Arran has been continuously inhabited since the early Neolithic period, and numerous prehistoric remains have been found. From the 6th century onwards, Goidelic-speaking peoples from Ireland colonised the island and it became a centre of religious activity. During the troubled Viking Age, Arran became the property of the Norwegian crown before becoming formally absorbed by the kingdom of Scotland in the 13th century. The 19th century "clearances" led to significant depopulation and the end of the Gaelic language and way of life.
The economy and population have recovered in recent years, the main industry being tourism. There is diversity of wildlife, including three species of tree endemic to the area.