Owain Glyndŵr has remained a potent figurehead of Welsh nationalism since he rose up against the occupying English in the early fifteenth century. He was born into an aristocratic family, and studied English in London, where he became a distinguished soldier of the English king. When he returned to Wales to take up his claim as Prince of Wales, he became the focus of a rebellion born of discontent with the English rulers.

Glyndŵr garnered four thousand supporters and attacked Ruthin, Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Flint and Oswestry, before finally encountering English resistance at Welshpool. In a vain attempt to break the spirit of the rebellion, England’s Henry IV drew up severely punitive laws, even outlawing Welsh-language bards and singers. Even so, by the end of 1403, Glyndŵr controlled most of Wales. In 1404, he was crowned king of a free Wales and assembled a parliament at Machynlleth, where he drew up mutual recognition treaties with France and Spain. Glyndŵr made plans to carve up England and Wales into three as part of an alliance against the English king, but started to lose ground before eventually being forced into hiding (where he died). The anti-Welsh laws remained in place until the coronation of Henry VII, who had Welsh origins, in 1485, and Wales was subsequently subsumed into English custom and law.

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