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4. The Kingdom of Man and the Earldom of Orkney—Some Comparisons

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Chapter Summary

The Kingdom of Man and the Earldom of Orkney are the only two medieval thalassocracies in the British Isles. They are also the political heirs of Viking settlement in Scotland as well as being unique phenomena of the Norse colonial world. The kingdom and earldom were rather different in terms of their maritime geography. They had separate historical development in the post-Viking Age and historians of Orkney and Man have very rarely had any specific reason to look to the history of the other dynasty. This chapter looks at some of the sources to see what they reveal about the different status of Manx king and Orkney earl in their relationship with Norway. Despite their royal status it was clearly expected that the kings of Man as well as the earls of Orkney would make a tributary payment to each new king in Norway.

Keywords: British Isles; Earldom of Orkney; Manx king; Norway; Viking settlement



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