaring skills and their frequent raids on Roman territories in Britain. However, it is important to note that the term “Scoti” was not exclusively used for the Gaels of Scotland, but also for other Irish raiders.

Despite the derogatory connotations of the term “Scoti,” the Gaels themselves did not use it to describe their own people or land. They referred to themselves as “Goidi l,” a term that has been modernized as “Gaels.” The term “Gaels” is still used today to refer to the ethnic group that primarily inhabits the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Over time, the name “Alba” became more widely known and accepted as the name for the region that is now Scotland. It was eventually anglicized to “Scotland” by the English-speaking population. The transition from Alba to Scotland is believed to have occurred during the Middle Ages as the Gaelic language and culture gradually declined in prominence.

Scotland was known as Alba before it became known as Scotland. The name Alba originated from the Gaelic language and referred to the white or bright mountains and highlands of the region. The Romans, who used the term “Scoti” to describe the Gaels, gave Scotland its name based on their encounters with Gaelic-speaking raiders. However, the Gaels themselves did not use the term “Scoti” to describe their own people or land.