Famous Scots

From Robert the Bruce to Sean Connery and Rabbie Burns to John Logie Baird, the Scots have had a huge impact on the world around us. Scientists, inventors, writers, thinkers, artists, kings, queens, sports stars, actors, musicians and even the odd politician; name almost any role in life and, chances are, a Scot has made a significant contribution to the genre.

Find out more on Scottish ancestry.

An exhibition of paintings by the Glasgow Boys at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow


Scotland is home to many world-class artists, including the Scottish Colourists, the Glasgow Boys and Jack Vettriano.

The Forth Rail Bridge - built between 1883-90 from a design by John Fowler


Read more about Scotland’s world-class engineers and how their engineering projects helped shape the nation.

Statue of Dr. David Livingstone, Glasgow


Scotland’s explorers and adventurers helped shape the world around us. Find out more about their lives, work and discoveries.

Looking up at a statue of Robert the Bruce on the castle esplanade with the National Wallace Monument behind, Stirling

Historical figures

Discover the fascinating stories behind some of Scotland's most prominent and influential historical figures.

The statue of Sir Walter Scott below the Scott Monument, Princes Street Gardens East, Edinburgh


Discover Scotland's rich literary heritage, from Sir Walter Scott to contemporary authors such as Ian Rankin and J. K. Rowling.

Fort George - an 18th century military fortification and working army base Ardersier.jpg


Uncover the stories and exploits of some of the greatest Scottish military figures.

Comedian Billy Connolly at the Famous Scots exhibition at the Scotlandpeoples centre, Edinburgh

Music and popular culture

British culture has been moulded by Scotland's ecletic palate. Meet Scotland's most famous exports: its creative talent.

The statue of Adam Smith on Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

Politics, Economics and Social reform

Meet the political, economic and social minds who in their part have shaped the modern Britain we know today.

Sign marking the spot where leading Reformation figure John Knox first gave the reformed Communion.

Religion and mysticism

Religion has shaped Scotland in many ways, including its outlook on education. Meet John Knox and other famous religious Scots.

Edinburgh Castle and the Ross Fountain, Princes Street Gardens


Read more about Scotland's illustrious kings and queens, including the first king of both Scotland and England, James I/VI.

A bronze bust of Sir Alexander Fleming, the scientist who discovered penicillin.

Science and technology

Scotland's great scientists have discovered and invented many things we take for granted today, including the telephone.

Scottish rugby player runs with the ball (image: Scottish Rugby)


Discover Scotland's most famous sporting heroes, from racing driver Jackie Stewart to footballing legend Kenny Dalgleish.

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A clan parade in Edinburgh.
Search for your clan ››

Search the Scotclans database to find your clan and learn all about the time of your ancestors in Scotland.

A couple gaze out over Edinburgh from Calton Hill
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