In a truly historic moment on Thursday, Sept. 18, the people of Scotland voted to stay in the United Kingdom rather than to become independent.
According to BBC News, 84.6 percent of Scotland’s population voted, the highest voter turnout in several decades. The lowest turnouts in the 32 Scottish council areas measured 70 to 75 percent, with the highest turnouts being over 90 percent.
The final tally was very close, with the overall vote being 55 percent for staying in the U.K. and 45 percent for independence. In some cases, like that of Inverclyde, the vote was 50.1 percent for No and 49.9 percent for Yes.
John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said that the result as a whole was not as close as opinion polls had predicted.
“That is not uncommon in these referendums where people are being asked to make a big change,” Curtice said. “They often draw back at the last minute.”
Children ages 16 to 17 were allowed to vote in the referendum as well, with the demographic totaling 109,533 of the referendum’s votes. From this group alone, the vote for independence was overwhelmingly high, with 71 percent saying Yes to independence. However, among voters ages 16 to 24, the Yes vote fell to 51 percent.
Scotland’s independence would have repercussions not only within Scotland, but also around the world. If Scotland were to separate from the U.K., one study suggests that Scotland could receive as much as 90 percent of the oil revenue collected from the North Sea, according to the Washington Post. Estimates suggest that the value of Scottish gas and oil exports to the rest of the world reached over $49 billion in 2012.
The SPN, the leading political party in Scotland, said that an independent Scotland would be free of any and all nuclear weapons. Currently, the British military houses its “Trident” system in Scotland’s Firth of Clyde, which is comprised of several nuclear submarines. While campaigners for Scottish independence believe the disavowal of nuclear weapons would be consistent with their future obligations as a NATO state, it would cause complications for both the British government and NATO, The Washington Post also suggests.