Negotiations for Scottish independence would be completed within about a year-and-a-half, according to a referendum paper.
The road-map, which opponents said lacks credibility, sets March 2016 as the month Scotland could become fully independent in time for a general election that May, assuming a Yes vote in the referendum in autumn 2014.
Negotiations between Scottish ministers and the UK Government, European Union and international organisations would all be conducted during that time, the document states.
It also sets out plans for a written constitution, to be devised by the first parliament and the public, which could outlaw "weapons of mass destruction" in Scotland.
The paper describes the constitutional platform for independence, drawing on the "spirit" of the Edinburgh Agreement between Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond on the legal staging of the referendum. But it does not set out the implications of a UK general election, due to be held in the middle of negotiations, or whether Scots would still elect MPs to represent them for the remaining period.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's Deputy First Minister, launched the 16-page document, saying: "Today's paper provides the people of Scotland with a clear road-map as to how Scotland would make the journey from a devolved system of government with the levers of power retained at Westminster, to a nation in which the powers of our national parliament are complete and in which the people are sovereign."
Her document makes comparisons with UN countries that achieved independence within 15 months, on average, from the date of a referendum. They range from Senegal in Africa to Estonia in Europe and Jamaica in the Caribbean. It also draws on the examples of German reunification in 1990 and the separation of the former Czechoslovakia in 1993.
Talks between the Scottish and British governments will need to be held swiftly, the paper adds.
But the UK Government has insisted there will be no pre-negotiation. Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, a Lib Dem MP, accused the Scottish Government of creating a distraction. "Once again, they are devoting their energy to the picture frame when they don't have a painting to put in it," he said. "We haven't even got a date for the referendum, let alone any detail on what independence would mean for people in areas like the economy, welfare, energy and financial services."
Alistair Darling, the former Labour chancellor and now leader of the pro-UK Better Together group, dismissed the proposed timescale. He said: "We are to believe that all of this will be done quickly and without any hitches, our negotiations will be completed with the EU in record time and everything will be enacted in Parliament in an incredibly short space of time. It just isn't credible. The idea that all of this will just be nodded through is just nonsense."