The Outer or Western Hebrides are a group of islands belonging to Scotland. They are part of the large group of the Hebrides and are separated from the Scottish Highlands by the Strait of Minch and the Small Strait of Minch. The main islands form an archipelago, which with its smaller surrounding islands are known lyrically as Larga Island. The major islands are Lewis and Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula and Barra. It is also one of the councils of Scotland. Several communities of these islands use the Scottish Gaelic language, in fact it is one of the places in the United Kingdom where more people speak it.
The name that the Parliament of the United Kingdom has for this electoral district is "Na h-Eileanan an Iar", whereas the Scottish Parliament has for this one the official name of Western Islands although generally it is written like Eilean Siar. The islands were known as Suðreyjar during the Norwegian rule, which lasted about two hundred years, until the sovereignty was transferred to Scotland by the Treaty of Perth, in 1266, after the Battle of Largs three years earlier. The Rockall Rock is also included within these islands.