A Short History of Scotland

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handyman
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A Short History of Scotland

Post by handyman » Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:30 pm

The Vikings in Orkney & Shetland
It is believed that Vikings came to Orkney late in the 8th century. It is not known whether Vikings came as "landtakers", dispossessing indigenous peoples, or whether Viking farmers settled peacefully among the natives of Orkney or some of both. According to Scandinavian historical sources, the Orkney islands were either deserted at the time of the earliest Norse settlement or their inhabitants were slaughtered. Very few Celtic place names survive, lending weight to this picture of desertion or wholesale genocide. But by the end of the 9th century, the colonisation of Orkney had been so successful that it had become a Norwegian earldom. The very strength of this Norse settlement would ensure that in time the pre-Norse names would disappear, and we simply do not know how quickly that happened. We have no written records left by the ordinary people who lived in areas that were taken over by the Vikings. . In any case, it appears that the Norse immigrants soon assumed dominance over any communities there. There is no way that we can tell for certain what happened, but we can use the evidence of artefacts from excavations as clues.
Orkney, perhaps the first place to be colonised, is an ideal place to search. The original people who were living in Orkney at the start of the Viking Age were Celtic-speakers. They were known as Picts, and inhabited part of the Kingdom of the Picts which made up most of mainland Scotland. The question of what happened to them is still hotly debated, especially between historians, linguists and archaeologists. Orkney was never an independent state in the Viking days.

handyman
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Re: A Short History of Scotland

Post by handyman » Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:34 pm

There are 277 mountains in Scotland that rise above 3000 feet compared to England which has only 8.
Because of the geography of Scotland 80% of the country is classified as moor, rough pasture, or otherwise uncultivable land. The Grampian and the northern Highlands are formed by distinct geological sheets which slide in along lines of weakness like the Great Glen Fault, colliding and fusing together.
The area is generally sparsely populated, with many mountain ranges dominating the region. Before the 19th century however the Highlands was home to a much larger population, but due to a combination of factors including the outlawing of the traditional Highland way of life following the Second Jacobite Rising, the infamous Highland Clearances, and mass migration to urban areas during the Industrial Revolution, the area is now one of the most sparsely populated in Europe. The average population density in the Highlands and Islands is lower than that of Sweden, Norway, Papua New Guinea and Argentina.
The Scottish Reformation, which began in the Lowlands, achieved only partial success in the Gaelic-speaking Highlands. Roman Catholicism remained strong in much of the Highlands, aided by Irish Franciscan missionaries who regularly came to the area to perform Mass, as they shared a similar language. The Highlands are often described as the last bastion of Roman Catholicism in Great Britain. The name Grampians is believed to have first been applied to the mountain range in 1520 by the Scottish historian Hector Boece, an adaptation of the name Mons Graupius, recorded by the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus as the site of the defeat of the native Caledonians by Gnaeus Julius Agricola circa 83 AD.
The Grampians extend southwest to northeast between the Highland Boundary Fault and Gleann Mòr (the Great Glen), occupying almost half of the land-area of Scotland. This includes the Cairngorms and the Lochaber hills. The range includes Ben Nevis (the highest point in the British Isles at 1,344 metres above sea level) and Ben Macdui (the second highest at 1,309 metres).
The mountains are composed of granite, gneiss, marble, schists and quartzite. The other major mountain ranges in Scotland are the Northwest Highlands and the Southern Uplands.

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