Unicorn As Scotland’s National Animal, What’s The Story Behind This?

Unicorn is more than just a mythical creature for the people of Scotland

Every country has its own national animal that represents the strength of a certain nation and its people and in Scotland’s case, it is the unicorn.

This mythical creature is a symbol of purity, innocence, and power in Celtic mythology, based on the article in National Trust For Scotland. According to legends, their horns can purify poisoned water, such is the strength of their healing power.

Scots are drawn to what this mythical creature represents. It is known to be a proud and untameable creature that is also fiercely independent and famously difficult to capture or conquer.

USA Today

Scotland first adopted the unicorn when it was introduced to the royal coat of arms of Scotland around the mid-1500s. The coat of arms was supported by two unicorns before the Union of the Crowns in 1603. When King James VI of Scotland also became James I of England, the unicorns were replaced with the national animal of England, which is the lion that came from the family of cats. Unicorns and lions in folklore have always been enemies.

The unicorns in heraldry always appear with gold chains wrapped around them because it is believed that this was a way of showing the power of Scottish kings and implying that they were the only ones who could tame the mythical creatures.

People around the world believed that unicorns had existed on Earth for thousands of years. However, French naturalist Georges Cuvier debunked the myth in 1825 by stating that “an animal with a split hoof could never grow a single horn from its head.”

On the other hand, this did not stop Scotland from hailing the unicorn as its National Animal. Many unicorns can be spotted in the country, especially when you explore Edinburgh. You can also find them in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Apartments at Edinburgh Castle, and the Victorian woodcarvings at St Giles’ Cathedral, just down the road from Gladstone’s Land.

Here is a video further explaining Scotland’s National Animal.

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