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Lerwick (lûrˈwĭk, lĕrˈĭk) [key], island town (1991 est. pop. 7,336), Shetland Islands, extreme N Scotland. Lerwick is the northernmost town in Great Britain. Located on the southeastern coast of Mainland island, it has fishing and hosiery industries. It is the central market town of the Shetlands, dealing in produce, knitwear, cattle, and sheep. It also has become an important service town for the North Sea oil industry, with the development of associated engineering works. Lerwick grew up around a Dutch trading post in the 17th cent. Oliver Cromwell built a fort there, named Fort Charlotte under George III, that is now a coast guard station. A Norse festival to celebrate the new year is held annually at the end of January.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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