North Briton

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A North Briton is a term used for a person from North Britain, the northern parts of the islands of Great Britain. The adjective form of the name is North British.

It is most commonly associated with Scotland and the Scottish people, either by self-identification as a Scottish Unionist, or bestowed upon them as an indicator they are from the north of Great Britain and the United Kingdom.


North Britain as a descriptive term for northern Great Britain emerged following the Union of the Crowns in 1603. It was used by King James VI & I in the form of "South Britain" and "North Britain" for England and Scotland respectively, most famously in his Proclamation of 1606 establishing the first Union Flag, where Scotland and England are not otherwise named:

"Whereas some difference has a risen between our Subjects of South and North Britain, Travelling by Sea, about the bearing of their flags"

In 1707, the Royal Scots Greys were renamed the "Royal North British Dragoons". In Rob Roy (1817), Sir Walter Scott refers to a Scottish person in England as a North Briton, sometimes in the mouth of an English character but also in the authorial voice.

"Why, a Scotch sort of a gentleman, as I said before," returned mine host; "they are all gentle, ye mun know, though they ha' narra shirt to back; but this is a decentish hallion—a canny North Briton as e'er cross'd Berwick Bridge — I trow he's a dealer in cattle."

— Scott, Rob Roy[1]


The North Briton and New North Briton were newspapers in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1844 there was also a North British Advertiser. The North British Review was founded in 1844 by members of the Free Church of Scotland as a Scottish "national review" for those unsatisfied with the secular Edinburgh Review and the conservative Quarterly Review. It continued until 1871.[2][3]

See also


  1. Walter Scott (1817). Vol. I, Chap. Fourth.
  2. Ruskin MP | notes
  3. British Periodicals at Minnesota