Voters in Scotland today could politically separate its more than 5 million residents from the rest of the United Kingdom.
But what happens over the pond does not stay over the pond as many in the United States try to assess potential impacts of today’s vote.
Here’s a quick guide on what is happening and why it matters.
How did it start?
The quick version is that in 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron signed a deal allowing Scottish voters the right to choose whether to remain in the United Kingdom.
The Scottish National Party, led by Alex Salmond, had been a proponent of Scotland’s independence. Salmond has been pushing for home rule with comments such as this tweet below, while Cameron has argued Scotland is better off as part of the United Kingdom.
— Alex Salmond (@AlexSalmond) September 17, 2014
What are the major talking points?
Questions remain about what would happen to Scotland’s status in NATO, the European Union and the United Nations if Scotland were to break away.
Scotland has been more liberal than its British counterparts and having its separation would give residents the ability to decide national matters for themselves.
There questions about important matters such as whether Scotland would need to create its own currency and whether Scotland would put the 2 percent of its gross domestic product toward defense spending as required by NATO.
The New York Times laid out some of the important issues here.
The Guardian has an extensive guide here.
Does it matter to the United States?
Some believe the Scotland vote could have an impact on the United States. President Barack Obama has pressed Scottish voters to keep the union intact.
The United Kingdom is one of the United States’ top trade partners in both imports and exports.
The United States also is gathering allies and looking for foreign help in protecting NATO allies worried about Russia-backed rebels in Ukraine and ISIS in the Middle East. The United Kingdom has long been side-by-side with the United States, so weakening them in any way does not help Obama.
Find out more with this Newsy video.