Roots Hebrides

Welcome to Roots Hebrides

Roots Hebrides is a website dedicated to all things related to the Hebrides islands of Scotland, where Gaelic is the language, the language is the business, and a cottage industry in ancestral searches has been born in the post-colonization age.

The Islands

The Hebrides is an archipelago of islands of the western coast of Scotland. The islands are typically divided into two groups, the Outer and Inner Hebrides. Apart from the obvious geographical separation between the two, the halves of the Hebrides were once demarcated along linguistic lines as well: In the first few centuries of the second millennium, people in the Inner Hebrides spoke Middle Irish while the Old Norse left over from Scandivian rule was still commonly spoken in the Outer Hebrides.

Inhabited islands of the Outer Hebrides include Baleshare, Barra, Benbecula, Berneray, Eriskay, Flodaigh, Fraoch-eilean, Great Bernera, Grimsay, Harris, Lewis, North Uist, Scalpay, South Uist and Vatersay. In the Inner Hebrides, the islands of Canna, Coll, Colonsay, Danna, Easdale, Elgg, Eilean Bàn, Eilean dà Mhèinn, Eilean Donan, Eilean Shona, Eilean Tioram, Eriska, Errald, Gigha, Gometra, Isle of Ewe, Iona, Islay, Jura, Kerrera, Lismore, Luing, Lunga, Muck, Mull, Oronsay, Raasay, Rona, Rùm, Sanday, Scalpay, Seil, Shuna, Skye, Soay, Tanera Mòr, Tiree and Ulva are populated.

Read more:
Scotland's magical islands
The Hebrides People Genealogical Database

Clans of the Hebrides

For centuries, the clan system that organized the Hebrides and allowed for self-rule was naturally seen as an enemy of the crown by royalty Scottish and English. The latter was particularly efficacious in wiping the influence of clans and clan leaders from the empire-introduced sociopolitical structure. In addition, a steady diaspora from the islands in the 19th and 20th centuries further depleted the strength and straight-up numbers of many Hebrides clans.

Today, however, a fascination with genealogy has birthed a quasi-cottage industry for the Hebrides as citizens all over the U.K., Canada and even the United States discover ties to the great clans of the Hebrides.

Hebrides islands are part of the UK

Hebrides is part of the United Kingdom, that accepts land-based and online casino slots play. For example: Real money online casino slots play in the UK. It is safe to play in the UK, because the casinos are legalized and regulated by the UK government, so nothing to worry about with your online casino fun play.

An ultra-brief history of the Hebrides

The first kingdom in the Hebrides of the sort noted in Western history was established by the Picts; the Gaelic leader Fergus the Great in the 5th century founded the empire of Dál Riata in the southern islands. The two cultures went to war in the 8th century, and by 741, the Picts had gained control over the entire Hebrides.

That control, however, wouldn’t last long. Viking raids began within a generation of King Óengus’s victory. In 872, any vestiges of Pictish/Gaelic control of the Hebrides was blown away with a string of victories, and the Hebrides were to be loosely controlled by the Norwegians for two centuries. Exactly 200 years after the battles won by Harald Fairhair, in 1072, King Edgar of Scotland formally handed over the islands to the Norwegian royal family.

But after another two centuries, the Scottish regained control of the islands as Viking power in northern Europe waned; the Treaty of Perth officially returned the Hebrides to Scotland in 1266. The Hebrideans then enjoyed their longest continuous period of relative autonomy until King James VI began to get sniffy about the clan system (perhaps things were running too smoothly and not profitable enough for the crown) in the late 16th century and ultimately ordered incursions to the islands by troops on three separate occasions.

The real bad news came to the islands in the early 18th century, however. With the formation of Great Britain made official in 1707, Queen Anne and her lot got to work in “civilizing”, i.e. imposing government, language and taxation, in the Hebrides. Within a generation or two, nearly all significant vestiges of the clan system had been destroyed.

The relatively new economic system nearly collapsed in the Hebrides in the 19th century. The primary industry, kelp farming, essentially collapsed by the 1820s. What resulted was a conversion to sheep herding and potato farming; British landowners forced abandonment of villages en masse in what is today called the “Clearances.” The massive potato blight which struck the islands beginning in 1844 further reduced the population through starvation and emigration while poverty swamped the Hebrides. Indeed, in the 1850s, residents of the ecologically stressed Harris and North Uist were encouraged by the government to move to Australia.

The 20th century in the Hebrides was marked with a low enough growth rate to cause real concern among those worried for some islands’ very viability as a community. However, discovery of oil in the North Sea combining with a revitalization of the Gaelic language and modern internet technology has got the islands economically healthy again. The birth rates of both Inner and Outer Hebrides islands are, as of the latest British national census, on par with mainland Scotland once more.

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