HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS CHRONOLOGY

As listed in As An Fhearann: A Century of Images of the Scottish Highlands (1986), edited by Malcolm Maclean. Timeline compiled by Joni Buchanan.

c500 Fergus Mòr crowned King of Alba at Dunadd, Argyll
563 Columba landed at Iona
843 - 860 Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Alba and Pictish Kingdom
c1100 Somerled, progenitor of Clan Donald and the Lordship of the Isles
1493 Forefeiture of the Lordship of the Isles
1609 The Statutes of Iona. These laws were put into effect during the reign of James VI, and were the first stage in the long process of pacifying the Highlands, and bringing the region under control of the Scottish State
1707 Treaty of Union between Scotland and England
1715 First of two main Jacobite Risings
c1740 Beginning of the kelp industry in the Highlands and Islands
1745 Final Jacobite Rising
1746 Battle of Culloden - the defeat of the Highland Jacobite army marked the final subjugation of clan society. the clans were disarmed, estates forfeited, the chief's traditional powers were withdrawn, and the wearing of Highland dress prohibited
1760 Introduction of large-scale sheep farming, and the final transition from the concept of clan lands to the private ownership of land by clan chiefs
1773 First 'overseas' Gaelic speaking community established by Highland emigrants in Nova Scotia
1780 The Southern demand for industrial raw materials began to alter Highland economy. By the end of the century, large-scale sheep farming and kelping had overtaken the rearing of black cattle as the region's main economic activity
1782 The restoration of forfeited estates
1792 Riots in Ross-shire aimed at preventing the spread of large-scale sheep farming
c1800 The new economic influences accelerated the re-organisation of Highland estates. The tacksman class was eliminated and the subtenancy made into direct tenants. The old run-rig system was eradicated, instead the tenantry were allocated individual crofts - mainly along the coasts. This provided the landlords with a supply of cheap labour for kelping and fishing
1803 Passenger Vessels Act - the rearrangement of traditional social and economic structures in the Highlands had resulted in an exodus from the region of people who had suffered as a consequence of these changes. It was the landlord's fear of the loss of their kelping labour force that persuaded the Government to pass the 1803 Act. By increasing its fares, it effectively halted the early emigration to America
1811-21 The Sutherland Clearances - several thousand people cleared from the interior glens to the coast
c1820 The decline of the kelp industry
1836-37 The first signs of famine
1843 The Disruption - the secession of evangelical ministers from the Established Church. In the Highlands, the secession was connected with the issue of landlord patronage
1846-55 Famine and poverty throughout the Highlands and Islands
1850-55 Large-scale evictions, and emigrations from the Highlands financed by the Government
c1850 Deer forests became a feature of the Highland landscape
1852 Balmoral Estate purchased by Queen Victoria  
1860-70s Period of relative economic stability
1873 John Murdoch launches a new newspaper, The Highlander in Inverness
1874 Bernera (Lewis) Riot. Sherriff-officers were assaulted while serving summonses of removal upon fifty-six householders in Bernera. The crofters were arrested and imprisoned. They were later put on trial and found not guilty.
1881-82 The beginning of the 'Crofters War' - Battle of the Braes; Skye Rent Strike; Glendale Martyrs arrested
1883 Highland Land Law Reform Association founded in London; Appointment of the Napier Commision
1884 Land agitation in Skye and Lewis; Military in Skye and Lewis until early 1885
1886 Five Crofters' MPs returned to Parliament; Crofting Act becomes law (June), Creation of Crofters Commission; Renewed agitation and further military interventions in Tiree, Skye and Pairc (Lewis)
1888 Aignish Riot (Lewis)
1891 An Comunn Gàidhealach (Highland Association) formed in Oban, organises the National Mod
1892 Deer Forest Commission
1900 Land Raids in Vatersay, Lewis and other islands
1912 Board of Agriculture established
1914-18 First World War
1919 1919 Land Settlement (Scotland) Act
1920 Land Raids in North Uist, Skye, Raasay, Sutherland and elswhere
1939-45 Second World War
1948 Knoydart Land Raids
1951 Foundation of the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University
1954 Taylor Commission Report on Crofting areas
1955 Crofting (Scotland) Act
1965 Highlands and Islands Development Board establishes in Inverness
1968 Gaelic Books Council establised
1972 The West Highland Free Press founded in Skye
1973 The Crofting Reform Bill; The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black Black Oil tour, 7:84 (Scotland) Theatre Company
1975 Foundation of the Comhairle nan Eilean, the Western Isles Council, following re-organisation of local goverment
1976 Arnish (Lewis) Oil Platform Yard
1977 Acair set up as bilingual publishing company in Western Isles
1979 Radio nan Eilean, the Gaelic radio station for the Islands, goes on air
1981 Fèisean movement began, with Fèis Bharraigh (Barra)
1983 Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college in Skye, begins the only Gaelic further education course in existence at that time
1984 Museum nan Eilean opens
1985 An Lanntair Art Gallery opens in Stornoway
1986 Anniversary of first Crofting Act; As An Fhearann exhibition opens and book published...

 

MODERN STORY OF COMMUNITY LAND

1993 Assynt Crofters Trust community buy-out
1997 UK Labour Government elected with commitment towards Scottish devolution and towards far-reaching land reform
1997 Land Reform Policy Group set up by UK gov chaired by Lord Sewel
1997 Scotland votes YES:YES for Devolution
Feb 1998 Land Reform Policy Group publish 'Identifying the Problems' consultation
1998 Land Reform Policy Group publish 'Identifying the Solutions' consultation
Jan 1999 Land Reform Policy Group publish final report, 'Recommendations for Action'
1999 Opening of the Scottish Parliament
1999 Scottish Parliament re-established accepting in principle the recommendations of the Land Reform Policy group
1997 Isle of Eigg community buyout
June 1999 Scotland's first FM Donald Dewar announces “the good landlord has nothing to fear”
2000 Scottish Land Fund founded to help communities buy their land from their landlords
Feb 2001 Scottish Executive publishes draft Land Reform Bill for consultation
Nov 2001 Land Reform Bill introduced before the Scottish Parliament
Feb 2003 North Harris estate community buy-out
Feb 2003 Land Reform (Scotland) Act passed
2004 Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act passed
2007 SNP elected minority government in Scotland
2008 New TV channel BBC Alba launched
2010 Community Land Scotland founded as charity and membership organisation for community landowners
Jul 2012 SNP government establishes Land Reform Review Group
May 2013 Land Reform Review Group publishes its interim report
Jun 2013 FM announces target of 1 million acres of land in community ownership by 2020
May 2014 Land Reform Review Group publishes Report
Nov 2014 Nicola Sturgeon becomes leader of SNP and declares Land Reform as key facet of government programme
Dec 2014 Land Reform Consultation is published, 'Consultation on the Future of Land Reform in Scotland.'
Feb 2015 UK's largest land owner expresses concern at government proposals
Feb 2015 Scottish Land Action Movement forms
May 2015 Analysis of Consultation published
June 2015 The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act
Aug 2015 #OURLAND campaign launched
June 2015 Land Reform Bill is published
April 2016 The Land Reform (Scotland) Act passed
2018 Isle of Ulva moves towards community land purchase
May 2018 Community Land Scotland announces Community Land Week
June 2018 Garbh-Allt Community Initiative purchase Sutherland estate