Desolation.--Herbert Coleridge's Dictionary of the Oldest Words in the English Language, 1863
St. Kilda Abandoned
On this date in 1930, the last remaining three dozen inhabitants of St. Kilda, an island 180 kilometers off the western coast of Scotland (well beyond most islands of the Outer Hebrides), were evacuated at their request. They had petitioned the government to remove them from their rocky homeland -- the most remote place in Britain -- after sensing for decades that their future was as bleak as the local weather. Ironically, after moving to the "mainland," many of the denizens of this treeless isle were given jobs in the forest service. The first steamboats to reach St. Kilda in the late 1800s shocked the inhabitants, as they assumed these vessels were on fire. The island's name was probably a corruption of the Norse term skildir, as no saint by the name of St. Kilda ever existed. This isolated place has long been home to the colorful puffin and numerous other seabirds, many of which nest in seaside cliffs.