Wales Project | Wales History
Wales Present and Past presents the present political boundaries within Wales and a brief history of the country.
PRESENT DAY WALES
The alignment of political boundaries has changed several times over the years. The current alignment listed below is the result of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 which was effective April 1, 1996.
|PRESENT COUNTIES AND MAJOR CITIES OF WALES|
Current Administrative Counties of Wales
Current County Boroughs of Wales
- Blaenau Gwent
- Merthyr Tydfil
- Neath Port Talbot
- Rhondda Cynon Taff
- Vale of Glamorgan
Current Major Cities of Wales
- Merthyr Tydfil
Past/Preserved/Ceremonial Counties of Wales
The preserved counties of Wales are the current areas used in Wales for the ceremonial purposes of lieutenancy and shrievalty. They are based on the counties created by the Local Government (Wales) Act 1972 effective April 1, 1974. They were abolished by the Local Government (Wales) Act of 1994 effective April 1, 1996. Their territory was realigned into other counties.
- Lieutenancy – A lord-lieutenant is the British Monarch’s personal representative in each county of the United Kingdom.
- Shrievalty – A high sheriff is a ceremonial officer for each shrieval (related to a sheriff) county.
- Mid Glamorgan
- South Glamorgan
- West Glamorgan
A Brief History of Wales
The area now known as Wales has been inhabited for at least 29,000 years. Mesolithic hunter-gatherers migrated from central Europe to Great Britain over the landmass known as Doggerland which connected to the two areas.
The Romans arrived in AD 48 and took 30 years to complete their conquest of Great Britain. Today there is evidence of Roman occupation in several areas of Wales.
After the Romans left in AD 410, various Germanic tribes occupied England driving many of the British inhabitants westward into Wales. By the year 500 much of Wales had divided into kingdoms free from Anglo-Saxon rule. These independent Welsh successor states included the kingdoms of
- Dyfed and Seisyllwg,
- Morgannwg and
Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284
The Normans conquered England in 1066. Their attempts to conquer Wales began in 1075 and went on for over 200 years ending with the victory by King Edward I in 1283. The Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284 defined all of Wales as “annexed and united” to the English Crown and created counties. In effect Wales became England’s first colony until finally annexed through the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542 in the reign of King Henry VIII.
Modern geographic divisions of Wales include the Local Government (Wales) Act 1972 effective April 1, 1974, and lastly the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994, which was effective April 1, 1996.
Historic (Ancient) Counties
King Edward I in 1284, by the Statute of Rhduddian, created the first four counties, Anglesey, Caernarfonshire, Flintshire and Merionethshire. Others were added over time. The Local Government Act 1972 effective April 1, 1974, abolished these historic and administrative counties. Their territory was realigned into newly formed counties.
- Anglesey history
- Brecknockshire history
- Caernafonshire (Caernarvonshire) history
- Cardiganshire history
- Carmarthenshire history
- Denbighshire history
- Flintshire history
- Glamorgan history
- Merionethshire history
- Monmouthshire history
- Montgomeryshire history
- Pembrokeshire history
- Radnorshire history
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