Not to be confused with Vestmannaeyjar. Vestmanna is a town in the Faroe Islands on the west of the island of Streymoy, it was a ferry port, until an undersea tunnel, the Vágatunnilin, was built from Vágar to Kvívík and Stykkið further south on Streymoy. The cliffs west of Vestmanna, Vestmannabjørgini, are popular for excursions by boat. A'Vestmann' was Gael in Old Norse; the original name was Vestmannahavn, i.e. "Westmen's/Irishmen's harbour". In December 1759, during the Seven Years' War, François Thurot's squadron sheltered from stormy conditions at Vestmanna; the lack of supplies available from the islanders motivated the subsequent raids by the squadron on the north Irish coast. It is surrounded by the mountains of Hægstafjall, Økslin, Moskurfjall. Vestmanna is called the tourist village on the Faroe Islands; the main tourist attraction is Vestmannabjørgini. In 2012 a camping site was established at Inni á Fjørð with a capacity of 120 caravans in addition to tents. Vestmanna.fo, Municipality of Vestmanna Sightseeing.fo Puffin.fo Visit-vestmanna.com List of towns in the Faroe Islands
The Viking Age is a period in European history Northern European and Scandinavian history, following the Germanic Iron Age. It is the period of history when Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids and conquest. In this period, the Norsemen settled in Norse Greenland and present-day Faroe Islands, Norway, Normandy, England, Ireland, Isle of Man, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia and Italy. Viking travellers and colonists were seen at many points in history as brutal raiders. Many historical documents suggest that their invasion of other countries was retaliation in response to the encroachment upon tribal lands by Christian missionaries, by the Saxon Wars prosecuted by Charlemagne and his kin to the south, or were motivated by overpopulation, trade inequities, the lack of viable farmland in their homeland. Information about the Viking Age is drawn from what was written about the Vikings by their enemies, primary sources of archaeology, supplemented with secondary sources such as the Icelandic Sagas.
In England, the beginning of the Viking Age is dated to 8 June 793, when Vikings destroyed the abbey on Lindisfarne, a centre of learning on an island off the northeast coast of England in Northumberland. Monks were killed in the abbey, thrown into the sea to drown, or carried away as slaves along with the church treasures, giving rise to the traditional prayer—A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine, "Free us from the fury of the Northmen, Lord."Three Viking ships had beached in Weymouth Bay four years earlier, but that incursion may have been a trading expedition that went wrong rather than a piratical raid. Lindisfarne was different; the Viking devastation of Northumbria's Holy Island was reported by the Northumbrian scholar Alcuin of York, who wrote: "Never before in Britain has such a terror appeared". Vikings were portrayed as wholly bloodthirsty by their enemies. In medieval English chronicles, they are described as "wolves among sheep"; the first challenges to the many anti-Viking images in Britain emerged in the 17th century.
Pioneering scholarly works on the Viking Age reached a small readership in Britain. Linguistics traced the Viking Age origins of rural proverbs. New dictionaries of the Old Norse language enabled more Victorians to read the Icelandic Sagas. In Scandinavia, the 17th-century Danish scholars Thomas Bartholin and Ole Worm and Swedish scholar Olaus Rudbeck were the first to use runic inscriptions and Icelandic Sagas as primary historical sources. During the Enlightenment and Nordic Renaissance, historians such as the Icelandic-Norwegian Thormodus Torfæus, Danish-Norwegian Ludvig Holberg, Swedish Olof von Dalin developed a more "rational" and "pragmatic" approach to historical scholarship. By the latter half of the 18th century, while the Icelandic sagas were still used as important historical sources, the Viking Age had again come to be regarded as a barbaric and uncivilised period in the history of the Nordic countries. Scholars outside Scandinavia did not begin to extensively reassess the achievements of the Vikings until the 1890s, recognising their artistry, technological skills, seamanship.
Until the history of the Viking Age had been based on Icelandic Sagas, the history of the Danes written by Saxo Grammaticus, the Kievan Rus's Primary Chronicle, Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib. Today, most scholars take these texts as sources not to be understood and are relying more on concrete archaeological findings and other direct scientific disciplines and methods; the Vikings who invaded western and eastern Europe were pagans from the same area as present-day Denmark and Sweden. They settled in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, peripheral Scotland and Canada, their North Germanic language, Old Norse, became the mother-tongue of present-day Scandinavian languages. By 801, a strong central authority appears to have been established in Jutland, the Danes were beginning to look beyond their own territory for land and plunder. In Norway, mountainous terrain and fjords formed strong natural boundaries. Communities remained independent of each other, unlike the situation in lowland Denmark. By 800, some 30 small kingdoms existed in Norway.
The sea was the easiest way of communication between the outside world. In the eighth century, Scandinavians began to build ships of war and send them on raiding expeditions which started the Viking Age; the North Sea rovers were traders, colonisers and plunderers. Many theories are posited for the cause of the Viking invasions. At the time, England and Ireland were vulnerable to attack, being divided into many different warring kingdoms in a state of internal disarray, while the Franks were well defended. Overpopulation near the Scandes, was influential. Technological advance like the use of iron, or a shortage of women due to selective female infanticide had an impact. Tensions caused by Frankish expansion to the south of Scandinavia, their subsequent attacks upon the Viking peoples, may have played a role in Viking pillaging. Harald I of Norway had displaced many peoples; as a result, these people sought for new bases to launch counter-raids against Harald. Vikings would plant crops after the winter and go raiding as soon as the ice melted on the sea return
The 12th century is the period from 1101 to 1200 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Common Era. In the history of European culture, this period is considered part of the High Middle Ages and is sometimes called the Age of the Cistercians. In Song dynasty China an invasion by Jurchens caused a political schism of south; the Khmer Empire of Cambodia flourished during this century, while the Fatimids of Egypt were overtaken by the Ayyubid dynasty. China is under the Northern Song dynasty. Early in the century, Zhang Zeduan paints Along the River During the Qingming Festival, it will end up in the Palace Museum, Beijing. In southeast Asia, there is conflict between the Champa. Angkor Wat is built under the Hindu king Suryavarman II. By the end of the century the Buddhist Jayavarman VII becomes the ruler. Japan is in its Heian period; the Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga is made and attributed to Toba Sōjō. It ends up at the Kyoto. In Oceania, the Tuʻi Tonga Empire expands to a much greater area. Europe undergoes the Renaissance of the 12th century.
The blast furnace for the smelting of cast iron is imported from China, appearing around Lapphyttan, Sweden, as early as 1150. Alexander Neckam is the first European to document the mariner's compass, first documented by Shen Kuo during the previous century. Christian humanism becomes a self-conscious philosophical tendency in Europe. Christianity is introduced to Estonia and Karelia; the first medieval universities are founded. Pierre Abelard teaches. Middle English begins to develop, literacy begins to spread outside the Church throughout Europe. In addition, churchmen are willing to take on secular roles. By the end of the century, at least a third of England's bishops act as royal judges in secular matters; the Ars antiqua period in the history of the classical music of Western Europe begins. The earliest recorded miracle play is performed in England. Gothic architecture and trouvère music begin in France. During the middle of the century, the Cappella Palatina is built in Palermo and the Madrid Skylitzes manuscript illustrates the Synopsis of Histories by John Skylitzes.
Fire and plague insurance first become available in Iceland, the first documented outbreaks of influenza there happens. The medieval state of Serbia is formed by Stefan Nemanja and continued by the Nemanjić dynasty. By the end of the century, both the Capetian Dynasty and the House of Anjou are relying on mercenaries in their militaries. Paid soldiers are available year-round, unlike knights who expected certain periods off to maintain their manor lifestyles. In India, Hoysala architecture reaches a peak. In the Middle East, the icon of Theotokos of Vladimir is painted in Constantinople. Everything but the faces will be retouched, the icon will go to the Tretyakov Gallery of Moscow; the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli composes his epic poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin. Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi founds his "school of illumination". In North Africa, the kasbah of Marrakesh is built, including the city gate Bab Agnaou and the Koutoubia mosque. In sub-Saharan Africa, Kente cloth is first woven. In France, the first piedfort coins in the history of numismatics were minted.
The city of Tula burns down, marking the end of the Toltec Empire List of 12th-century inventions 1104—The Venice Arsenal of Venice, Italy, is founded. It employed some 16,000 people for the mass production of sailing ships in large assembly lines, hundreds of years before the Industrial Revolution. 1106—Finished building of Gelati. 1107—The Chinese engineer Wu Deren combines the mechanical compass vehicle of the south-pointing chariot with the distance-measuring odometer device. 1111—The Chinese Donglin Academy is founded. 1165—The Liuhe Pagoda of Hangzhou, China, is built. 1170—The Christian notion of Purgatory is defined. 1185—First record of windmills. 1100: On August 5, Henry I is crowned King of England. 1100: On December 25, Baldwin of Boulogne is crowned as the first King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. 1101: In July, the Treaty of Alton is signed between Henry I of England and his older brother Robert, Duke of Normandy in which Robert agrees to recognize Henry as king of England in exchange for a yearly stipend and other concessions.
The agreement temporarily ends a crisis in the succession of the Anglo-Norman kings. 1101–1103: David the Builder takes over Kakheti and Hereti. 1102: King Coloman unites Hungary and Croatia under the Hungarian Crown. 1102: Muslims conquer Señorio de Valencia 1103-1104: A church council is convened by King David the Builder in Urbnisi to reorganize the Georgian Orthodox Church. 1104: In the Battle of Ertsukhi, King David the Builder defeats an army of Seljuks. 1104: King Jayawarsa of Kadiri ascends to the throne. 1106: Battle of Tinchebray 1107–1111: Sigurd I of Norway becomes the first Norwegian king to embark on a crusade to the Holy Land. He fights in Lisbon and on various Mediterranean isles, helps the King of Jerusalem to take Sidon from the Muslims. 1108: By the Treaty of Devol, signed in September, Bohemond I of Antioch has to submit to the Byzantine Empire, becoming the vassal of Alexius I. 1109: On June 10, Bertrand of Toulouse captures the County of Tripoli. 1109: In the Battle of Nakło, Boleslaus III Wrymouth defeats the Pomeranians and re-establishes Polish access to the sea.
1109: On August 24, in the Battle of Hundsfeld, Boleslaus III Wrymouth defeats Emperor Henry V of Germany and stops German expansion eastward. 1111: On April 14, during Henry V's first expedition to Rome, he is crowned Holy Roman Emperor. 1113: Paramavishnulok is crowned as King Suryavarman II in Cambodia. He expands the Khmer Empire and builds Angkor Wat
Wexford is the county town of County Wexford, Ireland. Wexford lies on the south side of Wexford Harbour, the estuary of the River Slaney near the southeastern corner of the island of Ireland; the town is linked to Dublin by the M11/N11 National Primary Route. The national rail network connects it to Rosslare Europort, it had a population of 20,188 according to the 2016 census. The town was founded by the Vikings in about 800 AD, they named it Veisafjǫrðr, meaning "inlet of the mud flats", the name has changed only into its present form. "Veisa" in modern Norwegian means "Way". So'Veisafjǫrðr' could have meant "inlet of the way" or "Way Fjord". According to a story recorded in the Dindsenchas, the name "Loch Garman" comes from a man named Garman mac Bomma Licce, chased to the river mouth and drowned as a consequence of stealing the queen's crown from Temair during the feast of Samhain. For about three hundred years it was a Viking town, a city state independent and owing only token dues to the Irish kings of Leinster.
However, in May 1169 Wexford was besieged by Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster and his Norman ally, Robert Fitz-Stephen. The Norse inhabitants resisted fiercely, until the Bishop of Ferns persuaded them to accept a settlement with Dermot. Wexford was an Old English settlement in the Middle Ages. An old dialect of English, known as Yola, was spoken uniquely in Wexford up until the 19th century; the Yola name for Wexford was Weiseforthe. Following the Crusades, the Knights Templar had a presence in Wexford. Up to the present, their name is perpetuated in the old Knights' Templars' chapel yard of St. John's Cemetery, on Wexford's Upper St. John's Street. County Wexford produced strong support for Confederate Ireland during the 1640s. A fleet of Confederate privateers was based in Wexford town, consisting of sailors from Flanders and Spain as well as local men, their vessels raided English Parliamentarian shipping, giving some of the proceeds to the Confederate government in Kilkenny. As a result, the town was sacked by the English Parliamentarians during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649.
Many of its inhabitants were killed and much of the town was burned. In 1659 Solomon Richards was appointed Governor, but he was dismissed and imprisoned following the Restoration the next year. County Wexford was the centre of the 1798 rebellion against British rule. Wexford town was held by the rebels throughout the Wexford Rebellion and was the scene of a notorious massacre of local loyalists by the United Irishmen, who executed them with pikes on Wexford bridge. Redmond Square, near the railway station, commemorates the elder John Edward Redmond, Liberal MP for the city of Wexford; the inscription reads: "My heart is with the city of Wexford. Nothing can extinguish that love but the cold soil of the grave." His nephew William Archer Redmond sat as an MP in Isaac Butt's Home Rule Party from 1872 until 1880. Willie Redmond sat as an MP for Wexford from 1883 until 1885; the younger John Redmond, was a devoted follower of Charles Stewart Parnell and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party until his death in April 1918.
He is interred in the Redmond family vault, at the old Knights' Templars' chapel yard of St. John's Cemetery, Upper St. John's Street. Redmond Park was formally opened in May 1931 as a memorial to Willie Redmond, who died in 1917 while serving with the 16th Division during the Messines offensive and was buried on the Western Front. Wexford hosts the internationally recognised Opera Festival every October. Dr Tom Walsh started the festival in 1951, it has since grown into the internationally recognised festival it is today. A formidable fireworks display is held every year in conjunction with the festival. Wexford has a number of music and drama venues including: The National Opera House, developed on the site of the historic Theatre Royal opera house. Wexford is the home of many youth and senior theatre groups, including the Buí Bolg street performance group, Oyster Lane Theatre Group, Wexford Pantomime Society, Wexford Light Opera Society and Wexford Drama Group; the National Lottery Skyfest was held in Wexford in March 2011 included a pyrotechnic waterfall on the towns main bridge spanning 300m.
Buí Bolg performed on the night. Until the mid-nineteenth century the Yola language could be heard in Wexford, a few words still remain in use; the food of Wexford is distinct from the rest of Ireland, due to the local cultivation of seafood, smoked cod and rissoles being token dishes in the region. Wexford has witnessed some major developments such as the Key West centre on the Quays, the redevelopment of the quay front itself, White's Hotel and the huge new residential development of Clonard village. Proposed developments include the development of a large new residential quarter at Carcur, a new river crossing at that point, the new town library, the refurbishment of Selskar Abbey and the controversial redevelopment of the former site of Wexford Electronix; the relocated offices of the Department of Environment have been constructed near Wexford General Hospital on Newtown Road. Notable churches within the town include the "twin churches", Bride Street and Rowe Street with their distinctive spires.
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.
R. R. McIan
Robert Ronald McIan Robert Ranald McIan, was a Scottish actor and painter. He is best known for romanticised depictions of their battles and domestic life, his wife, Fanny McIan, was a painter and early teacher of art to women. McIan was born in Scotland, in 1803, he became an actor with the joint company of the Theatre Royals in Bristol and Bath before making his way to London. In 1838 he played at Drury Lane in the following year, he gained a reputation for playing Highlanders on the stage, at a time when the novels of Sir Walter Scott had revived interest in Highland culture. It's not clear, he played the jester in the Eglinton Tournament of 1839 and the 1885 DNB says he retired in that year. A letter from Charles Dickens mentions seeing McIan perform on 23 June 1841, not long before McIan's wife started a steady job as a teacher. WP Frith described McIan as "a Highlander and fierce Jacobite", Henry Vizetelly wrote that he "was voted an intolerable bore". McIan married Frances Whitaker, daughter of a Bath cabinet maker.
A friend described them as "The painter and his painter-wife – two who went hand in hand, heart with heart, together through the world". Mrs McIan was a noted painter in her own right, who exhibited at the Royal Academy and other leading galleries, she too favoured historical subjects from the Highlands, such as Highlander defending his Family at the Massacre of Glencoe. The Highlander in question would have been a MacDonald of Glencoe known as Clan McIan. From 1842 until Robert's death she was the first Superindent of the Female School of Design, which became the Royal Female School of Art and part of the Central School of Arts and Crafts, they moved to 9 Great Coram Street in 1843 and 36 Charlotte Street in 1849. McIan learnt to paint whilst he was an actor, submitted his first landscape to the Royal Academy in 1836, he exhibited in the Suffolk Street Gallery in 1835 and 1837 whilst acting at the newly rebuilt English Opera House. His 1838 portrait of novelist Anna Maria Hall was praised by Camilla Toulmin.
He is best known for his illustrations in The Clans of The Scottish Highlands, published in 1845 on the centenary of the Jacobite Rising with text by James Logan. It proved so popular that it was reissued after his death, his depictions of clansmen fanned the romantic revival of interest in Gaeldom, led by Queen Victoria, to whom the book was dedicated. McIan's early paintings concentrated on scenes from domestic life in the Highlands, such as illicit whisky stills and women grinding corn; these culminated in the 1848 sequel to the Clans book, entitled Gaelic Gatherings: Or The Highlanders at Home, on the Heath, the River and the Loch. In life his works took on overtly nationalistic subjects, celebrating the exploits of Highland soldiers against the English and overseas. Paintings of the 79th Cameron Highlanders were commissioned by Colonel Lauderdale Maule to celebrate the end of his ten-year colonelcy of the regiment in December 1852. An Incident in the Revolutionary War of America showed the 71st Fraser Highlanders' heroic defense at the Battle of Stono Ferry and was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1854.
McIan was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1852 and died at Hampstead, north London, on 13 December 1856. Morse, Belinda, A Woman of Design, a Man of Passion: The Pioneering McIans, Sussex, UK: Book Guild Ltd, ISBN 978-1-85776-583-0 Ambaile.org is a Scottish government site with scans of all the images in the Clans and background on the families. See the Commons link on the right. Archive.org has a poorly OCR'd version of the text of The Clans of The Scottish Highlands. Royal Scottish Academy, The Royal Scottish Academy, 1826–1916, pp. 240–1, ISBN 978-1-110-74938-6 has a list of significant works by both McIans
Kingdom of the Isles
The Kingdom of the Isles comprised the Hebrides, the islands of the Firth of Clyde and the Isle of Man from the 9th to the 13th centuries AD. The islands were known to the Norse as the Suðreyjar, or "Southern Isles" as distinct from the Norðreyjar or Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland. In Scottish Gaelic, the kingdom is known as Rìoghachd nan Eilean; the historical record is incomplete, the kingdom was not a continuous entity throughout the entire period. The islands concerned are sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, although only some of the rulers claimed that title. At times the rulers were independent of external control, although for much of the period they had overlords in Norway, England, Scotland or Orkney. At times there appear to have been competing claims for all or parts of the territory; the islands involved have a total land area of over 8,300 square kilometres and extend for more than 500 kilometres from north to south. Viking influence in the area commenced in the late 8th century, whilst there is no doubt that the Uí Ímair dynasty played a prominent role in this early period, the records for the dates and details of the rulers are speculative until the mid-10th century.
Hostility between the Kings of the Isles and the rulers of Ireland, intervention by the crown of Norway were recurring themes. The Laxdaela Saga contains mention of several persons who are said to have come to Iceland from Sodor, which appears to be these Suðreyjar, before or around the middle of the 10th century. An invasion by Magnus Barefoot in the late 11th century resulted in a brief period of direct Norwegian rule over the kingdom, but soon the descendants of Godred Crovan re-asserted a further period of independent overlordship; this came to an end with the emergence of Somerled, on whose death in 1164 the kingdom was split in two. Just over a century the islands became part of the Kingdom of Scotland, following the 1266 Treaty of Perth; the principal islands under consideration are as follows: The Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea equidistant from modern England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The islands of the Firth of Clyde some 140 kilometres to the north, the largest of which are Bute and Arran.
The southern Inner Hebrides to the west and north of the Kintyre peninsula, including Islay, Jura and Iona. The Inner Hebrides to the north of Ardnamurchan, made up of the Small Isles, Skye and their outliers; the Outer Hebrides, aka the "Long Island" to the west, separated from the northern Inner Hebrides by the waters of the Minch. These islands referred to as the Sudreys, have a total land area of 8,374 square kilometres of which: the Isle of Man is 572 square kilometres, 7% of the total the Islands of the Clyde 574 square kilometres, 7% of the total the Inner Hebrides 4,158 square kilometres, 50% of the total and the Outer Hebrides 3,070 square kilometres, 36% of the total. Anglesey in modern Wales may have been part of the insular Viking world from an early stage. Orkney is some 180 kilometres east-northeast of the Outer Hebrides, Shetland is a further 80 kilometres further northeast and Norway some 300 kilometres due east of Shetland; the total distance from the southern tip of the Isle of Man to the Butt of Lewis, the northern extremity of the Outer Hebrides, is 515 kilometres.
The presence of the monastery on Iona led to this part of Scotland being well documented from the mid-6th to the mid-9th centuries. However, from 849 on, when Columba's relics were removed in the face of Viking incursions, written evidence from local sources all but vanishes for three hundred years; the sources for information about the Hebrides and indeed much of northern Scotland from the 8th to the 11th century are thus exclusively Irish, English or Norse. The main Norse text is the Orkneyinga Saga, which should be treated with care as it was based on oral traditions and not written down by an Icelandic scribe until the early 13th century; the English and Irish sources are more contemporary, but may have "led to a southern bias in the story" as much of the Hebridean archipelago became Norse-speaking during the period under consideration. The archaeological record for this period is scant in comparison to the numerous Neolithic and Iron Age finds in the area. Scholarly interpretations of the period "have led to divergent reconstructions of Viking Age Scotland" and Barrett has identified four competing theories, none of which he regards as proven.
It is clear that the word "king", as used by and of the rulers of Norwegian descent in the isles, was not intended to convey sovereign rule. This is different from the way, it should be borne in mind that different kings may have ruled over different areas and that few of them can be seen as exerting any kind of close control over this "far-flung sea kingdom". Precise dates are sometimes a matter of debate amongst historians. Prior to the Viking incursions the southern Hebrides formed part of the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata. North of Dál Riata, the Inner and Outer Hebrides were nominally under Pictish control although the historical record is sparse. According to Ó Corráin "when and how the Vikings conquered and occupied the Isles is unknown unknowable", although from 793 onwards repeated raids by Vikings on the British Isles are recorded. "All the islands of Britain" were devastated in 794 with Iona being sacked in 802 and 806