The Highlands and Islands is a historic region of Scotland, geographically and culturally distinguishable from the Scottish Lowlands. The Highlands occupy the northwestern half of Scotland, above the Highland Boundary Fault. The area is sparsely populated, with many mountain ranges dominating the region, and includes the highest mountain in Britain and Ireland, Ben Nevis. The Great Glen divides the Grampian Mountains to the southeast from the Northwest Highlands. Off the western coast with the Atlantic are many islands, collectively the Hebrides.
Before the 19th century the Highlands was home to a much larger population, but due to a combination of factors including the outlawing of the traditional Highland way of life following the Jacobite Rising of 1745, the infamous Highland Clearances, and mass migration to urban areas during the Industrial Revolution, the area is now one of the most sparsely populated in Europe.