100 Famous Scottish People

This is a list of 100 famous Scottish people.

This includes people who were born in Scotland, but  also people born outside of Scotland, but who spent considerable time living there and identified with a Scottish identity.

Who is the greatest Scottish person?

Perhaps the most influential person from a global perspective is David Hume (philosopher) or Adam Smith (economist). From the perspective of Scottish history, Robert the Bruce or William Wallace have been very influential. In modern times, it is probably Alex Salmond.

If you want to make a suggestion about who should be in list (or who shouldn’t) you can leave a comment below.

 

Robert-the-bruce1. Robert the Bruce (1274 – 1329) Born north of Girvan in Ayrshire. King of Scots (1309-1329). Leader of revolt against English rule during wars of Scottish independence.

2. Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) Born Darvel, East Ayrshire. Biologist, pharmacologist and botanist who discovered penicillin. Later shared Nobel Prize in Medicine (1945) with Howard Florey and Enrst Boris Chain.

John_Logie_Baird3. John Logie Baird (1888 – 1946) Born Helensburgh,in Argyll and Bute. Baird was an engineer and inventor, who demonstrated the first televised moving objects and later colour tv.

philosopher 4. David Hume (1711 – 1776) – Born Edinburgh. Hume was an economist, diplomat and influential enlightenment philosopher. He promoted a radical philosophical empiricism.

5. William Wallace (13th Century) Born Elderslie, Renfrewshire. Scottish independence leader during the war of Scottish independence. Defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in  1297.

Alex_Salmond6. Alex Salmond (1954 – ) Born Linlithgow, West Lothian. Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP). Salmond was instrumental in the growth of the SNP during the 80s, 90s and 00s, culminating in the referendum campaign of 2014.

7. Alexander Graham Bell (1847 – 1922) Born Edinburgh. Bell was an anventor of the telephone and worked on developments in understanding hearing.

Alex_Ferguson8. Alex Ferguson (1941 – ) Football manager, born Glasgow. Ferguson achieved unprecedented success with Aberdeen and Manchester United – completing a record 26 years at Manchester Utd.

poet9. Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) Born Alloway, Burns was a romantic poet, considered the National Poet of Scotland. Burns often based his poetry on traditional folk songs. He wrote  ‘Auld Lang Syne‘.

10. James Watt (1736 – 1819) Born Grenock, Watt was a mechanical engineer, who improved the Newcome steam engine creating an efficient steam engine, which was essential for the industrial revolution.

11. James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) Physicist, born Edinburgh. Maxwell made a significant contribution to understanding electro-magnetism. His research in electricity and kinetics, laid foundation for quantum physics.

writer12. Adam Smith (1723-1790) Social philosopher and pioneer of classical economics, born in Kirkcaldy. Smith is best known for his work ‘The Wealth of Nations‘ which laid down a framework for the basis of classical free market economics. Smith is often referred to as the ‘Father of Economics.

writer13. J.K.Rowling (1965 – ) Author of the Harry Potter Series – which has become the best selling book series of all time. Her first book was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997). Rowling has also published adult fiction, such as The Casual Vacancy (2012) and The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013)

Eric_Liddell14. Eric Liddell (1902 – 1945)  Represented Scotland at Rugby Union and GB athletics. Olympic gold medallist at 400m (1924). Dropped out of 100m due to religious beliefs. Life made into film ‘Chariots of Fire’

andy-murray15. Andy Murray (1987 – ) (Scotland, Great Britain, tennis) Olympic gold medallist 2012, First British winner of Wimbledon since Fred Perry.

Walter_Scott16. Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) Born in Edinburgh, Scott was a historical novelist, playwright, and poet associated with the romantic era. Notable works include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, and Waverley. Scott was also member of the Highland Society and President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

writerSir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930) Born Edinburgh, Doyle was an author of historical novels and plays. Most famous for his short stories about the detective – Sherlock Holmes, such as The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) and Sign of Four (1890).

  1. Rev. Patrick Bell (1800 – 1869) –   Invented the reaping machine a forerunner of combine harvester.
  2. Billy Connolly (1942 – ) – comedian
  3. Sean Connery (1930 – ) – Oscar winning Actor.
  4. Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881) – Writer
  5. Joseph Black (1728 – 1799) – Chemist.   Regarded as the Father of Quantitative Chemistry.
  6. Andrew Bonar-Law (1858 – 1923) – British Prime  Minister
  7. Sir James Dewar (1842 – 1923) – Invented vacuum flask.
  8. Lord John Boyd-Orr (1880 – 1971) – Nobel Peace prize in 1947, as Director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
  9. Robert Stevenson (1772 – 1850) – Engineer
  10. James Boswell (1740 – 1795) – Biographer and Traveller.
  11. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894) – Author
  12. Jackie Stewart (1939 – ) World Champion Racing Driver
  13. Robert William Thomson (1822 – 1873) – Invented the vulcanised rubber pneumatic tyre.
  14. Tony Blair (1953 – ) British Prime Minister
  15. John Boyd Dunlop (1840 – 1921) – Invented improvement to pneumatic tyre.
  16. Sir David Brewster (1781 – 1868) – Physicist and inventor of kaleidoscope.
  17. William Spiers Bruce (1867 – 1921) – Oceanographer and Polar Explorer.
  18. John Buchan  (1875 – 1940) – Author, biographer and politician.
  19. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836 – 1908) – Prime Minister of Britain between 1906 and 1908.
  20.  Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1918) – U.S. Steel magnate and philanthropist.
  21. Gordon Brown (1951 – ) – British Prime Minister from 2007
  22. James Chalmers (1782 – 1853) – Inventor of adhesive postage stamp
  23. James Braid (1795 – 1860) – Surgeon and developed process of Hypnosis.
  24. James  Clark (1936 – 1968) – World Racing Champion.
  25. Bill Shankly (1913 – 1981) – Football Manager
  26. George Cleghorn (1716 – 1794) – Doctor who helped discover Quinine as cure for Malaria
  27. Sir Ralph Alexander Cochrane (1895 – 1977) – Air Chief in World War Two. Planned Dambusters raid in 1943
  28. James Keir Hardie (1856 – 1915) – Socialist, founder of Independent Labour party, forerunner of British Labour Party.
  29. Donald Crisp (1880 – 1974) – Oscar Winning Actor for role in     “How Green is my Valley” (1941).
  30. James Ramsay MacDonald (1866 – 1937) First British Labour Prime Minister. Led the first Labour government in 1924.
  31. Archibald Joseph Cronin (1896 – 1981) Author.
  32. Kenny Dalglish (1951 – ) Scottish Football player
  33. John Knox (1505 – 1572) – Instrumental in Protestant reformation in Scotland.
  34. Sir Hugh Dalrymple (Lord Drummore) (1700 – 1753) – Invented better drainage system for agriculture.
  35. David Douglas (1798 – 1834)
  36. William Whitelaw (1918 – ) Conservative British Politician
  37. Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding (1882 – 1970) Commander in Chief of Fighter Command during Battle of Britain.
  38. Donald Caskie (1902 – 1983) – Scottish Minister who helped British servicemen flee occupied France.
  39. Sir Patrick Geddes (1854 – 1932) – Father of Town Planning
  40. Willie Carson (1942 – ) – Race horse jockey.
  41. Charles Mackintosh (1766 – 1843) – Invented Mac Rain coat
  42. James Gregory (1638 – 1675) – Inventor of the first reflecting telescope.
  43. Earl Douglas Haig (1861 – 1928) – Commander of Allied troops on Western Front in World War. Later founded the Poppy fund for ex-servicemen.
  44. William Hunter (1718 – 1783) – Pioneer in the field of Obstetrics.
  45. Elsie Inglis (1864 – 1917) – Suffragette and leading surgeon
  46. James VI (1566 – 1625) King of England and Scotland.
  47. Saint Kentigern (c. 518 – 613) – The Apostle of Cumbria and Founder of Glasgow.
  48. Kenneth Graham (1859 – 1932) – Author. Including “The Wind in the Willows”
  49. James Lind (1716 – 1794) – Naval doctor. Helped prevent scurvy on naval expeditions.
  50. Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587) – Monarch of Scotland.
  51. Joseph Lister (1827 – 1912) – Pioneered use of antiseptics reducing infections after operations.
  52.  Sir Alexander Douglas Home   (1903 – 1995) – British Prime Minister (1963).
  53. David Livingstone (1813 – 1873) – Explorer
  54. James Ure (Midge), (1953 – ) Musician.
  55. John McAdam (1756 – 1836) – Surveyor and builder of roads.
  56. Bonnie Charlie (1720 – 1788) -The young pretender to the throne of Great Britain
  57. David Niven, (1909-1983) – Actor
  58. Sir Chris Hoy (1976 – ) – (Olympic cyclist)
  59. Sir Robert McAlpine (1847 – 1934) – Construction Firm.
  60. Norman MacCaig (1910 – 1996) – Poet
  61. Ronald Balfour Corbett (Ronnie), (1930) – Comic
  62. Hugh MacDiarmid (1892 – 1978) Poet. A founder of SNP
  63. Flora MacDonald (1722 – 1790)
  64. Dr. William McEwan (1827 – 1913) – Brewer and Philanthropist.
  65. Sir John Alexander MacDonald (1815 – 1891) – First Prime Minister of Canada.
  66. Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1813 – 1878) – Inventor of the bicycle.
  67. Andrew Meikle (1719 – 1811) – Inventor of the threshing machine.
  68. Sir William Ramsay (1852 – 1916) – Chemist
  69. Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) – Writer and Poet
  70. Muriel Spark (1918 – ) – Author
  71. Ewan McGregor, (1971) – Actor
  72. Robert Watson-Watt, (1892-1973) invented radar
  73. Robbie Coltrane, (1950 – ) – Actor
  74. Donovan, (1946 – ) – Singer
  75. Sir Thomas Lipton (1850 – 1931) – Retail Grocery trade.
  76. Annie Lennox, (1954) – Individual Singer
  77. Lulu (Marie McDonald Lawrie) (1948 – ) – Pop singer
  78. Graeme Obree (1965 – ) Cyclist – World Pursuit Champion and broke world hour record
  79. Jo Grimond, (1913 – 1993), Liberal Party leader from 1956 to 1967
  80. Sir John Sholto Douglas (8th Marquis of Queensberry) (1844 – 1900) Devised the “Queensberry Rules” for boxing in 1867.
  81. Sir William Arrol (1839 – 1913)  –  Engineer.
  82. George Wishart (1513 – 1546) – Lutheran Martyr
  83. James Young (1811 – 1883)  – Chemical Engineer.

 

 

 Related pages

Flag_of_England.Famous English people

Flag_of_WalesFamous Welsh people

Flag_of_Ireland.Famous Irish people

 

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11 Comments

  • James VI was the king of England but he was James I of Scotland.

    • I totally agree, he was quite an important man in Scottish history!

      • Oops! He’s allr mentioned! My bad!

  • Captain Eric Brown. Test Pilot. Flew more different types of aircraft than anyone else, a record number of carrier landings by a very large margin, innumerable “firsts” in the world of aviation, survived his ship being sunk, present at the liberation of Belsen; and an incredibly modest person.

  • Sir Walter Scott, renowned author of famous titles like Ivanhoe and Waverley. Has monuments in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

  • What about Alexander Hamilton?!

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