MacLeod history in 1000 words

Starting when glaciers covered the isles–Climate warms, glaciers recede. 11700BC Younger Dryas ice age ends, Britain becomes inhabitable again. 11000BC Land bridge to Ireland disappears. 8000BC Paleolithic Early European Modern Humans (EEMH) (aka Cro-Magnon) work their way up the coasts. 5600BC Doggerland land bridge disappears. Mesolithic happens, and we now call the EEMH the Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG). Many are Y-DNA I2a2-M436 by this time. Settlements of this time have been found in Applecross, on the mainland right across from Isle of Raasay, and on several of the small isles.

4300BC Neolithic starts, marked by the influx from the middle east of the Early European Farmers (EEF), largely Y-DNA G2, who bring the newest trend, agriculture. People settle in villages, like Skara Brae in Orkney, Northton in Harris, and we call them the Grooved Ware people. They build lots of stone circles like Callanish on Lewis, and some chambered tombs.

2200 BC Chalcolithic/Copper Age some R1b-M269 migrants from the Eurasian Steppes show up in Europe and mix in with the locals, replacing 80-90% of the existing male lines in Europe potentially violently, or due to the plague. One of the resulting cultures, which we call the Beaker Pottery people after the most common artifact found from them, were mostly Y-DNA R-P312, many of those in Britain and Ireland L21, those in Iberia DF27.

1500 BC Bronze Age some R-DF27 sub-group L165 folks sail or paddle skin boats up to the Hebrides.

500 BC Iron Age. Caledonians and various other Celtic tribes resist Roman incursions North. By the tail end of the Iron age, the Picts “Painted People” were in charge of Northern Scotland.

300-500 AD Dalriada invasion. Gaels from Ireland displace the related Picts on the west coast of Scotland.

800 AD Viking Age, some Norwegian R1a-L176.1 (Which had split in the Neolithic from the M269 folks as R1a-M198 folks early and were called Corded Wares people)  I1-M253 Norse, Swedish,  R1b-U106 Danish and Frisians don’t like paying taxes to kings and first raid then settle in the Hebrides and create a Norse-Gaelic hybrid culture called the Stranger-Gaels (Gall-Gael) who live on “islands of the strangers” Innse Gall. 1150s AD R1a-FGC11917 Gall-Gael son-in-law of King Óláfr Guðrøðarson the Red, Somerled rebels, declares an independent Lordship for Suðreyar inner islands, moves culture to be more Gaelic. Skye/Skýey, Harris, Lewis/Ljóðhús remain part of Norse Crovan Dynasty Kingdom of Man.

Guy by-named Ljótr “Ugly”-Leod- somehow connected to the Crovan dynasty, might have taken over foster-father or maybe father-in-law Páll Bálkason‘s land in Glenelg, Harris and Skye when he was killed in 1231 by involuntary eunuch Guðrøðr Dond & Óspakr-Hákon. Earlier in 1230 an Ottar Snaekollson (maybe a Nicholson) and Balki Pálsson, son of that same Armadhr Páll Bálkason, killed Þórkell Þórmóðarson (A grandson of Ljótólfr)at Vestrajǫrðr (maybe Dunvegan) Skye. His son, Þórmóðr Þórkelson escaped to Applecross to fight them again in Lewis… but no one is quite sure exactly how this fits yet. 1262-1263 Scots raid Skye, Norwegian King Haakon IV comes with a big fleet. 1266 Norway gives Hebrides to Scotland. Isle of Man conquered by Scots in 1275. A “son” of Leod, Þórmóðr becomes namesake for the Harris/Skye branches (Sìol Thormoid in Gaelic). Mid 1300s, A “grandson” Þorkell kidnaps/marries the Nicolson heiress claiming the Isle of Lewis, kills anyone who opposes, and becomes namesake of MacLeods of Lewis (Sìol Torquil). Both branches of MacLeod are incorporated as Lords into the Lordship of the Isles subordinate to the MacDonalds. Scottish wars of independence 1296-1357, MacLeods probably fought at Bannockburn in 1314. 1493 Lordship of the Isles forfeited to King of Scots, everyone calls game-on for territory raids. Lots of alternate killing and marrying MacDonalds, making money dropping bodies as “Redshank” mercs in the Irish wars.

1593 – 9 Years War in Ireland, MacLeods of Lewis and Harris teamed with MacDonalds to work for the O’Neill. Sleat MacDonald Chief wants to ditch his wife, Harris MacLeod Chief Rory Mor’s sister for O’Neills daughter. Doesn’t happen, but he still leaves-and possibly beats her eye out- by 1601, causing last clan battles in War of the One-Eyed Woman. MacLeods of Lewis have massive civil war over future Chief succession, 1596 Torquil Dubh raids Coigach and Lochbroom, gives the Scots King the finger over his charter in 1597 & King James VI orders their extermination- Gentlemen of Fife can’t get it done so King gives Lewis to the Seaforth MacKenzies. 1609, Rory Mor is forced to sign the Statue of Iona which brings peace to the region but begins the slow decline of traditional Clan life. The last outlaw leader of the Lewis MacLeods, Niall, was handed over to the King for execution in 1613 by kinsman Rory Mor on pain of forfeiture but reward of a Knighthood. MacLeod of Raasay became senior agnatic line of Lewis.

1651, War of the Three Kingdoms, 500 MacLeods fight as Royalists, taking heavy casualties at Battle of Worcester. MacLeod of Assynt line dies out 1692 with another Neil, but Geanzies and Cadboll cadet lines continue.

1745 Rebellion, MacLeod of Dunvegan stays government and raises 500 men in Loyalist companies to fight at Inveruie. MacLeod of Raasay and a few dozen others side with the Jacobites and have a bad day at Culloden in 1746, and get their cattle killed and houses burned by the Dunvegan MacLeod soldiers as well. Final abolition of the Clan as a political entity in 1747.

Economic changes, unrestrained by traditional society result in unpleasantness and massive emigration. 1739-1840, Highland Clearances removed tenantry for more profitable Sheep. The Kelp fertilizer industry starts around 1764, becomes main trade of Lewis 1793, then fails in 1815. 1846-1856 Highland Potato Famine, a blight drives 16,000 tenants to Canada, western Scotland loses another 1/3 of the population. Land struggle with absentee landlords occasionally has small violent battles like in 1882 in Braes and Glendale, 1883 Warship & Royal Marines sent to subdue. 1883 Potato and Grain crop failures, more hunger and destitution. 1886 Crofting law, guarantees tenure of rent on tiny farms too small to self-sustain without doing other work like fishing-with the fish buyers usually the same landlord. WW1 the Outer Isles see about 1000 of the 6500 men die in service, one of the highest proportions in the UK.

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