Their names bespeak a rich and varied past, belying their paucity of notice by historians. From the Norse Hjaltland comes the modern Shetland: islands nominally Scottish, steeped in Nordic culture, closer to the Arctic Circle than to London. Important neolithic sites at Skara Brae and Maes Howe in the Orkneys wallow in anonymity next to Stonehenge. Holy Iona, island center of early Christianity; the Isle of Man, former seat of rule over the Irish Sea; Anglesey and Islay, homes of forgotten Medieval courts at Aberffraw and Loch Finlaggan - these are just a few of the more than 6,000 islands that form the archipelago known as the British Isles. Inhabited for millennia and today home to half a million people, the offshore British Isles demonstrate that Great Britain is far more than just England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. This history of Britain's other islands sheds light on a fundamental but neglected aspect of the past.