One of the Medieval kingdoms of Wales.

In accordance with tradition, founded by Cunedda a warrior king of the Votadini tribe, sometime between 400 AD and 430 AD. It is even suggested that Gwynedd is named after Cunedda; the area was however known in the Sub-Roman period under its Latin name Venedotia and Gwynedd is obviously a later mutation of this name into Welsh.


Gwynedd proper was based on its twin strongholds of Ynys Mon (Angelsea island) and Snowdonia, but was surrounded by a number of sub-kingdoms which are listed below, (working roughly in a circle from east to west)

Taken all together basically equal to the 1974 to 1996 county of Gwynedd, or in post 1996 terms, Gwynedd, Conwy plus Ynys Mon (or Angelsea).

All these various sub-kingdoms had varying degrees of autonomy (and their own line of kings) at different times. They naturally fluctuated in size, depending on the success or otherwise of whoever was king of Gwynedd at the time. Dogfeiling may have had a greater degree of independence and expanded its territory across mid-Wales into the Midlands of what is now England, before collapsing back into Gwynedd in 700 AD. Edeyrnion certainly passed into the hands of Powys at various times.

Rulers of Gwynedd

The rulers of Gwynedd, first kings then later after the coming of the Normans adopting eventually the title Prince of Wales to emphasise their claim to the leadership of the Welsh are listed here.


Gwynedd was always considered to be the pre-eminent kingdom of Wales. Its kings regularly sought to establish dominion over the rest of Wales, and many such as Rhodri Fawr went a long way to achieve this feat.

The first historical king of Gwynedd was Maelgwyn in the mid sixth century who founded a dynasty that ruled the kingdom until the ninth century when dynastic squabbles led to a civil war. The figure of Merfyn Frych then appeared, father of the afore mentioned Rhodri Fawr who established a new and envigorated dynasty.

Gwynedd was always the centre of resistance to Anglo-Saxon and later Norman attempts to subjugate Wales. The Normans of course, eventually succeeded; Gwynedd was overrun by Edward I in 1277, and when Llewellyn ap Gruffudd was killed in the rebellion of 1282, his death effectively extinguished the kingdom.

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