HIGHLANDS, THE, that part of Scotland north-west of a line drawn from Dumbarton to Stonehaven, including the Inner and Outer Hebrides and the county of Bute, but excluding the Orkneys and Shetlands, Caithness, the flat coastal land of the shires of Nairn, Elgin and Banff, and all East Aberdeenshire (see SCOTLAND). This area is to be distinguished from the Lowlands by language and race, the preservation of the Gaelic speech being characteristic. Even in a historical sense the Highlanders were a separate people from the Lowlanders, with whom, during many centuries, they shared nothing in common. The town of Inverness is usually regarded as the capital of the Highlands. The Highlands consist of an old dissected plateau, or block, of ancient crystalline rocks with incised valleys and lochs carved by the action of mountain streams and by ice, the resulting topography being a wide area of irregularly distributed mountains whose summits have nearly the same height above sea-level, but whose bases depend upon the amount of denudation to which the plateau has been subjected in various places. The term " highland " is used in physical geography for any elevated mountainous plateau.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)