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The Shared Links Between Scotland, Canada and the U.S.

It should be to nobody’s surprise that North America and Scotland have a lot of common threads that weave us together because Scottish settlers were some of the first to colonize here in the 16th century along with the English, Spanish, French, Dutch, etc. With that in mind and to celebrate the fact that Tartan Day is coming up in April, here are some fun facts that show you just how much influence Scotland has had on Canada and the U.S. specifically. There’s even a little fun fact on geography that might blow your mind!

It’s All in the Name!

Inspired by their nostalgia of their family history and their original homeland of Scotland, there are literally thousands of city names in Canada and the U.S. that are named after Scottish family surnames, glens, and other cities in Scotland. Even the Province of Nova Scotia in Canada is Latin for “New Scotland.” Just to put it in perspective, you can find at least…

  • 20 Scotlands
  • 24 Glasgows
  • 20 Aberdeens
  • 18 Stewarts
  • 37 Campbells
  • 11 Glencoes
  • 12 Wallaces
  • 15 Invernesses
  • 20 Sterlings

And this does not even begin to scratch the surface! If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list, hop on over to Wikipedia here:

United States

The Scottish Highlands and the Appalachians are the Same Mountain Range!

Yes! You read that correctly! They were once connected millions of years ago as the Central Pangean Mountains when we were all one massive piece of land! Remnants of this mountain range not only include the Appalachian Mountains of North America and the Scottish Highlands, but also the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, all of Ireland, and parts of Greenland and Scandinavia. As a matter of fact, the International Appalachian Trail (for all of you hardcore hikers out there) was extended in 2010 to include Scotland due to this geological discovery.

If you are interested in hiking part of the International Appalachian Trail in Scotland, you can do so by hiking the West Highland Way which is a trail that spans 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William!

Happy hiking!

Play that Music!

I can’t even begin to talk about how many famous singers have Scottish Ancestry ranging everywhere from Elvis Presley to Taylor Swift, but when it comes to the music itself…our bluegrass and country music comes from traditional Scottish and Irish ballads the emigrants brought with them into the Appalachian Mountains. 


In addition to the Declaration of Arbroath 1320 serving as the model for the U.S. Declaration of Independence, there have been numerous U.S. Presidents and Canadian Prime Ministers who can trace their roots back to bonnie Scotland starting with the first U.S. President, George Washington, who was of both English and Scottish ancestry and Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister who was born in Glasgow.

Overall, it is estimated that 35 of the 46 U.S. Presidents and 13 of Canada’s 23 Prime Ministers have had Scottish Ancestry including former President Donald J. Trump whose mother, Mary Ann MacLeod Trump, was a Scottish immigrant that hailed directly from the Isle of Lewis in 1930. 


If you were to ask my father-in-law what his favorite sport is, he would tell you golf! He plays and watches it non-stop! And while golf is definitely a sport brought to the Americas by the Scots as golf originated in Scotland potentially around the 15th century (you can read about the history here) I would be remiss not to state the obvious – the athletics of the Scottish Highland Games!

Thanks to the Scottish Diaspora, there are more people of Scottish ancestry living in North America than there is the entire population of Scotland as a whole. As a matter of fact, there are approximately 5.5 million people living in Scotland whereas there is estimated to be 30+ million people of Scottish ancestry specifically living in Canada and the United States. Because of the high Scottish ancestral population and the sheer land mass size, Canada and the U.S. hosts close to 200 Highland Games and Festivals annually! 

Looking for an event near you? (And yes, this is a shameless plug!) Click here to search our International Directory.

The Presbyterian Church

The Church of Scotland, which is the national church in Scotland, accepted the Presbyterian faith during the 16th-century Reformation. Many Scots immigrating to North America naturally brought their faith with them establishing Presyberitan churches in the areas they settled.

Today, the Presbyterian Church is one of the top 10 largest protestant denominations in North America with approximately 3 million followers of the faith. 


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We now have a Podcast!

It’s official! We have launched our brand new podcast, Celebrating Scotland! We have episodes available wherever you get your podcasts!

Join your host Genesis Keefer where she plans to chat and have a dram with bagpipers, historians, Highland Games athletes, whisky experts and so much more!

Listen to our very first episode with Highland Games Pro Athlete Jarvina Routt through your favorite podcast app!

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Genesis Moss Keefer

Genesis Moss Keefer

My name is Genesis, and I'm an American of Scottish descent. I am also the creator of and the host of the Celebrating Scotland podcast! Like most of you, I have a passion for my Scottish heritage and ancestral history. When not traveling to different Highland Games and Festivals across southern California, you can usually find me listening to bagpipes and drinking Guinness. I have a Master's degree in Scottish Heritage from the University of Aberdeen in addition to being a Fellow with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. I am also a member of the Scottish American Athletics Association in addition to Scottish Heritage USA, and the Clan Campbell Society of North America.
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