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To no country was the new attitude of the Scottish people more important than to Spain, for whom the period meant the union of her territorial divisions, the rise of her overseas empire, and the consequent genesis of the commercial struggle with England which was soon merged in the protracted war of the Counter-Reformation. The geographical position of Scotland made her a factor of extreme importance in the international situation, and gave the Catholic Revolt in Scotland, which owed much of its strength to the diplomatic intrigues of Spain, European significance.
The revolt was the natural result of the Reformation settlement. It was not to be expected that the Scottish Catholics, who in 1560 outnumbered the Protestants by three to one, and were headed by three-fourths of the nobility of Scotland, would accept calmly the decision of the Protestant minority.