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The discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s significantly boosted Shetland's economy, employment and public sector revenues.

The local way of life reflects the Scottish and Norse heritage of the isles, including the Up Helly Aa fire festival, and a strong musical tradition, especially the traditional fiddle style.

The Pleistocene glaciations entirely covered the islands.

During that period, the Stanes of Stofast, a 2000-tonne glacial erratic, came to rest on a prominent hilltop in Lunnasting.

The Shetland pig, or grice, has been extinct since about 1930.

The islands' motto, which appears on the Council's coat of arms, is ", both of which are assumed to be Shetland.

The climate all year round is moderate due to the influence of the surrounding seas, with average night-time low temperatures a little above 1 °C (34 °F) in January and February and average daytime high temperatures of near 14 °C (57 °F) in July and August.

In contrast, inland areas of nearby Scandinavia on similar latitudes experience significantly larger temperature differences between summer and winter, with the average highs of regular July days comparable to Lerwick's all-time record heat that is around 23 °C (73 °F), further demonstrating the moderating effect of the Atlantic Ocean.

The total area is 1,466 km Comprising the Shetland constituency of the Scottish Parliament, Shetland Islands Council is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland; the islands' administrative centre and only burgh is Lerwick, which has also been the capital of Shetland since taking over from Scalloway in 1708.

The largest island, known as the "Mainland", has an area of 967 km and the fifth-largest of the British Isles. The archipelago has an oceanic climate, a complex geology, a rugged coastline and many low, rolling hills.

Humans have lived in Shetland since the Mesolithic period.

Another possible early written reference to the islands is Tacitus' report in Agricola in AD 98, after describing the discovery and conquest of Orkney, that the Roman fleet had seen "Thule, too".—"the Isles of Cats", which may have been the pre-Norse inhabitants' name for the islands.

The Cat tribe also occupied parts of the northern Scottish mainland and their name can be found in Caithness, and in the Gaelic name for Sutherland ( This is also the source of the ZE postcode used for Shetland. The next largest are Yell, Unst, and Fetlar, which lie to the north, and Bressay and Whalsay, which lie to the east.

(Scottish Gaelic: Sealtainn, Old Norse: Hjaltland, also called the Shetland Islands), is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies northeast of Great Britain.

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