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Gaelic in modern Scotland
Gaelic in modern Scotland

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3.2 Decline

Having been brought to Scotland from Ireland in the early part of the millennium, Gaelic had become the dominant language of the country by the end of that millennium. However, it has been in decline for most of the period since then, for a variety of reasons.

A combination of political, economic, cultural and educational factors described above had, by the beginning of the 20th century, launched a spiral of decline which resulted in the 254,415 Gaelic speakers of 1891 falling, decade by decade, to 58,652 by 2001, as shown on this graph (compiled by the research agency Sgrùd):