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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Declaration of Arbroath recognised

7th July 2016

On 5 July 2016 UNESCO, which is the cultural body of the United Nations, announced that Scotland’s Declaration of Arbroath had been officially recognised as a ‘Memory of the World’ and as such would enjoy special status. The Memory of the World scheme seeks to preserve written documents, sound recordings and films for the benefit of all humanity. The document was written as a letter to the pope in 1320 declaring that Scotland had always been a free nation and that the Scots would resist all attempts by the English king to conquer them. Not only that, the letter is radical in declaring that if their own king, Robert I, was ever to compromise their independence the Scots would cast him out an choose another king. The personal seals of many Scottish nobles – who did not read or write – were attached to the letter to indicate their approval. Written in Latin, historians began calling it a declaration in the early 20th century and since then a number of translations have been made. It has also been credited as having an important influence on the framing of the American Declaration of Independence of 1776. It has now been put on display for the first time in 11 years by the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh. A couple of years ago Education Scotland requested a Scots language version which was translated by Dr Dauvit Horsbroch at the SLC. You can download the PDF version of this translation below.