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This article is about the Scottish traditional county of Sutherland. For other uses of the name Sutherland please see Sutherland (disambiguation).

Sutherland (also Sutherlandshire), is a traditional county in the north of Scotland, bordering on Caithness to the north and both Ross-shire and Cromartyshire to the south. Although it is on the northern coast of Great Britain, the name Sutherland comes from the Vikings' view of it as the "Sudrland", or Southland.

In 1975 the county was abolished as a local government area and divided between the then new areas of Sutherland District and Caithness District, with the Strathnaver area of the county becoming a part of Caithness District (which included also the area of the traditional county of Caithness). However, shortly after its creation the boundary between the districts was redrawn to follow that between the traditional counties, as shown on the map herewith.

The district belonged to a two-tier system of local government, with local government functions divided between the district and the Highland region. In 1996 the region beame a unitary authority and the district was abolished.

The area is today used as a registration county and a Lieutenancy Area.

The county is still very sparsely populated. Its only burgh is the county town, Dornoch. Other settlements include Lairg, Brora, Durness, Tongue, Golspie , Helmsdale, Lochinver and Kinlochbervie.


Sutherland has two main names in the county's indigenous Scottish Gaelic, Cataibh (confusingly, Caithness is Gallaibh), which is sometimes used for the whole county, but tended to apply to the south east, and Dłthaich MhicAoidh (MacKay Country) which was used for the north west, sometimes referred to as Reay Country in English.

Sutherland, derives its unusual name from the Norse who considered it a 'southern' land. They referred to the Hebrides as the "Southern Isles" (southern with respect to the "Northern Isles" of Orkney and Shetland).

See also Subdivisions of Scotland.

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Last updated: 08-01-2005 14:27:33
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