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  • Scotland was first decisively settled after the end of the last glacial period, roughly 10,000 years ago. Prehistoric Scotland entered the Neolithic Era about 4000 BC, the Bronze Age about 2000 BC, and the Iron Age around 700 BC. The recorded history of Scotland begins with the arrival of the Roman Empire in the 1st century, the Roman province of Britannia reached as far north as the Antonine Wall, which once ran from the Clyde to the Forth. To the north lay the territory of Caledonia, whose people were described as "Picti" in Latin, meaning ‘painted ones’. Due to constant incursions from these Picti the Roman legions would be forced back to Hadrian's Wall within 20 years of its construction, and forced to abandon the territory by the beginning of the 3rd century. According to 9th- and 10th-century literature, the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata was founded on the west coast of Scotland in the 6th century. In the following century, Irish missionary Columba founded a monastery on Iona and introduced the previously pagan Scoti, and with less success the Picti, to Celtic Christianity.

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