Scotland, England disunited -- 300 years on

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EDINBURGH -- With barely the raising of a glass, Scotland is preparing to mark 300 years since accepting the Treaty of Union with England -- which bound two countries together and gave the world Great Britain.

The anniversary Tuesday of the Scottish parliament's voting to accept the treaty is focusing attention on growing discord, with advocates of Scottish independence gaining strength in their campaign for a referendum on breaking the union.

"This treaty can and will be undone and at the moment there is a wellspring of Scottish nationalism," said Murray Ritchie, former political editor of The Herald newspaper and convener of the Scottish Independence Convention. "What we need is a referendum to settle the issue of independence."

The Union has been contested since 1707, when mobs took to the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow as news of the vote spread.

Though Scotland's parliament dissolved, the country maintained much of its national identity, its own legal and education systems and its own religion -- Presbyterianism, although Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Church of Scotland.

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