The Western Isles are an archipelago in Scotland. The name is in distinction to the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland). The Northern Isles are a chain of islands off the north coast of Scotland. ... The Orkney Islands form one of 32 unitary council regions in Scotland, and are a Lieutenancy Area. ... See Shetland (disambiguation) for other meanings. ...
The name usually refers to the Outer Hebrides, which are officially known as Na h-Eileanan an Iar or Na h-Eileanan Siar (meaning "The Western Isles" in Scottish Gaelic) or often called the "Long Island" (An t-Eilean Fada) in speech. The Outer Hebrides or Western Isles (officially known by their Gaelic name, Na h-Eileanan Siar, changed under The Local Government (Gaelic Names) (Scotland) Act 1997) comprise an island chain off the west coast of Scotland. ... Na h-Eileanan an Iar (formerly Western Isles) is a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, created in 1918. ... Western Isles redirects here. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ...
However, this narrower meaning is fairly recent, with "The Western Isles" often referring to the Hebrides in general, both inner and outer. This usage continues to an extent in colloquial speech. The Hebrides comprise a wide-spread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of Scotland, and in geological terms are composed of the oldest rocks in the British Isles and Ireland. ...
The main administrative centre is Stornoway (population, 1991, 5,975) on the Isle of Lewis.
The WesternIsles Authority area was created under the 1975 Scottish local government reforms by the merger of parts of the former counties of Ross and Cromarty and Inverness-shire.
The WesternIsles are administered by an all-purpose unitary authority, the WesternIsles Council (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar), which was established under the local government reforms implemented in 1975.
The kite itself is the island of Lewis and Harris, and the tail consists mainly of the smaller islands of North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra.
Up until the Treaty of Perth in 1266 the WesternIsles were ruled by Norway, but in that year Magnus IV surrendered all of his Scottish possessions, with the exception of Orkney and Shetland, to Alexander III of Scotland.
The main settlement is to the south at Castlebay, the terminal for the Oban ferry.
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