If voters say "yes" to independence, a constitutional settlement would need to be put together and agreed upon with the U.K. government. That could take time, as a settlement would include solving issues of military defense, Scotland's share of the national debt, and its use of the pound.
If voters say "no," the independence movement will likely go away quietly. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond (one of the movement's biggest proponents) calls the referendum "a once-in-a-generation event."
Along the 96-mile border, where tensions between the two countries were far more violent between the 13th and 17th centuries, locals appear unenthusiastic about a more formal division. An historian in Northumberland tells Reuters that "virtually all our services come from across the border. Scottish telephone, Scottish power, Scottish post office, we have a Scottish post code, we bank in Scotland at the Bank of Scotland." Back in Scotland, a managing director at a textile mill in Hawick tells Reuters, "Everybody I know feels Scottish enough, the identity of our company is Scottish enough, it's not going to be enhanced. And we only see it as an additional cost coming."
Below, a look at life along the border between Scotland and England, where cultural differences appear more as cause for celebration than separation:
The region’s “chemical genies” of the early 20th century were heralded as reaching into the future to create a more abundant life for all. Instead, they deprived future generations of their health and well-being.