The Scottish Borders is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It shares borders with council areas Dumfries and Galloway, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian; and is bordered to the south and east by the non-metropolitan counties of Cumbria and Northumberland in England. The administrative centre of the area is Newtown St. Boswells.
Historically, the name Scottish Borders designated the entire border region of southern Scotland and, together with neighbouring areas of England, was part of the historical Borders region.
Historically, the term Borders has a wider meaning, referring to all of the burghs adjoining the English border, also including Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire — as well as Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland in England.
Roxburghshire and Berwickshire historically bore the brunt of the conflicts with England, both during declared wars such as the Wars of Scottish Independence, and armed raids which took place in the times of the Border Reivers. Thus, across the region are to be seen the ruins of many castles, abbeys and even towns.
The council area was created in 1975, by merging the former counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire, and Selkirkshire and part of Midlothian, as a two-tier region with the districts of Berwickshire, Ettrick and Lauderdale, Roxburgh, and Tweeddale within it. In 1996 the region became a unitary authority area and the districts were wound up. The region was created with the name Borders. Following the election of a shadow area council in 1995 the name was changed to Scottish Borders with effect from 1996.
Although there is evidence of some Scottish Gaelic in the origins of place names such as Innerleithen ("confluence of the Leithen"), Kilbucho and Longformacus, which contain identifiably Goidelic rather than Brythonic Celtic elements, the language has tended to be weak to non-existent in most parts of the region. Since the 5th century, there has been evidence of two main languages in the area: Brythonic (in the west) and Old English (in the east), the latter of which developed into its modern forms of English and Scots.