It was founded by William Ritchie, a solicitor, and Charles Maclaren, a customs official. They launched 'The Scotsman' after feeling frustrated at the lack of an outlet for reforming opinions in Edinburgh.
The first issue appeared on Saturday January 25, 1817. Fittingly, this date is also the birthday of Robert Burns, another Scottish champion of free speech.
'The Scotsman' has a commitment to innovation and built a pioneering distribution network. This included a dedicated train that ensured readers outside Edinburgh could peruse the paper at the breakfast table. In 1866, a telegraph cable was laid across the Atlantic between Britain and the United States. 'The Scotsman' was the first newspaper to hire a wire on it for its own use.
In 1905, 'The Scotsman' moved to purpose-built premises on Edinburgh’s North Bridge. Some of the journalists who worked here would become household names. Former 'Scotsman' staff include Magnus Magnusson, Jim Naughtie, Ruth Wishart, Andrew Marr, Hugh McIlvanney, and Lesley Riddoch.