Centre sheds light on sea kingdom

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They ruled a vast swathe of Scotland for almost two centuries but their role in helping to forge the nation has been largely forgotten - until now.

On Saturday a new visitor centre celebrating the Lords of the Isles opens on Islay, which also allows people access to the island in Finlaggan Loch which was the seat of their power.

The Ri Innse Gall - Lord of the Isles - held sway over a sea kingdom which encompassed all of the Hebrides and much of the northern mainland.

Their hold on power during most of the 14th and 15th centuries was based on their seagoing prowess. With both Gaelic and Norse roots, their boats were an adaptation of Viking galleys and allowed easy transport and communications throughout their domain.

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