Timeline of Welsh history

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This is a timeline of Welsh history, comprising important legal and territorial changes, and political events in Wales.

Prehistory: Mesolithic/Neolithic periods • Bronze/Iron ages
Centuries: 1st • 2nd • 3rd • 4th • 5th • 6th • 7th • 8th • 9th • 10th • 11th • 12th • 13th • 14th • 15th • 16th • 17th • 18th • 19th • 20th • 21st
References • Sources

Mesolithic and Neolithic periods[edit]

Year Date Event
c. 27,000 BC Earliest reliably-dated "modern human" burial with artefacts, first discovered in the 1820s in Gower[1]
c. 6000 BC Following the end of glaciation and sea level stabilisation, Wales becomes roughly the shape it is today and is inhabited by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers[2]
c. 4000 BC The earliest farming communities become established in Wales, marking the beginning of the Neolithic period.[3] Megalithic tombs still survive from this period, such as the Pentre Ifan Dolmen in Pembrokeshire.[4]

Bronze and Iron Ages[edit]

Year Date Event
c. 2500–2100 BC Metal tools first appear, as copper ores are extracted from deep open cast mines in central and northern Wales. Implements are initially made from copper, followed by bronze (made by adding tin and lead to copper).[5]
c. 2500–700 BC Wales is part of Bronze Age Britain, a maritime trading culture,[6] selling tin, lead, iron, silver, gold, pearls, corn, cattle, hides, skins, fleeces, trained hunting dogs and slaves, and buying ivory, amber, glass vessels and other luxuries;[7]:12 bronze axeheads from this area have been found on the coasts of Brittany and Germany[8]
c. 650 BC Implements start to be produced from iron, the earliest examples are believed to come from Llyn Fawr in South Wales[9]
c. 400 BC Iron Age settlements emerge in Wales, two of the earliest being Castell Odo, a small hillfort near the tip of the Llŷn Peninsula[10] and Lodge Wood Camp, above the later Roman fort at Caerleon[11]
c. 150 BC Gold coins being minted at least as early as this date, imitating Macedonian designs[7]:12
54 BC Tacitus later (1st century AD) records that Cymry (Welsh people) assisted in repelling Julius Caesar's second invasion[12]

1st century[edit]

Year Date Event
c. 25–75 Celtic chariot burial in Pembrokeshire, discovered in 2018[13]
48 The Roman conquest of Wales begins as the Deceangli tribe in the northeast submits to Publius Ostorius Scapula[14]
51 Caratacus, a defeated chieftain from east England, encourages the Silures and Ordovices to attack Roman territories, ultimately unsuccessfully;[15] he is betrayed by the Brigantes and taken to Rome as a prisoner[16]
52 A Roman legion, probably Legio XX Valeria Victrix, is defeated by the Silures[14]
c. 75 The Silures have been defeated;[14] Romans establish Venta Silurum, a market town in the Roman province of Britannia; the modern village of Caerwent in Monmouthshire is built around the Roman ruins;[17] Roman fortress at Caerleon is established for the Legio II Augusta[18]
77 Roman general Gnaeus Julius Agricola subjugates the Ordovices with "much slaughter"[14]
78 Gaius Suetonius Paulinus completes the Roman conquest of Wales, ending with his campaign to capture Anglesey;[19] the conquest has involved at least thirteen campaigns, up to 30,000 soldiers and, due to Wales's particular terrain, the development of new tactics which were subsequently adopted in other parts of the empire[14]

2nd century[edit]

Year Date Event
c. 100–200 Roman rule over Britannia is less evident in Wales than in other parts of Britain; there are few Roman settlements, but a number of roads, camps and forts;[20] the Romans exploit resources such as metal ores,[21] and to a lesser extent coal[22]
c. 150 According to Ptolemy, Wales was populated by five indistinct peoples, mostly of Celtic origin: Ordovices, Silures, Demetae, Deceangli and Gangani[23]
c. 162 Llandaff was probably the site of the first Christian church built in Wales[7]:44

3rd century[edit]

Year Date Event
Evidence of Christianity in Gwent[24]
Hoard of more than 3,000 Roman coins buried in a ceramic pot in Powys, discovered in 2011[25]
c. 280 Vines introduced into Britain, including Glamorganshire; also first established around this time, fruit tree, vegetable and game species not previously indigenous[7]:46

4th century[edit]

Year Date Event
311–313 The edicts of Serdica[26] and Milan allow Christians throughout the Empire to worship without restriction; there had been periods of persecution in Wales, including two martyrdoms: Julius and Aaron[27]
350–369 Influx of settlers from Ireland take advantage of soft Roman rule in Wales[28][29]
383 Effective end of Roman rule in Wales;[30] de facto Roman ruler Magnus Maximus leaves Wales defenceless when he embarks on a military campaign with considerable forces, and remains on the continent with his troops[31]
c. 389 Irish, Scots and Saxon invaders begin to fill the vacuum left by Magnus Maximus and his garrison[32]

5th century[edit]

Year Date Event
410 Roman garrison withdrawn from Britain,[33] followed by the emergence of Welsh kingdoms, principally Gwynedd (north), Demetia (south, subsequently Dyfed) and Powys (east)[34]
c. 430 Germanus of Auxerre promotes Christianity more widely in Wales and, as a former general, puts himself at the forefront of a British force in a confrontation with raiders near Mold[35]
c. 450 Cunedda Wledig (possibly the grandson of a Roman or Romano-Briton with military rank on the border with Scotland)[36] comes "from the north" and founds Gwynedd by driving out the Irish settlers[37]
c. 480 Tydfil, later Saint Tydfil—a daughter of Brychan, king of Brycheiniog (later Brecknockshire)—is murdered at Merthyr[38]
c. 490 Dubricius is appointed archbishop of Caerleon and Llandaff; he founds several colleges, including asylums for the aged and schools for the young[39]

6th century[edit]

Year Date Event
c. 500–542 The supposed time of the legendary King Arthur, of Welsh parentage and crowned at Caerleon, referred to by early writers such as Nennius, Geoffrey of Monmouth and many others, but considered by more modern historians as a combination of "monkish legends and chivalrous fiction"[40]
c. 500–589 The time of Dewi ap Sanctus (grandson of Ceredig, founder of Ceredigion), who later became Saint David, patron saint of Wales[41]
519 Bishop Dubricius presides over the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi, during which he resigns and recommends that Bishop Dewi succeed him; this is approved[42]
c. 522 Dewi moves the seat of the primacy to Mynyw, where the see became known as St David's, but the settlement was called Menevia at least until the 13th century,[43] and later became the city of St David's[44][42]
547 Death of Maelgwn Gwynedd, king of Gwynedd, known for funding the foundation of Christian churches throughout Wales;[45] Maelgwn may have died of the bubonic plague, a pandemic that spread across Europe and beyond in the early 540s, mostly via trade routes[46]
c.560 Death of Bishop Dewi. His episcopal see at Menevia is renamed Ty Ddewi (The House of David) in his honour[47]

7th century[edit]

Year Date Event
c. 600 The terms Cymry (Welsh people) and Cymru (Wales), as opposed to other Celtic peoples and regions, already in use as self-identifiers[48]
615/616 Battle of Chester between Anglo-Saxons and native Britons[49]
630 Welsh/Mercian alliance between King Cadwallon of Gwynedd and Penda of Mercia defeats army of King Edwin of Northumbria at the Battle of Cefn Digoll (or "Battle of the Long Mynd") at Long Mountain near Welshpool[50]
633/4 Cadwallon ap Cadfan, king of Gwynedd, dies in battle in the north of England[51][52]
c. 655–682 Reign of Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon, king of Gwynedd; 660 is the earliest date recorded[53]:3 in the 14th century Brut y Tywysogion (Chronicle of the Princes), an important Welsh history source[54]

8th century[edit]

Year Date Event
700–750 At the height of its powers, Mercia expands westwards to the Dee, Wye, and Severn rivers, at the expense of the Welsh kingdom of Powys; forced back into the upland regions, the Welsh launch a series of raids throughout the late 7th and early 8th centuries, in a bid to regain the rich farming territory of the lowlands.[7]:108–117
c. 753 An invading army from Wessex is beaten back by the Welsh at Hereford[7]:113–114
c. 754 Death of king Rhodri Molwynog, whose lineage is unclear, and whose predecessor and date of succession are not known; the reign of king Rhodri's successor, Cynan (probably Rhodri's son), was one of incessant warfare; Rhodri may have been succeeded by Caradog ap Meirion, or Caradog may have been a district ruler[7]:115–116
c. 755–794 Offa of Mercia and Cynewulf of Wessex campaign vigorously along the length of the border with the Welsh kingdoms, causing the Welsh to lose lands they would never recover and largely establishing the eastern borders of Wales that exist today; internal Welsh strife continues[7]:114–117
c. 757–796 Offa's Dyke is built along the Wales–England border to mark the boundary between Anglian Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys; however, radiocarbon dating of samples taken from excavations in 2014 reveal that it may have been constructed much earlier than this, and over an extended time period[55]
768 The Welsh church adopts the Catholic method of calculating Easter through the efforts of bishop Elfodd[7]:114
795/6 Battle at Rhuddlan Marsh, between the Saxons and Welsh; there is confusion between possible battles at Rhuddlan Marsh (Denbighshire) in 795 and Rhuddlan (Flintshire) in 796[56]
c. 798 When Caradog of Gwynedd and Meredydd of Dyfed die at the hands of the Mercians, Cynan ap Rhodri becomes the next king of Gwynedd[7]:116

9th century[edit]

Year Date Event
825 Egbert of Wessex defeats the Mercians and demands sovereignty over Wales[57]
c. 828 Nennius, a 9th-century Welsh monk, is thought to have written Historia Brittonum, a history of the Celtic Britons, although some experts argue that the work was written anonymously[58]
844 Rhodri ap Merfyn (later known as Rhodri the Great) becomes King of Gwynedd, Powys and Deheubarth by right of succession, uniting the three kingdoms under one rule[57]
c. 873 When Rhodri the Great dies fighting the Saxons on Anglesey, his three eldest sons become regional rulers: Cadell in Seisyllwg (mainly Ceredigion), Anarawd in Gwynedd and Merfyn in Powys[53]:15
877 Cadell ap Rhodri invades Powys, capturing Merfyn's territory[53]:17
c. 885 Several Welsh kings submit to Alfred the Great's lordship; Asser, a Welsh cleric, is invited to join Alfred in Wessex; in 893, Asser writes a biography of Alfred[59]
892 Anarawd ap Rhodri takes over Ceredigion and attacks Dyfed; Merfyn ap Rhodri is killed by his own men[53]:19
893 (spring) The Battle of Buttington ends in victory for a combined Anglo-Saxon and Welsh force against the Danish Vikings;[60] the Buttington Oak, believed to have been planted around this time to commemorate the battle, survives until February 2018[61]
(autumn) Danish Vikings occupy the town of Chester, but when Alfred the Great cuts off their food supplies, they move west and carry out raids in north Wales before returning to Essex[citation needed]

10th century[edit]

Year Date Event
900 Death of Cadell ap Rhodri, king of Seisyllwg; Anarawd ap Rhodri becomes ruler of most of Wales, being the last to survive of Rhodri the Great's three eldest sons[53]:21
904 Hywel ap Cadell (grandson of Rhodri The Great) marries Elen,[62] daughter of Llywarch ap Hyfaidd, the late king of Dyfed, thus inheriting the kingdom[53]:21
913 Death of Hywel's uncle, Anarawd ap Rhodri[53]:21
920 Hywel ap Cadell unites the kingdoms of Dyfed and Seisyllwg, to create the new realm of Deheubarth ("southern district")[63]
c. 926 Hywel convenes a council from all parts of Wales to establish a set of Laws for the whole country; he takes the transcript to Rome and obtains the Pope's approval[64]
928 King Æthelstan of England asserts authority over the Welsh kings, and fixes the border between England and Wales at the River Wye;[65] this may have been the first time a border dispute (involving the Welsh in the Witangemot) was settled by discussion, rather than by war[64]
943 Hywel ap Cadell (known by this time as Hywel Dda or "Hywel the Good") assumes control of Gwynedd after a joint Danish and Saxon incursion leads to the death of their king and his brother;[66] Hywel eventually extends his rule to most of Wales[67]
948 Death of king Hywel Dda,[68] followed by several decades of inter-family warfare, interspersed with battles with the Saxons and Danes[53]:25
950 Hywel Dda's nephews, Iago ab Idwal and Ieuaf ab Idwal, reclaim the kingdom of Gwynedd by driving out their cousins at the Battle of Carno[53]:25
952–954 Territorial struggles continue between the sons and nephews of Hywel Dda, ending in defeat for the southern princes at a major battle near Llanrwst[53]:25–27
969 Iago ab Idwal imprisons his brother Ieuaf, then continues to rule Gwynedd unimpeded for the next decade[53]:33
972 King Edgar of England comes to Chester in person to broker peace between the regional kings, but the conflicts resume after his departure[69]
979 Iago ab Idwal is defeated in battle by his nephew Hywel ap Ieuaf, who becomes the next king of Gwynedd[53]:33
985 After the death of Hywel ap Ieuaf, his brother Cadwallon ab Ieuaf takes on the rule of Gwynedd for a brief period[53]:37
986 Maredudd ab Owain captures the kingdom of Gwynedd, which is later annexed with Deheubarth; Danes invade in the south[53]:37
987 After carrying out several major raids on Wales in previous years, Norse king Godfrey Haroldson takes two thousand captives from Anglesey for ransom[70]
996 Vikings sack St David's in Pembrokeshire, and murder the bishop, Morgeneu[53]:43
999 Cynan ap Hywel becomes king of Gwynedd[53]:43

11th century[edit]

Year Date Event
c. 1000 Aeddan ap Blegywryd subjugates north Wales; the hereditary heir, Iago, flees to Ireland; Cynan ap Hywel, though supported by Irish Danes, fails to recover his possessions[71]
1005 On the death of Cynan, the pretender Aeddan is ruler of Gwynedd[72]
1018 Llywelyn ap Seisyll, with distant claims to Gwynedd and Deheubarth, defeats Aeddan (who is killed along with his four sons)[73] and takes control of the kingdoms of Gwynedd and Powys[74]
1022 Llywelyn ap Seisyll defeats the pretender Rhain ("the Irishman"), who claimed to be a son of Maredudd ab Owain, at Abergwili[75] and takes control of the south[76]
1023 On the death of Llywelyn ap Seisyll, the rule of Gwynedd and Powys passes to Iago ab Idwal ap Meurig who is descended from the ancient dynasty[74]
1039 Iago ab Idwal ap Meurig is killed by his own men,[74] and replaced as ruler of Gwynedd and Powys by Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (King Llywelyn ap Seisyll's son, and great-great-grandson of Hywel Dda)[77]
1055 24 October Gruffydd ap Llywelyn sacks Hereford, one of several territories that he is able to seize in Wales and along the border with England[77]
1056 16 June Gruffydd ap Llywelyn defeats an English army at the Battle of Glasbury (Claftbyrig), near Hereford;[77] around this time, he begins to be recognised as the true King of Wales[78]
1062–1063 English nobleman Harold Godwinson (who will later become the last Anglo-Saxon king of England) leads a series of campaigns against Gruffydd ap Llywelyn[77]
1063 5 August Death of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn,[79] after which the Welsh kingdoms are ruled separately for a brief period prior to the Norman invasion of Wales; Bleddyn ap Cynfyn becomes king of Gwynedd[80]
1067 Gwent is invaded by William FitzOsbern (cousin of William the Conqueror) and his followers, and becomes the first of the Welsh kingdoms to be overrun following the Norman conquest of England the previous year[81]
1070 Bleddyn ap Cynfyn becomes king of both Gwynedd and Powys after the Battle of Mechain[82]
1075 Death of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn leads to a civil war in which the Normans take the opportunity to seize lands in northern Wales[80]
1081 Gruffudd ap Cynan becomes king of Gwynedd following the Battle of Mynydd Carn, but is captured and imprisoned by Norman invaders soon afterwards;[83] William the Conqueror leads a Norman army into Deheubarth, and worships at the shrine of St David[84]
1088–1092 Lordships of Welsh lands apportioned to Normans and their Welsh allies; Normans accelerate building or strengthening castles across the country[53]:73–77
1094–1098 Welsh revolt against Norman rule leads to territories being regained by the Britons;[83] William II of England attempts to suppress the revolt in north Wales with little success[53]:81–85
1098 June/July Shortly after capturing Anglesey from the Welsh, the Normans are defeated at the Battle of Anglesey Sound and forced to retreat, paving the way for the return of the exiled Gruffudd ap Cynan[53]:85
1099 Gruffudd ap Cynan escapes from imprisonment again and rules Anglesey with the consent of the Normans[83]

12th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1100 With the death of William II, much of Wales is under Welsh rule but, with constant struggles for local control, there is no cohesive national identity[85]
1102–1113 Period of violent power struggles for regional control between the English crown, under the new King Henry I, and Welsh leaders such as Iorwerth ap Bleddyn, Prince of Powys, and his brothers Cadwgan and Maredudd[53]:87–95
c. 1106 Construction begins on Ogmore Castle in Glamorgan, one of the earliest Norman stone castles in South Wales[86]
1111–1114 Normans move into south and north Wales; peace is agreed between King Henry I and Gruffudd ap Cynan of Gwynedd; Owain ap Cadwgan is knighted by King Henry I for his service in Normandy[53]:95–97
1115–1130 A period of inter-family differences and rights of succession, mainly in the south and east (but to some extent in Gwynedd), are marked by warfare and brutality; Owain ap Cadwgan is killed in battle and most of Powys passes to his uncle, Maredudd ap Bleddyn[53]:97–111[87]
c. 1123 Saint David is canonised by the Holy See[88]
1131 9 May Tintern Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery in Wales, is founded in Monmouthshire[89]
1132 9 February Death of Maredudd ap Bleddyn; he is succeeded as ruler of Powys by his son Madog ap Maredudd[90]
1136 1 January The Welsh revolt against Norman occupation continues with a defeat of Norman forces at the Battle of Llwchwr (Battle of Gower)[91]
September/
October
Owain ap Gruffudd, allied with Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, inflicts a crushing defeat on the Normans at the Battle of Crug Mawr[92] and annexes Ceredigion[53]:111
1137 11 April Death of Gruffudd ap Cynan; he is succeeded as king of Gwynedd by his son Owain ap Gruffudd (who later becomes known as Owain Gwynedd)[53]:113
1157 July Owain Gwynedd, with an army of around 3,000, forces the retreat of Henry II's much larger army (supported by Madog of Powys, who has yielded to Henry the previous year)[93] at the Battle of Ewloe in Flintshire;[94][95] following the campaign, Owain yields to Henry, but retains his rule and territory[93]
1160 Following the death of Madog ap Maredudd, the kingdom of Powys is split into two parts: Maelor, the northern portion, is later renamed Powys Fadog; and Cyfeiliog, in the south, becomes Powys Wenwynwyn[96]
1165 August Henry II's efforts to subdue north Wales continue with the inconclusive Battle of Crogen in the Ceiriog Valley[97][98]
1170 Death of Owain Gwynedd throws the kingdom of Gwynedd into disarray; within weeks, his nominated heir Hywel is dead, and his illegitimate son Dafydd usurps the rule of Gwynedd, but he fails to maintain his father's hold on south Wales, which falls into the hands of Rhys ap Gruffydd[53]:133
1171 Henry II leads a large army into south Wales, meets amicably with Rhys ap Gruffydd, and after making an offering at St David's shrine, he sails from Pembroke with his army for Ireland[99]
1172 Rhys ap Gruffydd is appointed justice of south Wales by Henry II, essentially becoming ruler in Henry's stead[96]
1176 December To celebrate his primacy, Rhys ap Gruffydd hosts a gathering of bards, musicians and performers at Cardigan Castle, which is now regarded as the first recorded eisteddfod[100][96]
1188 Gerald of Wales accompanies the Archbishop of Canterbury on a journey through Wales to recruit volunteers for the Third Crusade; Owain Cyfeiliog, Prince of Powys Wenwynwyn refuses to support the visit and is consequently excommunicated[101]
1191 Gerald of Wales writes Itinerarium Cambriae, an account of his tour of Wales with the Archbishop of Canterbury three years earlier[102]
1194 Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (who later becomes known as Llywelyn the Great) defeats his uncle Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd at the Battle of Aberconwy and seizes control of Gwynedd[103]
Gerald of Wales writes Descriptio Cambriae; he writes of Wales as a nation, with defined borders, and a common ancestry and identity who "if they would be inseparable, they would be insuperable"[104]

13th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1200 By this date, the title of regional rulers as "king" has given way to the title "prince"[96]
1201 July Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd, signs a treaty with King John of England and they remain on good terms for the next ten years[105]
1204 After five years of lobbying, including directly to the Pope, Gerald of Wales fails to have St David's raised to an archbishopric[106]
1205 Llywelyn the Great consolidates his position by marrying King John's illegitimate daughter Joan[105]
1211 August Suspicious of Llywelyn's expansion of Gwynedd into neighbouring territories, King John invades Gwynedd, assisted by most of the other Welsh princes, forcing Llywelyn to seek terms with John and accept abandonment by his allies[105]
1212 John's clear intent of intrusive overlordship of Wales leads to Welsh leaders rallying to Llywelyn the Great, who recaptures all of Gwynedd; King John plans another invasion but this attempt is abandoned[105]
1215 May Llywelyn, in support of the disaffected English barons, seizes Shrewsbury, a factor in King John's submission to the barons[105]
15 June When King John is forced to sign the Magna Carta, Llywelyn the Great is rewarded with several favourable provisions relating to Wales, in particular the rights to its own laws[105]
1218 After three more years of conflict within Wales, Llywelyn overcomes all opposition and receives the homage of all the other Welsh rulers, and his pre-eminence is confirmed by the English crown in the Treaty of Worcester[107]
1234 21 June The "Peace of Middle" establishes a truce between Llywelyn the Great and the English Crown; Llywelyn styles himself "Prince of Aberffraw" and "Lord of Snowdonia"[107]
1240 11 April Death of Llywelyn the Great; Dafydd ap Llywelyn succeeds his father as Prince of Gwynedd, but King Henry III does not support his overlordship as prince of all Wales, thus deliberately undermining Welsh unity[108]
1244 King Henry III of England attacks Gwynedd; Dafydd styles himself prince of Wales; he offers Wales as a vassal state to the Pope, to free Wales from English dominion, but this is denied[108]
1246 25 February Dafydd ap Llywelyn dies without issue; his nephew Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (grandson of Llywelyn the Great) eventually succeeds as Prince of Gwynedd[108]
1247 After three years of devastating war, Wales is reduced again to lordships under English rule by the Treaty of Woodstock[108]
1258 Llywelyn ap Gruffudd begins to use the title of "Prince of Wales"[109]
1267 29 September King Henry III accepts Llywelyn ap Gruffudd as Prince of Wales under the terms of the Treaty of Montgomery[109]
1282 11 December Death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd at the Battle of Orewin Bridge; his brother Dafydd ap Gruffydd succeeds, styling himself Prince of Wales[110]
1283 22 June Dafydd ap Gruffudd is captured by King Edward I of England and charged with high treason[110]
3 October Dafydd ap Gruffudd is executed at Shrewsbury[110]
1284 3 March King Edward I enacts the Statute of Rhuddlan, which provides the constitutional basis for the government of the Principality of North Wales[111]
1294–1295 Madog ap Llywelyn leads a Welsh revolt against English rule, claiming the title of "Prince of Wales"[112]
1295 Madog is defeated at the Battle of Maes Moydog; he escapes, but subsequently surrenders unconditionally and is taken to London, but his fate is unknown.[112]

14th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1301 7 February Edward of Carnarvon is invested as the first English Prince of Wales (as the title is transferred to the heir apparent to the English or British throne)[113]
1306 Work resumes on Beaumaris Castle prompted by fears of a Scottish invasion of North Wales[114][115]
1316 28 January Llywelyn Bren launches a surprise attack on Caerphilly Castle in a revolt against English rule in Wales; he lays siege to the castle for six weeks and surrenders unconditionally to King Edward II's forces on 18 March[116]
1318 Llywelyn Bren is unlawfully executed at Cardiff Castle[116]
1321 May Newport, Cardiff and Caerphilly are seized by the Marcher Lord Roger Mortimer in an intense eight-day campaign in the Despenser War against King Edward II of England[117]
1326 King Edward II retreats to Wales with his forces after his regime collapses; he is captured by rebel forces north of Caerphilly, escorted back to England via Monmouth Castle and relinquishes his crown two months later[118]
1330 The construction of Beaumaris Castle is halted and, despite a huge sum of money being spent on it (£15,000) the building is never completed[114][115]
1339 Farndon Bridge is built across the River Dee and the Wales–England border[119]
1345 The first stone bridge at Llangollen is built across the River Dee by John Trevor[120]
1369 Owain Lawgoch launches an unsuccessful invasion attempt on Wales in a bid to take back his confiscated lands[121]
1372 May In Paris, Owain Lawgoch announces his intention of claiming the throne of Wales, and then mobilises his forces in readiness for another invasion attempt[121]
1384 Owain Glyndŵr enters the army of King Richard II of England[122]
1399 July–September King Richard II seeks refuge at Conwy Castle and surrenders to Henry Bolingbroke at Flint Castle[123]

15th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1401 March Conwy Castle is taken by Owain Glyndŵr's supporters and is held for several months[124][125]
June Battle of Mynydd Hyddgen, part of the Glyndŵr Rising against English rule, is the first major victory for Glyndŵr's Welsh rebels[126]
2 November Battle of Tuthill at Caernarfon where Owain Glyndŵr first raises the royal standard bearing a golden dragon on a white field[122]
1402 22 June Battle of Bryn Glas (also known as the Battle of Pilleth) ends in victory for Owain Glyndŵr, prolonging the Welsh rebellion against English rule[122]:22, 231
August Owain Glyndŵr receives a warm welcome in southeast Wales[127]
1403 July Owain Glyndŵr attacks, but fails to take, Carreg Cennen Castle[128]
21 July Battle of Shrewsbury ends in defeat and death of Henry Percy, an ally of Owain Glyndŵr, ending the Percy challenge to King Henry IV of England[129]
Autumn Reputed Battle of Stalling Down near Cowbridge ends in defeat for the King's army[130]
1404 May Owain Glyndŵr writes to the King of France requesting military support[131]
July Owain Glyndŵr holds a Welsh Parliament in Machynlleth, where he is crowned Prince of Wales[132] in the presence of envoys from France, Scotland and Castile [131]
1405 28 February Peak of the Glyndŵr Rising: Tripartite Indenture is agreed between Owain Glyndŵr, Henry Percy and Edmund Mortimer, to divide Wales and England between them, at the expense of King Henry IV[131][133]
5 May Battle of Pwll Melyn, the first major defeat for Owain Glyndŵr[134][135]
August French forces land at Milford Haven;[131] Owain Glyndŵr holds his second Welsh Parliament, at Harlech Castle
November Owain Glyndŵr's and French forces reach Worcester, but the French, not seeing English support, abandon the campaign and return to France[135]
1406 31 March Owain Glyndŵr writes the "Pennal Letter" to King Charles VI of France, outlining his vision for the future government of an independent Wales[136]
1408 September Aberystwyth Castle surrenders to the English, and Owain Glyndŵr moves his court to Harlech[137]
1409 Harlech Castle is captured by English forces; Glyndŵr and his supporters flee to the mountains, from where they continue sporadic attacks for several years;[137] Glyndŵr's wife Margaret Hanmer is taken prisoner, along with her children and grandchildren, most of whom probably die later in captivity (Hanmer herself dies c. 1420)[citation needed]
1413 Nothing is heard of Owain Glyndŵr after this date[138]
1415 21 September End of the Glyndŵr Rising; approximate date of Owain Glyndŵr's death, possibly in Herefordshire[138]
25 October Welsh archers play a key part in the victory of King Henry V of England over a much larger French army at the Battle of Agincourt;[139] some Welsh combatants fight on the French side[140]
1417 30 April Owain Glyndŵr's son, Maredudd ab Owain Glyndŵr, declines the offer of a pardon from King Henry V for both himself and his father[141]
1421 Maredudd ab Owain Glyndŵr finally accepts a pardon (for himself alone) from King Henry V[142]
1437 Work begins on the construction of the (present) Raglan Castle, replacing an earlier structure[143][144]
c. 1451 The first large-scale eisteddfod is held at Carmarthen: Dafydd ab Edmwnd wins the silver chair for his poetry[145]
1460 10 July Following defeat at the Battle of Northampton, Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England, escapes to Harlech Castle with her son Edward, Prince of Wales[citation needed]
1468 14 August The garrison of Harlech Castle surrenders to King Edward IV after a seven-year siege[146][147]
1471 4 May The Battle of Tewkesbury ends Lancastrian hopes of regaining the ascendance over the House of York in the Wars of the Roses; King Edward IV is victorious, and Edward of Westminster becomes the only Prince of Wales ever to die in battle[148]
1473 The Court of the President and Council of Wales is established at Ludlow Castle[149]
1483 14 April Whilst residing at Ludlow Castle, 12-year-old King Edward V of England receives news of his father's sudden death and his own accession to the English throne; the Council at Ludlow comes to an end[149]
1485 1 August Henry Tudor lands near Dale, Pembrokeshire, and marches through Wales (8 to 14 August)[150] and England where, on 22 August, he defeats King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field[151] to become the third and last Welsh-born King of England
1488 King Henry VII's uncle, Jasper Tudor, takes possession of Cardiff Castle[152]
1490 27 February English-born Arthur Tudor, the eldest son of King Henry VII, is ceremonially invested as Prince of Wales at the Palace of Westminster[153]
1498 An insurrection breaks out in Meirionydd in north Wales and the rebels capture Harlech Castle; the revolt is the last of the medieval era in Wales[citation needed]

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1523 Caerwys hosts an eisteddfod, one of the most important of the early modern era, attended by Welsh poet Tudur Aled[154]
1535–1542 Laws in Wales Acts replace Welsh law with English law and replace the Marcher Lordships with newly-established counties; Wales is unified with England[155]
1536 Dissolution of the Monasteries: a great number of abbeys and priories in Wales are suppressed over the next four years, including Monmouth Priory,[156] Neath Abbey,[157] and Tintern Abbey[158]
1546 Yny lhyvyr hwnn, the first book to be printed in the Welsh language (said to be written anonymously by Sir John Prise), is published in London[159]
1563 The Usk Bridge is built to replace the medieval bridge that was washed away in floods in 1535; this is Brecon's oldest route over the River Usk[160]
1567 Caerwys hosts its second large-scale eisteddfod, sanctioned by Queen Elizabeth I of England[161]
1573 The earliest map showing Wales as a separate country from the rest of Great Britain, Cambriae Typus by Humphrey Llwyd, is published in the first modern atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum[162]
1584 The first Welsh copper smelting works is established at Aberdulais[5]
1588 The first translation of the Bible into Welsh, Y Beibl cyssegr-lan by bishop William Morgan, is published[163]

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1601 Elizabethan Poor Law Act is passed to create a poor law system in England and Wales[164]
1606 12 April A new national flag is created by royal decree to mark the union between England and Scotland; Wales is not represented in the design because it is legally a part of England[165]
1607 30 January Bristol Channel floods cause devastation on the south coast of Wales, affecting Pembrokeshire, Glamorgan, and Monmouthshire;[166] Cardiff is the worst affected town, with the foundations of St Mary's Church destroyed[167]
1615–1617 The Wye Bridge in Monmouth is rebuilt in stone[168]
1620 Bishop William Morgan's Bible translation into Welsh (first published in 1588) is revised by Bishop Richard Parry and Dr John Davies as Y Bibl Cyssegr-lan, and published in London[169]
1636 The three-arch stone bridge, Pont Fawr,[170] at Llanrwst is built by Sir John Wynn of Gwydir Castle; nicknamed locally as "Pont Inigo Jones", its design is attributed to classical architect Inigo Jones[171]
1640 Cannon production begins at Bersham Ironworks[172]
1642/43 Skirmishes between Parliamentarians and Royalists bring the English Civil War to (largely Royalist or neutral[173]) Wales, including naval action at Milford Haven[174]
1643 November Parliamentary forces make piecemeal strategic gains in Wales from the north and south[175]
1644 April Further advances by Parliamentary forces in southwest Wales, threatening Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire[176]
July Widespread military actions across the whole of south Wales, resulting in gains for the Parliamentarians[177]
17 September The first battle of the English Civil War on Welsh soil takes place at Montgomery and the castle is taken by the Parliamentarians[178]
1644/45 Cardigan Castle is besieged and captured by Parliamentarians, before being attacked by Royalists who leave the castle slighted and burned[179][180]
1645 June–September King Charles I of England tours south and mid-Wales to rally support in the wake of his defeat at the Battle of Naseby[181]
1646 February Cardiff Castle is besieged by Royalists, but relieved by Parliamentarians[182]
April–June Aberystwyth Castle, after a long siege, surrenders to Parliamentary forces; most castles in north Wales are under siege; Caernarvon, Anglesey and Beaumaris submit to Parliament[183]
19 August Raglan Castle surrenders to Parliamentary forces[184]
October Denbigh Castle surrenders to Parliamentary forces[185]
1647 19 January Holt Castle surrenders to Parliamentary forces after a siege lasting several months[186]
16 March Harlech Castle surrenders to Parliamentary forces; it is the last Royalist stronghold of the English Civil War in mainland Britain[187]
1648 8 May The Battle of St. Fagans takes place near Cardiff, a pitched battle (termed by some an insurrection) between Parliamentarians and Royalists (more accurately disaffected Parliamentary forces), part of the Second English Civil War,[188] in which there is fighting throughout south Wales[189]
June Fighting breaks out in north Wales; the insurrection is suppressed[190]
July After a long siege, Pembroke surrenders to Parliament[191]
July–October Anglesey is the last area in Wales to submit to the rule of Parliament, which demands the sum of £7,000 for military expenditure; end of the English Civil War in Wales[192]
1649 January Welsh politicians, Thomas Wogan (Pembroke) and John Jones Maesygarnedd (Merioneth), are among the signatories to the death warrant of Charles I; after the restoration, Wogan flees the country and Jones is executed[193][194]
Aberystwyth Castle is slighted by Commonwealth troops[195]
June Montgomery Castle is demolished by order of the Rump Parliament[196]
1650 22 February The Act for the better propagation and preaching of the Gospel in Wales is passed by Parliament, resulting in the ejection of dissident clergymen and the creation of English-language schools[197]
1655 Conwy Castle is slighted by order of the English Council of State following the British Civil Wars[198]
1659 5 August Booth's Rebellion proclaims Charles II as King of England; its leaders include Thomas Myddelton, a former Parliamentary general, of Chirk Castle near Wrexham[199]
Denbigh Castle is slighted after being seized by Royalist soldiers[200][201]
1682 30 August A group of Welsh settlers, including Thomas Wynne, set sail for Pennsylvania[202]
1686 Welsh Quaker leader Rowland Ellis, and his fellow Quakers, leave Wales for Pennsylvania to avoid religious persecution[203]
1688 Abergavenny's Royal charter is annulled when the chief officers of the town's corporation refuse to take the oath of allegiance to King William III of England, leading to a subsequent decline in the town's prosperity[204]
1694 The first of two copper mills opens in the Neath Valley, powered by waterfalls on the River Neath. Copper smelting, refining and working becomes a prime commercial concern in Wales in the late 17th century.[5]

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1717 4 November Skerries Lighthouse begins operation, guiding ships past the low tract of submerged land off Carmel Head, northwest Anglesey[205]
1723 The Workhouse Test Act (also known as Knatchbull's Act) is passed by UK government, leading to the establishment of numerous workhouses in England and Wales over the next two decades[206][207]
1746 The Wales and Berwick Act is passed, creating a statutory definition of "England" as including England, Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed[208]
1761 Bersham Ironworks employs a new boring machine for the accurate production of smooth bore cannon, later supplying cannon for use in the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic wars[172]
1765 Opening of the Cyfarthfa Ironworks and construction of the first coke blast furnace for the production of pig iron[209]
1768 A rich seam of copper ore is discovered at Parys Mountain, Anglesey, leading to the formation of the Parys Mine Company, soon to become the world's most productive copper mining concern. Wales dominates the world copper markets throughout this period.[5]
1782 The Relief of the Poor Act (also known as Gilbert's Act) is passed by UK government, enabling poor relief to be provided at home for the able-bodied poor[210][211] (later repealed in 1871 by the Statute Law Revision Act)
1793 Pont-y-Cafnau, the world's earliest surviving iron railway bridge, is constructed to support a tramway and aqueduct for the transport of raw materials to the Cyfarthfa Ironworks[212]
1797 22–24 February The Pembrokeshire coast is invaded by Republican France in the Battle of Fishguard, often referred to as the "last invasion of Britain" as it represents the last assault launched on British soil by a hostile foreign power[213]

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1802 Admiral Nelson pays a personal visit to the Cyfarthfa Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil[209]
1804 21 February The world's first ever railway journey takes place when Richard Trevithick's steam locomotive runs along the newly laid tramroad from Penydarren Ironworks to the canal wharf at Abercynon[214]
1810/11 William Madocks builds a sea wall to reclaim a large proportion of Traeth Mawr from the sea for agricultural use, the origins of the town of Porthmadog[215]
1819 The first "provincial" eisteddfod is held in Carmarthen, marking the revival of the traditional arts festival as a Welsh institution[216]
1823 18 January The Red Lady of Paviland, a partial skeleton from the Stone Age, is discovered by William Buckland in a limestone cave on the Gower Peninsula; considered to be the oldest known ceremonial burial in Western Europe[217]
1830 Merthyr Tydfil is by now the largest town in Wales, mainly populated by workers in the iron and coal industries, and their families[218]
1831 June An armed uprising takes place in Merthyr Tydfil, as thousands of workers protest against their poor wages and working conditions[218]
13 August Despite a petition for his release, a young miner called Richard Lewis (also known as Dic Penderyn) is hanged outside Cardiff Gaol for stabbing a soldier with a bayonet during the Merthyr Rising; later proven to be innocent, he is remembered as a working-class martyr[218][219]
1833 Samuel Lewis publishes the comprehensive, two-volume, historical and geographical A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (the 4th edition, 1849, is online)[220]
1834 14 August Poor Law Amendment Act is passed by UK government, replacing earlier poor relief legislation and fundamentally reforming the poverty relief system in England and Wales (later repealed in 1948 at the rise of the British welfare state)[221]
1835 The Swansea Philosophical & Literary Society is established with the purpose of making Swansea a centre of culture and scientific research[222]
1837 Opening of Port Talbot Docks, the first major docks in South Wales, which are named after Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (MP for Glamorganshire), the main sponsor of the project[223]
1838 The Swansea Philosophical & Literary Society is granted a royal charter in recognition of the high quality of scientific research by its members; the society is renamed the Royal Institution of South Wales[222]
1839 4 November Newport Rising, an armed rebellion by the Chartism movement against authority, led by Chartist John Frost[224]
1840 16 January Chartists John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones are found guilty of high treason for their part in the 1839 Newport Rising, and sentenced to death[225] (later commuted to penal transportation)[224]
5 June Joseph Brown is appointed Vicar Apostolic of the Roman Catholic District of Wales[226]
8 October Official opening of Taff Vale Railway, the first steam-worked passenger railway in Wales[227]
28 October Joseph Brown, Vicar Apostolic of the Roman Catholic District of Wales, is consecrated as a bishop[226]
1841 19 February The Governor Fenner, carrying emigrants to America, collides with a steamer off Holyhead and sinks with the loss of 123 lives[228]
9 March The earliest recorded photograph in Wales, a daguerreotype of Margam Castle, is taken by Calvert Jones[229]
April The population of Wales exceeds one million[230]
21 April The Taff Vale Railway is extended from Abercynon to Merthyr Tydfil[227]
Opening of Swansea Museum—the oldest museum in Wales—by the Royal Institution of South Wales[231]
1842 12 April Morgan Williams travels to the Chartist Convention in London, to present to parliament a petition signed by 36,000 people from south Wales[232]
May The Royal Children's Employment Commission publishes its first report on the employment of children in the British coal industry, which reveals that children as young as five are working long shifts underground[233]
June The Rebecca Riots begin in earnest in south and west Wales, as local farmers and agricultural workers launch a series of attacks on tollhouses and other symbols of economic oppression[234]
10 October Official opening of the Town Dock (later known as the "Old Dock"), the first floating dock facility in Newport harbour, able to accommodate the largest ships in the world[235]
1850 National Roman Legion Museum is established in Caerleon, near Newport[236]
1851 A bronze statue of the British military leader Sir William Nott is erected in his home town of Carmarthen[237]
1860 1 December A major explosion at the Black Vein Colliery in Risca, southeast Wales, claims 142 lives[238]
1861 The first official National Eisteddfod as we know it today took place in Aberdare[239]
1865 28 July 153 Welsh settlers establish Y Wladfa in Patagonia, Argentina[240]
1867 8 November Two explosions at the Ferndale Colliery in the Rhondda Valley claim the lives of 178 men and boys[241]
1875 16 April Official opening of the Alexandra Dock in Newport, following the success of the Town Dock and the subsequent increase in the volume of trade[242]
Cyfarthfa Ironworks is forced to close after more than 100 years of production[209]
1878 11 September A catastrophic explosion at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn claims the lives of 268 men and boys[243]
1880 15 July A major explosion at the New Risca Colliery in Risca, southeast Wales, claims 120 lives[244]
1883 Cardiff hosts the National Eisteddfod for the first time since its modern inception in 1861[245]
1887 The National Eisteddfod is held in London's Royal Albert Hall for the first time
1888 The small village of Llanwddyn, at the head of the Vyrnwy valley, is flooded to create the Lake Vyrnwy reservoir for supplying fresh water to Liverpool and Merseyside[246]
1890 6 February An explosion at the Llanerch Colliery in Abersychan claims the lives of 176 men and boys[247]
10 April David Lloyd George returned as Liberal MP for Carnarvon Boroughs[248]
1893 6 June The second of the Alexandra Docks, the South Dock, opens at Newport (and the original Alexandra Dock is renamed the "North Dock")[242]
Construction work begins on the dams for the Elan Valley Reservoirs, which will supply clean drinking water to Birmingham in the English West Midlands[249]
1894 23 June An explosion at the Albion Colliery in Cilfynydd claims the lives of 290 men and boys; one of the worst mining accidents ever to occur in the United Kingdom, it is the second worst mining disaster in Welsh history (after the Senghenydd colliery disaster in 1913)[250]

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1900–1920 Peak of the coal mining industry in Wales, with more than 600 collieries employing over 230,000 men[251]
1901 The population of Wales exceeds two million, having doubled in 60 years[230]
1904 21 July Official opening of the Elan Valley Reservoirs by King Edward VII of England and Queen Alexandra; water starts flowing along 118 km of gravity-driven pipeline to the Frankley Reservoir in Birmingham[249]
1905 Construction of the original steel mill at Port Talbot is completed[223]
28 October Cardiff is granted city status by King Edward VII[252]
1906 27 June An earthquake strikes near Swansea, causing some minor structural damage to buildings; measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, it is one of the most significant earthquakes to occur in the UK in the 20th century[253]
1907 National Museum of Wales is established in Cardiff by a royal charter[254]
1908 10 August Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales established[255]
1911 13 July Prince Edward is invested as the Prince of Wales in an elaborate ceremony at Caernarfon Castle[256]
16 December The 1911 Coal Mines Act is passed, following a series of mine disasters in the 19th and early-20th centuries, including several in Wales; the Act amends existing laws covering safety and other aspects of the UK coal mining industry[257]
1911–1913 A significant prehistoric metalwork hoard, thought to have been deposited in a sacred ritual, is discovered at Llyn Fawr when the lake is partially drained for the construction of a new reservoir[9]
1913 14 October A huge explosion at the Universal Colliery in Senghenydd claims the lives of 439 men and boys; it is the worst mining disaster in the history of the British coalfields[258]
1914 18 September The long-awaited Welsh Church Act receives royal assent,[259] but will not come into force until after World War I
1916 6 December David Lloyd George becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom;[260] although not actually Welsh-born, Lloyd George grew up in Wales and he was the first Welsh-speaking British prime minister[261]
1919 Final closure of the Cyfarthfa Ironworks, which is dismantled nine years later[209]
1920 31 March The Welsh Church Act 1914 takes effect, allowing the creation of the Church in Wales which encompasses most of the Welsh part of the Church of England;[259] The Act disestablishes the Church in Wales and establishes the Archbishopric of Wales; the first Archbishop is Alfred George Edwards[262]
1924 25 September Malcolm Campbell sets a world land speed record of 146.16 mph (235.22 km/h) on Pendine Sands, Carmarthen Bay, in his Sunbeam 350HP car Blue Bird, the first of several successful record attempts on the Sands in the 1920s[263]
1925 5 August The Welsh social-democratic political party Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru (meaning "The National Party of Wales") is formed in Pwllheli, later changing its name to Plaid Cymru (or simply "The Party of Wales")[264]
1929 May The first Urdd National Eisteddfod, a competitive youth festival of literature, music and performing arts, is held in Corwen, Denbighshire[265]
1930 October Closure of Newport's "Old Dock", as resources are concentrated on the modern Alexandra Dock complex[235]
1934 22 September A major explosion at the Gresford Colliery near Wrexham claims the lives of 266 men[266]
1935 Production of Y Chwarelwr (The Quarryman), the first audio feature film recorded in the Welsh language[267]
1936 8 September Arson attack at RAF Penrhos "bombing school" by three members of Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru, known as the Tân yn Llŷn (Fire in Llŷn) protest; the culmination of an ongoing opposition campaign, it is considered to be a defining moment in the history of the political party[268]
1936/7 Welsh archaeologist W. F. Grimes excavates the tomb of Pentre Ifan in Pembrokeshire[4]
1942/3 Over 150 Iron Age metal objects are discovered in Llyn Cerrig Bach on Anglesey, evidently placed in the lake as votive offerings[269]
1947 1 January The British coal industry is nationalised as a result of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946; the move is unable to halt the decline in the Welsh coal mining industry and the repeated closure of Welsh collieries[251]
June The first International Musical Eisteddfod is held in Llangollen[270]
1948 1 July A national open-air museum (originally called the "Welsh Folk Museum") opens to the public at St Fagans Castle near Cardiff, the Earl of Plymouth having donated the site to the National Museum of Wales in 1946[271]
5 July The National Health Service is established in the UK[272] as one of a series of welfare reforms designed to guarantee basic levels of personal and social security after the Second World War[273]
1951 17 July Official opening of the Abbey Steelworks in Port Talbot; the new steel production plant is fully operational within two years[274]
18 October Snowdonia National Park is designated as the first national park in Wales; it has a total area of 823 square miles (2,130 km2) and incorporates Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales[275]
1952 29 February Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is designated as the second national park in Wales; noted for its spectacular coastline, the park covers a total area of 236 square miles (612 km2)[275]
23 October Completion of Elan Valley Reservoirs project, with the official opening of the Claerwen dam by Queen Elizabeth II[276]
1953 Further restoration work is carried out at Conwy Castle[125] on lease to the UK's Ministry of Works[citation needed]
1955 20 December Cardiff is named the capital city of Wales[252]
1957 17 April Brecon Beacons National Park is designated as the third of three national park in Wales; incorporating Pen y Fan, the highest peak in south Wales, the park covers a total area of 520 square miles (1,347 km2)[275]
1958 26 July Prince Charles is named Prince of Wales at the closing ceremony of the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff[277] (his investiture is delayed until July 1969)
1960–1970 Peak production at the Abbey Steelworks in Port Talbot: by the mid-1960s, the site has grown to be Europe's largest steel-producing complex and the largest single employer in Wales, with a workforce of over 18,000[274]
1961 Closure of the original steel mill at Port Talbot; the site is demolished a few years later[274]
17 August The Lower Swansea Valley Project is launched,[278] with the aim of reclaiming the land that has been devastated by industrial processes over the past two centuries; the land will eventually house new developments such as the Maritime Quarter, a shopping complex, sports complex and industrial park[279]
1962 4 August The Welsh Language Society (Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg) is established, to campaign for the right of Welsh people to use the Welsh language in every aspect of their lives[280]
1964 17 October The post of Secretary of State for Wales is created in the UK government when Harold Wilson appoints the MP for Llanelli, Jim Griffiths, to the new role[281]
1965 21 October Official opening of the Llyn Celyn reservoir, created by flooding parts of the Afon Tryweryn valley, including the village of Capel Celyn, for supplying water to Liverpool and parts of the Wirral Peninsula[282]
1966 14 July Plaid Cymru gains its first seat in the UK Parliament, as Gwynfor Evans wins the Carmarthen bi-election[283]
21 October The Aberfan disaster kills 116 children and 28 adults[284]
1967 27 July Parts of the Wales and Berwick Act 1746 that relate to the "dominion of Wales" are repealed by the Welsh Language Act 1967, allowing free use of the Welsh language in some political and legal proceedings[285]
1969 1 July Prince Charles is invested as the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle; the televised event attracts a world-wide audience of 500 million people, the largest TV audience ever gained for an event in Wales[256]
1970 Opening of Pembrokeshire Coast Path, a designated National Trail in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales; mostly a cliff-top walking route, the path measures a total distance of 186 miles (299 km)[286]
1971 10 July Official opening of Offa's Dyke Path, a designated National Trail stretching for 177 miles (285 km) along the Wales–England border from the Severn Estuary to the Irish Sea coast, with a visitors' centre at the "half-way point" in Knighton, Powys[287]
1972 25 May The National Slate Museum opens to the public in Llanberis, Gwynedd[288][289]
1976 Opening of the South Wales Miners' Museum in the Afan Forest Park, the first mining museum in Wales[290]
The National Wool Museum is established at Dre-fach Felindre in Carmarthenshire[291]
1979 1 March In the first Welsh devolution referendum, the electorate votes against establishing a devolved assembly[292]
1983 The Big Pit National Coal Museum opens to the public in Blaenafon, southeast Wales[293]
1984 19 July An earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale strikes the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd, the largest earthquake to occur in the UK since instrumental measurements began[294]
1987 3 April Cardiff Bay Development Corporation is set up by the UK government to redevelop an area of Cardiff to produce Cardiff Bay[295]
September Skerries Lighthouse becomes fully automated[205]
1989 Bodelwyddan Castle's portrait gallery exhibition is named National Heritage Museum of the Year[296]
1996 Swansea City Council saves Swansea Museum from the threat of closure[297]
1997 18 September The second Welsh devolution referendum results in a small majority in favour of forming a devolved assembly for Wales[292]
1998 31 July The Government of Wales Act receives royal assent and becomes law, allowing a National Assembly for Wales to be established following elections to be held in May 1999[292]
1999 6 May In the first National Assembly for Wales election, Welsh Labour wins the most seats but falls short of an overall majority, resulting in a minority Labour administration[292]
27 May Queen Elizabeth II and Charles, Prince of Wales, officially open the Welsh National Assembly at Crickhowell House in Cardiff Bay, a symbolic transfer of legislative powers from Westminster to Wales[298]
26 June The Millennium Stadium, the Welsh national stadium in Cardiff, opens in time to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup[299]

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2000 June Don Wales (grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell) sets a UK electric land speed record of 137 mph (220 km/h) on Pendine Sands in Bluebird Electric 2[263]
30 June Cardiff Bay Development Corporation is dissolved, after the completion of a major regeneration project at Cardiff Bay[300]
21 July Charles, Prince of Wales officially opens the National Botanic Garden of Wales, which has been open to the public since 24 May[301]
14 September Penderyn whisky begins production at its distillery in the Brecon Beacons National Park;[302] this is the first commercially available malt whisky made in Wales since the 19th century[303]
5 October After operating as a minority government for seventeen months, the Welsh Labour Party agrees to form a coalition government with the Welsh Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Assembly;[304] the coalition agreement is officially signed twelve days later[292]
Glyndwr's Way, a long distance footpath in mid Wales, is granted National Trail status; the footpath runs for 135 miles (217 km) in an extended loop through Powys between Knighton and Welshpool[305]
2001 1 June Official opening of Cardiff Bay Barrage, one of the largest civil engineering projects in Europe[306]
July Welsh communities pressure group Cymuned (meaning "Community") is launched at a meeting in Mynytho on the Llŷn Peninsula;[307] the group aims to protect and foster the Welsh language and way of life[308]
16 September Actress Siân Phillips unveils a memorial statue to Catrin Glyndŵr in London, to commemorate "Glyndwr Day"[309]
2002 June The Newport Medieval Ship is discovered on the west bank of the River Usk during construction of Newport's Riverfront Arts Centre[310]
5 August Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Wales, is honoured by admission to the Gorsedd of bards[311]
July/August Closure and demolition of Ebbw Vale Steelworks, resulting from the collapse of the international steel market[312]
16 October The Banc Ty'nddôl sun-disc is recovered during archaeological excavations on a Bronze Age site at Cwmystwyth in central Wales[313]
2 December Dr Rowan Williams is confirmed as the next Archbishop of Canterbury[314] (to be enthroned in February)
2003 The North Wales edition of the Daily Post separates from the Liverpool Daily Post to become a standalone title[315] (Liverpool edition has since ceased)
29 March The Cob at Porthmadog is purchased by the Welsh Government and the road toll is discontinued after 192 years[316]
1 May The second National Assembly for Wales election is held, resulting in a minority government by Welsh Labour who choose not to enter into another coalition agreement[292]
19 June HRH Prince William of Wales visits Bangor and Anglesey, to mark his 21st birthday (on 21 June)[317]
15 August A memorial to Owain Lawgoch, descendant of Llywelyn the Great, is unveiled at Mortagne-sur-Gironde, France[318]
November A £1.1 million DTI grant is awarded to Energybuild, the private owner of the Aberpergwm Colliery in the Neath Valley, to upgrade facilities and allow new coal reserves to be accessed[319]
21 November North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm, Wales' first offshore wind farm, commences operation[320]
2004 1 March Penderyn whisky is officially launched in the presence of HRH Prince Charles; demand is so high that the whisky sells out almost immediately[302]
13 March The market town of Cowbridge, one of the smallest and oldest walled towns in Wales, celebrates the 750th anniversary of its royal charter[321]
26 November Official opening of the Wales Millennium Centre, a large arts centre in Cardiff Bay[322]
2005 29 January Cardiff's David Morgan store, the largest independent department store in Wales, closes after 125 years of trading[323]
26 May Big Pit National Coal Museum wins the Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year 2005[324]
13 July Prince Charles opens a new building to house the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum at Tywyn Wharf railway station in Gwynedd[325]
October A Welsh language version of Scrabble is marketed for the first time[326]
17 October The National Waterfront Museum opens to the public in Swansea's Maritime Quarter[327]
19 October Liverpool City Council issues a formal apology for the flooding of the Afon Tryweryn valley to create the Llyn Celyn reservoir in 1965[282]
1 December Outlying properties in the Nedd Fechan valley, near Ystradfellte in southern Powys, are connected to mains electricity, probably the last community in the whole of England and Wales to be wired[328]
2006 1 March The new National Assembly building opens in Cardiff Bay; designed by Richard Rogers and costing £67m, it is known as the Senedd (the Welsh word for "parliament")[292]
25 July Government of Wales Act 2006 comes into effect, conferring additional law-making powers on the National Assembly for Wales[329]
2007 1 April Prescription charges are abolished by NHS Wales;[292] the Welsh Government is the first devolved government of the UK to remove these charges
3 May The third National Assembly for Wales election is held, resulting in a relative majority for Welsh Labour, while Plaid Cymru make considerable gains[292]
27 June Labour and Plaid Cymru announce their intention to form a coalition government, and enter into the One Wales agreement which includes holding a referendum on full law-making powers for the Welsh Assembly[292]
2008 25 January Official closure of Tower Colliery in the Cynon Valley, South Wales, the last remaining deep coal mine to be worked in the whole of Wales[330]
12 June Cardiff Castle opens a new interpretation centre at a cost of £6 million[331]
12 September Completion of the Meridian Tower in Swansea's Maritime Quarter; the Tower is the tallest building in Wales, standing at a height of 107 metres (351 feet)[332]
20 November AM and Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones becomes the first person to use the Welsh language as a representative of the UK government at a European Union meeting in Brussels[333]
2009 22 October The St David's Centre in Cardiff re-opens as one of the largest shopping centres in the United Kingdom after its multimillion-pound extension and the reconstruction of the surrounding area[334]
2010 18 March Marriage (Wales) Act 2010 brings the Church in Wales' marriage regulations into line with those of the Church of England[335]
12 May Cardiff-born Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan is confirmed as Secretary of State for Wales in the new UK government, the first woman to hold the post[336]
25 May The Learned Society of Wales is launched at the National Museum in Cardiff[337]
24 June Barry-born Julia Gillard becomes Australia's first female prime minister[338]
2011 3 March A further Welsh devolution referendum is held, which results in the Welsh Assembly receiving full law-making powers on all matters in the twenty fields (subject areas) where it has jurisdiction[292]
5 May In the 2011 National Assembly for Wales election, Welsh Labour wins exactly half of the contested seats and regains overall power in the Assembly[292]
9 July The National Museum of Art opens in Cardiff, created with £6.5m of private and Welsh Government funding[339]
1 October Wales becomes the first UK nation to introduce a minimum 5p charge on single-use plastic carrier bags[292]
2012 April New visitor centre opens at Conwy Castle[340]
26–27 April Queen Elizabeth II makes a two-day visit to South Wales as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour; the visit includes engagements in Llandaff, Margam, Merthyr Tydfil, Aberfan, Ebbw Vale and Glanusk Park[341]
5 May Opening of the Wales Coast Path, a long-distance walking route that closely follows the Welsh coastline for 861 miles (1,386 km)[342]
25 May The Olympic Torch starts its five-day tour of Wales, as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics torch relay; Gareth John, the chairman of Disability Sport Wales, is the first person to bring the torch onto Welsh soil[343]
25 July The first events of the London 2012 Summer Olympics take place in Cardiff: two matches in the women's football competition are held at the Millennium Stadium[344]
12 November The National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Act 2012 receives royal assent; the first bill to be passed under the assembly's new legislative powers, it gives the Welsh and English languages equal status in the assembly[345]
31 December Rowan Williams retires from the position of Archbishop of Canterbury[346]
2013 February The Brecon Beacons National Park is granted International Dark Sky Reserve status, to restrict artificial light pollution above the park; it is the first such area in Wales, the second in the UK and only the fifth worldwide[347]
2 July The Welsh Assembly brings into law a presumed consent ("soft opt-out") organ donation scheme,[348] (officially adopted in December 2015)
12 September The Church in Wales passes a bill that will allow women to be consecrated as bishops[349]
14 October On the centenary of Britain's worst-ever mining disaster, the Welsh National Mining Memorial is unveiled within a dedicated garden at Senghenydd, in memory of all those who have lost their lives in the Welsh mines[258]
2014 Excavations carried out by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, on parts of Offa's Dyke near Chirk, place construction in the period 541–651 AD, with lower layers dating to as early as 430 AD, suggesting that the Dyke may have been a long-term project by several Mercian kings[55]
29–30 April Queen Elizabeth II visits South Wales, two years after her previous visit for the Diamond Jubilee; her two-day itinerary includes Narberth, Picton Castle, Pembroke Dock, Ystrad Mynach and Llantwit Major[350]
4–5 September The 2014 NATO Summit is held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport; it is the first NATO summit to be held in the UK since 1990 and the first held anywhere in the UK other than London[351]
2015 15 April After a £12m restoration project, Cardigan Castle reopens as a heritage attraction and events venue[352]
25 September Ford approves a new £181 million range of petrol engines to be built at its car manufacturing plant in Bridgend, South Wales, securing 750 skilled jobs at the facility; production of the new engines will begin in 2018[353]
1 December Wales becomes the first nation in the UK to introduce a presumed consent scheme for organ donation, whereby adults are regarded as consenting to become donors unless they have specifically opted out[354]
2016 January The Millennium Stadium, home of Welsh rugby, is renamed the Principality Stadium.[299]
23 June In the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, a 52.5% majority of voters in Wales vote to leave the EU, with 47.5% voting to remain[355]
2017 22 February The British government confirms that MPs will be permitted in future to use the Welsh language during meetings of the Welsh Grand Committee[356]
8 November Tata Steel announces its intention to invest £30m in its Port Talbot Steelworks, in a bid to safeguard the jobs of 4,000 employees at the plant, following plans to merge with German steel manufacturer ThyssenKrupp[357]
2018 20 March Planning permission is granted by Neath Port Talbot Council to restart coal production at Aberpergwm Colliery, the last surviving drift mine in Wales, after operations were previously suspended in July 2015[358]
2 July Prince Charles attends a lowkey ceremony to rename the Second Severn Crossing as the "Prince of Wales Bridge", a move which is widely disliked by the Welsh public[359]
2019 January Completion of a major blast furnace upgrade at the Port Talbot Steelworks after a £50m investment by Tata Steel; this follows years of uncertainty at the plant, with particular concerns over the UK's withdrawal from the European Union[360]
6 June Ford announces that its Bridgend Engine Plant will close in September 2020, with the loss of 1,700 jobs, blaming reduced global demand for the Ford GTDi 1.5-litre engine[361][362]
3 July St Fagans National Museum of History wins the Museum of the Year award for 2019[363]

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