Unitary authority in southeast Scotland, created in 1996 to replace the former Borders region.
Area 4,733 sq km/1,827 sq mi
Towns Galashiels, Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso, Newtown St Boswells (administrative headquarters), Peebles, Selkirk
Physical much of the west part of the area is upland (Lammermuir, Moorfoot and Pentland Hills); Broad Law (840 m/2,756 ft), near Tweedsmuir, is the highest point. The principal river, the Tweed, traverses the region west–east; its tributaries include the River Teviot. The largest loch is St Mary's, and the only substantial area of low-lying agricultural land is the Merse in the southeast, near the English border. The coast is generally precipitous
Features Walter Scott's home at Abbotsford; Field Marshal Haig and Walter Scott buried at Dryburgh Abbey; Melrose Abbey (12th century)
Famous people Mungo Park, James Hogg (Scottish poet ‘the Ettrick Shepherd’), Walter Scott
Industries electronics, timber, knitwear, tweed
Agriculture sheep and cattle; cereals and root crops; fishing
Population (2001) 107,800
Archaeology The area has been occupied since early hunter-gatherers moved into Scotland; early monuments include many hill-forts, of which Eildon Hill North, near Melrose, is the most impressive.
Architecture There are medieval abbeys at Melrose, Jedburgh, Dryburgh, and Kelso. A series of stone-built castles, including Hermitage in Liddesdale (c. 13th century), testify to the insecurity of the border area well into the 16th century. Later buildings include Abbotsford, created by Walter Scott (1822), and Floors Castle, built by William Adam (1721–25) and altered by Playfair in the 1840s.
Border unrest The Raid of the Redeswire (1575), an English defeat at the hands of Jedburgh's provost and townspeople, was the last major engagement of this kind. At Philiphaugh on Yarrow Water, the Covenanter General Leslie defeated the Marquis of Montrose in 1645.
Economy Lacking coal, the border area was largely bypassed in the industrialization which took place during the 19th century. The tweed industry, however, contributed to the expansion of the mill towns. The area is essentially rural; limited afforestation is now taking place.
Environment There are 88 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, three National Nature Reserves, three Ramsars (wetland sites), three Special Protection Areas, and two National Scenic Areas.
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