Donald Dewar lived from 21 August 1937 to 11 October 2000. He was the politician largely responsible for Scottish Devolution in 1997 and who became Scotland's first First Minister. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Donald Dewar was born in Glasgow, the only child of Alisdair Dewar, an eminent consultant dermatologist, and Mary Bennett. Dewar was educated at Glasgow Academy and the University of Glasgow, where he gained Bachelor of Law and Master of Arts degrees. While at university he formed a close friendship with John Smith, who would later become Leader of the Labour Party. Dewar also served as President of the Glasgow University Union and joined the Glasgow University Labour Club.
Dewar went on to become a solicitor in Glasgow. He was elected to Parliament as Member for Aberdeen South in the 1966 General Election, at the age of 28. He lost his seat in the 1970 General Election, and in 1978 returned to Parliament after winning a by-election in the Glasgow Garscadden constituency. In 1984, Dewar became a member of the opposition Labour Party's Shadow Cabinet with responsibility for Scottish affairs. In 1992, John Smith gave him the post of Shadow Social Security Secretary. After John Smith's untimely death in 1994, his successor Tony Blair appointed Dewar to be the Labour Party's Chief Whip.
In the 1997 General Election, Dewar won the new seat of Glasgow Anniesland (Glasgow Garscadden having been abolished by boundary changes). The election was won by the Labour Party, and Dewar was appointed to be Secretary of State for Scotland by Prime Minister Tony Blair. It was Donald Dewar who went on to oversee the devolution process that led to the passing of the Scotland Act and the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament after a gap of almost 300 years. In 1999 Donald Dewar became the first First Minister of Scotland.
In 2000 Dewar underwent heart surgery, and while recovering he suffered and died from a brain haemorrhage at the age of 63. In May 2002, Tony Blair unveiled an 9ft tall bronze statue of Donald Dewar in front of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. This was sculpted by Kenny Mackay using funds raised by the Glasgow newspaper the Daily Record. Donald Dewar has two more memorials. The first is the magnificent Scottish Parliament Building, the idea of which he drove forward with architect Enric Miralles. This turned out to be a hugely controversial project, but so was the Eiffel Tower when it was built. Dewar's final memorial is in many ways his most important one. He is remembered by many Scots as the founding father of the reborn Scottish Nation.