The Scottish people have voted against independence and breaking up the 307-year union with England.

The final tally saw 2,001,926 (55.30%) people voting No and 1,617,989 (44.70%) voting Yes.

The turnout was 84.59% as more than 3.6m people went to the polls.

It was the highest turnout for any election or referendum in the UK since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1918.

The result became a mathematical certainty earlier this morning when the result in Fife pushed the No side beyond 50%.

First Minister Alex Salmond, who led the Yes campaign, said he accepted the verdict of the Scottish people and called on all Scots to do the same.

Mr Salmond also called on the leaders of the three main pro-Union parties to live up to promises of further devolution they made during the referendum campaign.

There were wins for the Yes side in only four of the 32 local authority areas - Glasgow, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire.

The Yes side failed to take key targets, such as Clackmannanshire and the Western Isles, and fell well behind in the capital Edinburgh.

It also failed to secure Mr Salmond's Aberdeenshire constituency.

Alistair Darling has welcomed the No vote and said it was a momentous result for Scotland and the whole of the UK.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced proposals to allow English, Welsh and Northern Ireland's MPs to vote alone on policies only impacting their voters, mirroring pledges made on fresh devolution to Scotland.

Mr Cameron said he hoped to win cross-party support for the plans, which he outlined in Downing Street this morning.

US President Barack Obama has congratulated Scotland on its "full and energetic exercise of democracy," as he welcomed the result of the referendum.

"We have no closer ally than the United Kingdom, and we look forward to continuing our strong and special relationship with all the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as we address the challenges facing the world today," Mr Obama said in a statement.

Record turnout for referendum

The participation rate of 84.5% topped the previous best of 83.9% recorded in the 1950 general election and dwarfed the tallies in recent Westminster polls, which saw 65.1% vote in 2010 and 61.4% in 2005.

The total - 3,619,915 - will have included many voters who had never cast their ballot before or had stayed away from the polling booths for many years.

The poll also marked a historic breakthrough by allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in a national election for the first time - something which many campaigners said should be extended to general elections.

Turnout was elevated across Scotland as the electorate engaged enthusiastically in what both sides described as a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity to shape the future of their nation.

Particular highs were recorded in East Dunbartonshire (91%), East Renfrewshire (90.4%) and Stirling (90.1%).

Relatively fewer people went to the polls in the urban strongholds where Yes Scotland was relying upon large numbers of supporters to turn out, such as Glasgow (75%) and Dundee (78.8%).

Yes campaign wins Twitter battle

Meanwhile, the Yes campaign won the independence referendum battle on Twitter, the social network has revealed.

More than seven million tweets about the referendum have been sent since the first televised debate on 5 August, including 1.5m in the past 48 hours.

Overall, users posted more than 1.5m messages backing the Yes campaign, compared to 500,000 for No.

The most re-tweeted message on referendum day was Andy Murray's endorsement of the Yes campaign, which was shared more than 18,000 times.

During the campaign, the most-used tag overall was #IndyRef, Twitter said, with 3.75m mentions.

The #VoteYes message was used 1.1m times, followed by #Scotland at 439,000, #ScotDecides at 272,000, and #BetterTogether at 224,000.