For much of its history, Orkney had its own language, culture and institutions. The prehistoric inhabitants created monuments which are unmatched anywhere in Europe, and the medieval period saw the magnificent earldom that expressed itself through the Orkneyinga Saga and the building of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. Like Shetland, Orkney was heavily influenced by Viking traders and raiders from Scandinavia, and for a long period it formed an outlying part of the kingdom of Norway.
Over 500 years ago, however, the islands lost their Scandinavian links and since then have had a sometimes difficult association with mainland Scotland. More recent times have seen the use of Orkney as a strategic stronghold during two world wars, and the far-reaching impact of oil and gas exploitation in the North Sea. This classic book covers the whole fascinating story and will be of interest to readers far beyond the rocky shores of Orkney itself.