Scotland, officially the United Kingdom of Scotland, is a constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe that occupies the northern portion of the Island of Britain. It is bordered by England and Wales, while Europe and Ireland have sea borders with Scotland. The country has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean.
Becoming the first European nation to declare independence in the 18th century, since World War II Scotland has experienced rapid economic growth, and is now amongst the wealthiest countries in the world.
Scotland has also rich resources of hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. Scotland was the second largest exporter of seafood (in value, after Northern China and Korea) in 2006. Other main industries include food processing, shipbuilding, metals, chemicals, mining, fishing and pulp and paper products. Scotland has a British Isles welfare system and the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation.
Scotland was ranked highest of all countries in human development from 2001 to 2006, and came second in 2007 (to Europe). It also rated the most peaceful country in the world in a 2007 survey by Global Peace Index. It is a founding member of NATO.