The Scottish Lowlands are made up of the southern portion of Scotland, the central region, the eastern coast, and most of the northeastern coast. The bulk of Scotland's population (about 80 percent) lives in the Lowlands, particularly in the urban and industrial areas around such major cities as Glasgow and Aberdeen, as well as in the capital city of Edinburgh. Taken as a whole, the Lowlands comprise some 48,648 square kilometers in land area and have a population in excess of 5 million. The climate is generally cool and wet, but there is variation across the region. There are few thunderstorms and little fog. Days are long in summer, short in winter.
Unlike that of the Highlanders, the language of Lowland Scots is not Gaelic but is rather a variant form of English introduced by Germanic settlers in the region as early as the sixth century A.D. The distinctiveness of what is now called "Scots" or Northern English, which was once called "Inglis," is great enough to merit its treatment as a language in its own right, rather than simply a dialect of the official or Standard English of southern Britain. Scots is a language with a long literary tradition, dating back to the 1300s. In the early 1700s English was made the official language, at least with regards to administration, for all of Britain, and Scots suffered a loss of prestige for a time. However, the linguistic tradition remained strong, borne in ballads, verse, and folk songs and preserved in the mid-seventeenth-century poetry of Robert Burns, perhaps the most famous of writers associated with the tongue.