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1573-1571 AD

1573: THE FIRST MAP OF WALES
Humphrey Lhuyd's Map, the first that was specifically a map of Wales, was published in Antwerp in 1573. Its immense popularity is attested to by its being reprinted almost 50 times during the next 200 years.



1584: "HISTORIE OF CAMBRIA", NOW CALLED WALES
This book, published by David Powel, closely followed the arguments of antiquarian and map-maker Humphrey Lluyd's adaptation of the ancient "Brut y Twysogion". It was one of many books to answer the claims of the Italian Polydor Vergil who had the temerity to cast doubts on the authenticity of Geoffrey of Monmouth's stories of King Arthur. Powel's book remained the standard version of the history of Wales for centuries.



1585: THE FIRST BOOK PUBLISHED IN WELSH
This collection of religious texts, entitled "Yn Llyvyr Hwnn" (In This Book) published by Sir John Price (John Prys of Brecon), was the very first book published in the Welsh language. The very first book actually printed in Wales itself may have been "Y Drych Gristianogawl" (The Christian Mirror produced in a cave at Llandudno, North Wales).



1586: WILLIAM CAMDEN'S BRITANNIA
Camden's book, in Latin (in form and content following the precedent set by Giraldus Cambrensis in the late 12th century), detailed the tribal divisions of Roman Wales. A classic of its kind, the book set the standard of travel books about historical Wales.



1588: THE WELSH BIBLE OF BISHOP MORGAN
In order for the people of Wales to have a book they could read, in a dignified and elegant language yet that could be understood in all parts of Wales, the task was entrusted to William Morgan, vicar of Llanrhaeadr-Ym-Mochnant, and later Bishop of Llandaf and St. Asaph. Aided by a group of scholars, Morgan completed the task in 1588, giving the people of Wales a Bible that became the foundation and inspiration for all the literature written in Welsh after the end of the 16th century.

In 1620, the minor corrections to and standardization of Morgan's great work carried out by Dr. John Davies of Malltwyd helped ensure the continuity of the literary language of Wales. Not only that, but with the publication of a smaller, cheaper version in 1630, generation after generation of Welsh children would learn to read and write from "The Book," thus keeping alive the language against the almost impossible odds constantly ranged against it.

Welsh was the only non-state language of Protestant Europe to become the medium of a published Bible within a century of the Reformation. The Irish did not get their own Bible until 1690; the Scots had to wait until 1801 for its Gaelic Bible, long after the Highland Clearances and massive emigration had almost emptied the country of its Gaelic speakers.



1603: JAMES I BECOMES RULER OF THE KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN
The year 1603 marked the union of the crowns of Scotland and England under James I. Many historians see this union as perfectly acceptable to the Welsh, who had no outstanding leaders of their own, and who now perhaps could take pride in being part of the British kingdom as opposed to being merely part of England. There followed a new exodus of Welsh gentry to London to take part in the bestowal of royal favors.



1621: DR. DAVIES' BRITISH GRAMMAR
In addition to helping William Morgan with his translations, Dr. Davies also helped revise the Book of Common Prayer in 1621, the same year in which his Welsh grammar in Latin appeared. Of these two influential works, James Howell wrote "It was a rough task . . . to tame a wild and wealthy language, and to frame grammatic toils to curb her, so that she now speaks by rules, and sings by prosody."



1621: CYNWAL'S "SALMAU CAN"
Poet William Cynwal is best remembered for his metrical Psalms published as an appendix to the "Welsh Book of Common Prayer" of 1632. This book was practically the only hymnal used in Wales for over 100 years; many of the psalms included are still used in churches in Wales for congregational singing.



1622-1709: HUW MORYS AND THE NEW VERSE-FORM
"Huw Morys Eos Ceiriog" (the Nightingale of Ceiriog), wrote during the time of the English Civil Wars. Dealing mostly with social issues, Morris created a verse-form based on the traditional accented metre, and blending words to music, founded a new school of Welsh poetry.



1632: DR. DAVIES' APPEAL TO HAVE THE PRINCE OF WALES LEARN WELSH
In his "Dictionarium Duplex" of 1632, the indefatigable Dr. Davies wrote the following to Henry, the Prince of Wales, thus anticipating the preparation undergone by Charles Windsor for his 1969 Investiture: "Your Highness should be imbued from the cradle, at the same as with other languages, with the ancient language of this island, which is now restricted to your own Welsh people. . . for knowing languages is no indignity for princes." In a typical repudiation of the Welsh people, the prince's guardians ignored Dr. Davies' advice.



1650: ACT FOR THE BETTER PROPAGATION AND PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL
The Act followed the defeat of King Charles. In Wales it was intended to root out dissident clergymen, but it also led to the opening up of 63 new schools in which children were taught to read and write (albeit in English). The Act also created a new class of literate ministers and enthusiastic preachers whose influence in Wales was a lasting one, doing much to prepare the ground for cultivation by the Methodists a century later.



1662: ACT OF UNIFORMITY
When Parliament became alarmed at the growth of Nonconformism, it decided to bring congregations into line by passing the Act of Uniformity requiring all ministers to assent to the rites and liturgy of the Established Church (in Wales still regarded as an alien institution). One unintended effect of the Act, along with those created by the restrictive Clarendon Code (1661-5), was that whole congregations moved to the New World, leading to such settlements as that of the Welsh Quakers that later became the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

  

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