For centuries, the people of Scotland have fought and died to keep their country free. I contend that the Act of Union of 1707 was a betrayal, making their sacrifice pointless. The relationship between England and Scotland had been poor throughout the 1600s. During the 1650s the Scots had been subject to the loathsome Cromwell, and mutual mistrust continued to fester through the reigns of Charles II and James VII. The divide between the nations was widened even further after the massacre at Glencoe, and by the time the betrayer Queen Anne came to power, Scotland was fighting harder than ever to be free of the English yolk. The concept of a 'united kingdom' had been around for decades, having first been proposed in 1606, and each time it was mentioned it led to trouble, if not open battle. The English argued that any benefits would be felt most by Scotland. The Scots, however, feared being annexed, becoming just another region of the English kingdom, as had happened to Wales and as the English were attempting to do to Ireland. What switched the idea of a united kingdom from a theory to one which the English actively pursued was the war with France: Louis XIV recognised the Catholic James VII as the rightful heir to both crowns of England and Scotland. Highlanders in particular also recognised this claim on Scotland's crown, and this was something the English could not countenance. It is one of the interesting 'what ifs' of history that should James VIII have landed in Scotland in 1702, he may have been accepted as the rightful monarch and the whole history of the nation would have been completely different. As it was, James had the same sense of timing as his father, and did nothing. Anne was imposed on the Scots instead, and the Act of Union was the inevitable result. Henceforth the Jacobite cause would become entwined with Scottish nationalism. Political skulduggery played a big part in the Union being finalised. In a practically empty Scottish parliament a vote was taken on who the commissioners should be to negotiate the union proposal. By July 1706 terms were finalised. There terms met with popular protest, but by then the deal had been done. Scotland had effectively voted out of existence its right to be accepted as an independent nation. The Scottish Parliament was dissolved on April 28, 1707. By the terms of the Act, England and Scotland had become, in effect, one country. Scots were granted 45 seats in the House of Commons, and 16 peers in the House of Lords, but this was not an accurate reflection of the population difference between the two counties; it was merely a sop, and was rightly seen as such by the Scottish people. They had allowed the English to use the old battlefield tactic of divide and conquer. The Scottish nobility found it financially advantageous to accept union (and were, bluntly, bribed to do so). The majority of Scots never had a say on the matter. Yet, over 300 years later, Scotland may finally have an opportunity to rectify the betrayals of the past. The Scottish National Party has promised a referendum in which voters will be asked whether they agree or disagree "that the Scottish government should negotiate a settlement with the Government of a United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state". Perhaps we will have our revenge on Queen Anne after all.