A musician performs for a Welsh king at the Eisteddfod. The Romans conquered the Celts living in Wales after AD 48, building a new town at Caerwent and a large military camp at Caerleon, both in the south. After the Romans left, Celtic Britons from England escaped the Anglo-Saxon invaders of England and joined their fellow Celts in the mountains of Wales. The Welsh, as they became known, then set up a number of independent princedoms that united in the early 1200s. Separated from England, the Welsh spoke their own language. In 1176, the first annual Eisteddfod, a festival of Welsh poetry and song, was held in Cardigan. Since 1998, Wales has had its own National Assembly in Cardiff.
The coming of Christianity
Christianity first arrived in Wales from England some time during the early 300s, when the Romans ruled the country. It continued to thrive after the Romans left in the next century. St David, the patron saint of Wales, set up monasteries during the 500s, including one in Pembrokeshire that is now the site of St David’s Cathedral. Norman lords built many new churches and monasteries in South Wales after 1066, while the massive abbey of Strata Florida in central Wales was built by Prince Rhys ap Gruffydd in 1164.
The last Welshman to claim the title Prince of Wales (Tywysog Cymru) was Owain Glyndwr. He was proclaimed Prince by his followers on 16th September 1400.
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