He said Scots had a responsibility to hand over a better country to the next generation, as Scots prepare to vote in an independence referendum in 2014.
“For the first time since the beginning of the political union, the elected representatives of the people of Scotland have agreed that this nation should be an independent country,” Mr Salmond said. “Our parliament is not yet able to make many of the key decisions affecting the lives of every man, woman and child in Scotland – and I believe that must change.
“It is the responsibility of this generation to hand over a better country to the next generation than the one inherited - and only independence will allow Scotland to fulfil its potential and ambitions.
“Independence is now the settled will of the Scottish Parliament. In Scotland, sovereignty rests with the people and in the autumn of 2014 the people will have their say in Scotland’s independence referendum.”
Mr Salmond revealed 15,000 people had backed the official campaign for a “Yes” vote by signing the declaration on independence unveiled last week. The First Minister wants one million to have signed up before the referendum.
Meanwhile, pro-Union parties insisted the UK was the “choice” of Scots, who would have joined up eventually, even if Scotland had remained independent after 1707, when the Act of Union was agreed.
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont told the Nationalists: “We, as a nation, were never conquered. The United Kingdom has not been imposed upon us. It is the choice of Scots.
“It is the choice of Scots to share power with our neighbours in these small islands.”