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Ross-shire , or County of Ross ( Scottish Gaelic : Siorrachd Rois ), is one of the traditional counties of Scotland . Ross-shire borders the traditional counties of Sutherland , Cromartyshire with some enclaves , Inverness-shire and an enclave of Nairnshire and encompasses most of the Ross area on the Scottish mainland and the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides . Dingwall is the county's historic capital.

Ross-shire and Cromartyshire were amalgamated in 1889 by the Local Government Act 1889 (Scotland) to form the administrative county of Ross and Cromarty . This was divided in 1975 by a new administrative act from 1973 on the District Ross and Cromarty of the Highland region and the new administrative district Western Isles . In 1996 the districts of the Highland region were dissolved and the Highland Council Area was formed from the whole region .

The three original clans in the mainland of Ross-shire were the Ross clan , whose chiefs bore the title of Earl of Ross , and the Munro and MacKenzie clans . The title of Earl of Ross was given by the Scottish King Alexander I "the Wild" (1107-1124) to his son Malcolm MacHeth, who died in 1168, whereupon it became extinct. Ferquard MacTaggart, who died around 1251, was the first holder of the renewed title, in whose family with the new name De Ross it remained until 1372. Via the female line, he then briefly came to the Leslie family, who kept him until 1424. Again through female inheritance, the county passed to the MacDonald family, who only kept it until 1475, when the 11th Earl was stripped of the title by the Scottish Parliament. Queen Maria Stuart gave her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley , among other titles, that of Earl of Ross in 1565, who then remained with the Scottish and after 1603 also the English kings until the execution of Charles I in 1649. An Earl of Ross was created for the last time in 1772 in the person of Ralph Gore, who died in 1802: the title has since expired. In the Lockhart and Deane Ross families, however, the title of Baronet Ross was and is present.