Monday, July 28, 2008

The Norse connection

After many years of plundering attacks on the Shetland Isles, Norse Vikings finally invaded during the 9th Century A.D., destroyed the Picts (the Peti) living there, and intermarried with the local Scots (the Scotti). In 880, King Harald of Norway established an earldom of Orkney which controlled Shetland, until control reverted directly back to Norway in the 12th century. By 1397, Norway had come under the control of Denmark. In 1469 and short of funds, King Christian I of Denmark and Norway pawned Orkney and Shetland to Scotland to pay for the dowry of his 12 year-old daughter Margaret for whom he arranged marriage to James III of Scotland. Scotland annexed both territories in 1472, and subsequently refused all offers to redeem them for several centuries thereafter. The Norse language and customs were broadly integrated into the Scots daily life, and this amalgamation is amply evident today. On the Friday (Aug. 8) of Fiddle Frenzy, special workshops will focus on Norwegian-style fiddling. janet

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