Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tens List: 10 Things We Didn't Know About the English Occupation of Wales by J. Anderson Coats

10 Things We Didn't Know About the English Occupation of Wales

10) The English occupation of Wales happened piecemeal over at least two hundred years between 1066-1284, and possibly longer depending on who you ask.

9) The English occupation of north Wales happened militarily over about eighteen months between 1282-84, and over the next several generations in the form of colonization.

8) It was made possible by the collapse of native Welsh government and the power vacuum that resulted from the battlefield killing of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd and the execution of his brother Dafydd, the last Welsh Princes of Wales.

7) The English sought to ensure that the Welsh never caused trouble again, so they implemented an extensive - and expensive - castle-building, urban development and settlement program to maintain control of the area through extra-military means.

6) Caernarvon one of many castle towns planted by the English, and it was to be the new capital of the Principality of North Wales.  A small but growing Welsh settlement was leveled to make room for it.

5) On the surface, the aftermath of occupation beginning in 1283-84 was surprisingly lenient.  There were no wholesale executions of Welsh nobility and no attempts to ban the Welsh language or any other type of cultural expression.

4) There were, however, a number of quiet legal and economic sleights-of-hand that made it easy for the English to get what they wanted in other ways.

3) Which was the establishment of English hegemony by force of law and force of arms with an insidious eye toward economic subjugation and cultural assimilation.

2) The native Welsh nobility and landholders (who had kept their heads down and mouths shut) were completely aware of what was happening.  There was just nothing to do about it.  Until doing nothing was no longer an option.

1) By 1308, there was a Welsh sheriff of Caernarvon.  Time marches on.

About the Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats 
Cecily’s father has ruined her life. He’s moving them to occupied Wales, where the king needs good strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. At least Cecily will finally be the lady of the house.

Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there herself, until the English destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now she must wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl.

While Cecily struggles to find her place amongst the snobby English landowners, Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And outside the city walls, tensions are rising ever higher—until finally they must reach the breaking point


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