109852: Norwegian Sovereignty of the Hebrides, 1098 – 1266

In 1098, the Hebrides and Isle of Man, together known as the Suðreyjar, Southern Isles, were signed over to Norway by King Edgar of Scotland. The islands were ruled by a succession of Norwegian/ Viking Kings of the Isles until about 1157 when Somerled wrested control from his brother-in-law Godred. Somerled’s sons inherited the Kingdom of the Isles in 1164.

However, by 1240 King Alexander II of mainland Scotland was asking to purchase the Hebrides from Norway. This request was ignored and in 1262 King Alexander III, with the support of the Clan Chiefs, issued an ultimatum to King Haakon IV of Norway, either to sell the islands or have them taken by force.

In order to regain control, Haakon sent a fleet to the Firth of Clyde during late summer 1263. Negotiations broke down, stormy weather developed, and on 30th September several of Haakon’s vessels were driven aground near Largs. Three days later, with the arrival of Scotland’s army, the Battle of Largs took place.

Fighting on the shore was fierce and with nightfall, both sides withdrew. The result was indecisive. With weather worsening, Haakon’s fleet sailed north. Haakon died in December 1263 and his successor King Magnus was unable to enforce his ownership of the Suðreyjar. The following year, Alexander III captured the islands, making another formal claim, which was concluded by the Treaty of Perth signed on 2nd July 1266.

Record Type:
Historical Event
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