Famous people you didn’t know were Scottish

By Frederick Mordi


Today, Scottish people will take a historic decision that will change their lives. They will either vote to remain in the United Kingdom, or vote for independence, in a referendum that has received global attention.

Should the Scots vote to end their union, Scotland would become the youngest country in the world, displacing South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan on July 11, 2011. But the Scottish pre-ballot polls has so far shown that the result is too close to call. According to analysts, 34 new countries have emerged since 1990, mostly through political upheavals and wars. Interestingly, the Scottish vote has more to do with national pride than the typical factors that often compel nations to split.

However, experts have warned the Scots of grim political and economic repercussions should they go ahead to break away from the UK. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, whose unfortunate lot it is to convince Scotland to remain in the 300 year-old union, has been quite emotional in his appeal, promising to grant ‘more powers’ to the Scottish Parliament if Scotland decides to stay.

While the world awaits the result of the referendum, it might be worthwhile to take a closer look at a few famous Scots and their contributions to humanity.



Andrew Carnegie, billionaire steel magnate and renowned philanthropist, widely regarded as a titan in the business world; Sir Thomas Lipton, who created the Lipton tea brand; and B. C. Forbes, a journalist and founder of Forbes Magazine, are all Scots. Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, who is often called the ‘father of economics,’ is also a Scottish national.



Among famous Scots whose inventions revolutionised the world are John Logie Baird, who invented the television; Alexander Graham Bell, credited with invention of the telephone; and John Shepherd-Barron, inventor of the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). Of course, science will forever remain grateful to another Scotsman, Sir Alexander Fleming, for his discovery of Penicillin.


In this category are William Baikie, a naturalist, philologist and surgeon, who helped open up Nigeria to British trade; David Livingstone, a medical doctor, missionary and intrepid explorer, who did much to end slavery in Africa; and Mungo Park, botanist and surgeon, credited with the discovery of the source of the River Niger.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes series; Robert Louis Stevenson of the Treasure Island fame; and Alistair MacLean, author of The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare, two novels on World War II that were made into epic films.



Fans of Manchester United F.C would recall with nostalgia, the exploits of Sir Alex Ferguson, who successfully managed the club for many years. And the last but definitely not the least on this list of illustrious Scots is popular James Bond star and versatile actor, Sean Connery. Philosopher David Hume and Jerry Rawlings, former president of Ghana, who is half-Scot, are placed in this group for convenience.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, Scotland will definitely remain in the news for a while.


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6 responses to “Famous people you didn’t know were Scottish”

  1. globalbizdynamics4 says :

    Really topical.Nicely done Fred.

  2. MCO says :

    I am concerned more on the methodology of the process and compared it with our political process. I see a huge gap with respect to the maturity and politikinizationism expressed by the different groups. I did not see any fighting or insult of/by thugs and opposition. The debates for yes/no was based on issues (pros & cons) rather than on naming calling. I did not hear a consensus decision. I did not hear God fatherism. I did not hear threats for civil disturbances/insurgency in the event of failure. So I ask, why is the black man different? Fred, thank you. You forgot to add my name as the only scot in Nigeria. God bless you.

  3. chinwe says :

    Am glad to have learned these.

    Thanks Fred.

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