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Shetland
Logo Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Location
ScotlandShetlandIslands.png
Geography
Area Ranked 12th
 - Total 1,466 km2 (566 sq mi)
Admin HQ Lerwick
ISO 3166-2 GB-ZET
ONS code 00RD
Demographics
Population Ranked 31st
 - Total (2008) 22,000
 - Density 15 /km2 (39 /sq mi)
Politics
Shetland Islands Council
http://www.shetland.gov.uk/
Control Independent
MPs
MSPs

Coordinates: 60°18′14″N 1°16′08″W / 60.3038°N 1.2689°W / 60.3038; -1.2689 Shetland (from Ȝetland; Old Norse Hjaltland; Faroese Hetland; Old Gaelic Innse C[h]ait; Scottish Gaelic: Sealtainn) is an archipelago in Scotland, off the northeast coast. The islands lie to the northeast of Orkney, 280 km (170 mi) from the Faroe Islands and form part of the division between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the North Sea to the east. The total area is approximately 1,466 km2 (566 sq mi). Administratively, the area is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland for which the now-archaic spelling Zetland was used until 1970.[1] The islands' administrative centre and only burgh is Lerwick.

The largest island, known as the "Mainland," has an area of 967 km2 (373 sq mi), making it the third-largest Scottish island and the fifth-largest of the British Isles.

Shetland is also a lieutenancy area, comprises the Shetland constituency of the Scottish Parliament, and was formerly a county.

Contents

History

Prehistory

Firm geological evidence shows that at around 6100 BC a tsunami caused by the Storegga Slides hit Shetland, as well as the rest of the east coast of Scotland, and may have washed over some of the Shetland Islands completely.[2] Shetland has been populated since at least 3400 BC.[3] The early people subsisted on cattle-farming and agriculture. During the Bronze Age, around 2000 BC, the climate cooled and the population moved to the coast. During the Iron Age, many stone fortresses were erected, some ruins of which remain today. Around A.D. 297, Roman sources describe a people known as the Picts who ruled much of north Scotland, and Shetland eventually became part of the Pictish kingdom. Shetland's Picts were later conquered by the Vikings. Due to the practice, dating to at least the early Neolithic, of building in stone on the virtually tree-less islands, Shetland is extremely rich in physical remains of all these periods,[4] though Shetland is less rich in material remains than Orkney.

The artifacts of all the eras of Shetland's past can be studied at the newly built (2007) Shetland Museum in Lerwick.

Scandinavian colonisation

Harald Hårfagre took control of Hjaltland in ca 875.
The image is from the Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók from the 1400s

By the end of the ninth century the Vikings shifted their attention from plundering to invasion, mainly due to the overpopulation of Scandinavia in comparison to resources and arable land available there. Vikings colonised much of northern Europe, including Normandy, England, Scotland, Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides, the Isle of Man, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland, and subsequently North America. People from what today is Norway tended to follow a northern route to the islands and less populous places whereas the Danes went to more populated areas such as England and France, and the Swedes went east.[5]

Hjaltland was colonised by Norsemen in the 9th century, the fate of the existing indigenous population being uncertain. The colonisers gave it that name and established their laws and language. That language evolved into the West Nordic language Norn, which survived into the 1800s.

After Harald Finehair took control of all Norway, many of his opponents fled, some to Orkney and Shetland. From the Northern Isles they continued to raid Scotland and Norway, prompting Harald Hårfagre to raise a large fleet which he sailed to the islands. In about 875 he and his forces took control of Shetland and Orkney. Ragnvald, Earl of Møre received Orkney and Shetland as an earldom from the king as reparation for his son's being killed in battle in Scotland. Ragnvald gave the earldom to his brother Sigurd the Mighty.

Shetland was Christianised in the tenth century.

Conflict with Norway

King Sverre's march over the Vossefjell by Peter Nicolai Arbo

In 1194 when king Sverre Sigurdsson (ca 1145 - 1202) ruled Norway and Harald Maddadsson was Earl of Orkney and Shetland, the Lendmann Hallkjell Jonsson and the Earl's brother-in-law Olav raised an army called the eyjarskeggjar on Orkney and sailed for Norway. Their pretender king was Olav's young foster son Sigurd, son of king Magnus Erlingsson. The eyjarskeggjar were beaten in the Battle of Florvåg near Bergen. The body of Sigurd Magnusson was displayed for the king in Bergen in order for him to be sure of the death of his enemy, but he also demanded that Harald Maddadsson (Harald jarl) answer for his part in the uprising. In 1195 the earl sailed to Norway to reconcile with King Sverre. As a punishment the king placed the earldom of Shetland under the direct rule of the king, from which it was probably never returned.

Increased Scottish interest

Håkon Håkonsson and son depicted in the Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók from the 14th c.
An inaccurate map of Shetland from the Carta Marina of 1529

When Alexander III of Scotland turned twenty-one in 1262 and became of age he declared his intention of continuing the aggressive policy his father had begun towards the western and northern isles. This had been put on hold when his father had died thirteen years earlier. Alexander sent a formal demand to the Norwegian King Håkon Håkonsson.

After decades of civil war, Norway had achieved stability and grown to be a substantial nation with influence in Europe and the potential to be a powerful force in war. With this as a background, King Håkon rejected all demands from the Scots. The Norwegians regarded all the islands in the North Sea as part of the Norwegian realm. To add weight to his answer, King Håkon activated the leidang and set off from Norway in a fleet which is said to have been the largest ever assembled in Norway. The fleet met up in Breideyarsund in Shetland (probably today's Bressay Sound) before the king and his men sailed for Scotland and made landfall on Arran. The aim was to conduct negotiations with the army as a backup.

Alexander III drew out the negotiations while he patiently waited for the autumn storms to set in. Finally, after tiresome diplomatic talks, King Håkon lost his patience and decided to attack. At the same time a large storm set in which destroyed several of his ships and kept others from making landfall. The Battle of Largs in October 1263 was not decisive and both parties claimed victory, but King Håkon Håkonsson's position was hopeless. On 5 October, he returned to Orkney with a discontented army, and there he died of a fever on 17 December 1263. His death halted any further Norwegian expansion in Scotland.

King Magnus Lagabøte broke with his father's expansion policy and started negotiations with Alexander III. In the Treaty of Perth of 1266 he surrendered his furthest Norwegian possessions including Man and the Sudreyar (Hebrides) to Scotland in return for 4,000 marks sterling and an annuity of 100 marks. The Scots also recognised Norwegian sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland.

One of the main reasons behind the Norwegian desire for peace with Scotland was that trade with England was suffering from the constant state of war. In the new trade agreement between England and Norway in 1223 the English demanded Norway make peace with Scotland. In 1269, this agreement was expanded to include mutual free trade.

Pawned to Scotland

Illustration of King Christian I of Denmark from the Nordens Historie of 1887.

In the 14th century Norway still treated Orkney and Shetland as a Norwegian province, but Scottish influence was growing, and in 1379 the Scottish earl Henry Sinclair took control of Orkney on behalf of the Norwegian king Håkon VI Magnusson.[6] In 1348 Norway was severely weakened by the Black Plague and in 1397 it entered the Kalmar Union. With time Norway came increasingly under Danish control. King Christian I of Denmark and Norway was in financial trouble and, when his daughter Margaret became engaged to James III of Scotland in 1468, he needed money to pay her dowry. Apparently without the knowledge of the Norwegian Riksråd (Council of the Realm) he entered into a contract on 8 September 1468 with the King of Scots in which he pawned Orkney for 50,000 Rhenish guilders.[7] On 28 May the next year he also pawned Shetland for 8,000 Rhenish guilders.[8] He secured a clause in the contract which gave future kings of Norway the right to redeem the islands for a fixed sum of 210 kilograms (460 lb) of gold or 2,310 kilograms (5,100 lb) of silver. Several attempts were made during the 17th and 18th centuries to redeem the islands, without success.[9]

Following a legal dispute with William, Earl of Morton, who held the estates of Orkney and Shetland, Charles II ratified the pawning document by a Scottish Act of Parliament on 27 December 1669 which officially made the islands a Crown dependency and exempt from any "dissolution of His Majesty’s lands". In 1742 a further Act of Parliament returned the estates to a later Earl of Morton, although the original Act of Parliament specifically ruled that any future act regarding the islands status would be "considered null, void and of no effect".

James III and Margaret, whose betrothal led to Shetland passing from Norway to Scotland

The Hansa era

After the decline of the Vikings, four centuries followed where the Shetlanders sold their goods through the Hanseatic League of German merchantmen. The Hansa would buy shiploads of salted cod and ling. In return, the island population received cash, grain, cloth, beer and other goods. The trade with the North German towns lasted until the 1707 Act of Union prohibited the German merchants from trading with Shetland. Shetland then went into an economic depression as the Scottish and local traders were not as skilled in trading with salted fish. However, some local merchant-lairds took up where the German merchants had left off, and fitted out their own ships to export fish from Shetland to the Continent. For the independent farmers of Shetland this had negative consequences, as they now had to fish for these merchant-lairds.[10] With the passing of the Crofters' Holdings (Scotland) Act 1886 the Liberal prime minister William Ewart Gladstone emancipated crofters from the rule of the landlords. The Act enabled those who had effectively been landowners' serfs to become owner-occupiers of their own small farms.[11][12]

Napoleonic wars

Some 3000 Shetlanders served in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars from 1800 to 1815.[13]

World War II

During World War II a Norwegian naval unit nicknamed the "Shetland Bus" was established by the Special Operations Executive Norwegian Section in the autumn of 1940 with a base first at Lunna and later in Scalloway in order to conduct operations on the coast of Norway. About 30 fishing vessels used by Norwegian refugees were gathered in Shetland. Many of these vessels were rented, and Norwegian fishermen were recruited as volunteers to operate them.

The Shetland Bus sailed in covert operations between Norway and Shetland, carrying men from Company Linge, intelligence agents, refugees, instructors for the resistance, and military supplies. Many people on the run from the Germans, and much important information on German activity in Norway, were brought back to the Allies this way. Some mines were laid and direct action against German ships was also taken. At the start the unit was under a British command, but later Norwegians joined in the command.

The fishing vessels made 80 trips across the sea. German attacks and bad weather caused the loss of 10 boats, 44 crewmen, and 60 refugees. Because of the high losses it was decided to procure faster vessels. The Americans gave the unit the use of three submarine chasers (HNoMS Hessa, HNoMS Hitra and HNoMS Vigra). None of the trips with these vessels incurred loss of life or equipment.[14]

The Shetland Bus made over 200 trips across the sea and the most famous of the men, Leif Andreas Larsen (Shetlands-Larsen) made 52 of them.[15]

Shetland today

In the early 1970s, oil and gas were found off Shetland. The East Shetland Basin is one of the largest petroleum sedimentary basins in Europe and the oil extracted there is sent to the terminal at Sullom Voe (Norse: Solheimavagr). Sullom Voe terminal opened in 1978 and is the largest oil export harbour in the United Kingdom with a volume of 25 million tons per year.

Income from oil and related economies has reduced emigration and vastly improved infrastructure throughout Shetland.

As a result of the oil revenue and the cultural links with Norway, a small independence movement developed briefly. It saw as its model the Isle of Man, as well as its closest neighbour, the Faroe Islands, an autonomous dependency of Denmark.[16]

Sheep farming also plays a big part in Shetland today as does fishing.

Timeline

Year Event
3400 BC First sign of settlement
43 & 77 AD Roman authors Pomponius Mela and Pliny the Elder refers to the seven islands they call Haemodae and Acmodae respectively, assumed to be Shetland.[17]
297 AD Roman sources mention the Picts
875 Harald Hårfagre took control of the islands
1195 Harald Maddadsson lost the earldom of Shetland and the islands are put directly under the Norwegian king Sverre Sigurdsson
1379 The Scottish earl Henry Sinclair took control of Orkney on behalf of the Norwegian king Håkon VI Magnusson
1469 Christian I gave Shetland to the Scottish king James III as a dowry
1700–1760 Smallpox hit the islands hard
1700s Norn language gradually dies out
1707 The German merchants lost their trading rights in Shetland
1708 Capital moved from Scalloway to Lerwick
1861 32,000 inhabitants
1880s William Ewart Gladstone freed the serfs
1940 Shetland bus established by the Special Operations Executive
1961 17,814 inhabitants
1969 Shetland marks 500 years under both Norwegian and Scottish rule
1975 Lerwick Town Council and Zetland County Council merged to Shetland Islands Council
1978 Oil terminal in Sullom Voe opened
2001 21,990 inhabitants
2005 Lord Lyon King of Arms, the heraldic authority of Scotland, approved the blue and white flag of Shetland as an official flag

Culture

The Shetland Crofthouse museum
A map showing the modern day Shetland Islands.

The main cultural influences on Shetland are Scandinavian (especially Norwegian) and British (especially Scottish) but North Sea and North Atlantic commerce have ensured various other influences. Shetland's fiddle music is a blend of ancient Norwegian folk music, Scots reels, jigs and slow airs, and tunes brought home by sailors from Ireland, Germany, North America and even Greenland. Notable exponents of Shetland folk music include fiddle players, the late Tom Anderson and Aly Bain, and the guitarist, the late Peerie Willie Johnson (see Category:Shetland music).

The landscape and the light found in Shetland have been an inspiration to many artists in the fields of painting, drawing and sculpturing, both local and from elsewhere. There are several local art galleries. As with other Scottish dialects, the Shetland dialect, a mixture of old English, Scots and Norse words, was actively discouraged in schools, churches and civic life until the late twentieth century, but has since then been restored as a language of culture. It is used both in local radio and dialect writing, and kept alive by the Shetland Folk Society and the quarterly New Shetlander magazine.[18]

Up Helly Aa is one of a variety of fire festivals held in Shetland annually in the middle of winter. The festival is just over 100 years old in its present, highly organised form. Originally a temperance festival held to break up the long nights of winter the festival has become one celebrating the isles heritage and includes a procession of men dressed as Vikings, the burning of a replica longship and copious amounts of alcohol. The main Up Helly Aa in Lerwick bars women from taking part in the processions of guizers. Instead, women prepare food for the big night.[19]

Shetland competes in the bi-annual Island Games, which it hosted in 2005.

Language

The Pictish language died out during the Viking occupation to be replaced by Old Norse, which in turn evolved into Norn. This remains the most prominent remnant of Norse culture on the islands. Almost every place name in use there can be traced back to the Vikings.[20] Norn continued to be spoken until the 18th century when it was replaced by an insular dialect of Scots also known as Shetlandic, which in turn is being replaced by Scottish English.

Although Norn was spoken for hundreds of years it is now extinct and few written sources remain.

Example of the Lord's Prayer in Shetland Norn:

Shetland Norn

Fy vor or er i Chimeri.
Halaght vara nam dit.
La Konungdum din cumma.
La vill din vera guerde
i vrildin sin da er i chimeri.
Gav vus dagh u dagloght brau.
Forgive sindorwara sin vi forgiva gem ao sinda gainst wus.
Lia wus ikè o vera tempa, but delivra wus fro adlu idlu.
For do i ir Kongungdum, u puri, u glori, Amen

Translation to modern Norwegian (nynorsk)

Far vår som er i himmelen!
Heilagt skal namnet ditt vera.
Lat kongedømet ditt koma.
Lat viljen din verta gjort
på jorda som i himmelen.
Gjev oss i dag vårt daglege brød.
Forlat syndene våre, som vi òg forlèt dei som har synda mot oss.
Lei oss ikkje ut i freisting, men frels oss frå alt ille.
For kongedømet er ditt, og makta og æra i all æve. Amen.

Translation to modern Norwegian (bokmål)

Fader vår, du som er i himmelen!
La ditt navn være hellig.
La ditt rike komme.
La din vilje skje
på jorden som i himmelen.
Gi oss i dag vårt daglige brød.
Forlat oss våre synder, som vi óg forlater våre syndere.
Led oss ikke inn i fristelse, men frels oss fra det onde.
For riket er ditt, og makten og æren i evighet. Amen.

Old Norse version

Faþer vár es ert í himenríki,
verði nafn þitt hæilagt
Til kome ríke þitt,
værði vili þin
sva an iarðu sem í himnum.
Gef oss í dag brauð vort dagligt
Ok fyr gefþu oss synþer órar,
sem vér fyr gefom þeim er viþ oss hafa misgert
Leiðd oss eigi í freistni,
heldr leys þv oss frá öllu illu.

English version (not literal translation)

Jakob Jakobsen was a Faroese linguist and leading documentarist of Norn
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
Now and forever. Amen.

Etymology

The original Norse name for Shetland was Hjaltland. Hjalt in Old Norse meaning the hilt or crossguard of a sword. As with all western dialects of Norse, the stressed 'a' shifts to 'e' and so the ja became je as with Norse hjalpa which became hjelpa. Then the pronunciation of the combination of the letters hj changed to sh. This is also found in some Norwegian dialects in for instance the word hjå (with) and the place names Hjerkinn and Sjoa (from *Hjó). Lastly the l before the t disappeared.[21]

As Norn was gradually replaced by Scots Shetland became Ȝetland (the initial letter being the Middle Scots letter, yogh (which can also be found in the name Menzies). This sounded almost identical to the original Norn sound, /hj/). When the letter yogh was discontinued, it was often replaced by the similar-looking letter 'z', hence Zetland, the mispronounced form used to describe the pre-1975 county council.

In early Irish literature, Shetland is referred to as Inse Catt - "the Isles of Cats". This is considered to represent the pre-Norse name for the islands. The Cat tribe also occupied parts of the northern Scottish mainland - they can be found in the name of Caithness, and in the Gaelic name for Sutherland (Cataibh, meaning "among the Cats").[22]

Norse names

The old Norse names of the principal islands were:

  • Hjaltland (Mainland)
  • Jell (Yell) - might be pre-Norse Pictish
  • Unst - might be pre-Norse Pictish
  • Fetlar - might be pre-Norse Pictish
  • Hvalsey (Whalsay) - "whale island" (Hvalsøy/Kvalsøy in modern Norwegian)
  • Breiðey (Bressay) - "broad island"
  • Fugley (Foula) - "bird island" (Fugløy in modern Norwegian)
  • Frjóey (Fair Isle) - "fertile island" (Froøy/Fræøy in modern Norwegian)

Shetland on film

Michael Powell made The Edge of the World in 1937, a dramatisation based on the true story of the evacuation of the last 36 inhabitants of the remote island of St Kilda on 29 August 1930. St Kilda lies in the Atlantic Ocean, 64 kilometres west-northwest of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides; the inhabitants spoke Gaelic. Powell was unable to get permission to film on St. Kilda. Undaunted, he made the film over four months during the summer of 1936 on the island of Foula, in the Shetland Isles. The film transposes these events to one of the islands of Shetland. 40 years later, the documentary Return To The Edge Of The World (1978) was filmed, capturing a reunion of cast and crew of the film as they revisited the island.

A number of other films have been made on or about Shetland:

Shetland in literature

Haroldswick Methodist Church is the most northerly church building in the UK.
  • Walter Scott's 1822 novel The Pirate is set in "a remote part of Shetland", and was inspired by his 1814 visit to the islands.
  • Hugh MacDiarmid, the Scots poet and writer lived in Whalsay from the mid-1930s through 1942, and wrote many poems there, including a number that directly address or reflect the Shetland environment (e.g. "On A Raised Beach").
  • Hammond Innes' 1975 novel North Star is largely set in Shetland.
  • The first section of Raman Mundair's 2007 book A Choreographer's Cartography is "60 degrees north" - a series of poems, some in the Shetland dialect, that reflect the poet's experiences of Shetland and offers a unique British Asian perspective on the landscape.[25]

The English mystery writer Ann Cleeves has written a series of three novels set in the Shetland Islands and featuring the detective Jimmy Perez (supposedly descended from a survivor of a shipwreck during the battle with the Spanish Armada which had been blown off course during a storm) The novels ("Raven Black," "White Nights," and "Red Bones") include beautiful and detailed descriptions of the islands, their landscapes and their people.

Churches

There are churches of many different denominations in Shetland, with the largest variety found in Lerwick. Unlike much of Scotland, the Methodist Church has a relatively high membership in Shetland. Shetland comprises a District of the Methodist Church (the rest of Scotland comprises a separate District). The Church of Scotland has a Presbytery of Shetland; the largest church is Lerwick and Bressay Parish Church.[26]

Flag

Roy Grönneberg founded the local chapter of the Scottish National Party in 1966 and was active in the struggle for Shetland autonomy. In 1969 he designed the flag of Shetland in cooperation with Bill Adams to mark the 500 year anniversary of the transfer of Shetland from Norway to Scotland.[27]

The reasons behind the design was the desire to illustrate the Shetland had been a part of Norway for 500 years and a part of Scotland for 500 years. The colours are identical to the ones in Flag of Scotland, but shaped in the Nordic cross and is the same design Icelandic republicans used in the early 20th century known in Iceland as Hvítbláinn, the white-blue.

In 1975 when the new Shetland Islands Council came into being Grönneberg wanted his proposed flag to become the official flag of Shetland, but was unsuccessful. A plebiscite in 1985 also failed to give it official status. Finally, in 2005 the Lord Lyon King of Arms approved the flag as the official flag of Shetland.

Geography

County of Shetland
until circa 1890
Geography
Area
- Total
Ranked 15th
352,876 acres (142,804 ha)
County town Lerwick
Chapman code SHI

Out of the approximately 100 islands, only 15 are inhabited. The main island of the group is known as Mainland. The other inhabited islands are: Bressay, Burra, Fetlar, Muckle Roe, Papa Stour, Trondra, Vaila, Unst, Whalsay, Yell in the main Shetland group, plus Foula to the south-west, Fair Isle to the south, and Housay and Bruray in the Out Skerries to the east (see below).

Fair Isle lies approximately halfway between Shetland and Orkney, but it is administered as part of Shetland. The Out Skerries lie east of the main group. Due to the islands' latitude, on clear winter nights the aurora borealis or "northern lights" can sometimes be seen in the sky, while in summer there is almost perpetual daylight, a state of affairs known locally as the "simmer dim".

Climate

Shetland has a Maritime Subarctic climate (Koppen Cfc), with long but mild winters and short, cool summers. The climate all year round is moderate due to the influence of the relative warmth of the surrounding seas, the surface temperature of which falls to 5 °C (41 °F) in early March and peaks at 13 to 14 °C (55 to 57 °F) in late August. However, summers are cool and temperatures over 21 °C (70 °F) are rare. The warmest month on record was August 1947, when the average maximum temperature was 17.2 °C (63.0 °F).

The general character of the climate is windy and cloudy with at least 1 mm (0.039 in) of rain falling on about 200 days a year. Average yearly precipitation at Lerwick is 1,238 mm (48.7 in), with November and December the wettest months, together receiving about a quarter of annual precipitation. Snowfall can occur at any time from July to early June although it seldom lies on the ground for more than a day. Less rain falls from April to August although no month receives less than 50 mm (2.0 in). Fog is common in the east of the islands during summer due to the cooling effect of the sea on mild southerly airflows.

There is a wide variation in day length during the course of the year due the islands' northerly location. On the shortest day at the winter solstice sunlight lasts 3 hours and 45 minutes and this stretches to 23 hours at the summer solstice, with twilight occupying the remainder of the time. However, the remoteness of the islands from warm and dry airflows means that all months are cloudy. Annual sunshine hours average 1065 hours so sunny days are rare and overcast days are common.[28]

A fine example of cross-bedding in Middle Old Red Sandstone on the Isle of Bressay.
Average maximum temperature coldest month 4.9 °C (40.8 °F) (February)
Average maximum temperature warmest month 14 °C (57 °F) (August)
Number of days with air frost 33 days
Annual precipitation 1,037 mm (40.8 in)
Number of days a year with snowfall 60 days
Number of days a year with rain or showers 285 days[29]

Flora

The landscape in Shetland is marked by the grazing of sheep and the rarity of trees. The flora is dominated by Arctic-alpine plants, wild flowers, moss and lichen. Shetland Mouse-ear (Cerastium nigrescens) is an endemic plant found only in Shetland. It was first recorded in 1837 by botanist Thomas Edmondston. Although reported from two other sites in the 19th century, it currently grows only on two serpentine hills on the island of Unst.[30][31]

Fauna

Shetland is the site of one of the largest bird colonies in the North Atlantic, home to more than one million birds. Most birds are found in colonies on Hermaness, Foula, Mousa, Noss, Sumburgh Head and Fair Isle. Some of the birds found on the islands are Atlantic Puffin, Storm-petrel, Northern Lapwing and Winter Wren. Many arctic birds spend the winter on Shetland and among those are Whooper Swan and Great Northern Diver. The Shetland Isles are also the home of the Shetland Sheepdog or 'Sheltie' which is a small, robust and graceful dog.

The geographical isolation and recent glacial history of Shetland have resulted in a depleted mammalian fauna. The Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus L.), along with the Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus Berkenhout) and the House Mouse (Mus musculus domesticus), are the only recorded types of rodent present on the island. Based largely on morphological studies of epigenetic variations, the source of the original founding population has been attributed to Norway with the most obvious date of introduction being presumed to be around the 9th century AD with the arrival of the Vikings. However, archaeological evidence now suggests that this species was present during the Middle Iron Age (around 200 BC - AD 400), and one theory proposes that Apodemus was in fact introduced from Orkney where a population had existed since at the least the Bronze Age.[32]

The High-finned sperm whale is a supposed cryptid relative of the sperm whale that is said to live in the seas around the Shetland. The difference between this creature and other sperm whales is said to be the presence of a tall dorsal fin on its back, which the sperm whale lacks. Two such stranded whales were apparently observed by Sir Robert Sibbald who described their dorsal fins as being similar to a "mizzen mast".[33]

Notable places and buildings

Subdivisions

Shetland is subdivided into 22 parishes or wards that no longer have administrative significance but are used for statistical purposes:

1. Sound
2. Clickimin
3. North Central
4. Breiwick
5. South Central
6. Harbour and Bressay
7. North
8. Upper Sound, Gulberwick and Quarff
9. Unst and Island of Fetlar
10. Yell
11. Northmavine, Muckle Roe and Busta

12. Delting West
13. Delting East and Lunnasting
14. Nesting, Whiteness, Girlsta and Gott
15. Scalloway
16. Whalsay/Skerries also known as Out Skerries
17. Sandsting, Aithsting and Weisdale
18. Walls, Sandness and Clousta
19. Burra/Trondra
20. Cunningsburgh and Sandwick
21. Sandwick, Levenwick and Bigton
22. Dunrossness

Economy

85% of the catch (67 000 tonn) in Shetland is herring and mackerel which is 52% of the catch value. Haddock, cod and angler achieve higher prices and make up the rest of the catch value, even though these species only make up 15% of the catch. Pictured: Mackerel.

Fishing has been an integral part of Shetland's economy since prehistory and it remains central to the islands' economy even today. It was also important in bringing in commerce from outside the isles, for example the 17th century Hanseatic traders and Victorian-era herring activities.

The main revenue producers in Shetland today are agriculture, aquaculture, fishing and the petroleum industry (crude oil and natural gas production). Farming is mostly concerned with the raising of Shetland sheep,[34] known for their unusually fine wool. Crops raised include oats and barley; however, the cold, windswept islands make for a harsh environment for most plants. Crofting, the farming of small plots of land on a legally restricted tenancy basis, is still practiced and viewed as a key Shetland tradition as well as important source of income. The Shetland Pony is another important aspect of the Shetland farming tradition.

North Sea oil rig

More recently, oil reserves discovered in the 20th century out to sea have provided a much needed alternative source of income for the islands. The East Shetland Basin is one of Europe's largest oil fields. Oil produced there is landed at the Sullom Voe terminal in Shetland. Taxes from the oil have increased spending on social welfare, art, sport, environmental measures and financial development. Three quarters of the islands work force is employed in the service sector. Even though oil makes up 15% of the islands' economy, (£116 million a year), the fish-related industry generates twice as much income and employs three times as many workers.[35] The oil revenue allows increased expenditure by the Shetland Islands Council, which alone accounted for 27.9% of employment in 2003.[36]

For the last 25 years unemployment has been under 5% and as of 2004 was 2%, but the fluctuations in the market for farmed salmon and trawled white fish leads to seasonal changes in unemployment.

In January 2007, the Shetland Islands Council signed a partnership agreement with Scottish and Southern Energy for a 200-turbine wind farm and subsea cable. The renewable energy project would produce about 600 megawatts and contribute about £20 million to the Shetland economy per year.[37] The plan is meeting significant opposition within the islands, primarily resulting from the anticipated visual impact of the development.

Media

Shetland is served by a weekly local newspaper, The Shetland Times (one of the first UK newspapers to publish on the internet), two monthly magazines, Shetland Life and i'i' Shetland and a news website, www.shetland-news.co.uk.

Radio service is provided by BBC Radio Shetland (the local opt-out of BBC Radio Scotland) and SIBC, a commercial radio station.

Transport

Transport between islands is primarily by ferry. Shetland is served by a domestic ferry connection from Lerwick to the mainland, operated by Northlink Ferries to Aberdeen.

Loganair aircraft on Fair Isle, midway between Orkney and Shetland

Sumburgh Airport, the main airport on Shetland, is located close to Sumburgh, 40 km (25 mi) south of Lerwick. Loganair operates flights for FlyBe to other parts of the British Isles seven times a day. The destinations are Kirkwall, Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh. In the summer months, there are also flights to London Stansted and the Faeroes operated by the Faeroese airliner Atlantic Airways.

Inter-Island flights from the Shetland Mainland to Fair Isle, Foula, Papa Stour, and Out Skerries are operated from Tingwall Airport 11 km west of Lerwick, by Directflight Ltd., using Islander aircraft owned by the Shetland Islands Council.

There are frequent charter flights from Aberdeen to Scatsta (near Sullom Voe), which are used to transport oilfield workers.

Public services

The Shetland Islands Council provide services in the areas of Environmental Health, Roads, Social Work, Community Development, Organisational Development, Economic Development, Building Standards, Trading Standards, Housing, Waste, Education, Burial Grounds, Fire Service, Port and Harbours and others.

The political composition of the Council is 22 Independents.

In Shetland there are a total of 34 schools: two High Schools, seven Junior High Schools with primary and nursery departments, and 25 Primary Schools. The High Schools are Anderson High School and Brae High School. Shetland is also home to the North Atlantic Fisheries College.

The Shetland NHS is the local Scottish health service in the Shetland Islands.

People

It is believed that the island group had an original population about which little is known who were replaced or assimilated by the Picts. Historical, archaeological, place-name and linguistic evidence indicates Norse cultural dominance of Shetland during the Viking period.[38] A few place names might have Pictish origin, but this is disputed. Several genetic studies have been conducted investigating the genetic makeup of the islands' population today in order to establish its origin. Shetlanders are less than half Scandinavian in origin. They have almost identical proportions of Scandinavian matrilineal and patrilineal ancestry (ca 44%), suggesting that the islands were settled by both men and women, as seems to have been the case in Orkney and the northern and western coastline of Scotland, but areas of the British Isles further away from Scandinavia show signs of being colonised primarily by males who found local wives.[39] After the islands were transferred to Scotland thousands of Scots families emigrated to Shetland in the 16th and 17th centuries. Contacts with Germany and the Netherlands through the fishing trade brought smaller numbers of immigrants from those countries. World War II and the oil industry have also contributed to population increase through immigration.[40]

Population development

The population development on Shetland has through the times been affected by deaths at sea and epidemics. Smallpox afflicted the islands in the 17th and 18th centuries, but as vaccines became common after 1760 the population increased to 40,000 in 1861. The population increase led to a lack of food and many young men went away to serve in the British merchant fleet. 100 years later the islands' population was more than halved. This decrease was mainly caused by the large number of Shetlandic men being lost at sea during the two world wars and the waves of emigration in the 1920s and 1930s. Now more people of Shetlandic background live in Canada, Australia and New Zealand than in Shetland.

District Population 1961 Population 1971 Population 1981 Population 1991 Population 2001
Bound Skerry (& Grunay) 3 3 0 0 0
Bressay 269 248 334 352 384
Bruray 34 35 33 27 26
East Burra 92 64 78 72 66
Fair Isle 64 65 58 67 69
Fetlar 127 88 101 90 86
Foula 54 33 39 40 31
Housay 71 63 49 58 50
Mainland 13,282 12,944 17,722 17,562 17,550
Muckle Flugga 3 3 0 0 0
Muckle Roe 103 94 99 115 104
Noss 0 3 0 0 0
Papa Stour 55 24 33 33 25
Trondra 20 17 93 117 133
Unst 1,148 1,124 1,140 1,055 720
Vaila 9 5 0 7 2
West Burra 561 501 767 817 753
Whalsay 764 870 1,031 1,041 1,589
Yell 1,155 1,143 1,191 1,075 957
Total 17,814 17,327 22,768 22,522 22,990

See also: List of Shetland islands

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ "Zetland_County_Council" shetlopedia.com. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
  2. ^ Smith, David "Tsunami hazards". Fettes.com. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  3. ^ The Scourd of Brouster site in Walls includes a cluster of six or seven walled fields and three stone circular houses that contains the earliest hoe-blades found so far in Scotland. See Fleming (2005) p. 47 quoting Clarke, P.A. (1995) Observations of Social Change in Prehistoric Orkney and Shetland based on a Study of the Types and Context of Coarse Stone Artefacts. M. Litt. thesis. University of Glasgow.
  4. ^ Turner (1998) p. 18 states that there are over 5,000 archaeological sites all told.
  5. ^ James Graham-Campbell: Cultural Atlas of the Viking World, 1999. Page 38. ISBN 0816030049
  6. ^ Julian Richards, Vikingblod, page 235, Hermon Forlag, ISBN 8283200165
  7. ^ Acquisition of Orkney and Shetland 1468-9
  8. ^ University Library, University in Bergen: Article on Shetland (Norwegian)
  9. ^ Universitas, Norsken som døde (Norwegian article on the history of the islands) (Norwegian)
  10. ^ Visit Shetland history page
  11. ^ "A History of Shetland" visitshetland.com. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  12. ^ McLean, Duncan (20 September 1998) "Getting on the Map". London. The Independent. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  13. ^ Ursula Smith" Shetlopedia. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  14. ^ University in Bergen, Historical institute page on the Shetland Gang(Norwegian)
  15. ^ Kulturnett Hordaland page on Shetlands-Larsen(Norwegian)
  16. ^ New Statesman - Independence thinking
  17. ^ Breeze, David J. "The ancient geography of Scotland" in Ballin Smith and Banks (2002) pp. 12–13.
  18. ^ Visit Shetland page on culture
  19. ^ Visit Shetland page on Up Helly Aa
  20. ^ Julian Richards, Vikingblod, page 236, Hermon Forlag, ISBN 8283200165
  21. ^ Norwegian language council: Placenames with -a, hjalt, Leirvik, vin in placenames(Norwegian)
  22. ^ Watson, William J. (2005) The Celtic Place-names of Scotland. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 1841583235.
  23. ^ "The Rugged Island: A Shetland Lyric" IMDb. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  24. ^ "A Crofter's Life in Shetland" screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  25. ^ Mundair, Raman (2007) A Choreographer's Cartography. Leeds. Peepal Tree Press. ISBN 9781845230517
  26. ^ "Lerwick and Bressay Parish Church, St Columba's, " shetland-museum. Retrieved 12 October 2008. "It... is the largest church in Shetland... affectionately known as "the Big Kirk" ".
  27. ^ Flags of the Worlds page on the flag of Shetland
  28. ^ UK Meteorological Office, www.meto.gov.uk
  29. ^ Shetlands tourist agency climate page. visitshetland.com. Retrieved 19 April 2007
  30. ^ Scott, W. & Palmer, R. (1987) The Flowering Plants and Ferns of the Shetland Islands. Shetland Times. Lerwick.
  31. ^ Scott, W. Harvey, P., Riddington, R. & Fisher, M. (2002) Rare Plants of Shetland. Shetland Amenity Trust. Lerwick.
  32. ^ Nicholson, R.A., Barber, P., and Bond, J.M. (2005). New Evidence for the Date of Introduction of the House Mouse, Mus musculus domesticus Schwartz & Schwartz, and the Field Mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus (L.) to Shetland. Environmental Archaeology 10 (2): 143-151
  33. ^ Shuker, Karl (1997) From Flying Toads to Snakes With Wings. Llewellyn.
  34. ^ Shetland sheep
  35. ^ Visit Shetland's economy page
  36. ^ Shetland Islands Council. "Shetland In Statistics 2005".
  37. ^ BBC News 'Powering on with Island wind plan', 19 January 2007
  38. ^ Jones G. (1984) A History of the Vikings Oxford University Press: Oxford.
  39. ^ Article: Genetic evidence for a family-based Scandinavian settlement of Shetland and Orkney during the Viking periods
  40. ^ Visit Shetland page on the people

Bibliography

  • Ballin Smith, B. and Banks, I. (eds) (2002) In the Shadow of the Brochs, the Iron Age in Scotland. Stroud. Tempus. ISBN 075242517X
  • Fleming, Andrew (2005) St. Kilda and the Wider World: Tales of an Iconic Island. Windgather Press ISBN 1905119003
  • Nicolson, James R. (1972) Shetland. Newton Abbott. David & Charles.
  • Turner, Val (1998) Ancient Shetland. London. B. T. Batsford/Historic Scotland. ISBN 0713480009

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Shetland Islands article)

From Wikitravel

The Shetland Islands [1] are an archipelago in Scotland. Composed of over one hundred islands, of which fifteen are inhabited, Shetland is located more than 100 miles North of the Scottish Mainland. Today, the local economy is very dependent on the fishing industry and public services. Although there is limited evidence of its presence, the North Sea oil industry is still important and tourism, agriculture and knitwear are also part of the economic picture.

Map of the Shetland Islands
Map of the Shetland Islands
  • Mainland -- the main island in the group
  • Burra
  • Trondra
  • Yell
  • Unst - the northernmost inhabited island in Scotland
  • Fetlar
  • Whalsay
  • Out Skerries
  • Bressay
  • Papa Stour
  • Foula
  • Fair Isle
  • Lerwick - the largest town and main port.
  • Scalloway - the historic capital of Shetland

Talk

Although Scottish English is commonly spoken, Shetland has acquired its own linguistic slang, mostly due to its diverse history and Norwegian roots. Common examples include the word "peerie" instead of the more traditional Scottish "wee," and other indiscrepencies. Keep an ear peeled for them.

Get in

The main transport links to Shetland are to and from the Scottish Mainland.

  • Northlink Ferries [2] provide a daily passenger and vehicle transport service between Lerwick and Aberdeen which also calls in at Kirkwall in Orkney up to twice a week depending on the time of year. The ferry service is an overnight crossing, so bringing along a pillow, blanket, or optimally, a sleeping bag, is a good idea. Kip up in the various couches around the lounge if the provided airline-style reclining seats are uncomfortable, or book a cabin beforehand if you're feeling rich. As this is technically an ocean crossing, it can get rough at times. Fall asleep before hitting open waters to alleviate seasickness. This is by and far the most accepted means of getting to the islands, even among locals. Traveling times are divided into two seasons; travel during the winter seasons for optimal fare charges. Be aware that because they hold a virtual monopoly over transit between the Scottish mainland and the Islands, they won't be flexible or forgiving if you need to change your travel plans even with advance notice, and can be downright bureaucratic when it comes to customer service.
  • Loganair [3] provide the only scheduled passenger air service to the Scottish Mainland. This operates from Sumburgh Airport which is located 30 miles south of Lerwick. Flights operate to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Kirkwall.
  • Atlantic Airways [4] provided a twice weekly service (June to October) to London (Stansted). Currently (2009) this route is suspended. However, it might take place again in 2010.

Get around

By sea

The inhabited islands are served by regular ferries, operated by Shetland Islands Council [5].

By air

Loganair [6] operates flights from Tingwall Airport (10km from Lerwick) to the islands of Foula, Out Skerries, Papa Stour and the Fair Isle, as well as Sumburgh to Fair Isle and Whalsay to Out Skerries services.

See

Shetland Ponies Shetland is home to a number of unique domesticated animals, including the Shetland Ponies. You might need the connections of a local friend to get close to one, but if given the option, it is not to be missed. Shetland ponies are short, stout horses with a rotund stomach, measuring waist-high to an average human even when fully grown. Despite their diminuitive size, they can be quite ornery, and have a tendency to push you around instead of allowing you to lead them.

Clickimin Broch A well-preserved broch thousands of years old, this ancient circular structure can be found on Lerwick jutting out into a loch. Although this is best done with a local who is familiar with the broch, be sure to peep into the maze of passageways and tunnels that lace the interior of the stone walls.

Shetland Museum and Archives A very modern museum providing a detailed background of the Shetland islands, from its volcanic conception up till the present day. The museum provides a very hands-on experience, from the interactive touch panels to the grain you can literally grind to meal. Make your way through the museum from the very bottom all the way to the top for an in-depth history lesson. Check out the exhibition hall for any unique events or even a glimpse of Shetland's modern art.

Do

The Shetland Folk Festival Every May. Concerts and random assemblages of musicians in halls and pubs all over mainland and the outlying islands. The range of music on offer is truly eclectic - local, European and the Americas commonly appearing together in one programme - and the atmosphere is unique - long tables of concertgoers of all ages crammed into village halls, with concerts running well into the night (and night falls late in Shetland in May!)

Sea Kayaking Seasonal

Eat

Some of the better eating options in Lerwick include Monty's bistro, the Olive Tree (daytime only, in the Toll Clock Shopping Centre), the Queen's Hotel and the Peerie Shop Café. There are a couple of good curry houses, two places doing Chinese and Thai and several takeaways, including excellent fish and chips. Outside Lerwick, from north to south, some possibilities include the St Magnus Bay Hotel, Eshaness Café, the Booth at Hillswick, Busta House Hotel, the St Ninian's Isle Café and Spiggie Hotel.

Drink

In Lerwick, the best place to sample local music and simultaneously imbibe is upstairs in the Lounge Bar, where there are regular sessions. A very good place is also the Lerwick Boating Club, where there seems to be live music just about every day.

Out of the town to the north there are several places to visit for a drink including the Mid Brae Inn (Brae), Pierhead Restaurant (Voe), and the century old St Magnus Bay Hotel (Hillswick).

Stay safe

Shetland is a relatively safe place. The main hazards, if you stray off the beaten track, tend to be Bonxies (Great Skuas) and Scooty Alans (Arctic Skuas), which will dive-bomb you if you stray anywhere near their nests. Hold a stick above your head, but more importantly move out of their territory. The Tap water is safe to drink anywhere in Shetland.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SHETLAND, or ZETLAND, a group of islands constituting a county of Scotland, and the most northerly British possession in Europe. It consists of an archipelago of islands and islets, over loo in number, situated to the north-east of Orkney, between 59 50 and 60° 52' N. and o 55' and 2° 14' W., and. bounded on the W. by the Atlantic and on the E. by the North Sea. The distance from Dennis Head in North Ronaldshay of the Orkneys to Sumburgh Head in Shetland is 50 m., but Fair Isle, which belongs to Shetland, lies midway between the groups. The islands occupy an area of 352,889 acres or 551.4 sq. m. Besides Mainland, the principal member of the group, the more important are Yell, Unst and Fetlar in the north, Whalsay and Bressay in the east, Trondra, East and West Burra, Papa Stour, Muckle Roe and Foula in the west, and Fair Isle in the south. The islands present an irregular surface, frequently rising into hills of considerable elevation (an extreme of 1475 ft. is found in the north-west of Mainland). Most of the inland scenery is bleak and dreary, consisting of treeless and barren tracts of peat and boulders. The coast scenery, especially on the west, is always picturesque and often grand, the cliffs, sheer precipices of brilliant colouring, reaching a height of over l000 ft. at some places. The shores are so extensively indented with voes, or firths - the result partly of denudation and partly caused by glaciers - that no spot in Shetland is more than 3 m. from the sea. There are sheets of fresh water in the larger islands, the most important being Strom Loch (2 m. long), Girlsta (12 m. long) and Spiggie (1 ?„- m.) in Mainland; and Loch of Cliff (2 m.) in Unst, and numerous short streams. The principal capes are Sumburgh Head, the most southerly point of Mainland, a bold promontory 300 ft. high; Fitful Head, on the south-west of the same island, a magnificent headland, 2 m. in length and nearly I 000 ft. high, where Norna, the prophetess of Sir Walter Scott's Pirate, was supposed to have her abode and which the Norsemen called the White Mountain, in allusion to the colour of the clay slate composing it; and the Noup and Herma Ness, two of the most northerly points in Unst.

Table of contents

Geology

The geological characters of this group of islands resemble those of the northern part of Scotland. Old Red Sandstone, red grits, sandstones and marls and conglomerate occur in a narrow belt on the east side of Mainland from Sumburgh Head to Rova Head, north of Lerwick; they also form the island of Bressay. In the western portion of Mainland, in Northmavine, -there is a considerable tract of rocks of this age which are formed largely of intrusive diabase-porphyrite; similar volcanic rocks occur in Papa Stour. These are penetrated by intrusions of granitic and felsitic character; one of these masses in Papa Stour is a handsome pink felsite. Practically all the remaining area in these islands is occupied by metamorphic schists and gneisses which occur in great variety and with which are associated numerous dikes and masses of intrusive igneous rock. The southern part of Mainland, from Laxfirth Voe to Fitful Head a series of dark schists and slates, is found with subordinate limestones. The metamorphic rocks of the rest of Mainland are principally coarse gneisses, micaceous and chloritic schists, quartzites, &c.; in these rocks at Tingwall and Wiesdale considerable beds of limestone occur, which may be followed across the island in a northerly direction to Yell Sound, and to Dales Voe in Delting.

Gabbro occurs in the peninsula of Fethland; diorite in Northmavine between Rinas Voe and Mavis Grind; and epidote-syenite in Dunrossness. Yell is formed of coarse gneiss and granitic rocks. In Unst the high ground on the west coast consists of gneiss, which is followed eastward by schists of various kinds, then by a belt of serpentine, 2 m. to a quarter of a mile in breadth, which crosses the island from S. W. to N.E.; this is succeeded by a belt of gabbro, and finally the eastern border is again occupied by micaceous and chloritic schists. Similar rocks occur in Fetlar. Whalsay is built of coarse gneisses and schists. During the height of the glacial period the ice must have crossed the islands from E. to W., for many of the rocks belonging to the eastern side are found as boulders scattered over the western districts. Important formations of chromite are found at Hagdale and the Heog Hills; steatite occurs at Kleber Geo, and many interesting minerals have been recorded from these islands.

Climate and Fauna. - The average annual rainfall amounts to 46 in., and the mean temperature for the year is 45° 3 F., for March 39° F. and for August 54° F. The winter, which is very stormy, lasts from November to March; spring begins in April, but it is the middle of June before warmth becomes general, and by the end of August summer is gone. The summer is almost nightless, print being legible at midnight, but in winter the days are only six hours long, though the nights are frequently illuminated with brilliant displays of the aurora borealis. The well-known Shetland breed of shaggy ponies are in steady demand for underground work in collieries. The native cattle, also diminutive in size, with small horns and short legs, furnish beef of remarkable tenderness and flavour; while the cows, when well fed, yield a plentiful supply of rich milk. The native sheep possess many of the characteristics of goats. Ewes as well as rams generally have short horns, and the wool is long and very fine. White, black, speckled grey and a peculiar russet brown, called moorat, are the prevailing colours. It is customary to pluck the wool by hand rather than shear it, as this is believed to ensure a finer second crop. Black-faced and Cheviots are also found in some places. Large numbers of geese and poultry are kept. The lochs and tarns are well stocked with brown trout, and the voes and gios, or narrow inlets of the sea with steep rocks on both sides, abound with sea trout. Hares, for a long period extinct, were reintroduced about 1830, rabbits are very numerous, and the northern limit of the hedgehog is drawn at Lerwick. Whales of various species are frequently captured in the bays and sounds; the grampus, dolphin and porpoise haunt the coasts, and seals occasionally bask on the more outlying islets. Besides the commoner kinds of fishes, sharks, the torsk, opah and sunfish occur. There is an immense variety of water-fowl, including the phalarope, fulmar petrel, kittiwake, Manx shearwater, black guillemot, whimbrel, puffin and white-tailed eagle.

Industries

There has been no agricultural advance corresponding to that which has taken place in Orkney, mainly owing to the poverty and insufficiency of the soil. Although there are some good arable farms in favoured districts, the vast majority of holdings are small crofts occupied mostly by peasants who combine fishing with farming. Crofting agriculture is conducted on primitive methods, spade tillage being almost universal, and seaweed the principal manure. The cottages are generally grouped in small hamlets called "touns." The size of the crofts varies greatly. There are several hundreds under 5 acres, but the average holding runs from 5 to 20 acres. At one time the land was held on the "runrig" system - that is, different tenants held alternate ridges - but now as a rule each holding is separate. About one-sixth of the total area is under cultivation, oats and barley being the chief grain, and potatoes (introduced in 1730) and turnips (1807) the chief green crops. Cabbage, said to have been introduced by a detachment of Cromwellian soldiers, is also raised, and among fruits black and red currants ripen in sheltered situations. In spite of somewhat adverse climatic conditions, live stock is reared with a fair amount of success.

The distinctive manufacture is knitted goods. The finest work is said to come from Unst, though each parish has its own speciality. The making of gloves was introduced about 1800, of shawls about 1840 and of veils about 1850. So delicate is the workmanship that stockings have been knitted that could pass through a finger-ring. Women do most of the farm work and spend their spare time in knitting. Fishing is the occupation of the men, and the real mainstay of the inhabitants. Formerly the fishery was in the hands of the Dutch, whose supremacy was destroyed, however, by the imposition of the salt tax in 1712. So complete was their control that they are estimated to have derived from it more than 200 millions sterling while it lasted. Then the fishery was neglected by the natives, who were content to use the "sixerns," or six-oared fishing boats, till the last quarter of the 19th century, when boats of modern type were introduced. Since 1890 the herring fishery has advanced rapidly, and the Shetland fishery district is the most important north of Aberdeenshire. The haaf or deep-sea catch principally consists of cod, ling, torsk and saithe. Communication with the islands is maintained by steamers from Leith and Aberdeen to Lerwick, the capital (twice a week), and to Scalloway, the former capital, and other points (once a week).

Population

In 1891 the population amounted to 28,711 and in 1901 it was 28,166 or 51 persons to the sq. m. The females numbered 15,753, or 127 to every loo males, considerably the largest proportion to any county in Scotland. In 1901 there were 55 persons speaking Gaelic and English, none who spoke Gaelic only, and 92 foreigners (almost all Scandinavians). Only twenty-seven islands of the group are inhabited, but in the case of some of them the population consists solely of a few lighthouse attendants, shepherds and keepers.

The Inhabited Isles

The following is a list of the inhabited isles, proceeding from south to north; but it will be understood that they do not lie in a direct line, that several are practically on the same latitude, that the bulk are situated off the east and west coast of Mainland, and that two of them are distinctly outlying members of the group. The figures within brackets. indicated the population in 1901. Fair Isle (147) lies '24 m.

S.W. of Sumburgh Head, and is 3 m. long by about 2 m. broad. The name is derived from the Norse faar, a sheep (a derivation better seen in the Faroe Isles). It is a hilly island, with rocky cliffs; North Haven, on the east coast, being almost the only place where landing can be safely effected. From the survivors: of a vessel of the Spanish Armada that went ashore in 1588 the natives are said to have acquired the art of knitting the coloured hosiery for which they are noted. The shipwrecked sailors. taught the people how to prepare dyes from the plants and lichens, and many of the patterns still show signs of Moorish origin. Mainland (19,676), the largest and principal island, measures 54 m. from N. to S., and 21 m. from E. to W., though the shores are indented to an extraordinary degree and the bulk of the island is much narrower than the extreme width would indicate. The parish of Walls, in the west, is said to contain more voes, whence its name (an erroneous rendering of the Norse waas), than all the rest of Shetland; while the neck of land at Mavis Grind (Norse, maev, narrow; eid, isthmus;. grind, gate), forming the boundary between the parishes of: Northmavine and belting, is only 60 yds. wide and about 20 ft. above the, sea, almost converting the north-western area of Mainland into an island. In the promontory of Eshaness may be seen some wonderful examples of sea sculpture. The Grind of the Navir ("Gate of the Giants") is a staircase carved by the waves out of the porphyry cliffs. In the rock of Dore Holm is a natural archway, 70 ft. wide, through which the tide constantly surges, and to the south-east of it are the Drougs, stacks. of quaint shapes, suggesting a ship in full sail, a ruin, a cowled monk and so forth. Besides Lerwick (q.v.) the county town, one of the most interesting places in the island is Scalloway (8S7), the ancient capital. According to Dr Jakob Jakobsen, the name means the voe (waa) of the skollas, or booths, occupied by the men who came to attend the meeting of the ling, or open-air law court, which assembled in former days on an island in the Loch of Tingwall (hence its name), about 3 m. farther north. Scalloway stands at the head of a bay and has. piers, quays, warehouses and cooperages in connexion with the fishing industry. The ruins of the castle built in 1600 by Patrick Stewart, earl of Orkney, stand at the east end of the bay and are in good preservation. An iron ring on one of the chimneys is said to be that on which he hung the victims of his. oppression. On the opposite side of the bay is Gallow Hill, the old place of execution of witches and criminals. Off the southeastern coast of Mainland, separated by a sound 1 m. broad and usually visited from Sandwick, lies the uninhabited island of Mousa (correctly spelled Moosa, the moory isle, from the:: Norse mO-r, moor), famous for the most perfect specimen of a Pictish broch, or tower of defence, in the British Isles. The broch, which stands on a rocky promontory at the south-west of the isle, now measures about 45 ft. in height, but as some of the top courses of masonry have fallen down it is supposed to

have been 50 ft. high originally. It was entire in 1154, and was partially restored in 1861. It has a diameter at the foot of 50 ft., and at the top of 38 ft. The interior court, open to the sky, is 30 ft. in diameter, the enclosing wall having a thickness,., at the base, of 152 ft. There are three separate beehive-shaped rooms on the ground floor, which were entered from the court, from which also there was an entrance to the stair leading to the galleries, which were lighted by windows facing the court. Hevera.

, (25) lies off the west coast of Mainland, south of the two Burras. East Burra (203), about 4 m. long by i m. broad, is separated from Mainland by Clift Sound, a narrow arm of the sea, 8 m. long. West Burra (612), 6 m. long by i m. broad, with a very irregular coast-line, lies alongside of East Burra and contains a church. It is said to be the Burgh Westra of Sir Walter Scott's Pirate. Burra is a contraction of Bo?gar-oy, meaning "Broch island." Trondra (151), "Trond's island," Trond being an old Norse personal name, in the mouth of Scalloway Bay. Oxna (36) lies about 4 m. S.W. of Scalloway, and Papa (priest's isle, 16), to the E. of Oxna. Bressay (679) lies 1 m. E. of Lerwick, from which it is separated by the Sound of Bressay, in which Haakon V., king of Norway, anchored his galleys on the expedition that ended so disastrously for him at Largs (1263). The island is 6 m. long by 3 m. broad and has several notable natural features. Ward Hill (742 ft.) is the sailors' landmark for Lerwick harbour. Bard Head (264 ft.), the most southerly point, is a haunt of eagles, at the foot of which is an archway called the Giant's Leg. On the west side of the Bard is the Orkney Man's Cave - a great cavern with fine stalactites and a remarkable echo. Noss (7), to the E. of Bressay, from which it is separated by a channel 220 yds. wide. On the east coast the rocks form a headland (592 ft.) called the Noup of Noss ("the peak of the nose"), once the source from which falcons were obtained for the royal mews. Off the south-east shore lies the Holm (160 ft.), with which communication used to be maintained by means of the Cradle of Noss swing or ropes. Both Noss and Bressay are utilized in connexion with the rearing of Shetland ponies. Holm of Papal, "isle of the priest" (2), belonging to Bressay parish, and Linga, "heather isle" (8), to the parish of Tingwall, lie S.E. of Hildasay. Foula, pronounced Foola (Norse, fugl-oy, " bird island") (230), lies 27 m. W. of Scalloway, and 16 m. W. of the nearest point of Mainland. It measures 32 m. long by 22 m. broad. The cliffs on the west coast attain in the Sneug (Norse, Snjoog, "hill top") a height of 1272 ft. They are the home of myriads of sea-birds and one of the nesting-places of the bonxie, or great skua (Lestris cataractes), which used to be fostered by the islanders to keep down the eagles, and the eggs of which are still strictly preserved. The natives are daring cragsmen. The only landing-place is the village of Ham, on the east coast. Vaila (21), in the mouth of the Bay of Walls, affords good pasturage. Linga (4) lies immediately to the north of Vaila. Papa Stour (272), properly spelt Stoor, "the big [Norse stor] island of the priests," lies in the south-west of the great bay of St Magnus. It measures 2 m. in length by about 3 m. in breadth and has a coast-line of 20 m. Christie's Hole and Francie's Hole, two of the caves for which it is noted, are reputed to be among the finest in the United Kingdom. The sword dance described in the Pirate may still be seen occasionally. Four miles N.W. are the islets known as the Ve Skerries, where seals are sometimes found. Whalsay, "whale island" (975), measuring 5 m. from N.E. to S.W. by 21 m. wide, is an important fishing station. Muckle Roe, "great red island" (202), roughly circular in shape and about 3 m. in diameter, lies in the E. of St Magnus Bay. Gruay, "green isle" (10), Housay (68), Bruray (44), Bound (2) are members of the group of Out Skerries, about 4 m. N.E. of Whalsay. There is a lighthouse on Bound, and the rest are fishing stations. Yell (2483), separated from the north-east coast of Mainland by Yell Sound, is the second largest island of the group, having a length of 17 m., and an extreme width of 62 m., though towards the middle the voes of Mid Yell and Whale Firth almost divide it into two. It contains several brochs and ruined chapels and is an important fishing station. Fetlar (347) lies off the east coast of Yell, from which it is divided by Colgrave Sound and the isle of Hascosay and is 5 m. long by 62 m. broad. It ranks with the most picturesque and most fertile members of the group and contains a breed of ponies, a cross between the native pony and the horse. Uyea, "the isle," from the Old Norse oy (3), to the south of Unst, from which it is divided by the narrow sounds of Uyea and Skuda, yields a beautiful green serpentine. Unst (1940), to the N.E. of Yell and separated from it by Blue mull Sound, is 12 m. long and 6 m. wide. It has been called the "garden of Shetland," and offers inducements to sportsmen in its trout and game. The male inhabitants are mostly employed in the fisheries and the women are the most expert knitters of hosiery in the islands. Unst contains several places of historic interest. Near the south-eastern promontory stands Muness Castle, now in ruins, built in 1598 - according to an inscription on a tablet above the door - by Laurence Bruce, natural brother to Lord Robert Stewart, 1st earl of Orkney. Buness, near Balta Sound, was the house of Dr Laurence Edmonston (1795-1879), the naturalist. Near Balliasta are the remains of three stone circles. It is supposed the Ting, or old Assembly, met at this spot before it removed to Tingwall. Farther north, at the head of a small bay, lies Haroldswick, where Harold Haarfager is believed to have landed in 872, when he annexed the Orkney and Shetland Islands to Norway. Burra Firth, in the north of Unst, is flanked on both sides by magnificent cliffs, including the Noup of Unst, the hill of Saxavord (934 ft.), the Gord and Herma Ness. Muckle Flugga (3), about 1 m. N. of Unst, is the most northerly point of Shetland, and the site of a lighthouse.

Administration

Shetland unites with Orkney to return a member to parliament. The island is divided into Mainland district (comprising the parishes of Northmavine, Delting, Nesting, Sandsting, Walls, Tingwall, Bressay, Lerwick and Dunrossness) and North Isles district (the parishes of Unst, Fetlar and Yell). It forms a sheriffdom with Orkney and Caithness, and there is a resident sheriff-substitute at Lerwick, the county town. There are parish poorhouses in Dunrossness and Unst, besides the Shetland combination poorhouse at Lerwick. The county is under school board jurisdiction and Lerwick has a secondary school, and a few of the other schools earn grants for higher education. The "residue" grant is expended on navigation and swimming classes.

History and Antiquities

The word Shetland is supposed to be simply a modernized rendering of the Old Norse Hjaltland, of which the meaning is variously given as "high land," "Hjalti's land" - after Hjalti, a man whose name occurs in ancient Norse literature, but of whom little else is known - and "hilt land," in allusion to an imagined, though not too obvious, resemblance in the configuration of the archipelago to the hilt of a sword. Of the original Pictish inhabitants remains exist in the form of stone circles (three in Unst and two in Fetlar) and brochs (of which 75 examples survive). The islanders were converted to Christianity in the 6th and 7th centuries by Irish missionaries, in commemoration of whose zeal several isles bear the name of Papa or "priest." Four stones with Ogam inscriptions have been found at different places. About the end of the 8th century both the Shetlands and Orkneys suffered from the depredations of Norse vikings, or pirates, until Harold Haarfager annexed the islands to Norway in 875. Henceforward the history of Shetland is scarcely separable from that of Orkney (q.v.). The people, more remote and less accessible to external influences, retained their Scandinavian characteristics longer than the Orcadians. The Norse language and customs survived in Foula till the end of the 18th century, and words and phrases of Norse origin still colour their speech. George Low (1747-1795), the naturalist and historian of Orkney, who made a tour through Shetland in 1774, described a Runic monument which he saw in the churchyard of Crosskirk, in Northmavine parish (Mainland), and several fragments of Norse swords, shield bosses and brooches have been dug up from time to time.

See George Low, Tour through the Islands of Orkney and Shetland in 1774 (published in 1879); A. Edmondston, Zetland Islands (1809); Samuel Hibbert-Ware, Description of the Shetland Isles (1822); C. Rampini, Shetland and the Islanders (1884); C. Sinclair, Shetland and the Shetlanders (1840); R. S. Cowie, Shetland (1896); Dr Jakob Jakobsen, The Dialect and Place Names of Shetland (1897).


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Contents

English

Proper noun

Singular
Shetland

Plural
-

Shetland

  1. the Shetland Islands

Translations

Derived terms


Swedish

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Swedish Wikipedia has an article on:
Shetland

Wikipedia sv

Proper noun

Shetland n.

  1. Shetland Islands (group of islands)

This Swedish entry was created from the translations listed at Shetland Islands. It may be less reliable than other entries, and may be missing parts of speech or additional senses. Please also see Shetland in the Swedish Wiktionary. This notice will be removed when the entry is checked. (more information) October 2009


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

By the end of the ninth century the Vikings shifted their attention from plundering to invasion, mainly due to the overpopulation of Norway in comparison to resources and arable land available there. Vikings colonised much of northern Europe, including the Iberian Peninsula, Normandy, Scotland, Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides, the Isle of Man, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. Subsequently they reached North America. The Norwegians tended to follow a northern route to the islands and less populous places whereas the Danes went to more populated areas such as England and France, and the Swedes went east.[1]

Hjaltland was colonised by Norwegian Vikings around the end of the 9th century, the existing indigenous population being partly wiped out. The colonisers gave it that name and established their laws and language. That language evolved into the West Nordic language Norn, a mixture of old Norse, Scots, and Germanic influence which survived into the 1800s.

After Harald Hårfagre took control of all Norway, many of his opponents fled, some to Orkney and Shetland. From these northern isles they continued to raid Scotland and Norway, prompting Harald Hårfagre to raise a large fleet which he sailed to the islands. In about 875 he and his forces took control of Shetland and Orkney. Ragnvald, Earl of Møre received Orkney and Shetland as an earldom from the king as reparation for his son being killed in battle in Scotland. Ragnvald gave the earldom to his brother Sigurd the Mighty.

Shetland was Christianised in the tenth century.

Conflict with Norway

In 1194 when king Sverre Sigurdsson (ca 1145 - 1202) ruled Norway and Harald Maddadsson was Earl of Orkney and Shetland, the Lendmann Hallkjell Jonsson and the Earl's brother-in-law Olav raised an army called the eyjarskeggjar on Orkney and sailed for Norway. Their pretender king was Olav's young foster son Sigurd, son of king Magnus Erlingsson. The eyjarskeggjar were beaten in the battle of Florvåg near Bergen. The body of Sigurd Magnusson was displayed for the king in Bergen in order for him to be sure of the death of his enemy, but he also demanded Harald Maddadsson (Harald jarl) to answer for his part in the uprising. In 1195 the earl sailed to Norway to reconcile with King Sverre.

The såttmål regulated the legal and political relations between earl and king. As a punishment the king placed the earldom of Shetland under the direct rule of the king from which it was never returned. In practice Harald Maddadsson remained earl, but controlled by the king. Harald also had to accept a royal governor (Sysselmann) but he was killed after King Sverre died. The settlement between king and earl was confirmed in 1210 and 1267.[2].

The power of the earldom was weakened and, as an effect, Scottish influence increased. Scotland was roughly 16 km away from the Orkneys, and Harald Maddadson struggled to keep his independence.

Increased Scottish interest

When Alexander III of Scotland turned twenty-one in 1262 and became of age he declared his intentions of continuing the aggressive policy his father had begun towards the western and northern isles. This had been put on hold when his father had died thirteen years earlier. Alexander sent a formal demand to the Norwegian King Håkon Håkonsson.

After decades of civil war, Norway had achieved stability and grown to be a substantial nation with influence in Europe and the potential to be a powerful force in war. With this as a background, King Håkon rejected all demands from the Scottish. The Norwegians regarded all the islands in the North Sea as part of the Norwegian Realm. To put more weight on his answer King Harald activated the leidang and set off from Norway in a fleet which is said to have been the largest ever assembled in Norway. The fleet met up in Breideyarsund (probably today's Bressay Sound) before the king and his men sailed for Scotland and made landfall on Isle of Arran. The aim was to conduct negotiations with the large army as a backup.

Alexander III drew out all negotiations while he patiently waited for the autumn storms to set in. Finally, after tiresome diplomatic talks, King Håkon lost his patience and decided to attack. At the same time a large storm set in which destroyed several of his ships and kept others from makpoop ing landfall. The Battle of Largs in October 1263 was not decisive and both parties claimed victory, but King Håkon Håkonsson's position was hopeless. On 5 October he returned to Orkney with a discontented army where he died of a fever on 17 December 1263. His death halted any further Norwegian expansion in Scotland.


King Magnus Lagabøte broke with his father's expansion policy. He started negotiations with Alexander III. With the Treaty of Perth in 1266 he surrendered furthest Norwegian possessions including Man and the Sudreyar (Hebrides) to Scotland in return for 4000 marks sterling and an annuity of 100 marks (which the Scottish soon stopped paying). The Scottish also recognised the Norwegian sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland.

One of the main reasons behind the Norwegian desire for peace with Scotland was that trade with England was suffering from the state of war. In the new trade agreement between England and Norway in 1223 the English demanded Norway make peace with Scotland. In 1269 this agreement was expanded to include mutual free trade.

Pawned to Scotland

In the 14th century Norway still treated Orkney and Shetland as a Norwegian province, but Scottish influence was growing, and in 1379 the Scottish earl Henry Sinclair took control of the islands on behalf of the Norwegian king Håkon VI Magnusson.[3] In 1348 Norway was severely weakened by the Black Plague and in 1397 it entered the Kalmar Union. After a time Norway became controlled by Denmark. King Christian I of Norway, Denmark and Sweden was in financial troubles and, when his daughter Margaret became engaged to James III of Scotland in 1468, he needed money to pay for the dowry. Without the knowledge of the Norwegian Riksråd (Council of the Realm) he entered into a contract on 8 September 1468 with the King of Scotland in which he pawned Orkney for 50,000 Rhenish guilders. On 28 May the next year he also pawned Shetland for 8,000 Rhenish guilders.[4]. He secured a clause in the contract which gave future kings of Denmark-Norway the right to redeem the islands for a fixed sum of 210 kg of gold or 2,310 kg of silver. Several kings of Denmark-Norway tried to redeem the islands during the 17th and 18th centuries.[5] Each claim was dismissed by the Privy Council in Edinburgh. The islands were already at that time under a strong influence from English language and customs, but the connection with Norway remained for some time. Norwegian institutions and authorities partly continued to function, and the Norn language was both spoken and written for a long time.

In Shetland, a yearly tax was paid to the bishop in Bergen long into the 15th century.[6].

The Hansa era

After the decline of the Vikings, four centuries followed where the Shetlanders sold their goods through the Hanseatic League of German merchantmen in Bergen, Bremen, Lübeck, and Hamburg. The Hansa would buy shiploads of salted cod and ling. In return, the island population got cash, grain, cloth, beer and other goods. This trade lasted until the Acts of Union 1707 prohibited the Hansa from trading with Shetland. As a consequence Shetland went into an economic depression as the Scottish and local traders were not as skilled in trading with salted fish. For the independent farmers of Shetland this led to a negative spiral where they had to sell their land to landlords. They were then obligated to pay rent and eventually became serfs.[7]. The Liberal prime minister William Ewart Gladstone freed the serfs from the rule of the landlords in the 1880s.

Napoleonic wars

Some 3000 Shetlanders served in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars from 1800 to 1815.

World War II

During World War II a Norwegian naval unit nicknamed the Shetland Gang or the Shetland bus was established by the Special Operations Executive Norwegian Section in the autumn of 1940 with a base first at Lunna and later in Scalloway in order to conduct operations on the coast of Norway. About 30 fishing vessels used by Norwegian refugees were gathered in Shetland. Many of these vessels were rented, and Norwegian fishermen were recruited as volunteers to operate them.

The Shetland Gang sailed in covert operations between Norway and Shetland, carrying men from Company Linge, intelligence agents, refugees, instructors for the resistance, and military supplies. Many people on the run from the Germans, and much important information on German activity in Norway, were brought back to the Allies this way. Some mines were laid and direct action against German ships was also taken. At the start the unit was under a British command, but later Norwegians joined in the command.

The fishing vessels made 80 trips across the sea. German attacks and bad weather caused the loss of 10 boats, 44 crewmen, and 60 refugees. Because of the high losses it was decided to procure faster vessels. The Americans gave the unit the use of three submarine chasers (HNoMS Hessa, HNoMS Hitra and HNoMS Vigra). None of the trips with these vessels caused any loss of life or equipment.[8]

The Shetland Gang made over 200 trips across the sea and the most famous of the men, Leif Andreas Larsen (Shetlands-Larsen) made 52 of them.[9].

Shetland today

During the 1960s and 1970s, oil and gas was found off Shetland. The East Shetland Basin is one of the largest petroleum sedimentary basins in Europe and the oil extracted there is sent to the terminal at Sullom Voe (Norse: Solheimavagr). Sullom Voe terminal opened in 1978 and is the largest oil export harbour in Great Britain with a volume of 25 million tons per year.

Income from oil, and the improved economic state that oil-related development has brought, has resulted in reduced emigration and vastly improved infrastructure throughout Shetland, leading to an improved quality of life - though, from the point of view of some, decreased connection to traditional 'ways of life' which were perceived as being so central to life in the islands.

As a result of the oil revenue and the cultural links with Norway, a small independence movement has developed within Shetland. It sees as its models the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as its closest neighbour, Faroe, an autonomous dependency of Denmark [10].

Timeline

Year Event
3000 BC First sign of settlement
297 AD Roman sources mention the Picts
875 Harald Hårfagre took control of the islands
1194 Harald Maddadsson lost the earldom of Shetland and the islands are put directly under the Norwegian king Sverre Sigurdsson
1379 The Scottish earl Henry Sinclair took control of the islands on behalf of the Norwegian king Håkon VI Magnusson
1469 Christian I pawned Shetland to the Scottish king James III
1600s and 1700s Smallpox hit the islands hard
1700s Norn language is suppressed by influence from Scottish immigrants
1707 The Hanseatic League lost their trading rights in Shetland
1708 Capital moved from Scalloway to Lerwick
1861 40 000 inhabitants
1880s William Ewart Gladstone freed the serfs
1940 Shetland bus established by the Special Operations Executive
1961 17 814 inhabitants
1969 Shetland marks 500 years under both Norwegian and Scottish rule
1975 Lerwick Town Council and Zetland County Council merged to Shetland Islands Council
1978 Oil terminal in Sullom Voe opened
2001 21 990 inhabitants
2005 Lord Lyon King of Arms, the heraldic authority of Scotland, approved the blue and white flag of Shetland as an official flag

Culture

The main cultural influences on Shetland are Scandinavian and British (especially Scottish) but North Sea and North Atlantic commerce have ensured various other influences. Shetland's fiddle music is a blend of ancient Norwegian folk music, Scots reels, jigs and slow airs, and tunes brought home by sailors from Ireland, Germany, North America and even Greenland. Notable exponents of Shetland folk music include fiddle players, the late Tom Anderson and Aly Bain, and the guitarist, the late Peerie Willie Johnson.

The landscape and the light found in Shetland have been an inspiration to many artists in the fields of painting, drawing and sculpturing, both local and from elsewhere. There are several local art galleries. As with other Scottish dialects, the Shetland dialect, a mixure of old English, Scots and Norse words, was actively discouraged in schools, churches and civic life until the late twentieth century, but has since then been restored as a language of culture. It is used both in local radio and dialect writing, kept alive by the Shetland Folk Society and the quarterly New Shetlander magazine.[11]

Up Helly Aa is any of a variety of fire festivals held in Shetland annually in the middle of winter. Some of the elements of Up Helly Aa are said to go back twelve centuries or more, but the festival is just over 100 years old in its present, highly organised form. Originally a temperance festival held to break up the long nights of winter the festival has become one celebrating the isles heritage and includes a procession of men dressed as Vikings, the burning of a replica longship and copious amounts of alcohol. The main Up Helly Aa in Lerwick bars women from taking part in the processions of guizers. Instead, women prepare costumes and food for the big night.[12]

Language

The Pictish language died out during the Viking occupation to be replaced by Old Norse, which in turn evolved into Norn. This remains the most prominent remnant of Norse culture on the islands. Almost every place name in use there can be traced back to the Vikings.[13] Norn continued to be spoken until the 18th century when it was replaced by an insular dialect of Scots also known as Shetlandic, which in turn is being replaced by Scottish English. However, the legacy of Norn remains in the grammar and a number of words, making the Shetland dialect a distinctive form of Scots. The use of dialect was actively discouraged in schools, churches and civic life throughout Scotland until the late 20th century but islanders now take a pride in their native speech. Efforts are made to retain the use of the dialect and counter influence from English.

Although Norn was spoken for hundreds of years it is now extinct and few written sources remain.

Name

The original Norse name for Shetland was Hjaltland. Hjalt in Old Norse meaning the hilt or crossguard of a sword. As the local language evolved the ja became je as with Norse hjalpa which became hjelpa. Then the pronunciation of the combination of the letters hj changed to sh. This is also found in some Norwegian dialects in for instance the word hjå (with) and the place names Hjerkinn and Sjoa (from *Hjó). Lastly the l before the t disappeared.[14].

As Norn was gradually replaced by Scots Shetland became Ȝetland (the initial letter being the Middle Scots letter, yogh (which can also be found in the forename Menzies, e.g. Menzies Campbell.) This sounded almost identical to the original Norn sound, /hj/). When the letter yogh was discontinued, it was often replaced by the similar-looking letter 'z', hence Zetland, the mispronounced form used to describe the pre-1975 county council.

The earliest recorded name for the islands was Inse Catt, "islands of the Cat people": the same people that Caithness is named after.

Norse names

The old Norse names of the principal islands were:

  • Hjaltland (Mainland)
  • Jell (Yell) - might be pre-Norse Pictish
  • Unst - might be pre-Norse Pictish
  • Fetlar - might be pre-Norse Pictish
  • Hvalsey (Whalsay) - literally whale island (Hvalsøy/Kvalsøy in modern Norwegian)
  • Brusey (Bressay) - most likely named after a Norse nobleman Bruse
  • Fugley (Foula) - literally bird's island (Fugløy in modern Norwegian)
  • Frjóey (Fair Isle) - literally fertile island (Froøy/Fræøy in modern Norwegian)

Shetland on film

(See Wikipedia:Shetland#Shetland on film.)

Shetland in Literature

  • Raman Mundair, 'A Choreographer's Cartography', Peepal Tree Press, Leeds, 2007, ISBN13: 9781845230517

The first section of this book - 60 degrees north - is a series of poems, some in Shetland dialect, that reflect the poet's experiences of Shetland and offers a unique British Asian perspective to the landscape.

Geography

Out of the approximately 100 islands, only fifteen are inhabited. The main island of the group is known as Mainland.

The other inhabited islands are: Bressay, Burra, Fetlar, Foula, Muckle Roe, Papa Stour, Trondra, Vaila, Unst, Whalsay, Yell in the main Shetland group, plus Fair Isle to the south, and Housay and Bruray in the Out Skerries to the east (see below).

Other , uninhabited, islands include:

  • Balta, Bigga, Brother Isle
  • Colsay
  • East Linga
  • Fish Holm
  • Gloup Holm, Grunay, Gruney
  • Haaf Gruney, Hascosay, Havra, Hildasay, Huney
  • Lady's Holm, Lamba, Linga near Muckle Roe, Linga near Shetland Mainland, Linga near Yell, Little Roe, Lunna Holm
  • Moul of Eswick, Mousa, Muckle Flugga, Muckle Ossa
  • North Havra, Noss
  • Orfasay, Out Stack, Oxna
  • Papa, Papa Little
  • Samphrey
  • Sound Gruney, South Havra, South Isle of Gletness
  • Urie Lingey, Uyea, Uynarey
  • Vementry
  • West Linga

Fair Isle lies approximately halfway between Shetland and Orkney, but it is administered as part of Shetland and is often counted as part of the island group. The Out Skerries lie east of the main group. Due to the islands' latitude, on clear winter nights the aurora borealis or 'northern lights' can sometimes be seen in the sky, while in summer there is almost perpetual daylight, a state of affairs known locally as the 'simmer dim'.

County of Zetland
Geography
Area
- Total
Ranked 15th
352,876 acres
County town Lerwick
Chapman code SHI

Climate

Shetland has a temperate Atlantic Ocean climate. Summers are relatively cool and dry. The sunniest months of the year are the period from April to August. In June there may be 19 hours of sunlight and there is no proper darkness. Winters are dark but fairly mild; the number of daylight hours drops to below eight a day.

Average yearly precipitation is 1037 mm, which is half that of Fort William on the west coast of Scotland. 3/4 of the precipitation falls during winter. The driest period is from April to August and fog is common in the east of the islands during summer.

Flora

The landscape in Shetland is marked by the grazing of sheep and the rarity of trees. The flora is dominated by arctic-alpine plants, wild flowers, moss and lichen.

Fauna

Shetland is the site of one of the largest bird colonies in the North Atlantic home to more than one million birds. Most birds are found in colonies on Hermaness, Foula, Mousa, Noss, Sumburgh Head and Fair Isle. Some of the birds found on the islands are Atlantic Puffin, Storm-petrel, Northern Lapwing and Winter Wren. Many arctic birds spend the winter on Shetland and among those are Whooper Swan and Great Northern Diver.

Notable places

  • Clickimin broch
  • Fort Charlotte
  • Jarlshof archaeological site
  • Mavis Grind
  • Mousa Broch
  • Muness Castle the most northerly castle in the United Kingdom
  • Old Scatness archaeological site
  • Scalloway Castle
  • Selivoe
  • St Ninian's Isle
  • Sullom Voe oil terminal
  • Sumburgh Head
  • Skaw the most northerly settlement in the United Kingdom

Economy

Fishing has been an integral part of Shetland's economy since prehistory and it remains central to the islands' economy even today. It was also important in bringing in commerce from outside the isles, for example 17th century Hanseatic traders and Victorian-era herring activities.

More recently, oil reserves discovered in the 20th century out to sea have provided a much needed alternative source of income for the islands. The East Shetland Basin is one of Europe's largest oil fields.

Media

Shetland is served by a weekly local newspaper, The Shetland Times, published every Friday and one of the first UK newspapers to publish on the internet in 1996. Radio Shetland, the local opt-out of BBC Radio Scotland, and SIBC, a commercial radio station, broadcast daily.

Other sources include

  • The Shetland News an online daily newspaper. A landmark legal case was brought by the Shetland Times against the Shetland News for deep linking to their content. It was settled out of court. [1]
  • Shetlink - an online community and web portal where people can express opinions on Shetland and related issues.
  • Shetlopedia.com The online Shetland Encyclopedia.

Transport

Transport between islands is mainly done by ferry.

Shetland is served by a domestic ferry connection from Lerwick to the mainland, operated by Northlink Ferries to

  • Aberdeen

Lerwick also has an international ferry connection operated by Smyril Line to

  • Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
  • Seyðisfjörður, Iceland
  • Bergen, Norway
  • Hanstholm, Denmark

The main airport on Shetland is located close to Sumburgh, 40 km south of Lerwick.

Public services

Shetland Islands Council

The Shetland Islands Council provide services in the areas of Environmental Health , Roads, Social Work, Community Development, Organisational Development, Economic Development, Building Standards, Trading Standards, Housing, Waste, Education, Burial Grounds, Fire Service, Port and Harbours and others. The council is allowed to collect Council Tax.

Schools

In Shetland there are a total of 34 schools: two High Schools, seven Junior High Schools with primary and nursery departments, and 25 Primary Schools.

Shetland is also home to the North Atlantic Fisheries College

NHS

The Shetland NHS is the local Scottish health service in the Shetland Islands.

Flag

Roy Grönneberg founded the local chapter of the SNP (Scottish National Party) in 1966 and was active in the struggle for Shetland autonomy. In 1969 he designed the flag of Shetland in cooperation with Bill Adams to mark the 500 year anniversary of the transfer of Shetland from Norway to Scotland.[15].

The reasons behind the design was the desire to illustrate the Shetland had been a part of Norway for 500 years and a part of Scotland for 500 years. The colours are identical to the ones in Flag of Scotland, but shaped in the Nordic cross.

In 1975 the two local authorities in Shetland, Lerwick Town Council and Zetland County Council, were combined into the Shetland Islands Council. Grönneberg wanted his flag proposal to become the official flag of Shetland, but was unsuccessful. A plebiscite in 1985 also failed to give it official status. In 2005 the Lord Lyon King of Arms approved the flag as the official flag of Shetland.

People

It is believed that the island group had an original population about which little is known who were replaced or assimilated by the Picts. Historical, archaeological, place-name and linguistic evidence indicates complete Norse cultural dominance of Shetland during the Viking period.[16] It is not known whether the Picts were rapidly assimilated into the Norse population or driven away. A few place names might have Pictish origin, but this is disputed. Several genetic studies have been made comparing the genetic makeup of the islands' population today in order to establish its origin. Shetland, due to it's relative isolation continues to have almost identical proportions of Scandinavian matrilineal and patrilineal ancestry (ca 44%). This suggests that the islands were settled by both men and women. The genetic make-up of those in Shetland today also suggesting that the indigenous population simply disappeared, giving credence to the theory that the Vikings eradicated the indigenous culture already settled within the isles. This genetic distribution is also found in Orkney and the northern and western coastline of Scotland, but areas of the British Isles further away from Scandinavia show signs of being colonised primarily by males who found local wives.[17] After the islands were transferred to Scotland thousands of Scots families emigrated to Shetland in the 16th and 17th centuries. Contacts with Germany and the Netherlands through the fishing trade brought smaller numbers of immigrants from those countries. World War II and the oil industry have also contributed to population increase through immigration.[18]

Population development

The population development on Shetland has through the times been affected by deaths at sea and epidemics. Smallpox afflicted the islands hard in the 17th and 18th centuries, but as vaccines became common after 1760 the population increased to 40 000 in 1861. The population increase led to a lack of food and many young men went away to serve in the British merchant fleet. 100 years later the islands' population was more than halved. This decrease was mainly caused by the large number of Shetlandic men being torpedoed at sea during the two world wars and the waves of emigration in the 1920s and 1930s. Now more people of Shetlandic background live in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand than in Shetland.

District Population 1961 Population 1971 Population 1981 Population 1991 Population 2001
Bound Skerry (& Grunay) 3 3 0 0 0
Bressay 269 248 334 352 384
Bruray 34 35 33 27 26
East Burra 92 64 78 72 66
Fair Isle 64 65 58 67 69
Fetlar 127 88 101 90 86
Foula 54 33 39 40 31
Housay 71 63 49 58 50
Mainland 13,282 12,944 17,722 17,562 17,550
Muckle Flugga 3 3 0 0 0
Muckle Roe 103 94 99 115 104
Noss 0 3 0 0 0
Papa Stour 55 24 33 33 25
Trondra 20 17 93 117 133
Unst 1,148 1,124 1,140 1,055 720
Vaila 9 5 0 1 2
West Burra 561 501 767 817 753
Whalsay 764 870 1,031 1,041 1,034
Yell 1,155 1,143 1,191 1,075 957
Total 17,814 17,327 22,768 22,522 21,990

Kilde: Scottishislands.org.uk, 18. November 2006

Notable Shetlanders

  • Arthur Anderson (1792-1868), (businessman) co-founder of P&O
  • Tom Anderson (1910-1991), (fiddler) MBE a fiddler, composer, folklorist and teacher who was a profoundly influential figure in the development of Shetland music
  • Willie Hunter (1934-1994), the best all-around example of Shetland fiddling
  • Peerie Willie Johnson (1920-2007), a highly renowned pioneer of jazz swing influenced folk guitar who played with the likes of Tom Anderson and Willie Hunter.
  • Ian Bairnson (b. 1953), session guitarist (The Alan Parsons Project)
  • Aly Bain (b. 1946), fiddle player.
  • Sir William Watson Cheyne of Leagarth (1852-1932.[2] (b. 14 December 1852, d. 19 April 1932) Pioneered the development of antiseptic.
  • Morgan Goodlad (b. 1950), controversial Chief Executive of Shetland Islands Council (see, for example, Private Eye No 1144 p27, or this story from the Sunday Herald. Found guilty of maladministration by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman on 23 May 2007.)
  • Sir Herbert John Clifford Grierson (1866-1960), a literary scholar and critic
  • Norman Lamont (b. 1942), Conservative MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1990 to 1993.
  • Steven Robertson, a theatre and film actor from Vidlin
  • Robert Stout (1844-1930), Prime Minister of New Zealand on two occasions in the late 19th century
  • Astrid Williamson, musician
  • Sandra Voe (b. 1936), actress appearing in many small film and TV roles (including Coronation Street) and mother of Pulp keyboard player Candida Doyle.
  • Neil Hughes from Seven Up!
  • Robert Alan Jamieson (b. 1958), poet and novelist.
  • Christine De Luca, poet

References

  1. ^ James Graham-Campbell: Cultural Atlas of the Viking World, 1999. Page 38. ISBN 0816030049
  2. ^ Orknøyingenes saga, chapter 112; Sverres saga, chapter 125.
  3. ^ Julian Richards, Vikingblod, page 235, Hermon Forlag, ISBN 8283200165
  4. ^ University Library, University in Bergen: Article on Shetland (Norwegian)
  5. ^ Universitas, Norsken som døde (Norwegian article on the history of the islands) (Norwegian)
  6. ^ Norwegian official web page: Norway and Great Britain (Norwegian)
  7. ^ Visit Shetland history page
  8. ^ University in Bergen, Historical institute page on the Shetland Gang(Norwegian)
  9. ^ Kulturnett Hordaland page on Shetlands-Larsen(Norwegian)
  10. ^ http://www.newstatesman.com/200704020064
  11. ^ Visit Shetland page on culture
  12. ^ Visit Shetland page on Up Helly Aa
  13. ^ Julian Richards, Vikingblod, page 236, Hermon Forlag, ISBN 8283200165
  14. ^ Norwegian language council: Placenames with -a, hjalt, Leirvik, vin in placenames(Norwegian)
  15. ^ Flags of the Worlds page on the flag of Shetland
  16. ^ Jones G. (1984) A History of the Vikings Oxford University Press: Oxford.
  17. ^ Article: Genetic evidence for a family-based Scandinavian settlement of Shetland and Orkney during the Viking periods
  18. ^ Visit Shetland page on the people

See also

External links

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Simple English

File:Wfm shetland
A map of the islands

[[File:|thumb|right|Where the islands are (darker blue) and mainland Scotland (lighter blue)]]

Shetland (or the Shetland Islands) is an archipelago, the furthest out part of Scotland.

The islands are between the Faroe Islands and the Orkney Islands. They are about 50 miles to the northeast of the Orkney Islands. They are about 100 islands in the group. People live on 16 of them.

The islands form part of the boundary between the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the North Sea to the east.

The largest islands of the group are Mainland, Yell, Unst, Fetlar, Whalsay, and Bressay. In general, the climate of the group is subarctic, and rather bleak.

They used to be called Hjaltland or Zetland. Today, the islands are part of Scotland. The administrative centre is Lerwick.

The economy of the islands is largely based on agriculture. The sheep are known for their fine wool. Other well-known exports are the Shetland ponies and Shetland Sheepdog.

In 1969 crude oil was discovered near the islands, leading to an alternative source of income for them.

Contents

History

Scandinavian colonisation

By the end of the 9th century the Norsemen shifted from plundering to invasion, mainly due to the overpopulation of Scandinavia in comparison to resources and arable land available there.[1]

Shetland was colonised by Norsemen in the 9th century, the fate of the native population is unknown. The colonisers established their laws and language. That language evolved into the West Nordic language Norn, which survived into the 19th century.

After Harald Finehair took control of all Norway, many of his opponents fled, some to Orkney and Shetland. From the Northern Isles they continued to raid Scotland and Norway, prompting Harald Hårfagre to raise a large fleet which he sailed to the islands. In about 875 he and his forces took control of Shetland and Orkney. Ragnvald, Earl of Møre received Orkney and Shetland as an earldom from the king as reparation for his son's being killed in battle in Scotland. Ragnvald gave the earldom to his brother Sigurd the Mighty.

Shetland was christianised in the 10th century. In the Treaty of Perth in 1266 the Norwegian king surrendered his furthest British islands to Scotland. They included the Hebrides, and the Isle of Man. In return, the Scots recognised Norwegian sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland. The islands did not become Scottish until the 15th century, and were ratified by an Act of Parliament in 1669.

Hanseatic League

For three centuries the Shetlanders sold their fish (salted cod) through the German Hanseatic League, a trading organisation. This arrangement lasted from 1400 to 1700 AD.

World War II

In WWII the Shetlands were active in covert operations against the Germans in Norway. The 'Shetland Bus' (fishing vessels) sailed in covert operations between Norway and Shetland. They carried intelligence agents, refugees, instructors for the resistance, and military supplies. Many people on the run from the Germans, and much important information on German activity in Norway, were brought back to the Allies this way.

Oil

In the early 1970s, oil and gas were found off Shetland. The East Shetland Basin is one of the largest petroleum sedimentary basins in Europe. Sullom Voe terminal opened in 1978 and is the largest oil export harbour in the United Kingdom with a volume of 25 million tons per year.

Prehistory

Firm geological evidence shows that at around 6100 BC a tsunami caused by the Storegga Slides hit Shetland, as well as the rest of the east coast of Scotland, and may have washed over some of the Shetland Islands completely.[2]

Shetland has been populated since at least 3400 BC.[3] The early people subsisted on cattle-farming and agriculture. During the Bronze Age, around 2000 BC, the climate cooled and the population moved to the coast. During the Iron Age, many stone fortresses were erected, some ruins of which remain today.

Due to the practice of building in stone on the virtually tree-less islands, Shetland is extremely rich in physical remains of all these periods,[4] though Shetland is less rich in material remains than Orkney.

The artifacts of all the eras of Shetland's past can be studied at the newly built (2007) Shetland Museum in Lerwick.[5]

References

  1. James Graham-Campbell 1999. Cultural atlas of the Viking world. p38. ISBN 0-8160-3004-9
  2. Smith, David "Tsunami hazards". Fettes.com. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  3. The Scourd of Brouster site in Walls includes a cluster of six or seven walled fields and three stone circular houses that contains the earliest hoe-blades found so far in Scotland. Clarke P.A. 1995. Observations of social change in Prehistoric Orkney and Shetland, based on a study of the types and context of coarse stone artefacts. M. Litt. thesis. University of Glasgow.
  4. Turner (1998) p18 states that there are over 5,000 archaeological sites all told. Turner, Val 1998. Ancient Shetland. London. Batsford/Historic Scotland. ISBN 0713480009
  5. [1] From Chatham to Chester and Lincoln to the Lake District: 38 UK places put themselves forward for World Heritage status. United Kingdom Department for Culture, Media and Sport. accessdate=2010-07-07








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