Return to home Lonely Planet: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/wales
UofL: http://www.louisville.edu/library/ekstrom/govpubs/international/uk/waleshist.html A division of the United Kingdom in SW Great
Britain. In medieval times it was known as Cambria. The native Welsh
language is Cymraeg. The patron saint is St. David (Saint Dewi). The
national flower is the leek.
(WUD, 1994, p.1605)(WSJ, 6/10/97, p.A16)(SFEC, 7/23/00, Z1
Wales contained a third of the entire world's supply of coal.
(SFEC, 5/10/98, p.T4)
Arrows from Welsh longbows pierced armor at 400 yards and
ended the age of knights in shining armor.
(SFEC, 5/31/98, Z1 p.8)
589 Mar 1,
Saint David (b.~500), Welsh Bishop, died aboput this time. He was
later regarded as a saint and as the patron saint of Wales. The
Annales Cambriae has his death at 601, which would move his birth
date forward. His mother was Non (also Nonna or Nonnita), according
to Christian tradition.
700-800 King Offa decreed that an earthen barrier
be built along the border between Wales and his kingdom of Mercia.
Llwybr Clawdd Offa opened as a hiking trail in 1971.
(SSFC, 4/7/02, p.C10)
1067 Chepstow Castle was built
in Wales to protect a strategic crossing of the River Wye and for
the defense of the Wye Valley near the English border by the troops
of William the Conqueror.
(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.T5)(SFEC, 5/10/98, p.T4)
1169 Dec, Owain Gwynedd, ruler
of North Wales in the twelfth century, died. He had nineteen
children, six of whom were legitimate. Madoc, one of the bastard
sons, was born in a castle at Dolwyddelan, a village at the head of
the Lledr valley between Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. The
brothers fought amongst themselves for the right to rule Gwynedd.
Madoc, although being brave and adventurous, was a man of peace. He
and his brother, Riryd, left the quay on the Afon (River) Ganol at
Aber-Kerrik-Gwynan, on the North Wales Coast (now Rhos-on-Sea) in
two ships, the Gorn Gwynant and the Pedr Sant. They sailed west,
leaving the coast of Ireland 'farre north' and landed in Mobile Bay,
in what we now know as Alabama in the USA.
1170 Madoc, a Welsh prince, is
reputed to have discovered America. Many believe that he and his
followers initially settled in the Georgia/Tennessee/ Kentucky area,
eventually moving to the Upper Missouri, where they were assimilated
into a tribe of the Mandans. New evidence is also emerging about a
small band of Madoc's followers who remained in the Ohio area and
are called “White Madoc.”
1200-1250 The Longbow was developed from a Welsh
bow that had been used against the English. During the numerous
skirmishes with the Welsh, the English had witnessed the power of
this weapon. An arrow from this weapon had a maximum range of
400 yards, could penetrate four inches of wood at closer range, and
could kill an armored knight at 200 yards. The British would use it
to destroy a French army at Crecy in 1346. This would be the
world's premiere weapon until the development of cannon (artillery)
1240 Apr 11, Llywelyn ab
Iorwerth the Great, monarch of Wales (1194-1240), died.
1248 Carreg Cennen, a castle on
a hilltop above Trapp, Wales, was built as a Welsh stronghold.
(SFEC, 5/10/98, p.T4)
1274 Upon Edward‘s succession
to the English throne, he demanded Llywelyn ap Gruffydd pay homage
to him before he recognized him as Prince of Wales.
1276 Nov 12, Suspicious of the
intentions of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the Prince of Wales, English
King Edward I resolved to invade Wales. Edward decided to force
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd into submission. Edward was aided by Llywelyn‘s
brother Daffydd ap Gruffydd and Prince Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn of
Powys—both of whom Llywelyn had expelled for plotting his
(HNQ, 7/14/00)(HN, 11/12/00)
1277 King Edward of England
invaded Wales. Edward was aided by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd’s brother
Daffydd ap Gruffydd and Prince Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn of Powys—both
of whom Llywelyn had expelled for plotting his assassination.
(HN, 2/17/99)(HNQ, 7/14/00)
1278 Carreg Cennen, a castle on
a hilltop above Trapp, Wales, fell to English hands.
(SFEC, 5/10/98, p.T4)
1281 The Caernarfon castle in
northern Wales was built by the English and served as a symbol of
domination over the Welsh.
(SFEC, 5/10/98, p.T4)
1282 Dec 11, Llywelyn ap
Gruffydd (b.~1223), the last prince of an independent Wales, died
after he was lured into a trap and killed at the Battle of Orewin
Bridge by forces under Edward I.
1283-1289 Conwy Castle was built by Edward I
during his conquest of Wales. It was constructed as part of a wider
project to create the walled town of Conwy.
1301 Feb 7, Edward of
Caernarion (later Edward II) became the 1st Prince of Wales.
1330 Jun 15, Edward the Black
Prince, the eldest son of Edward III and Prince of Wales
(1343-1376), was born. He was the first Duke created in England, the
Duke of Cornwall.
(HN, 6/15/99)(MC, 6/15/02)
c1359-c1460 Owain Glyndwr (Owen Glendower), leader
of a bloody revolt against Henry IV in 1400. The event was marked by
(SFEC, 6/22/97, p.D2)
1376 Jun 8, Edward, "Black
Prince" of Wales (46), son of King Edward of England, died.
c1400 Owain Glyndwr (Owen
Glendower) led the warriors of Gwynned, Wales, in a bloody revolt
against the English. The event was marked by a comet.
(SFEC, 6/22/97, p.D2)
1404 Owain Glyndwr (Owen
Glendower) convened a parliament in Macchynlleth, Wales.
(SFEC, 6/22/97, p.D2)
1457 Jan 28, Henry VII, 1st
Tudor king of England (1485-1509), was born in Pembroke Castle,
1471 May 4, The Yorkists
defeated the Lancastrians in the Battle of Tewkesbury between the
English House of Lancaster and House of York. King Edward IV routed
the forces of ex-queen Margaret. The Lancastrian forces were led by
Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset. Edward, the 17-year-old
prince of Wales, was killed at the battle of Tewkesbury.
1498 May, John Cabot began his
2nd transatlantic voyage. Richard Ameryk (1445-1503), a wealthy
Welsh merchant, was the chief investor in Cabot's second
transatlantic voyage. Five ships set sail for Newfoundland, but en
route one ship was forced to return after being damaged in a storm.
The rest were never heard from again. A theory, not widely held,
suggests the Americas are named after his surname.
1536 Although English conquest
of Wales took place under the 1284 Statute of Rhuddlan, a formal
Union did not occur until 1536, shortly after which Welsh law, which
continued to be used in Wales after the conquest, was fully replaced
by English law under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542. There was
another Act of Union in 1542.
1633 Mar 1, George Herbert
(b.1593), Welsh-born priest and poet, died. In 2013 John Drury
authored “Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert.”
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Herbert)(Econ, 8/31/13, p.72)
1649 Feb 5, The Prince of Wales
became king Charles II. Charles II (18), while living in exile at
the Hague, was recently informed that his father was beheaded at
Whitehall on Jan 30.
(WSJ, 2/28/00, p.A36)(MC, 2/5/02)
1671 Jan 27, Welsh pirate Sir
Henry Morgan (1635-1688) landed at Panama City.
(WUD, 1994 p.931)(MC, 1/27/02)
1706 Pi, the 16th letter of the
Greek alphabet, was 1st used as a mathematical symbol by William
Jones of Wales. Pi represents the approximate ratio of a circle’s
circumference to its diameter.
(SFEC, 3/14/99, p.C5)(WSJ, 3/15/05, p.B1)
1707 May 1, Effective on this
day Scotland and England, which already included Wales, were united
by an act of Parliament to form Great Britain.
(WSJ, 4/16/97, p.A13)(AP, 5/1/07)
1722 Feb 10, Black Bart
(b.1682), Welsh pirate, died. He raided shipping off the Americas
and West Africa between 1719 and 1722.
1742-1803 Thomas Jones, Welsh landscapist. He
traveled to Italy in 1776 and spent 7 years there filling
sketchbooks. He later authored his "Memoirs."
(Econ, 7/12/03, p.77)
1755 Jul 5, Sarah Siddons
(d.1831), actress, was born at the Leg of Mutton Inn in Wales. She
rose to fame as a protegee of Richard Brinsley Sheridan at the Drury
Lane Theater and gained fame playing Lady Macbeth in Macbeth.
(HN, 7/5/98)(WSJ, 7/27/99, p.A21)
1759 A group of 9 English
merchants launched a new ironworks in Dowlais, Wales, using the
regions abundant coal. It was managed from its earliest years
by the Guest family. In 1900 it was purchased by a nuts and bolts
company run by Arthur Keen. Shortly afterwards Keen bought
Nettlefolds, a maker of screws and fasteners. By 1902 the firm,
known as Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds Ltd., was the world's largest
producer of nails. In 1986 “Guest Keen and Nettlefolds” became GKN.
In 1987 Edgar Jones authored "A History of GKN." Volume 2 was
published in 1990. By 2004 GKN PLC had become a major auto parts
supplier and had a new aerospace division.
(WSJ, 3/16/04, p.A1,8)(Econ, 6/9/12, p.61)
1797 Feb 22, The last invasion
of Britain took place when some 1,400 Frenchmen landed at Fishguard,
1811 Feb 5, George, Prince of
Wales, was named the Prince Regent due to the insanity of his
father, Britain's King George III. George Augustus Frederick became
prince regent after his father, George III, slipped permanently into
dementia. In 1999 Saul David published "The Prince of Pleasure: The
Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency."
(WSJ, 3/26/99, p.W10)(AP, 2/5/08)
1820 Jan 20, George III of
England died and was succeeded by his son George IV (1762-1830), who
as Prince of Wales had been regent for 9 years during his father’s
(WUD, 1994, p.1678)
1841 Jan 28, Henry Morton
Stanley was born and christened John Rowland to an unwed and
impoverished mother in Wales. A leading explorer and colonizer of
Africa, Stanley is best known for locating the missing British
missionary and explorer David Livingstone in Central Africa in 1871.
He was on assignment for the New York Herald and immortalized the
moment he found Livingstone on November 11, 1871, with the words:
"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Stanley, who was adopted as a youth by
Louisiana cotton merchant Henry Hope Stanley, served in both the
Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War and became an
American citizen in the 1860s. Stanley resumed his British
citizenship in 1892, served in Parliament from 1895-1900, was
knighted in 1899 and died in London on May 10, 1904.
1852 Lady Charlotte Guest took
over the helm of Dowlais Iron Co. in Wales after her husband died.
(SFC, 2/16/04, p.A1)
1865 In Argentina 153 settlers
from Wales arrived on the ship Mimosa and founded the coastal city
of Puerto Madryn, named after Sir Parry Madryn, a nobleman who
(SFEC, 5/9/99, Z1 p.6)
1866 The sailing ship Coya, a
Welsh coal ship with passengers, wrecked near Pescadero, California.
(SFC, 8/10/02, p.A13)
1867 May 13, Frank Brangwyn,
painter, muralist, cartoonist (Willam Morris), was born in Wales.
1867 The sailing ship
Hellespont, a Welsh coal ship with passengers, wrecked near
(SFC, 8/10/02, p.A13)
1871 Jul 3, William Henry
Davies, Welsh poet, was born.
1877 Henry Morton Stanley, a
Welsh-born American explorer, emerged from the forests of Africa
near the mouth of the Congo River. He had traced the river to its
source. In 1878 he authored “Through the Dark Continent.”
(SFEC, 9/27/98, BR p.1)(WSJ, 11/3/07, p.W8)
1883 The Treorchy Men’s Choir
was established in the Rhondda Valley of Wales to keep miners out of
(SFEC, 5/10/98, p.T5)
1886 Henry Stanley (1841-1904),
Welsh-born journalist, led the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition to
"rescue" Emin Pasha, the governor of Equatoria in the southern
1888 Aug 15, The British
soldier T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia for his
military exploits against the Turks in World War I, was born in
(AP, 8/15/97)(HN, 8/15/98)
1900-1976 Richard Hughes, Welsh author and
dramatist: "Middle age snuffs out more talent than ever wars or
sudden deaths do."
1902 Arthur Keen created Guest,
Keen & Nettlefolds Ltd., after acquiring Dowlais Iron in Wales
and Nettlefolds. The company became the world's largest producer of
nails, nuts and bolts.
(WSJ, 3/16/04, p.A8)
1905 Nov 26, George Emlyn
Williams, Welsh actor and playwright (portrayed Charles Dickens),
1913 Oct 14, An explosion in a
coal mine in Cardiff, Wales, killed 439.
1913 Nearly 58 million tons of
coal came up from the mines and South Wales produced one third of
the world's coal exports. At its peak over 250,000 men were employed
in the coal industry of South Wales.
1914 Oct 27, Dylan Thomas,
British poet and author whose works included “Portrait of the Artist
as a Young Dog,” was born in Swansea, Wales.
(AP, 10/27/97)(HN, 10/27/98)
1916 Sep 13, Roald Dahl
(d.1990), son of Norwegian immigrants, was born in Llandaff, Wales.
He is best known for his children’s books such as "James and the
1916-1922 David Lloyd George of Wales served as
the Prime Minister of Britain.
(SFEC, 5/10/98, p.T4)
1920 Oct 31, Dick Francis,
jockey and detective writer (Whip Hand, High Stakes), was born in
1922 Feb 16, Geraint Evans,
Welsh opera baritone (Knaben Wunderhorn, Falstaff), was born.
1925 Nov 10, Richard Burton,
Welsh actor famous for his roles in "The Spy who Came in From the
Cold" and "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf," was born in Glamorgan as
1925 William Randolph Hearst
purchased the St. Donat's Castle in Wales along with 111 acres for
(SFEM, 10/24/99, p.22)
1927 Feb 8, Stanley Baker,
actor (Concrete Jungle, Zorro, Zulu), was born in Ferndale, Wales.
1928 Jun 17, Amelia Earhart
embarked on a trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales with
pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon, becoming the first woman to
make the trip as a passenger.
(ON, 12/07, p.9)(AP, 6/17/08)
1928 Jun 18, Aviator Amelia
Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as
she completed a flight from Newfoundland to Wales in about 21 hours
as a passenger.
(AP, 6/18/97)(HN, 6/18/98)(HNQ, 3/8/02)
1928 Jul 26, Bernice Rubens,
Welsh novelist and filmmaker, was born.
1933 Mar 29, The front page of
the New York Evening Post said "Famine Grips Russia — Millions
Dying." The report was by Welsh journalist Gareth Jones who had
recently sneaked into Ukraine, at the height of a famine engineered
by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Jones was killed by bandits in 1935
while covering Japan's expansion into China. In 2009 the diaries of
Jones were put on display for the first time in London.
1936 Nov 7, Gwyneth Jones,
soprano (Die Walkure, Isolde), was born, Pontnewyndd, Wales.
1937 Dec 31, Anthony Hopkins,
actor (Elephant Man, QB VII, Magic, Bounty, Silence of the Lambs),
was born in Wales.
1939 Mar 8, Robert Tear, tenor
(Welsh Nat’l Opera 1970), was born in Barry, Wales.
1939 Jul 17, Spencer Davis,
vocalist (Spencer Davis Group-Gimme Some Lovin), was born in Wales.
1940 Jun 7, Tom Jones, singer
(What's New Pussycat), was born in Pontypridd, Wales.
1940 Sep 26, W.H. Davies
(b.1871), a Welsh poet, died in England. He had lived the life of a
hobo in America and authored “Autobiography of a Supertramp” (1908).
1941 Apr 13, Margaret Price,
soprano (Pamlina-Die Zauberflote), was born in Tredegar, Wales.
1941 The film “How Green Was My
Valley” starred Roddy McDowall and was directed by John Ford. It won
an Oscar for best picture. It was about a Welsh mining family.
(SFEC, 3/23/97, DB p.39)(SFEC, 10/4/98,
p.B10)(SFC, 10/9/98, p.C12)
1947 Dec 15, Arthur Machen
(b.1863), Welsh author of classic horror stories, died.
1950 Feb 20, Welsh author-poet
Dylan Thomas arrived in NYC for his 1st US poetry reading tour.
1953 Nov 9, Welsh author-poet
Dylan Thomas died in New York at age 39 during his poetry-reading
blitz of the US.
(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.T5)(AP, 11/9/97)
1956 Jan Morris, Welsh essayist
and travel writer, authored her book “Coast to Coast” based on
traveling around America in the early 1950s.
(SSFC, 4/28/02, p.C3)
1961 Oct 31, Augustus Edwin
John (b.1878), Welsh painter, draughtsman, and etcher, died. For a
short time around 1910, he was an important exponent of
Post-Impressionism in England. In 1974 Michael Holroyd authored the
biography: “Augustus John.”
(WSJ, 1/21/07, p.P9)
1966 Oct 21, More than 140
people, mostly children, were killed when a coal waste landslide
engulfed a school and several houses in Aberfan, Wales.
1969 Jul 1, Britain's Prince
Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales.
1971 Philip Jones Griffiths
(1936-2008, Welsh photographer, published "Vietnam Inc," a
collection of black-and-white photos from his 3 years there as a
1977 Apr 1, Richard Booth
proclaimed Hay-on-Wye, Wales, an independent kingdom with himself as
king and his horse as prime minister. The Oxford graduate had
purchased the 80-year-old Hay Castle and opened a 2nd hand bookstore
in the town in 1961.
(SSFC, 5/25/03, p.C8)(Econ, 12/24/05, p.84)(SFC,
1978 The Barnett Formula,
devised by Joel Barnett, was introduced as mechanism used by The
Treasury in the UK to adjust the amounts of public expenditure
allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales automatically to
reflect changes in spending levels allocated to public services in
England, England and Wales or Great Britain, as appropriate.
1980 In Wales the Big Pit coal
works at Blaenafon was shut down. In 1983 it reopened as a colliery
(SFEC, 5/10/98, p.T5)(http://tinyurl.com/3csn6y)
1982 Jun 21, Prince William,
eldest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, was born.
1984 Sep 15, Henry Charles
Albert David, Prince of Wales, 3rd in British succession, was born.
1985 Female genital mutilation,
intentionally altering or injuring female genital organs for
non-medical reasons, was made a crime in England and Wales. The law
was extended in 2003 to make it an offence for British nationals or
permanent residents to carry out FGM abroad or seek FGM abroad, even
where it is legal.
1993 The Welsh Language Act
established a Board having the function of promoting and
facilitating the use of the Welsh language.
1996 Feb 15, The Sea Empress
grounded off of Wales and spilled 18 million gallons (72,000 tons)
1997 Sep 18, In Wales voters
narrowly approved a referendum for partial self-government with
50.3% of the vote in which only 50% of the voters took part.
(SFC, 9/19/97, p.A12)
1999 Apr 6, In Wales the 2.2
million voters were to elect a 60-member assembly. It would be
responsible for distributing a $13 million grant from London. Labor
took 28 of 60 seats, the nationalist Plaid Cymru took 17, the
Conservatives got 9 and the Liberal Democrats got 6.
(SFEC, 5/2/99, p.A28)(SFC, 5/8/99, p.A10)
1999 Charlotte Church (14),
Welsh singer, made $10 million singing Classical Lite music.
(WSJ, 3/9/00, p.A24)
2001 Nov 24, Mathew Hardman
(17) killed widow Mabel Leyshon (90) at her home in the north Wales
town of Llanfairpwll. Prosecutors later said he wanted to be a
vampire. In 2002 Hardman was convicted of fatally stabbing Leyshon,
cutting out her heart and drinking her blood.
2004 Nov 18, Britain outlawed
fox hunting in England and Wales as elected legislators used the
1949 Parliament Act to win a dramatic standoff with the House of
Lords to ban the popular country sport.
(AP, 11/18/04)(SFC, 11/19/04, p.A2)
2005 Feb 7, In England and
Wales new laws came into effect that allow pubs, clubs and other
drinking venues to apply to stay open 24 hours a day.
2005 Sep 1, Turkey insisted
that it has fulfilled conditions for EU membership, as foreign
ministers of the 25-nation group started meeting in Wales to assess
the predominantly Muslim nation's efforts to join the bloc.
2005 Nov 23, In Britain and
Wales the early pub closing times, that had governed drinking in
Britain since their introduction during World War I, were set to end
at midnight. The laws had required most pubs to close at 11 p.m.
Monday to Saturday and 10:30 p.m. on Sundays. New rules allowed
pubs, bars, shops, restaurants and clubs to apply to open any hours
they like, although each license must be approved by local
2006 Jan 8, A car ploughed into
a group of 12 cyclists in North Wales, killing four and leaving four
others seriously injured.
2006 May 19, Freddie Garrity
(69), lead singer of the 1960s British pop band Freddie and the
Dreamers, died in Wales.
2007 May 25, British
authorities said 4 people in north Wales have tested positive for a
mild strain of bird flu, linked to the H7N2 low pathogenic avian
influenza found in chickens.
2007 Jul 26, A bull named
Shambo was taken away from a Hindu monastery at Skanda Vale, Wales,
ending a long and public battle between Hindus who revere bulls and
authorities who said he must be killed because he had tested
positive for tuberculosis.
2007 Nov 4, Welshman Joe
Calzaghe confirmed his status as boxing's best super-middleweight by
unanimously outpointing Denmark's Mikkel Kessler in a triple world
title fight at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
2008 Feb 19, The body of a
teenage girl was found hanging in the woods of a Welsh village, and
authorities said it was the 17th young suicide in just over a year
near one town in South Wales.
2008 Aug 10, Welshwoman Nicole
Cooke handed Britain their first gold of the Beijing Olympic Games
when she won the women's cycling road race.
2008 Nov 20, The European Union
formally recognized Welsh, which dates back to the 6th century, as a
minority tongue. It became an official tongue in Wales in 1993, 450
years after British rulers gave it the boot in favor of English.
2010 Feb 25, Prosecutors in
England and Wales received fresh guidelines on assisted suicide that
reduce the likelihood of people facing criminal charges for helping
ailing loved ones to die.
2011 Jun 2, In Britain an
explosion at a Chevron oil refinery in Pembroke, Wales, killed for
(SFC, 6/3/11, p.A2)
2011 Sep 15, In Britain’s south
Wales a mine flooded at the Gleision Colliery near Swansea. 4 miners
died after being trapped by the flooding.
2012 Jan 7, British developers
said they are planning to create a luxury holiday resort in rural
Wales designed specifically for Chinese tourists, with the aim of
bringing 20,000 to the country each year.
2012 Jul 25, The Olympics
kicked off with a women's football match between Britain and New
Zealand in Cardiff. The match in the Welsh capital comes two days
before the July 27 opening ceremony at the main London stadium but
marks the competitive sporting debut for the Games.
2012 Nov 27, British police
found the body of an elderly woman in a flooded home in the Welsh
city of St. Asaph. Sustained wet weather kept many areas of Britain
(SFC, 11/28/12, p.A2)
2013 Mar 10, Welsh-born
Princess Lilian (b.1915) died in her Stockholm home. Lilian Davies
met Sweden's Prince Bertil (d.1997) in 1943, but his obligations to
the throne and her status as a divorced commoner prevented them from
making their love public. In 1976 the new king finally gave them
approval to marry.
2013 Sep 25, British police
said they have arrested three more people as part of a long-running
investigation into a suspected slavery ring in Wales, bringing the
total number of arrests to seven.
2014 Jan 10, A new analysis of
British census figures said almost one in 10 babies and toddlers in
England and Wales are Muslim, illustrating the growth of the
2014 Mar 12, Stephen Power (29)
from Cardiff in Wales was reported to be one of the first trauma
patients in the world to have a procedure in which 3D printing was
used at every stage.
2014 Mar 29, Gay couples across
England and Wales said "I do" as a law authorizing same-sex marriage
came into effect at midnight, the final stage in a long fight for