HUFFINGTON POST

Inside Scotland's Historic Vote

Scots headed to the polls on Thursday to take part in a historic referendum on whether to end more than 300 years of union with England.

At polling booths around the nation, 4.3 million voters have the chance to answer "yes' or "no" to the deceivingly simple question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Opinion polls show opponents of independence are just a few percentage points ahead, suggesting that the vote will be a very close contest.

On Wednesday, both sides made a last ditch appeal to voters. Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond said Scots would seize "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take the future of this country into our hands." Meanwhile, former U.K. Prime Minister and Scot Gordon Brown urged Scotland to consider whether it wanted to "break and sever every link," with the rest of the country.

  • Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond poses for photographs with school children after casting his ballot at Ritchie Hall in
    AP Photo/Scott Heppell
    Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond poses for photographs with school children after casting his ballot at Ritchie Hall in Strichen, Scotland, Sept. 18, 2014.
  • A man arrives to cast his ballot at Ritchie Hall in Strichen, Scotland, Sept. 18, 2014.
    AP Photo/Scott Heppell
    A man arrives to cast his ballot at Ritchie Hall in Strichen, Scotland, Sept. 18, 2014.
  • A dog wearing a pro-independence 'Yes' bandana is walked on a street in Glasgow, Scotland, on polling day for a referendum on
    Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images
    A dog wearing a pro-independence 'Yes' bandana is walked on a street in Glasgow, Scotland, on polling day for a referendum on Scotland's independence, Sept. 18, 2014.
  • A pro-union campaigner waits to distribute leaflets to voters at a polling station in west Glasgow, Scotland, on polling day
    Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images
    A pro-union campaigner waits to distribute leaflets to voters at a polling station in west Glasgow, Scotland, on polling day for a referendum on Scotland's independence, Sept. 18, 2014.
  • Former Gordon Highlander Jock Robertson, 81, pauses at a polling station after voting in the Scottish referendum on Sept. 18,
    Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
    Former Gordon Highlander Jock Robertson, 81, pauses at a polling station after voting in the Scottish referendum on Sept. 18, 2014 in Peebles, Scotland.
  • A voter holds up his polling card outside a polling place in Morningside, Edinburgh on Sept.18, 2014.
    Matt Cardy/Getty Images
    A voter holds up his polling card outside a polling place in Morningside, Edinburgh on Sept.18, 2014.
  • Voters leave a polling place in Morningside, Edinburgh on Sept. 18, 2014.
    Matt Cardy/Getty Images
    Voters leave a polling place in Morningside, Edinburgh on Sept. 18, 2014.
  • Voters at Notre Dame Primary School polling station in Glasgow, Scotland on Sept. 18, 2014.
    Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
    Voters at Notre Dame Primary School polling station in Glasgow, Scotland on Sept. 18, 2014.
  • Yes supporters react to motorists passing the Church Hill Theatre polling place in Morningside, Edinburgh on Sept. 18, 2014.
    Matt Cardy/Getty Images
    Yes supporters react to motorists passing the Church Hill Theatre polling place in Morningside, Edinburgh on Sept. 18, 2014.
  • Painters paint over Yes graffiti at Jamestown Parish Church Lennox Hall on Sept. 18, 2014 in Jamestown, Scotland.
    Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
    Painters paint over Yes graffiti at Jamestown Parish Church Lennox Hall on Sept. 18, 2014 in Jamestown, Scotland.
  • A house in east Glasgow, Scotland, is decorated with a pro-independence slogan, on Sept. 18, 2014.
    Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images
    A house in east Glasgow, Scotland, is decorated with a pro-independence slogan, on Sept. 18, 2014.
  • Pro-independence and pro-union campaigners are pictured outside a polling station in east Glasgow, Scotland, on Sept. 18, 201
    Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images
    Pro-independence and pro-union campaigners are pictured outside a polling station in east Glasgow, Scotland, on Sept. 18, 2014, during a referendum on Scotland's independence.
  • Voters walk outside a polling station in Edinburgh on Sept. 18, 2014, during Scotland's independence referendum.
    LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
    Voters walk outside a polling station in Edinburgh on Sept. 18, 2014, during Scotland's independence referendum.
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