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Glamorgan or Glamorganshire ( ) is one of the thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Walesmarker. It was originally an early medieval kingdom of varying names and boundaries until taken over by the Normans as a lordship. Glamorgan is latterly represented by the three preserved counties of West Glamorgan, Mid Glamorgan and South Glamorgan. The name also survives in that of the county borough of the Vale of Glamorganmarker.


The county of Glamorgan fell into several distinct regions: the industrial valleys, the agricultural Vale of Glamorganmarker, and the scenic Gower peninsulamarker.

The county was bounded to the north by Brecknockshiremarker, east by Monmouthshire, south by the Bristol Channelmarker, and west by Carmarthenshiremarker and Carmarthen Baymarker. Its total area was 2,100 kmĀ², and the total population of the three preserved counties of Glamorgan in 1991 was 1,288,309. In 2001 it was around 1.4 million. Its highest point is at Craig y Llynmarker (600 m).

Glamorgan was the most populous and industrialised county in Wales. The northern part of the county was a mountainous area, dissected by deep narrow valleys, with urbanisation typified by ribbon development. At one time the coal industry was dominant, but the last deep mine, Tower Collierymarker at Hirwaunmarker closed in January 2008. A few small drift mines like Unity Mine, formerly Pentreclwydau South, near Glynneathmarker remain.The Vale of Glamorganmarker, a lowland area mainly comprising farmland and small villages stretched across most of the south of the county from Porthcawl to Cardiff. Further west, beyond Swansea, lay the Gower peninsulamarker, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The major rivers of Glamorgan included the River Taffmarker, the Elymarker, the Ogmore, the Neathmarker, Dulais, the Tawemarker, the Rhymneymarker (which formed the boundary with Monmouthshire), and the Loughormarker (which formed the boundary with Carmarthenshire). The main towns included Aberdaremarker, Barrymarker, Bridgendmarker, Cardiffmarker, Caerphillymarker, Cowbridgemarker, Maestegmarker, Merthyr Tydfilmarker, Mountain Ashmarker, Neathmarker, Penarthmarker, Pontypriddmarker, Porthcawlmarker, Port Talbotmarker, and Swanseamarker.

Despite the decline in the coal industry, the area remains heavily populated with, particularly around Cardiff, a wide and diverse economic base including public administration, agriculture, light industry, manufacturing, service sector, and tourism..

Places of interest

Places of special interest include:


Initially it was founded as an independent petty kingdom named Glywysingmarker. In the 10th century, it became known as Morgannwgmarker after its greatest monarch, Morgan Hen. It was at times united with the neighbouring kingdoms of Gwentmarker and Ergyng. By virtue of its location and geography, Morgannwg was the second part of Wales, after Gwent, to fall under the control of the Normans and was frequently the scene of fighting between the Marcher Lords and Welsh princes.


After the fall of the Welsh Kingdom of Morgannwg to Robert FitzHamon in 1091, the region became the Englishmarker Lordship of Glamorgan, sometimes called the Lordship of Glamorgan and Morgan because it was divided into the Norman settled Plain or Vale of Glamorgan and the Welsh upland area called Morgannwg, anglicized to Morgan. Both areas were under the control of the Norman Lords of Glamorgan (often the Earls of Gloucester).

In 1535, the first Act of Union attached the Lordship of Gower and Kilvey to Glamorgan and created the historic county of Glamorgan.. An administrative county of Glamorgan was created under the Local Government Act 1888, excluding Swansea and Cardiff, which were independent county boroughs. They were soon joined by Merthyr Tydfilmarker. The first chairman of the County Council was Henry Vivian, 1st Baron Swansea.

The county council's coat of arms, granted in 1950, was: Or, three chevronels gules between as many Tudor roses barbed and seeded proper. The red chevronels on a gold shield were the arms of the De Clare Marcher Lords, while the roses recorded the shiring of Glamorgan by Henry VIII. The crest above the shield was a Welsh dragon rising from flames, symbolising the revival of the county's industry following a period of economic depression. The dragon supported a flag bearing a clarion from the arms of the De Granville family, lords of Neath. The supporters of the arms were a coalminer and a steel worker. The motto adopted by the county council: A Ddioddefws A Orfu or "He Who suffered, conquered" was that of the lineage of Iestyn ap Gwrgant, and was considered appropriate to an area whose wealth depended on great hardship.

Under the Local Government Act 1972, the county and administrative county of Glamorgan was abolished on April 1, 1974, with three new counties being established, each containing a former county borough - West Glamorgan, Mid Glamorgan, South Glamorgan. It has now been further subdivided into several unitary authorities. The South Wales Police force covers an area that is similar to Glamorgan.

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