Timeline of the Outer Hebrides between 3000 BC - 2012 AD

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  • Calanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis
    Calanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis
  • The ruins of Dun Carloway Broch, Isle of Lewis
    The ruins of Dun Carloway Broch, Isle of Lewis
  • The stock in the Harris Tweed and Knitwear Shop, Tarbert
    Harris Tweed and Knitwear Shop, Tarbert
  • A man sea kayaking in Stornoway harbour with Lews Castle behind, Isle of Lewis
    Sea kayaking in Stornoway harbour with Lews Castle behind, Isle of Lewis
  • Gaelic road sign in the Outer Hebrides for the Machair Way
    Gaelic road sign in the Outer Hebrides for the Machair Way

Stretching back for over 6,000 years, the history of the Outer Hebrides is rich, turbulent and fascinating at the same time. Whether you’re interested to see how the Gaelic culture established or want to learn more about the Vikings and the Neolithic times, explore the great array of historic attractions throughout the isles.

Take a look over the timeline below and learn about the history of the Outer Hebrides including settlers, raiders and attackers across the years, how they founded new settlements and kingdoms and what new beliefs and technologies they brought with them.

4000 BC            Arrival of the Beaker people, the first settlers

3800 BC            The climate begins to cool and peat bogs start to develop

2900 BC            Construction of the monoliths of Calanais Standing Stones starts

2700 BC            Building begins on the Egypt pyramids

2000 BC            Dun Carloway Broch is built

400 BC              Building begins on the Great Wall of China

297 AD              First mention of the Pictish people occurs in writing

400 - 800 AD     Iron Age dwellings are built

600    AD           St Columba of Iona brings Christianity

700 - 800 AD    The Bosta Iron Age House is built

900    AD           Vikings invasions start

1066  AD           The Battle of Hastings (battle of Stamford Bridge)

1098  AD           Vikings’ control over Outer Hebrides is formalized

1200  AD           Scottish Gaelic is developed as independent language

1231  AD           John Harraldson, the last Viking earl, dies

1266  AD           The Outer Hebrides is ceded to Scotland

1492  AD           Christopher Columbus reaches America

1493  AD           King James IV asserts military authority

1500  AD           St Clements Church is built

1600  AD           Gearrannan Black Village is built

1666  AD           Great fire of London devastates the city

1707  AD           English is declared as the official language of Scotland

1715  AD           First Jacobite Rebellion

1745  AD           Bonnie Prince Charlie arrives on Eriskay

1745  AD           Second Jacobite Rebellion

1776  AD           American Declaration of Independence is signed

1831  AD           Collection of 12th century chessmen is found on Lewis

1846  AD           Harris Tweed textile production is commercialised

1860  AD           Amhuinnsuidhe Castle is built

1862  AD           Butt of Lewis Lighthouse is built

1870  AD           Dun Carloway Broch is last occupied

1874  AD           Bernera Riot takes place

1900  AD           The Clearance starts

1903  AD           Whaling industry starts

1914  AD           Outbreak of the First World War

1919  AD           HMS Lolaire is sunk

1930  AD           Last population of St Kilda is evacuated

1939  AD           Outbreak of the Second World War

1941  AD           The SS Politician sinks with a cargo of 28,000 cases of whisky

1972  AD           Dun Carloway Broch is excavated

1993  AD           Bosta Iron Age House is discovered

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