Up until 1890, local government in Scotland comprised 34 county councils whose areas had evolved over the centuries from the mormaerdoms, stewartries and sheriffdoms of medieval Scotland. Because of this background the arrangements were chaotic in places, with numerous enclaves and exclaves: islands of one county surrounded by another. Cromartyshire, which comprised a series of small areas scattered across Ross-shire, was the most obvious example. It is also striking how Lewis was governed as part of distant Ross-shire, while Harris and the Uists formed part of equally distant Inverness-shire. In 1890 the counties were reorganised to remove many of the anomalies and produce a much neater map.
Links to pages with information about each county can be found below the map.