Europe’s last indigenous people – the first communists | steampunk.dk.
At the top of the North Atlantic ocean where storms and rain bitches steep barren rocky islands, was once a small community that despite all odds, had survived almost unchanged since the Bronze Age. It is almost impossible to imagine that Europe has had a more secluded residential and their origins are lost in urtidstågerne. Apparently they have just always stayed in their cold rocky islands northwest of Scotland.They lived in the archipelago of St. Kilda , which is the outermost part of the Outer Hebrides and is four small islands, of which Hirta over 7 square kilometers is the largest.
The earliest settlement on Hirta are possibly dating back to the Stone Age, but there is no evidence that the settlement is related to the later Bronze Age settlement. When the Vikings made land fall around 1000, they found a society which even then seemed uncivilized and primitive. The Vikings settled probably down on Hirta and it is believed both the islands and the Hirta took the name from the Scandinavian names. There is no saint named St. Kilda and the closest you get to an etymological explanation, the Nordic ‘ Healthy Source ‘- ie drinking water for Viking sailors. Likewise with Hirta, there should be a forvanskelse of ‘ Kilta / Source ‘.
The population of St. Kilda, which was probably mixed with Scandinavian ball through the Viking Age, had no recorded contact with the outside world until 1202, when an Irish monk tells his ship sought shelter at an island called Hirtir. Then went there almost 200 years before the islands again appeared in print. The Scottish chronicler John of Fordun describes the ‘ Isle of IRTE ‘that is completely out near the edge of the world – and it was not completely a lie.
In 1500tallet islands were subject Macleodklanen, which then could charge rent and other charges.However, it is uncertain whether they actually visited the island before 1549, when the priest Donald Munro looked over. To his astonishment he found a urtidssamfund, with religion and rites that were closer to the ancient druids than Christianity, though Macleodklanen’s leader tried to introduce Christianity. Munro described the experience in a letter to the Church Fathers:
” The innbyggere thereof ar simple poor people, scarce LEARNit in aney religion, but M’Cloyd of Herray, his stewart, or he quhom he deputs in sic office, Sailes discerned in the Zear ther to midsummer, with some chaplaine two baptize bairnes ther . “
Out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean makes no Christian baptism and the late 1700s report prepared a visitor that at least five Druid altars were in use around the Hirte – unfortunately he describes not religion and rites closer.
Life on St. Kilda was hard, but actually somewhat easier than life in many other Scottish islands. Society was without any kind of social hierarchy and each day started with an open meeting where the men were planning the day’s work and discuss any problems. The Scottish chronicler Martin Martin highlights in 1697 the freedom ursamfundet provide ” They seemed happier than the generality of mankind as being almost the only people in the world som feel the sweetness of true liberty “
Morning meeting on the village’s main street – the building did not even have a name
St Kilda also had an immensely rich bird life (it has islands, incidentally, still), in the form of eggs and fresh meat gave plenty of food for the residents. The collection of birds and eggs was, like everything else, a common concern, where the raw materials were equally and fairly distributed between the island’s families, without regard for the actual effort – give according to ability and enjoy as needed. It is a feature where they differ from cultures that might have rubbed off on St. Kilda society. Both the Vikings and the Scots were living in very stratified social systems that bear no resemblance to the more family-like living on Hirta. It is therefore assumed that this form of communism dating back to the Bronze Age.
There was never much agriculture on St. Kilda islands. Since time immemorial, we kept getting, but a decidedly agricultural never occurred, instead ate to birds and eggs. Martin Martin calculated that the 180 people on Hirta in 1697 devoured more than 22,000 birds a year, there several hundred thousand eggs.The village and the residents were covered in feathers and stench of rotten detestable bird. It was not something the natives even went up, but gave them an extra notch down the ladder of civilization in the eyes of visitors. They were ill-considered Europeans.
Today’s catch of Fulmars, Puffins and Gannets – connoisseur
The people of St. Kilda lived reality in their very own thousand year old world. There has never been charged tax, none of the residents have ever been drafted into the army, or otherwise involved in the war and trouble. Indeed, but not even aware of any crime among islanders, although it was a system of fines for minor offenses. In 1838 Lachlan MacLean wrote: ” Where is the country som Neither arms, money, care, physic, politics, nor taxes? That country is St Kilda “. It is similar to the way it was then described the ‘primitive’ African tribes on.
An archaeological excavation conducted while Hirta was still inhabited, revealed quantities of bronze tools, as the locals recognized and had names – most were still in use.
Until the middle of the 19th of century, there was not much on St. Kilda. The natives were passed to Christianity in the early 1800s, but it was only when a regular congregation was established in the 1840s, their religious life began to resemble the Christianity we know from the rest of Europe.
The ‘new’ religion brought relatively large modifications. The daily life was now centered on worship and prayer meetings, and occurred hierarchy with the priest and his assistants at the top. Additional forbid rituals, music and dance that had been part of the residents’ lives since time immemorial.
St. Kilda’s transition to his contemporaries also meant to set up a small school where children learned English. It was now not particularly fast to adopt the national language, perhaps because society does not really dealt with the outside world. A study from 1861 showed that only two islanders spoke fluent English, and they were not native.
Despite both church and school, came the greatest impact on their lives actually from the tourists who had begun to visit the island in the late 1800s. For the first time, the local measure their stand against modern humans from the rest of the nation. In the century, the population of St. Kilda lived in comforting ignorance of life in the world and first in contact with wealthy tourists, they noted how modest and tattered life on St. Kilda was. It has not been without psychological effect that residents discovered the rest of the world regarded them as primitive and uncivilized.
Tourism also introduced a small economy. Enterprising families made souvenirs and sold them to visitors, even though there really was not anything to buy for the money, leaving an imbalance in society. The money was exchanged between individual families and that in itself undermined the idea of complete equality. Now there was’ rich ‘and’ poor ‘.
The small community went quietly in solution from the mid-1800s. They had always lived on the edge of what is possible and was repeatedly threatened with extinction of epidemics from the mainland, but each time the population had grown again over the next few generations. For example, in 1727 when chicken pox wiped out almost the entire island and the local squire, not even lived on the island, had to transfer families from the other islands. A brand new threat came from emigration. People were just starting to leave St. Kilda. As a rule, individuals at a time, but in 1852 emigrated 36 islanders to Australia – 1/3 of the population.
As the population declined, lost St. Kilda basis for accommodation. It’s really only possible to live in such isolation, if the community is large enough. The work to be carried out over the year, maintenance of boats, houses, fields and tools required a certain number of workers, and it has only been because of the social structure that life was possible.
There digging peat for the long cold winter – long live DH!
During World War I created the Royal Navy a station in St. Kilda and although the station brought a new prosperity to the island so that meant also that the residents learned more about life in the rest of the UK. A life they quickly came to envy, which meant further emigration.
In the early 1930s there were no more than 36 children and adults back on Hirte and it was clear that the island could no longer operate as an independent community. That same year adopted the last residents unanimously that the island would be abandoned forever. It was obviously not an easy decision, but since the young were fully intent on modern life on the mainland, so did the older generation really no choice. St. Kilda society’s last decision reflected the spirit that had kept the island alive since time immemorial – unity and common bank.
The evacuation came sooner than expected. Already in the late summer of 1930 anchored HMS Harebell up in the bay and took the last residents on board. It was a heartbreaking scene that impressed Hare Bell’s crew. Especially when the island’s men as the last killed their dogs by tying stones around their necks and throw them into the sea. 29 Aug. stack HMS Harebell away from Argyll in Scotland, leaving Hirte uninhabited for the first time in more than a thousand years.
The descendants of St. Kilda population is now scattered to the winds. The archipelago was in 1931 sold to a private ornitologovergik who in 1956 donated it to the National Trust for Scotland and are left as a protected nature reserve, although the British military has a radar station on site. In 1986, the parade UNESCO archipelago in the list of scenic areas and 2005, the buildings on St. Kilda included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Droppings from the small community, which for more than 1000 years never attracted any interest from the outside world, through rodes now annually by archaeologists and anthropologists. It’s funny that we often summarize interest in things when they irrevocably gone.
The remains of the village in Village Bay with the modern quay