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Board » General Discussion » Objection to the potted history of the Shetlands

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The Scottish point of view on the Shetlands...
1) Tthe Pictish inhabitants were killed, enslaved and sold on as slaves. Let's not mince words by employing euphemistic terms like 'displaced'
2) The Shetlands are no more 'viking' than my aunty Fanny or the outer Hebridean islands of Lewis and Harris.
3) All the inner and outer Hebrides and part of the mainland of Scotland, were under Norwegian rule, but the Scots never relented in their battle to oust them from all Scotland. They out-sailed them, out-fought them, and out-terrorised them.
It took two hundred odd years to do it, a greater struggle in many ways than against the Romans.
4)The Shetlands were about to fall to the Lewis men who had conducted many successful expeditions to those islands.
They were about to fall to the Scots when King Christian, very wisely, decided to palm them off as a dowry for marriage of the Maid of Norway to the Scottish king.
The poor wee lassie died. Too bad. The Shetlands became Scottish, but were always destined to be so, and have been Scottish ever since.( that's getting on for 600 yrs)
Any of the inhabitants that wish to return to their Scandinavian roots are free to do so.....and always have been......but the Shetlands are staying right where they are.....in Scotland.
AWoL, histories are often romanticised by later generations to fit an agenda. It isn't until the facts are analysed that a better picture becomes clear.

I do not think the issue is about geographical location or sovereign allegiance. It is about genealogical heritage and with which ethnic group a person identifies themselves to be descended from. Recent studies show that about 1 million Brits can claim direct descent (father to son) from vikings with the highest percentage being in the Shetlands. If mitochondrial DNA (inherited solely from the mother) was also taken into account the numbers and percentage of the population with Viking 'blood' would more than double. http://goo.gl/w0EGrV

Also, those from the Hebrides have long considered themselves to be Celts but DNA analysis shows them to be of Viking descent as well. http://goo.gl/uyMDpG

Plus, the language spoken in the Shetlands was a Norse dialect known as Norn and only replaced with Scots English in the 19th C.
http://nornlanguage.x10.mx/



--- Last Edited by Tyger / Robert Neilson at 2015-01-30 05:43:47 ---
“We may have arrived on different ships, but we are all in the same boat now!” Martin Luther King Jr.
Tyger says........
"I do not think the issue is about geographical location or sovereign allegiance. "

I have to disagree.Geography -wise, the Scots are hardly going to sit back and let the islands that surround the mainland provide a safe refuge for a foreign power, from which it can launch raids on the mainland with impunity.....are they?
.....and sovereignty was everything back in the 10,11,12hundreds.
While genealogy was important and always has been in Scotland, it was always trumped by sovereignty and allegiance. Also the Hebrides and the Northern Isles were not the backwater they are today, but a major trade route of the times.On top of that, during the viking era, two kingdoms gradually developed...Scotland and Norway. Who was going to own what?
The Scots were in the stronger position....They owned the mainland. By contrast, the Norwegians, to maintain their bases in the islands, had a long and stormy sea voyage ahead of them and would only be able to transport limited supplies.
So the writing was on the wall, as soon as the Scots said....."Right, this is going to be ours."
As long as nobody else had the viking habit, essentially a combination of agriculture augmented by piracy, then they were sitting pretty. But what if others picked up the viking habit, and they became the raided and pillaged? Not so good for them....and that is what began to develop. The Scots copied the basic design of the viking longship, but with some important modifications.They made their boats straight-keeled and shorter...so that they could be hauled up on any beach. Why was that important? It's an oddity of the west of Scotland that convenient anchorages are relatively few and far between. Of the many, most are either too deep to take an anchor or they dry out at low tide.Better to have three small ships that could go anywhere, rather than one super efficient one....and three ships attacking one, gives tactical advantage.
You can go on about genes all day long, but they are of little importance in the practicalities of island life. Take Shetland today. Yes, Bergen is closer than Aberdeen, but the Orkneys are only 50 mls away. Interestingly too, even in this day and age....the ferry service between Lerwick (Shetland) and Bergen(Norway) only runs during the summer. For some reason, they decide to go into hibernation during the stormy winter months.
The practicalities of island life, and sovereignty, which are intimately linked, overcome any notions of genealogy and cultural affiliation.
The Shetlands owe a huge debt to Scotland. Every summer,in the middle ages, large fleets of fishing boats set out from Holland and Germany for their share of the vast herring shoals off Shetland and Orkney.( which fed half of Europe) Everyone got their fair share....but only thanks to the Scottish Navy that policed those waters and ensured the rule of the Laws of Scotland.....otherwise it would have been a free-for-all....with dire consequences for the Shetlanders and the rest of Scotland.

", those from the Hebrides have long considered themselves to be Celts "
Not so.In the history I read, most clans of the Western Isles received the classification "Gallgael"....a mixture of Norse and Celt. Even today, an astute observer can see the effects of the contact between those two different tribes.....but the Gaelic/ Celtic culture dominates, but not completely.Considerable Norse influence remains, even after all those centuries, in place names and even personal names. I've known a few Torquil(Torkel) McLeods in my time.
Scots certainly are not all Celts....and many would be offended if you said so.
We are indeed a mongrel race...but a high quality mongrel race, begat from the finest ingredients.
Sovereignty and willingness to fight for Scotland outweigh( nearly) all other considerations.
Given the right up-bringing and learning to speak properly, even you , Tyger, could become a true and steadfast Scotsman....subject to the outcome of some 'loyalty' tests.
AWoL said ...
"Given the right up-bringing and learning to speak properly, even you , Tyger, could become a true and steadfast Scotsman....subject to the outcome of some 'loyalty' tests."

Hahaha ... little do you know that through my maternal grandfather I am already a fully paid up member of the Clans Buchanan, Farquharson and Stewart through the Kinley Sept. On my mother's side, I am a Kinley from the Isle of Man. You will know of course that 'the Kinley' was one of 'the Bruce's' lieutenants when Robert the Bruce and his gang were exiled to the Isle of Man.

Also, through my Manx grandmother I get my SOL boatname, 'Tyger'. The Tyger was a famous Manx privateer/smuggler during the Napoleonic Wars whose Master and Commander was a g...grandfather, Captain Richard Qualtrough.

Now there is a good Scotsman, Robert the Bruce, or should I call him by his proper name Roibert de Briuis, a Norman-Anglo noble. We all know where the Normans came from, they were Vikings (North Men) who were granted Normandy as a bribe for not continuing their raids up the Seine Valley.

Again, the scientific evidence (DNA) shows that the Vikings wiped out the wimpish Pict men and the Pict women bred with the Vikings. It's logical, why wouldn't any woman prefer a Viking man?

So, AWol my friend, my Viking family (over generations and remember that on my father's side I am all Swedish and Norwegian) have been there and done Scotland and now moved on to the New World - it must be that adventurous Viking blood.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1sOVj2MZh8



--- Last Edited by Tyger / Robert Neilson at 2015-03-12 14:22:56 ---
“We may have arrived on different ships, but we are all in the same boat now!” Martin Luther King Jr.
All very interesting Tyger, but you've ducked away from the central question of the Scottishness, or Vikingness, of the Shetlands, and continued to dabble in a false history of Scotland, cherry picking here, inventing there.
I don't doubt your Scottish connections, but that does not make you a Scotsman.( that's why I added the loyalty test bit)
You come over more as a gypsy of the seas.... one minute Scot, next viking ,the next Manxman... a will o' the wisp, of no fixed abode or loyalty....always moving on....preying on the weak and avoiding the strong.
That's the difference between us. No moving on for me. I stand by Scotland through thick and thin, rejoicing in both the virtues and victories of Scotland's history, but also accepting the vices and defeats, and ignoring references to 'wimpish Picts'.
'Moving on' is not an option for any that call themselves Scotsmen.....but it is, for Gypsies,travellers or 'pikeys' as they are referred to in England, or 'tinks' in Scotland.

You mention the Normans, so crucial in the history of the British Isles. They conquered England in 1066, utterly smashing and genociding it, then taxing it to death, the first totalitarian state in Europe...... but what about Scotland?
No, they didn't conquer Scotland, but a very clever Scottish king realised it wouldn't be long before they tried, so he played a master stroke of strategy. He INVITED Normans into Scotland, to modernise Scottish defences, and act as a bulwark against anticipated English/ Norman invasion. All Normans were granted lands in the BORDERS, a few in the central lowlands, none in the Highlands and Islands. And cutting a long story short, this is one of the principle reasons that Scotland lives on to this day, different from England, with its class system which stems from the Norman conquest.
Scotland is more egalitarian, with the aristocracy kept in their place, respected, but not feared.....interestingly, more like Scandinavia than England......and those values went later to the USA, and formed the backbone of its fight for independence.

As for your Scandinavian roots on your father's side...here's something for you to chew on.
It was the Scots that aided Sweden in her fight for independence from Denmark....and what is more, constituted a third of the Swedish army of Gustave Adolphe in its fight to establish protestantism in North-west Europe, in the gruesome Thirty Years War.
You can read all about it in Robert Munro's account of the decisive battle of Breitenfeld in 1631.

With the Scots, Sweden was a force to be reckoned with. When they left, Sweden declined into obscurity.
It will be the same with England.....and the Scots are leaving....make no mistake about that.
I've worn a Kilt before & celebrate Hogmanay does that count ?
None so blind
AWoL, I assume that was you logged in as 'guest'.
I think we are describing the same coin from different sides and both are happy with the side we have.
Having been to the Isle of Man, England, Scotland, Wales and Norway, I am very happy my ancestors were adventurous and departed to the New World. I quite enjoy sailing in shorts and t-shirt in the middle of winter in the Great Barrier Reef and I'm more than happy with the economic opportunities that have come our way.
It's a pity you are a self declared 'stick-in-the-mud', a stay at home lacking the spirit to venture forth and take in all that the world has to offer. To fully appreciate it you have to stay a while and immerse yourself in the local society.
The notion of being a gypsy is quite attractive and rather romantic. I'm already the descendent of a privateer, a licenced pirate, so gypsy would be just like another boy scout badge. Far from avoiding the strong, it was the duty of the younger sons of families with some substance to go to the New World and expand the family business interests. Such was the case with both sides of my family. I still have a cousin in the Isle of Man who is an MHK and a Minister in their government. He envies my life in Aus which is why he is always bringing his family out to visit. My Norwegian ggfather was an engineer who spoke 5 languages. He was paid an enormous fortune to come to the new colony of Queensland to design and build sugar mills. He liked it so much he married the boss's daughter and stayed.
I have no desire to claim to be a scotsman. I have moved on from haggis and black pudding. What's more I bath daily, something denied at a Scottish BnB in the '80s because they needed the water for the 'beasties'.
As to the original question of the scottishness or vikingness of the inhabitants of the Shetlands, personally I don't care if they are martians. They are citizens of the UK living in the part known as Scotland and they have viking heritage (their claim). It's as simple as that. Those are the facts. That is why they celebrate Up Helly Aa. The recent peer reviewed academic papers regarding DNA prove that heritage.
If you have a different opinion then present your peer reviewed published research to counter the accepted academic view. Until then your opinion is just that, an opinion.
I'm not the one you need to convince, go and tell the Shetlanders. I'd be very interested in how you are received ... and whether you survive the encounter.
“We may have arrived on different ships, but we are all in the same boat now!” Martin Luther King Jr.
I've worn a Kilt before & celebrate Hogmanay does that count ?
A2 I have worn a kilt too but that does not make us Scotsmen. I also confess to quite liking the sound of bagpipes.
I only celebrate traditional Aussie festivals such as Boxing Day at the MCG and the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Both happen to fall on the same day which makes it a very busy affair ... not to mention the booze consumed.
;-)
“We may have arrived on different ships, but we are all in the same boat now!” Martin Luther King Jr.
@'Tyger'.....Part One

Sorry about the 'guest' bit. Not hiding , just didn't realise that I was logged in as such.

"no desire to claim to be a scotsman. I have moved on from haggis and black pudding"

Excellent news. Almost as good news, is that I have no desire to be an Australian. You're welcome to your witchety grubs, the flies and funnel web spiders, dust storms, forest fires, hovering on the edge of perpetual drought. An island continent, 90% of which is dry dusty desert as flat as a pancake.
I gave up asking Australians how much of their country they had seen. The answer was invariably, nothing much outside their local area, accompanied by some strange looks. The same looks that you would get if you asked the average Scotsman if he had visited Spitzbergen or Timbuctu.


"citizens of the UK living in the part known as Scotland"

Scotland is a country with its own educational system, legal system, religion and parliament. Scotland was happy when the English left it alone to function as a separate country, but now they are poking their noses into everything, slowly but steadily trying to anglify it.....but there has been a reaction to this.
Even the most hedonistic, ill-informed of itinerant gypsies have some ken of this.

"they have viking heritage (their claim). It's as simple as that."

No, it's not so simple.All this viking ballyhoo started when the Scots Independence movement gathered momentum and at the same time oil was discovered in the Shetlands. Prior to that, other than a few romantic krankies, nobody had the slightest notion of this supposedly great viking Shetland culture.
It is just cheap English propaganda to belittle Scotland, implying that if she did attain independence then she would fall down like a house of cards into a collection of Ruritanian principalities and fiefdoms. The press and television have had a field day on this one, but to any that know the history of that area, then it is just so much utter tripe.
Up Helly Aa has become popular in recent times. It is in fact not very old....largely a modern invention of some mischievous, English, commercially-minded dead-beats and escapists, who have chosen to live there, possibly for reasons best kept to themselves.

"go and tell the Shetlanders. I'd be very interested in how you are received ... and whether you survive the encounter."

"A 500 per cent rise in membership has seen Shetland SNP appoint new staff to handle the surge in numbers."......from the Shetland Times, 22/03/15.

Check it out for yourself on their website.

Somehow or other, I think I, a typical swivel-eyed, knuckle- dragging, petty-nationalistic, raving re-actionary, inbred genetic throwback, will be safe visiting Shetland.

--- Last Edited by AWoL at 2015-03-22 18:06:26 ---

--- Last Edited by AWoL at 2015-03-22 18:57:27 ---
@Tyger......Part Two


"I think we are describing the same coin from different sides and both are happy with the side we have."

Yes, I think it is just a matter of emphasis. You obviously think, travelling the world, dipping into cultures here and there, is beneficial for the soul and character. I, personally and unfashionably think, it is not without value, but grossly overrated.

Despite being a stick-in-the-mud, I have travelled beyond Scotland, but only at someone else's expense and under threat of withdrawal of privileges.The truth is, that there is very little need for me to travel, when the world, and very accurate information on its state, comes to me, from relatives in California,Texas, Manitoba, and Germany...and even in remote Scotland, we have received visitors from Germany, France,Sweden,China, India, Japan, Russia and Prussia(alas, no more) Yes, I shook hands with a man that was a personal friend of Kaiser Wilhelm. He travelled the length and breadth of Russia and was presented to the late Tsar Nicholas 11. That's how insular I am.

However there is more to my make up than merely being a fearty stay-at-home. I am in the process of discouraging Scots from venturing forth except on a temporary basis because......
The population of Scotland is only 5 million, the same as it was in 1900, due to emigration, and England's absurd propensity for getting involved in, what are now, for us, unprofitable wars.
We must keep our best people at home...or Scotland will die.
Currently our best talent heads out for London, New York etc, while our universities, the potential birth-place of an engineering revival, fill up with arty-farty English cast-offs, dead-beats and third-raters.

On top of that we are subject to creeping anglification, our living rooms full of la-di-da English voices and forced to listen to the results of that incomprehensible game they call 'cricket', the only game I know where drug-taking should be mandatory.
( stimulants only!)

So while the survival of the country of my birth is in peril, you exhort me to get out and about, travel the world and meet interesting people and the many interesting diseases, mental and physical, that they carry about them.
This is tantamount to inciting treason. Like saying to one of my forbears at Mons Graupius,Largs or Bannockburn....forget about the tribe. Bunk off, mate. This fighting malarky could seriously damage your health. Be like me, the wanton raggle-taggle gypsy-o, travelling hither and thither with nothing in mind other than carefree hedonism and the pursuit of luxury.

...and there's the difference between us...as an economic vagrant, you Tyger, have ended up in a country with no Mons Graupius, Largs or Bannockburn...only Ned Kelly.

"Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there be go mark him well.....etc etc
( from the Lay of the Last Minstrel by Sir Walter Scott).

You can look up the rest for yourself.It may fail to alter your views, but it may help to sharpen your arguments.
As one famous Englishman observed.....
"We all have our prejudices, then find arguments to support them."

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