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Encyclopedia > Wales in the Early Middle Ages
History of Wales
Chronological Eras
Prehistoric Wales
Roman Wales
Early Middle Ages
Norman invasion
Late Middle Ages
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Modern Era
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Deheubarth
Gwynedd
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The history of Wales in the early Middle Ages is sketchy, as there is very little written history from the period. Nonetheless, some information may be gleaned from archaeological evidence and what little written history does exist. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Prehistoric Wales in terms of human settlements covers the period from about 225,000 years ago, the date attributed to the earliest human remains found in what is now Wales, to the year 48 when the Roman army began a campaign against one of the Welsh tribes. ... The Norman invasion of Wales began shortly after the Norman invasion of England. ... Deheubarth was a south-western kingdom or principality of medieval Wales. ... Gwynedd was one of the kingdoms or principalities of medieval Wales. ... Medeival kingdoms of Wales. ... Brecknockshire, also known as Breconshire or, in Welsh, as Sir Frycheiniog is an inland traditional county of Wales, bounded to the north by Radnorshire, to the east by Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, to the south by Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire, and west by Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire. ... Welsh colonization of the Americas began in the 19th century. ... The term Welsh literature may be used to refer to any literature originating from Wales or by Welsh writers. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ...


It is established to some extent that the Irish had settled in Wales by some time in the fifth century, though little is known of the extent of military action; the many hill-forts of Wales saw some reoccupation during this time, and it has been conjectured that the purpose for this was defensive, though against whom it is unknown [1]. Power waxed and waned in certain regions for centuries: The south-east of Wales saw an increase in power in the seventh century, as a series of kings sprung up and exerted power over minor kingdoms, expanding to some degree, though not always by military might, and quite often indeed by political manoeuvring such as marrying into preexisting dynasties. None of this is well-documented, and, as such, little information outside of the tracing of power exists. By the later centuries of the first millennium, according to Wendy Davies, a clearer pattern of development is seen, and the expansion and subsequent domination of the kingdom of Gwynedd, a province of north-west Wales, is fairly well-established. The aforementioned kingdoms of the south-east seem to have remained relatively isolated until the eleventh century (102). Throughout this period, the English exerted some influence over Wales, if only by settlement at times. In the sixth century, the Saxons appear to have attacked Wales; however, “relations between the English and the British of Wales were not entirely hostile” after these attacks (W. Davies, 113). For some 200 years starting in the seventh century, from the establishment of Mercia, there were sporadic raids and scuffles in both Wales and England, perpetrated by both powers. With the later establishment of a legitimate English monarchy, the southern Welsh kingdoms sought out Alfred’s protection against the kings of Gwynedd, and “they thus accepted Alfred’s lordship … in so doing” (114). Throughout the tenth century, Davies says, “ravagings went on,” in Gwynedd, the south-east, in Dyfed, and often perpetrated by Mercian kings, all this despite courtly appearances of friendship. Further, some Welsh kings had the foresight to turn the English to their own purposes, forging alliances against other Welsh kings, using the English as a source of soldiers and tactics, thus “end[ing] the hard lines of cultural separation” between England and Wales (115).


 
 

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