Shetland Islands

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Shetland Islands

(shĕt`lənd), island group and council area (1993 est. pop. 22,830), 551 sq mi (1,427 sq km), extreme N Scotland, NE of the Orkney IslandsOrkney Islands,
archipelago and council area (1991 pop. 19,650), 376 sq mi (974 sq km), N Scotland, consisting of about 70 islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, N of Scottish mainland across the Pentland Firth. About 20 islands are inhabited.
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. Formerly the county of Shetland or

Zetland

(zĕt`–), the archipelago is 70 mi (110 km) long and consists of some 100 islands, of which fewer than one fourth are inhabited. MainlandMainland.
1 Island (1991 pop. 14,150), 178 sq mi (461 sq km), N Scotland. The largest of the Orkney Islands, it is also called Pomona. Kirkwall, the seat of the Orkney Islands council area, is on the island. Kirkwall Bay and Scapa Flow deeply indent its shores.
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, Yell, Unst, Fetlar, Whalsey, and Bressay are the largest islands. LerwickLerwick
, island town (1991 est. pop. 7,336), Shetland Islands, extreme N Scotland. Lerwick is the northernmost town in Great Britain. Located on the southeastern coast of Mainland island, it has fishing and hosiery industries.
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, on Mainland, is the principal town of the Shetland Islands.

The surface of the islands is generally low and rocky, with few trees and spare soil. In places cliffs rise above 1,000 ft (305 m). The climate is humid and, despite the northern latitude, rather mild. Oats and barley are the chief crops; fishing and cattle and sheep raising are very important. The region is famous for its knitted woolen goods and for the small, sturdy Shetland poniesShetland pony,
smallest breed of horse, originating in the Shetland Islands some 200 mi (322 km) N of Scotland. The Shetland resembles a miniature draft horse and has long been used for working purposes.
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 originally bred there. With the discovery of North Sea oil in the early 1970s, a major oil terminal was built at Sullom Voe in the north of Mainland. Tourism is also significant.

The Shetlands are known for their ancient relics. Pictish forts are scattered throughout the islands, and a village from the Bronze Age has been unearthed at Jarlshof on Mainland. By the late 9th cent. the islands were occupied by the NorsemenNorsemen,
name given to the Scandinavian Vikings who raided and settled on the coasts of the European continent in the 9th and 10th cent. They are also referred to as Northmen or Normans.
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; traces of their speech and customs survive. The Shetlands were not annexed to Scotland until 1472, when the islands were taken over as an unredeemed pledge of King Christian I of Norway and Denmark for the dowry of his daughter, Margaret, who married James III of Scotland.

Shetland Islands

 

an archipelago of more than 100 islands in the northeastern part of the Atlantic Ocean. Area, 1,400 sq km. Population, 18,400 (1974). The Shetland Islands belong to Great Britain. The largest islands are Mainland, Yell, Unst, and Fetlar. The rolling plains and plateaus of the islands, which rise to 450 m, are composed primarily of schists and quartzites, with well-preserved traces of glaciation, such as boulder fields and sheepback rocks. Meadows and peat bogs abound. Bird colonies occur on the islands. The inhabitants engage in fishing and stock raising; various grasses are also grown. There is offshore drilling for petroleum. The principal town is Lerwick.