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Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire. County of south-west Wales. It was part of the early Welsh kingdom of Dyfed and later its core—the vale of Towy (Ystrad Tywi)—became the heart of the later kingdom of Deheubarth, one of the centres of resistance to Norman occupation. At the Norman conquest, a royal lordship was created about the royal borough of Carmarthen, an indication of its strategic significance. The shire was created at the statute of Rhuddlan, by the addition of Ystrad Tywi to the lordship of Carmarthen. At the Act of Union with England, other royal lordships and sublordships, including Llandovery (Llanymddyfri), St Clears, Kidwelly (Cydweli), and Newcastle Emlyn, were added to the county. In 1974 Carmarthen became a district in the county of Dyfed, but the old Ystrad Tywi was made into a separate district of Dinefwr and another district was based on Llanelli. In 1996 Carmarthenshire was restored as a county within its traditional bounds. The county is centred on the Tywi valley and the river's source areas in the Black Mountain to the east and the Carmarthen Vans to the north. To the east and west there are separate drainage systems, the Taff (Tâf) to the east and the Gwendraeth, Loughor/Amman to the west, where the county overlaps on to the anthracite section of the South Wales Coalfield.

The rich valley lowlands constitute the major dairying areas of south Wales. To the east, coal-mining in the 19th and 20th cents. gave rise to extensive village settlement. Llanelli was the main port and steel and tinplate were widely distributed, until rationalized after the Second World War. There is now one integrated plant at Trostre, but other smaller metal-using and engineering industries survive.

Carmarthenshire is a county of rich Welsh tradition. The name, an Anglicization of the Welsh Caerfyrddin, is derived from the Welsh name of Merlin. Welsh is spoken by 58.0 per cent in the district of Carmarthen, although it rises to 66.5 per cent in Dinefwr and falls to 46.5 in Llanelli. The population of the new county was 169,000 in 2000, with almost half in Llanelli.

Harold Carter

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Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire, Welsh Sir Gaerfyrddin, county, 926 sq mi (2,398 sq km), S Wales. In 1974, Carmarthenshire became part of the nonmetropolitan county of Dyfed, but in 1996 Dyfed was dissolved and Carmarthenshire was restored as a unitary authority. The National Botanical Garden of Wales is located in Llanarthne.

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