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Celtic Communism, the Gaelic Commonwealth

St Kilda

The remotest inhabited place in the British Isles lies some 110 miles west of the Scottish mainland, "on the edge of the world", a small cluster of islands known as St Kilda. St Kilda may have been permanently inhabited for at least two millennia and the population probably never exceeding 180.

In theory St Kilda was part of Scotland but it was effectively overlooked. The Inland Revenue never attempted to impose taxation, and the inhabitants of St Kilda were never invited to register on an electoral roll. No crime was ever officially recorded. No one from St Kilda was called up into the armed forces. Until the nineteenth century money was not used on St Kilda.

On the islands, consisting of 1575 acres of Hirta,  244 acres on Soay and  79 acres on Dun, the islanders had developed a self-sufficient communal economy based on seabirds (meat, oil & eggs), Soay sheep, fishing, and some small scale crofting. A form of primitive socialism prevailed on the island.

In 1838 L…