Vikings were Norse seafarers speaking the Old Norse language, who during the late 8th to late 11th centuries and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, explored westwards to Iceland and Vinland. The term is commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Norse home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age; this period of Nordic military and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, Kievan Rus' and Sicily. Facilitated by advanced sailing and navigational skills, characterised by the longship, Viking activities at times extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle East. Following extended phases of exploration and settlement, Viking communities and governments were established in diverse areas of north-western Europe, Belarus and European Russia, the North Atlantic islands and as far as the north-eastern coast of North America.
This period of expansion witnessed the wider dissemination of Norse culture, while introducing strong foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with profound developmental implications in both directions. Popular, modern conceptions of the Vikings—the term applied casually to their modern descendants and the inhabitants of modern Scandinavia—often differ from the complex picture that emerges from archaeology and historical sources. A romanticised picture of Vikings as noble savages began to emerge in the 18th century. Perceived views of the Vikings as alternatively violent, piratical heathens or as intrepid adventurers owe much to conflicting varieties of the modern Viking myth that had taken shape by the early 20th century. Current popular representations of the Vikings are based on cultural clichés and stereotypes, complicating modern appreciation of the Viking legacy; these representations are not always accurate — for example, there is no evidence that they wore horned helmets.
One etymology derives víking from the feminine vík, meaning "creek, small bay". Various theories have been offered that the word viking may be derived from the name of the historical Norwegian district of Viken, meaning "a person from Viken". According to this theory, the word described persons from this area, it is only in the last few centuries that it has taken on the broader sense of early medieval Scandinavians in general. However, there are a few major problems with this theory. People from the Viken area were not called'Viking' in Old Norse manuscripts, but are referred to as víkverir,'Vík dwellers'. In addition, that explanation could explain only the masculine and ignore the feminine, a serious problem because the masculine is derived from the feminine but hardly vice versa; the form occurs as a personal name on some Swedish runestones. The stone of Tóki víking was raised in memory of a local man named Tóki who got the name Tóki víking because of his activities as a viking; the Gårdstånga Stone uses the phrase "ÞeR drængaR waRu wiða unesiR i wikingu", referring to the stone's dedicatees as vikings.
The Västra Strö 1 Runestone has an inscription in memory of a Björn, killed when "i viking". In Sweden there is a locality known since the middle ages as Vikingstad; the Bro Stone was risen in memory of Assur, said to have protected the land from vikings. There is little indication of any negative connotation in the term before the end of the Viking Age. Another etymology, one that gained support in the early twenty-first century, derives Viking from the same root as Old Norse vika, f.'sea mile', originally'the distance between two shifts of rowers', from the root *weik or *wîk, as in the Proto-Germanic verb *wîkan,'to recede'. This is found in the Proto-Nordic verb *wikan,'to turn', similar to Old Icelandic víkja'to move, to turn', with well-attested nautical usages. Linguistically, this theory is better attested, the term most predates the use of the sail by the Germanic peoples of North-Western Europe, because the Old Frisian spelling shows that the word was pronounced with a palatal k and thus in all probability existed in North-Western Germanic before that palatalisation happened, that is, in the 5th century or before.
In that case, the idea behind it seems to be that the tired rower moves aside for the rested rower on the thwart when he relieves him. The Old Norse feminine víking may have been a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers, i.e. a long-distance sea journey, because in the pre-sail era, the shifting of rowers would distinguish long-distance sea journeys. A víkingr would originally have been a participant on a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers. In that case, the word Viking was not connected to Scandinavian seafarers but assumed this meaning when the Scandinavians begun to dominate the seas. In Old English, the word wicing appears first in the Anglo-Saxon poem, which dates from the 9th century. In Old English, in the history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen written by Adam of Bremen in about 1070, the term referred to Scandi
James IV of Scotland
James IV was the King of Scotland from 11 June 1488 to his death. He assumed the throne following the death of his father, King James III, at the Battle of Sauchieburn, a rebellion in which the younger James played an indirect role, he is regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended in a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden. He was the last monarch from the island of Great Britain to be killed in battle. James IV's marriage in 1503 to Margaret Tudor linked the royal houses of England, it led to the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when Elizabeth I died without heirs and James IV's great-grandson James VI succeeded to the English throne as James I. James was the son of Margaret of Denmark, born in Holyrood Abbey; as heir apparent to the Scottish crown, he became Duke of Rothesay. He had two younger brothers and John. In 1474, his father arranged his betrothal to the English princess Cecily of York, daughter of Edward IV of England, his father James III was not a popular king, facing two major rebellions during his reign, alienating many members of his close family his younger brother Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany.
James III's pro-English policy was unpopular, rebounded badly upon him when the marriage negotiations with England broke down over lapsed dowry payments, leading to the invasion of Scotland and capture of Berwick in 1482 by Cecily's uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in the company of the Duke of Albany. When James III attempted to lead his army against the invasion, his army rebelled against him and he was imprisoned by his own councillors in the first major crisis of his reign. James IV's mother, Margaret of Denmark, was more popular than his father, though somewhat estranged from her husband she was given responsibility for raising their sons at Stirling Castle, but she died in 1486. Two years a second rebellion broke out, where the rebels set up the 15-year-old Prince James as their nominal leader, they fought James III at the Battle of Sauchieburn on 11 June 1488, where the king was killed, though several sources claimed that Prince James had forbidden any man to harm his father. The younger James was crowned at Scone on 24 June.
However he continued to bear intense guilt for the indirect role which he had played in the death of his father. He decided to do penance for his sin; each Lent, for the rest of his life, he wore a heavy iron chain cilice around his waist, next to the skin. He added extra ounces every year. James IV proved an effective ruler and a wise king, he defeated another rebellion in 1489, took a direct interest in the administration of justice and brought the Lord of the Isles under control in 1493. For a time, he supported Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the English throne, carried out a brief invasion of England on his behalf in September 1496. In August 1497, James laid siege to Norham Castle, using his grandfather's bombard Mons Meg. James recognised nonetheless that peace between Scotland and England was in the interest of both countries, established good diplomatic relations with England, emerging at the time from a period of civil war. First he ratified the Treaty of Ayton in 1497. In 1502 James signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Henry VII.
This treaty was sealed by his marriage to Henry's daughter Margaret Tudor the next year, in an event portrayed as the marriage of The Thrissil and the Rois by the great poet William Dunbar, resident at James' court. James was granted the title of Defender of the Faith in 1507 by the Papal Legate at Holyrood Abbey. James maintained Scotland's traditional good relations with France and this created diplomatic problems with England. For example, when rumours that James would renew the Auld alliance circulated in April 1508, Thomas Wolsey was sent to discuss Henry VII's concerns over this. Wolsey found "there was never a man worse welcome into Scotland than I... they keep their matters so secret here that the wives in the market know every cause of my coming." Nonetheless, Anglo-Scottish relations remained stable until the death of Henry VII in 1509. James saw the importance of building a fleet that could provide Scotland with a strong maritime presence. James founded two new dockyards for this purpose and acquired a total of 38 ships for the Royal Scots Navy, including the Margaret, the carrack Great Michael.
The latter, built at great expense at Newhaven, near Edinburgh and launched in 1511, was 240 feet in length, weighed1,000 tons and was, at that time, the largest ship in the world. James IV was a true Renaissance prince with an interest in scientific matters, he granted the Incorporation of Surgeons and Barbers of Edinburgh a royal charter in 1506, turned Edinburgh Castle into one of Scotland's foremost gun foundries, welcomed the establishment of Scotland's first printing press in 1507. He built a part of Falkland Palace, Great Halls at Stirling and Edinburgh castles, furnished his palaces with tapestries. James was a patron of the arts, including many literary figures, most notably the Scots makars whose diverse and observant works convey a vibrant and memorable picture of cultural life and intellectual concerns of the period. Figures associated with his court include William Dunbar, Walter Kennedy and Gavin Douglas, who made the first complete translation of Virgil's Aeneid in northern Europe.
His reign saw the passing of the makar Robert Henryson. He patronised music at Restalrig using rental money from t
Scottish Gaelic or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a Celtic language native to the Gaels of Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced by Gaelic-language placenames. In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001; the highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides. There are revival efforts, the number of speakers of the language under age 20 did not decrease between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Outside Scotland, Canadian Gaelic is spoken in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of either the United Kingdom. However, it is classed as an indigenous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the British government has ratified, the Gaelic Language Act 2005 established a language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Aside from "Scottish Gaelic", the language may be referred to as "Gaelic", pronounced or in English. "Gaelic" may refer to the Irish language. Scottish Gaelic is distinct from Scots, the Middle English-derived language varieties which had come to be spoken in most of the Lowlands of Scotland by the early modern era. Prior to the 15th century, these dialects were known as Inglis by its own speakers, with Gaelic being called Scottis. From the late 15th century, however, it became common for such speakers to refer to Scottish Gaelic as Erse and the Lowland vernacular as Scottis. Today, Scottish Gaelic is recognised as a separate language from Irish, so the word Erse in reference to Scottish Gaelic is no longer used. Gaelic was believed to have been brought to Scotland, in the 4th–5th centuries CE, by settlers from Ireland who founded the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata on Scotland's west coast in present-day Argyll.:551:66 However, archaeologist Dr Ewan Campbell has argued that there is no archaeological or placename evidence of a migration or takeover.
This view of the medieval accounts is shared by other historians. Regardless of how it came to be spoken in the region, Gaelic in Scotland was confined to Dál Riata until the eighth century, when it began expanding into Pictish areas north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. By 900, Pictish appears to have become extinct replaced by Gaelic.:238–244 An exception might be made for the Northern Isles, where Pictish was more supplanted by Norse rather than by Gaelic. During the reign of Caustantín mac Áeda, outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than as the kingdom of the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear a process of Gaelicisation was under way during the reigns of Caustantín and his successors. By a certain point during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become Gaelicised Scots, Pictish identity was forgotten. In 1018, after the conquest of the Lothians by the Kingdom of Scotland, Gaelic reached its social, cultural and geographic zenith.:16–18 Colloquial speech in Scotland had been developing independently of that in Ireland since the eighth century.
For the first time, the entire region of modern-day Scotland was called Scotia in Latin, Gaelic was the lingua Scotica.:276:554 In southern Scotland, Gaelic was strong in Galloway, adjoining areas to the north and west, West Lothian, parts of western Midlothian. It was spoken to a lesser degree in north Ayrshire, the Clyde Valley and eastern Dumfriesshire. In south-eastern Scotland, there is no evidence that Gaelic was widely spoken. Many historians mark the reign of King Malcom Canmore as the beginning of Gaelic's eclipse in Scotland, his wife Margaret of Wessex spoke no Gaelic, gave her children Anglo-Saxon rather than Gaelic names, brought many English bishops and monastics to Scotland.:19 When Malcolm and Margaret died in 1093, the Gaelic aristocracy rejected their anglicised sons and instead backed Malcolm's brother Donald Bàn. Donald had spent 17 years in Gaelic Ireland and his power base was in the Gaelic west of Scotland, he was the last Scottish monarch to be buried on Iona, the traditional burial place of the Gaelic Kings of Dàl Riada and the Kingdom of Alba.
However, during the reigns of Malcolm Canmore's sons, Alexander I and David I, Anglo-Norman names and practices spread throughout Scotland south of the Forth–Clyde line and along the northeastern coastal plain as far north as Moray. Norman French displaced Gaelic at court; the establishment of royal burghs throughout the same area under David I, attracted large numbers of foreigners speaking Old English. This was the beginning of Gaelic's status as a predominantly rural language in Scotland.:19-23 Clan chiefs in the northern and western parts of Scotland continued to support Gaelic bards who remained a central feature of court life there. The semi-independent Lordship of the Isles in the Hebrides and western coastal mainland remained Gaelic since the language's recovery there in the 12th century, providing a political foundation for cultural prestige down to the end of the 15th century.:553-6By the mid-14th century what came to be called Scots emerged as the official language of government and law.:139 Scotland's emergent nat
The Gaels are an ethnolinguistic group native to northwestern Europe. They are associated with the Gaelic languages: a branch of the Celtic languages comprising Irish and Scottish Gaelic; the ethnonyms Irish and Scots referred to the Gaels in general, but the scope of those nationalities is today more complex. Gaelic language and culture originated in Ireland. In antiquity the Gaels traded with the Roman Empire and raided Roman Britain. In the Middle Ages, Gaelic culture became dominant throughout the rest of Scotland and the Isle of Man. There was some Gaelic settlement in Wales and Cornwall. In the Viking Age, small numbers of Vikings raided and settled in Gaelic lands, becoming the Norse-Gaels. In the 9th century, the Scots Gaels of Dál Riata merged with Pictland to form the Gaelic Kingdom of Alba. Meanwhile, Gaelic Ireland was made up of several kingdoms, with a High King claiming lordship over them. In the 12th century, Normans conquered parts of Ireland. However, Gaelic culture remained strong throughout the Scottish Highlands and Galloway.
In the early 17th century, the last Gaelic kingdoms in Ireland fell under English control. James I sought to wipe out their culture. In the following centuries the Gaelic language was suppressed and supplanted by English. However, it continues to be the main language in Scotland's Outer Hebrides; the modern descendants of the Gaels have spread throughout the Americas and Australasia. Gaelic society traditionally centred around the clan, each with its own territory and king, elected through tanistry; the Irish were pagans who worshipped the Tuatha Dé Danann, venerated the ancestors and believed in an Otherworld. Their four yearly festivals – Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasa – continued to be celebrated into modern times; the Gaels have a strong oral tradition, traditionally maintained by shanachies. Inscription in the ogham alphabet began in the 4th century, their conversion to Christianity accompanied the introduction of writing in the Roman alphabet, Irish Gaelic has the oldest vernacular literature in western Europe.
Irish mythology and Brehon law were preserved, albeit Christianised. Gaelic monasteries were renowned centres of learning and played a key role in developing Insular art, while Gaelic missionaries and scholars were influential in western Europe. In the Middle Ages, most Gaels lived in ringforts; the Gaels had their own style of dress, which became the belted kilt. They have distinctive music and sports. Gaelic culture continues to be a major component of Irish and Manx culture. Throughout the centuries and Gaelic-speakers have been known by a number of names; the most consistent of these have been Gael and Scots. The latter two have developed more ambiguous meanings, due to the early modern concept of the nation state, which encompasses non-Gaels. Other terms, such as Milesian, are not as used. An Old Norse name for the Gaels was Vestmenn. Informally, archetypal forenames such as Tadhg or Dòmhnall are sometimes used for Gaels; the word Gaelic is first recorded in print in the English language in the 1770s, replacing the earlier word Gathelik, attested as far back as 1596.
Gael, defined as a "member of the Gaelic race", is first attested in print in 1810. The name derives from the Old Irish word Goídel/Gaídel spelled Gaoidheal in pre-spelling reform Modern Irish, but today spelled Gaeil or Gael. In early modern Irish, the words Gaelic and Gael were spelled Gaoidhealg and Gaoidheal; the more antiquarian term Goidels came to be used by some due to Edward Lhuyd's work on the relationship between Celtic languages. This term was further popularised in academia by John Rhys. According to the scholar John T. Koch, the Old Irish form of the name, Goídel, was borrowed from a Primitive Welsh form Guoidel meaning'forest people','wild men' or, later,'warriors'. Old Welsh Guoidel is recorded as a personal name in the Book of Llandaff; the root of the name is cognate at the Proto-Celtic level Old Irish fíad'wild', Féni, derived from the Proto-Indo-European *weidh-n-jo-. This latter word is the origin of Fenian. A common name, passed down to the modern day, is Irish; the ultimate origin of this word is thought to be from the Old Irish Ériu, from Old Celtic *Iveriu associated with the Proto-Indo-European term *pi-wer- meaning "fertile".
Ériu is mentioned as a goddess in the Lebor Gabála Érenn as a daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Along with her sisters Banba and Fódla, she is said to have made a deal with the Milesians to name the island after her; the ancient Greeks. This group has been associated with the Érainn of Irish tradition by others; the Érainn.
The birlinn was a wooden vessel propelled by sail and oar, used extensively in the Hebrides and West Highlands of Scotland from the Middle Ages on. Variants of the name in English and Lowland Scots include "berlin" and "birling"; the Gallo-Norse term may derive from the Norse byrðingr. It has been suggested that a local design lineage might be traceable to vessels similar to the Broighter-type boat, equipped with oars and a square sail, without the need to assume a specific Viking design influence, it is uncertain, whether the Broighter model represents a wooden vessel or a skin-covered boat of the currach type. The majority of scholars emphasise the Viking influence on the birlinn; the birlinn could be sailed or rowed. It had a single mast with a square sail. Smaller vessels of this type might have had as few as twelve oars, with the larger West Highland galley having as many as forty. For over four hundred years, down to the seventeenth century, the birlinn was the dominant vessel in the Hebrides.
A 1615 report to the Scottish Privy Council made a distinction between galleys, having between 18 and 20 oars, birlinns, with between 12 and 18 oars. There was no suggestion of structural differences; the report stated. The birlinn appears in Scottish heraldry as the "lymphad" (a corruption of long fhada. In terms of design and function, there was considerable similarity between the local birlinn and the ships used by Norse incomers to the Isles. In an island environment ships were essential for the warfare, endemic in the area, local lords used the birlinn extensively from at least the thirteenth century; the strongest of the regional naval powers were the Macdonalds of Islay. The Lords of the Isles of the Late Middle Ages maintained the largest fleet in the Hebrides, it is possible that vessels of the birlinn type were used in the 1156 sea battle in which Somerled, Lord of Argyll, the ancestor of the lords established himself in the Hebrides by confronting his brother-in-law, Godred Olafsson, King of the Isles.
Though the surviving evidence has to do with the birlinn in a naval context, there is independent evidence of mercantile activity for which such shipping would have been essential. There is some evidence for mercantile centres in Islay, Gigha and Knapdale, in the fourteenth century there was constant trade between the Isles and England under the patronage of local lords. Otherwise the chief uses of the birlinn would have been troop-carrying and cattle transport. In some ways the birlinn paralleled the more robust ocean-going craft of Norse design. Viking ships were double-ended, with a keel scarfed to stems aft. A shell of thin planking was constructed on the basis of the keel, the planks being edge-joined and clenched with iron nails. Symmetrical ribs or frames were lashed to the strakes or secured with trenails. Over most of the ribs was laid a slender crossbeam and a thwart; the mast was stepped amidships or nearly so, oars, including a steering oar, were used. The stem and stern post sometimes had carved notches for plank ends, with knees securing the thwarts to the strakes and beams joining the heads of the frames.
The hull bore a general resemblance to the Norse pattern, but stem and stern may have been more steeply pitched. Surviving images show a rudder. Nineteenth-century boat-building practices in the Highlands are to have applied to the birlinn: examples are the use of dried moss, steeped in tar, for caulking, the use of stocks in construction. Oak was the wood favoured both in Western Scotland and in Scandinavia, being tough and resistant to decay. Other types of timber were less used, it is that the Outer Isles of Western Scotland had always been short of timber, but birch and pine abounded in the Inner Isles and on the mainland. The abundance of timber at Lochaber was proverbial: "B'e sin fiodh a chur do Loch Abar" was said of any superfluous undertaking; the tools used are to have included adzes, axes and spoon bits, planes, draw knives and moulding irons, together with other tools typical of the Northern European carpenter's kit. As in traditional shipbuilding measurements were by eye; the traditional practice of sheltering boats in bank-cuttings – small artificial harbours – was also employed with the birlinn.
There is evidence in fortified sites of constructed boat-landings and sea-gates. The influence of Norse shipbuilding techniques, though plausible, is conjectural, since to date no substantial remnants of a birlinn have been found. Traditional boat-building techniques and terms, may furnish a guide as to the vessel's construction. Carved images of the birlinn from the sixteenth century and earlier show the typical rigging: braces and backstay, halyard and a parrel. There is a rudder with pintles on the leading edge, inserted into gudgeons, it is possible that use was reaching spar. This was used to push the luff of the sail out into the wind. Traditional Highland practice was to make sails of tough, thick-threaded wool, with ropes being made of moss-fir or heather. Medieval sails, in the Highlands as elsewhere, are shown as being sewn out of many small squares, there is possible evidence of reef points. A reproduction of a 16 oar Highland galley, the Aileach, was built in 1991 at Moville in Donegal.
It was based on representations of such vessels in West High
Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Known as "The Queen of the Hebrides", it lies in Argyll just south west of Jura and around 40 kilometres north of the Northern Irish coast; the island's capital is Bowmore where the distinctive round Kilarrow Parish Church and a distillery are located. Port Ellen is the main port. Islay is the fifth-largest Scottish island and the eighth-largest island of the British Isles, with a total area of 620 square kilometres. There is ample evidence of the prehistoric settlement of Islay and the first written reference may have come in the 1st century AD; the island had become part of the Gaelic Kingdom of Dál Riata during the Early Middle Ages before being absorbed into the Norse Kingdom of the Isles. The medieval period marked a "cultural high point" with the transfer of the Hebrides to the Kingdom of Scotland and the emergence of the Clan Donald Lordship of the Isles centred at Finlaggan. During the 17th century the Clan Donald star waned, but improvements to agriculture and transport led to a rising population, which peaked in the mid-19th century.
This was followed by declining resident numbers. Today, it has over 3,000 inhabitants and the main commercial activities are agriculture, malt whisky distillation and tourism; the island has a long history of religious observance and Scottish Gaelic is spoken by about a quarter of the population. Its landscapes have been celebrated through various art forms and there is a growing interest in renewable energy. Islay is home to many bird species such as the wintering populations of Greenland white-fronted and barnacle goose, is a popular destination throughout the year for birdwatchers; the climate is ameliorated by the Gulf Stream. Islay was recorded by Ptolemy as Epidion, the use of the "p" suggesting a Brittonic or Pictish tribal name. In the seventh century Adomnán referred to the island as Ilea and the name occurs in early Irish records as Ile and as Íl in Old Norse; the root is not Gaelic and of unknown origin. In seventeenth century maps the spelling appears as "Yla" or "Ila", a form still used in the name of the whisky Caol Ila.
In poetic language Islay is known as Banrìgh Innse Gall, or Banrìgh nan Eilean translated as "Queen of the Hebrides" and Eilean uaine Ìle – the "green isle of Islay" A native of Islay is called an Ìleach, pronounced. The obliteration of pre-Norse names is total and place names on the island are a mixture of Norse and Gaelic and English influences. Port Askaig is from the Norse ask-vík, meaning "ash tree bay" and the common suffix -bus is from the Norse bólstaðr, meaning "farm". Gaelic names, or their anglicised versions such as Ardnave Point, from Àird an Naoimh, "height of the saint" are common. Several of the villages were developed in the 18th and 19th centuries and English is a stronger influence in their names as a result. Port Charlotte for example, was named after Lady Charlotte Campbell, daughter of the island's owner, Daniel Campbell of Shawfield. Islay is 40 kilometres long from north to south and 24 kilometres broad; the east coast is rugged and mountainous, rising steeply from the Sound of Islay, the highest peak being Beinn Bheigier, a Marilyn at 1,612 feet.
The western peninsulas are separated from the main bulk of the island by the waters of Loch Indaal to the south and Loch Gruinart to the north. The fertile and windswept southwestern arm is called The Rinns, Ardnave Point is a conspicuous promontory on the northwest coast; the south coast is sheltered from the prevailing winds and, as a result wooded. The fractal coast has numerous bays and sea lochs, including Loch an t-Sailein, Aros Bay and Claggain Bay. In the far southwest is a rocky and now uninhabited peninsula called The Oa, the closest point in the Hebrides to Ireland; the island's population is centred around the villages of Bowmore and Port Ellen. Other smaller villages include Bridgend, Port Charlotte and Port Askaig; the rest of the island is sparsely populated and agricultural. There are several small freshwater lochs in the interior including Loch Finlaggan, Loch Ballygrant, Loch Lossit and Loch Gorm, numerous burns throughout the island, many of which bear the name "river" despite their small size.
The most significant of these are the River Laggan which discharges into the sea at the north end of Laggan Bay, the River Sorn which, draining Loch Finlaggan, enters the head of Loch Indaal at Bridgend. There are numerous small uninhabited islands around the coasts, the largest of which are Eilean Mhic Coinnich and Orsay off the Rinns, Nave Island on the northwest coast, Am Fraoch Eilean in the Sound of Islay, Texa off the south coast; the underlying geology of Islay is intricate for such a small area. The deformed Palaeoproterozoic igneous rock of the Rhinns complex is dominated by a coarse-grained gneiss cut by large intrusions of deformed gabbro. Once thought to be part of the Lewisian complex, it lies beneath the Colonsay Group of metasedimentary rocks that forms the bedrock at the northern end of the Rinns, it is a quartz-rich metamorphic marine sandstone that may be unique to Scotland and, nearly 5,000 metres thick. South of Rubh' a' Mhail there are outcrops of quartzite, a strip of mica schist and limestone cuts across the centre of the island from The Oa to Port Askaig.
Further south is a band of metamorphic quartzite and granites, a continuation of the beds that underlie Jura. The geomorphology of these last two zones is dominated by a fold known as the Islay Anticline. To the south is a "shattered coastline" formed from mica schist and hornblende; the older Bowmor
The Hebrides comprise a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland. There are two main groups: the Outer Hebrides; these islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic, the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive influences of Celtic and English-speaking peoples. This diversity is reflected in the names given to the islands, which are derived from the languages that have been spoken there in historic and prehistoric times; the Hebrides are the source of much of Gaelic music. Today the economy of the islands is dependent on crofting, tourism, the oil industry, renewable energy; the Hebrides have lower biodiversity than mainland Scotland, but there is a significant presence of seals and seabirds. The earliest written references that have survived relating to the islands were made circa 77 AD by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, where he states that there are 30 Hebudes, makes a separate reference to Dumna, which Watson concludes is unequivocally the Outer Hebrides.
Writing about 80 years in 140-150 AD, drawing on the earlier naval expeditions of Agricola, writes that there are five Ebudes and Dumna. Texts in classical Latin, by writers such as Solinus, use the forms Hebudes and Hæbudes; the name Ebudes recorded by Ptolemy may be pre-Celtic. Islay is Ptolemy's Epidion, the use of the "p" hinting at a Brythonic or Pictish tribal name, although the root is not Gaelic. Woolf has suggested that Ebudes may be "an Irish attempt to reproduce the word Epidii phonetically rather than by translating it" and that the tribe's name may come from the root epos meaning "horse". Watson notes the possible relationship between Ebudes and the ancient Irish Ulaid tribal name Ibdaig and the personal name of a king Iubdán recorded in the Silva Gadelica; the names of other individual islands reflect their complex linguistic history. The majority are Norse or Gaelic but the roots of several other Hebrides may have a pre-Celtic origin. Adomnán, the 7th century abbot of Iona, records Colonsay as Colosus and Tiree as Ethica, both of which may be pre-Celtic names.
The etymology of Skye is complex and may include a pre-Celtic root. Lewis is Ljoðhús in Old Norse and although various suggestions have been made as to a Norse meaning the name is not of Gaelic origin and the Norse credentials are questionable; the earliest comprehensive written list of Hebridean island names was undertaken by Donald Monro in 1549, which in some cases provides the earliest written form of the island name. The derivations of all of the inhabited islands of the Hebrides and some of the larger uninhabited ones are listed below. Lewis and Harris is the largest island in Scotland and the third largest in the British Isles, after Great Britain and Ireland, it incorporates Lewis in the north and Harris in the south, both of which are referred to as individual islands, although they are joined by a land border. Remarkably, the island does not have a common name in either English or Gaelic and is referred to as "Lewis and Harris", "Lewis with Harris", "Harris with Lewis" etc. For this reason it is treated as two separate islands below.
The derivation of Lewis may be pre-Celtic and the origin of Harris is no less problematic. In the Ravenna Cosmography, Erimon may refer to Harris; this word may derive from the Ancient Greek: ἐρῆμος (erimos "desert". The origin of Uist is unclear. There are various examples of Inner Hebridean island names that were Gaelic but have become replaced. For example, Adomnán records Sainea, Elena and Oideacha in the Inner Hebrides, which names must have passed out of usage in the Norse era and whose locations are not clear. One of the complexities is that an island may have had a Celtic name, replaced by a similar-sounding Norse name, but reverted to an Gaelic name with a Norse "øy" or "ey" ending. See for example Rona below; the names of uninhabited islands follow the same general patterns as the inhabited islands. The following are the ten largest in their outliers; the etymology of St Kilda, a small archipelago west of the Outer Hebrides, its main island Hirta, is complex. No saint is known by the name of Kilda, various theories have been proposed for the word's origin, which dates from the late 16th century.
Haswell-Smith notes that the full name "St Kilda" first appears on a Dutch map dated 1666, that it may have been derived from Norse sunt kelda or from a mistaken Dutch assumption that the spring Tobar Childa was dedicated to a saint. The origin of the Gaelic for "Hirta"—Hiort, Hirt, or Irt—which long pre-dates the use of "St Kilda", is open to interpretation. Watson offers the Old Irish hirt, a word meaning "death" relating to the dangerous seas. Maclean, drawing on an Icelandic saga describing an early 13th-century voyage to Ireland that mentions a visit to the islands of Hirtir, speculates that the shape of Hirta resembles a stag, hirtir being "stags" in Norse; the etymology of small islands may be no less complex. In relation to Dubh Artach, R. L. Stevenson believed that "black and dismal" was a translation of the name, noting that "as usual, in Gaelic, it is not the only one." The Hebrides were settled during the Mesolithic era around 6500 BC or earlier, after the climatic conditions improved enough