It was in the Neolithic times that the Outer Hebrides saw the arrival of the Beaker people, the first settlers. They had mastered Bronze Age technology and the 5,000 years old famous monoliths of Calanais Standing Stones on Lewis is a great example of the remains of previous generations.
Around 500 BC the Iron Age dwellers cleared the ancient forest and established agriculture also leaving behind great ruins and monuments. One of Britain’s best-preserved Iron Age forts, the Dun Carloway Broch, can be explored on Lewis.
With St Columba of Iona bringing Christianity to these islands in the 6th century and funding several churches, the Gaelic culture in tandem with the Celtic church underwent an expansion supplanting Pictish, Latin and Anglo-Saxon from most of Scotland.
By the 9th century, the Vikings had reached these shores and traces of Norse influence remain, especially in the naming of towns and villages on Lewis, including Tolsta, Bragar and Marvig to name just few. As the heartland of Gaels, Outer Hebrides proudly and widely celebrates the Gaelic roots through many events and festivals across the region.
By 10th century, the Outer Hebrides were ruled on behalf of the Kingdom of Norway by the Norseman, whose reign came to an end around a century later and a dynasty known as the Lordship of the Isles was created.
Following a period of instability, in 1493 King James IV asserted military authority and brought Scottish political control which resulted in various clans developing. Dwell into the past visiting castles and historic homes in the Outer Hebrides and see how the past Scots used to live.
It was until the early 18th century that this system stayed in place. At the start of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, Bonnie Prince Charlie landed on Eriskay from France. Following his defeat at Culloden the following year, the Prince hid out in the Outer Hebrides to avoid capture by government troops, where Flora MacDonald helped to smuggle him back to France. There is a monument commemorating this heroine's birthplace on South Uist.
The tale of the 19th century in these islands - as with much of the Highlands - is that of the Clearances, when many islanders were evicted from their homes to make way for sheep by landowners, sparking a flood of emigration to the New World.
For a detailed insight into the great history of the Outer Hebrides, explore the wide range of historic attractions and see displays and unique artefacts at the many galleries and museum throughout the isles.