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was fought over the domi nation of Wales. On the one hand, Welsh princes tried to maintain their politica l independence; on the other, the kings of England sought to dominate the Britis h Isles and turn the Welsh into their subjects. As neither side was willing to c ave in, Wales eventually lost its independence, a lot of people died, and the cr own prince of the United Kingdom bears the title Prince of Wales. <i>Llywelyn II<i> Of all Welsh principalities, Gwynedd, in north Wales, was most stable. It contro lled both the economically and militarily most important parts of Wales: respect ively, the isle of Anglesey and the mountain range of Snowdonia. In times of inv asion, the Welsh could retreat into the mountains, shielded by dense forests. Wo uld any enemy be brave enough to follow them, they would have difficulty keeping formation and might get lost among the woods. Generally, this was the moment a lot of angry Welshmen would ambush them and made sure those that lived to tell t he tale would tell a horror story. By 1244 the prince of Gwynedd was Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, grandson of Llywelyn the Great. He had a difficult time right from the start, having to fight a civil wa r against two of his brothers to ensure his inheritance. Already, the English we re claiming Gwynedd as part of their kingdom and demanded he accept king Henry I II as his overlord, which he refused. A series of fruitless English campaigns fo llowed, achieving very little and costing quite a lot. The discontented English barons saw it as yet another political failure of their king, and for a large va riety of reasons a number of them rebelled. From 1256 on, England would be too b usy with internal politics to bother about Wales, and Llywelyn saw the opportuni ties. Immediately he struck, recapturing those borderlands he had lost, harassin g the English border lords at every opportunity, and even striking deep into sou th Wales. Some of the Welsh lords joined Llywelyn, while a number of others (par ticularly those of Powys, on the eastern border) remained hostile to him and wor ked together with the English. But as the English were unable to help them, Llyw elyn defeated them and forced them to become his vassals. English influence in W ales had not been so limited in centuries. <i>The First Welsh War (1277)<i> By 1277, Edward I was king of England, and the English difficulties in Wales cou ld no longer be ignored. The Marcher lords, who had been so humbled by Llywelyn' s campaigns, were clamouring for the king to take action into his own hands and subdue the prince, who had been styling himself prince of Wales for over a decad e. There was a perfectly good reason for an intervention, too: Llywelyn had refu sed to do homage to king Edward on the grounds that Edward was giving shelter to Llywelyn's rebel brother, Dafydd. Llywelyn claimed he could not swear fealty to a lord who protected his enemies - a standard rule in the feudal contract. Edwa rd, on the other hand, claimed that, as long as Llywelyn refused to do homage, h e had no reason to punish Dafydd. This created a paradox that neither side could break, and eventually it came to war. Edward, an excellent strategist, had obviously been studying the previous Welsh campaigns in some depth, and had found a way to defeat the Welsh. Aware of the g uerrilla style of warfare, he brought with him a huge number of woodsmen to clea r the forests, leaving fewer places for the Welsh to hide. Splitting up his army in four different groups, he undertook a large-scale four-pronged attack on the mountain fortress of Gwynedd, as well as capturing the isle of Anglesey, the "G ranary of Wales", which usually fed the Welsh through winter campaigns, by boat. When the English (actually, about two-thirds of the army consisted of Welsh fri endlies from South Wales) had advanced to the border of Snowdonia, Llywelyn surr endered. By the terms of the peace he had to give up a large part of his demesne , including most of his south and central Welsh vassals; however, he would maint ain Snowdonia and Anglesey as well as the title prince of Wales. Apart from that
W hether this was a scouting force or a cleverly laid trap . Dafydd discussed with some other small Welsh leaders of the area and decid ed there was only one course open to them: war. was still away from his army when he came upon the English. having suffered severe casualties.we do not know. this time to the vicinity of Buellt (Built h Wells) where he sought to capture and raze the castle and defeat the English a rmy. Prince of Wales". Capturing Carreg Cennen c astle. Totally surprised. Hearing of this. its territory guarded by English castles. who were hunted down. while Dafydd's sons were locked away in Brist ol castle. could not sufficientl y rally them. Llywelyn's younger brother. where they spent the rest of their lives in prison. however. had. a lot of research has been done and the period leading up to it. drawn and quartered. to rally the rebels. he had to pay a considerable fine. When Ll ywelyn joined the revolt. surprised as they were. his head was put on display. he razed it to the ground and then hid his men in ambush. A number of Welsh leaders betrayed the insurgents. using a strategy similar to the one used in the previ ous war. the Anglesey commander Luke de Tany marched his t roops across the bridge and led them into the mountains. were destroyed. However. they were slain and the English army fell upon th e Welsh army. a Welsh traitor revealed to the Engl ish a ford in the river. Llywelyn. in 1400. <i>Sources<i> Thankfully. Dafydd managed to capture a castle and lay waste to several English villages on a holy day. Dafydd was eventually captured. however. When English tr oops advanced to recapture it. but he decided to join in. By now. such into both the Welsh Wars of Edward I used for this article were primarily and J Beverley Smith's "Llywelyn II: as John Davies' "History of Wales" a . Like his elder broth er. an d began governing his new lands. Llywel yn abandoned the talks and ambushed De Tany. Meanwhile. who was routed: nearly all the inva ders were slain and the pontoon-bridge collapsed. Sources I John Morris' "The Welsh Wars of Edward I". who then sent it on to London where it was displayed as the heads of traitors were at the time. realising tha t without him the rising was doomed to fail in a matter of weeks. where she died some thirty years later. This desta bilised the whole of South-West Wales for months. he quickly found out that the war had brought the English deeper into Wales than the peace had dictated. Edward saw his plan fall to pi eces and had to wait until the bridge was re-built. including a number of bannerets. Llywelyn had not been informed of this. similar rebellions happened throughout Wales. With Llywelyn dead. which they then used to cross and outflank the defendin g Welshmen. Until the rising of Owain Glyndwr. received some lands in the Perfeddwlad. Leading a rising in 1282. he felt his position was secure and together with a small bodyguard le ft to talk to local Welsh leaders. and Llyw elyn hurried south to Deheubarth. Llywelyn went south again. <i>The Second Welsh War (1282-1283)<i> Dafydd. More general books. well exceeding the overall cost of the war. He reconciled himself with his brother. he built a pontoon-bridge to Penmaenmawr to b ypass the Welsh flank. but Llywelyn and his eighteen followers were slain. The Welsh spirit had been crushed. Posting an advance guard at Orewin Bridge and his main army on the heights above it. Wales was subdued. Llywelyn's daughter was put in a convent. However. Edward was pr essing on with his attack. Llywelyn s heir..treason is sometimes suggested . east of Gwynedd. the Welsh spirit faltered and Dafydd. he would be able to beat him. The prince's head was cut off and sent to Edward. Having captured Anglesey. the ambush was sprung and the English were routed . During peace negotiations with Ar chbishop Peckam of Canterbury. Finding it difficult to bear this. He also felt s ecure that. and frequentl y English justiciaries harassed Dafydd's subjects. now he knew Edward's strategy. who. Llywelyn hurried north. by the peace terms. Their spear-schiltron could not withstand the hail of arrows and as it fell apart they were ridden do wn by the English knights.
And if you read anything. It's a gener ally ignorant account describing only the English aspects. . please don't let it be Christopher Rothero's "Scottish and Welsh Wars".re also advisable. released by Osprey Publishing.
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