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These islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic, and the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive influences of Celtic, Norse, and English-speaking peoples.This diversity is reflected in the names given to the islands, which are derived from the languages that have been spoken there in historic and perhaps prehistoric times.The Hebrides have lower biodiversity than mainland Scotland, but there is a significant presence of seals and seabirds.The Hebrides can be divided into two main groups, separated from one another by the Minch to the north and the Sea of the Hebrides to the south.These princelings nominally owed allegiance to the Norwegian crown, although in practice the latter's control was fairly limited.The Scottish acceptance of Magnus III as King of the Isles came after the Norwegian king had conquered Orkney, the Hebrides and the Isle of Man in a swift campaign earlier the same year, directed against the local Norwegian leaders of the various island petty kingdoms.There are various islands that lie in the sea lochs such as The Hebrides have a cool temperate climate that is remarkably mild and steady for such a northerly latitude, due to the influence of the Gulf Stream.In the Outer Hebrides the average temperature for the year is 6 °C (44 °F) in January and 14 °C (57 °F) in summer.

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Hunter (2000) states that in relation to King Bridei I of the Picts in the sixth century: "As for Shetland, Orkney, Skye and the Western Isles, their inhabitants, most of whom appear to have been Pictish in culture and speech at this time, are likely to have regarded Bridei as a fairly distant presence.” Viking raids began on Scottish shores towards the end of the 8th century and the Hebrides came under Norse control and settlement during the ensuing decades, especially following the success of Harald Fairhair at the Battle of In the Western Isles Ketill Flatnose may have been the dominant figure of the mid 9th century, by which time he had amassed a substantial island realm and made a variety of alliances with other Norse leaders.

A rebellion by his nephew, Alexander of Lochalsh provoked an exasperated James IV to forfeit the family's lands in 1493.

By this time, Lewis was held by the Mackenzies of Kintail (later the Earls of Seaforth), who pursued a more enlightened approach, investing in fishing in particular.

The average annual rainfall in Lewis is 1,100 millimetres (43 in) and sunshine hours range from 1,100 – 1,200 per annum (13%).

The summer days are relatively long, and May to August is the driest period.

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