Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name (IPA2|ˈalˠ̪əpə) for Scotland. It is cognate to "Albain" in Irish Gaelic and "Nalbin" in Manx, the other Goidelic Insular Celtic language, as well as similar words in the Brythonic Insular Celtic languages of Cornish ("Alban") and Welsh ("Yr Alban") also meaning Scotland.

Hence also the early classical name "Albion". It was used by the Gaels to refer to the island as a whole until roughly the ninth or tenth centuries, when it came to be the name given to the kingdoms of the Picts and the Scots (Pictavia and Dál Riata), north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde, traditionally considered to have been unified by Kenneth Mac Alpin. The region Breadalbane ("Bràghad Albainn", the upper part of "Alba") takes its name from it as well.

As time passed that kingdom incorporated others to the southern territories. It became Latinized in the High Medieval period as "Albania" (it is unclear whether it may ultimately share the same etymon as the modern Albania). This latter word was employed mainly by Celto-Latin writers, and most famously by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It was this word which passed into Middle English as Albany, although very rarely was this used for the Kingdom of Scotland, but rather for the notional Duchy of Albany. From the latter the capital of the U.S. state of New York, Albany, takes its name.

Modern Uses

Michel Roger Lafosse who claims the Scottish throne, has styled himself as "HRH Prince Michael James Alexander Stewart, 7th Count of Albany" since 1978.

Runrig recorded a song called "Alba" on their album, "The Cutter and the Clan".

In the mid-1990s, the Celtic League started a campaign to have the word "Alba" on the Scottish football and rugby tops. Since 2005, the SFA have supported the use of Scots Gaelic on their teams's strip in recognition of the language's revival in Scotland. [cite news | url = | title = BBC Scotland - Gaelic added to Scotland strips] However, the SRU is still being lobbied to have "Alba" on the national rugby strip. [ [ Scottish Rugby Union: "Put 'Alba' on Scottish Ruby Shirt" | Facebook ] ] [cite news | url = | title = BBC Alba - Gàidhlig air lèintean rugbaidh na h-Alba]

There is a BBC Satellite channel aimed at the Scottish Gaelic community which is called BBC Alba.


See also

* Albanactus
* Kingdom of Alba
* Caledonia
* Scotia

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