The Celtic speaking Picts’ lived in northern and eastern Scotland during the Early Medieval Ages. Scots were Germanic-speaking people who emerged due to the union of two peoples, the Gaels and Picts.
King Kenneth MacAlpin is one of the most crucial figures in Scottish history. He laid the foundations of the Kingdom of Scotland by unifying the two Celtic speaking tribes, the Picts and Gaels.
He fought many battles against Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, the other competitors of the crown.
King Kenneth MacAlpin belonged to Picts. The unification of Gaels and Picts gave rise to a new clan, Scots or Scottish people.
Scots were the people who founded the Kingdom of Alba or Scotland in the 9th century. Later in the history, the nearby living Cumbrians who spoke Celtic and Germanic-speaking Norse and Anglo-Saxons also became a part of the Scottish nation.
Nowadays, the term Scots or Scottish is used for all people originating from Scotland either linguistically or culturally.
Scots spoke many languages and dialectics such as Norman-French, Pictish, and Norse. As they had Gaelic and Pictish origin, the culture of both these people had affected Scots in many ways.
There were many cultural and ethnic groups in Scotland in the Early Middle Ages, including the Angles, The Gaels, the Picts, and the Britons.
The Celtic speaking Picts, spoke Celtic and lived near the rivers Clyde and Forth. The culture of the Celtic speaking Picts can be inferred by Pictish stones.
Picts were the descendants of the Caledoni and other tribes. A higher degree of political unity was seen in Pictland in the 7th and early 8th centuries.
After merging with Gaelic people by 900, they formed the Kingdom of Alba. The Picts were farmers who lived in small communities. Their religion was Celtic polytheism and later Christianity.
Their artwork was found on stones, bones, and metals. The artwork of the Picts in the 7th and 8th centuries was inspired by Irish and Anglo-Saxon art.
Scotland was unified under MacAlpin’s rule. The Gaels and Picts had a common interest when it came to the defence of the country. He united the Gaelic Dal Riata kingdom and the Pictish Fortrio region to form a new kingdom Scotia (Alba in Gaelic).
A fleet of 140 Viking ships came to attack Dal Riata. MacAlpin ordered the Gaels to move safely to interior Pict lands along with their religious relics. These also included treasured remains of St. Columbia. This was a remarkable foresight of MacAlpin.
When the Gaels migrated to the Pictish lands, this was the end of Dal Riata and the beginning of Pictland. At this time the religious capital was moved from Iona to interior Dunkeld.
A great risk was taken by the Gaels when trusting MacAlpin and moving to Pictland. MacAlpin promised lands to the Gaels. These lands were captured by him from defeated rivals. A slight resentment was seen in common Picts, but MacAlpin did not allow them to rekindle old ethnic rivalries.
He died on 13th February 865 AD from a tumour at the palace of Cinnbelachoir. The title used for him was King of Picts, not King of Alba. The title of King of Alba was used for his grandson.