Shetland and Orkney Islands Become Part of Scotland Upon Norway Default: February 20, 1472.

SHETLAND & ORKNEY ISLANDS on February 20, 1472 came under Scotland’s rule when the royal family of Norway defaulted on a financial debt. Contemporary folk music from Nordic countries celebrate the heritage of these Scottish islands with John on Crosscurrents, Monday Feb. 20th at 8:00 AM. Listen live at, 102.7fm, or 103.1fm.

The islands of Orkney and Shetland came under Scottish rule on 20 February 1472 The Orkney and Shetland islands came under Scottish control on 20 February 1472 after they had been used as security for the wedding dowry of Margaret of Denmark, the future wife of King James III of Scotland. The marriage was seen as a way of uniting Denmark and Scotland, following years of disagreements about taxation of the Hebrides Islands

Margaret’s father Christian of Denmark had agreed to a large dowry for his daughter’s wedding and pledged the islands of Orkney and Shetland as security until the dowry was paid, as he lacked the funds to pay the dowry up front. Margaret and James III went on to have three children: On this day 1472: Orkney and Shetland become part of Scotland On this day in 1472, Norway handed over Orkney and Shetland to Scotland in lieu of a dowry payment for a Royal Wedding.

Margaret of Denmark, the daughter of King Christian of Norway, Denmark and Sweden, wed James III of Scotland in a long standing arrangement aimed at quelling a tax-related feud between the powers. As wedding preparations got underway, it was arranged for Orkney and Shetland to be held by the Scottish Crown and handed back when the impoverished Scandinavian King made a dowry payment of 50,000 Rhenish Florins. Margaret, aged 13, became Queen of Scotland after marrying James III at Holyrood Abbey in July 1469.

Margaret, aged 13, became Queen of Scotland after marrying James III at Holyrood Abbey in July 1469. At the end of the first year of the marriage, the payment had not been made and more money was added to the pledge. the Treaty of Copenhagen in 1468, it was agreed that Margaret would marry James III and bring a dowry of 60,000 guilders – a huge sum in those days. The Boyd ambassadors shrewdly bargained what was in effect a mortgage on the dowry – Orkney and Shetland, though whether Christian had the right to pawn the islands was dubious to say the least.

James III, having dispensed with the Boyds and now ruling the country himself, got the Scottish Parliament involved and on February 20, 1472, the kingdom of Scotland legally annexed Orkney and Shetland by dint of the fact that Christian I had not paid the dowry. James had also done a deal with the hereditary Earl of Orkney, William Sinclair, who was given lands in Fife in exchange for relinquishing his Orkney rights to the Crown.

Source: The Scotsman; HistoryScotland; The National