25th September 1237

Treaty of York defines Scotland’s border

Where does one country end and the next begin? That question should have been answered definitively by the 1237 Treaty of York, which was signed by Scotland’s Alexander II and England’s Henry III..

In essence, the treaty was a big tying up of loose ends that not only defined which bits of land would sit on either side of the dividing line, but also settled old debts and obligations. In terms of territory, though, it defined once and for all that Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland sat on the English side, and would remain there.

Although Northumberland still exists, Cumberland became Cumbria in 1974. Westmorland was formerly a county to the south of Cumberland and north of Lancashire but was incorporated entirely into the new county of Cumbria upon its creation.

Maritime borders

Logically, the border would extend to the east and west beyond the British coast to delineate each kingdom’s territorial waters, although this maritime boundary has been played with over the years. The most significant redrawing of the line in modern times occurred in 1999 when Scotland lost 6000 square miles of its water after voting in favour of devolution.

As Scottish waters are home to the richest supply of oil in and around the British Isles, this shifting of the maritime border could have a significant impact on an independent Scotland’s income should it break from the United Kingdom.



Other events that occured in September

FREE Scotland history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Scotland's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.