The Origins of Counties – Scotland

The traditional counties of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are 92 historic subdivisions of the United Kingdom. They are also known as the historic counties, or legally as the ancient or geographic counties.

The 92 historic counties are an indelible part of the history, heritage, geography and culture of the United Kingdom.

The Scottish counties have their origins in the shires first created in the reign of Alexander I (1107-24), and in accordance with the pattern further south, each had a shire reeve, or sheriff.

The central and western Highlands and the Isles were not assigned to shires until the early modern period, Caithness becoming a sheriffdom in 1503 and Orkney in 1540.

The Thirty-Four Historic Counties of Scotland

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