Salmond introduced the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill, The Scotsman reported. He called the bill "the most important legislation to have been introduced since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened -- not in itself, but what it enables Scotland to achieve with the powers of an independent country."
As set down in the bill, voters will have to answer one simple question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
The government is expected to release a white paper in about six months detailing the process that would take place if voters approve independence. Polls so far have suggested a majority of Scots do not want to cut ties completely with Britain.
The vote is timed to take place after a re-enactment to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, a historic Scottish victory over the English and before the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles golf course.
Scotland has been politically joined to England for more than 300 years.