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Wales101 - The counties of Wales
Gwent came into existence as a preserved county since 2003. Its history dates back to Bronze, Iron Age and Roman era. It used to be the area of Dark Age Welsh kingdom and was sprawled between the rivers Wye, Usk and Seven estuaries. It basically came into existence when Romans abandoned Britain and the Roman Silures started ruling it. It followed their culture and their Iron Age territories.
It derived its name from Civets capital Venta Silurum, which meant Market of the Silures and the land that lay around Venta became its descendants kingdom of Guenta, later it turned to be Gwent. A slight change in pronunciation did happen due to Brythonic languages as v changed to go. The town itself was called Caerwent, meaning Venta fort.
According to Old Welsh historical study, when the kingdom was formed originally, it was ruled by Caradoc Vreichfras. As King was wounded mortally after a Saxon attack, many people believed that his grandson, Athrwys AP Meurig, might be better for King Arthur.
All controls of the kingdom lay at Caerwent or Caerleon, the latter had served as a great and main Roman military base. This area was Christianized by some Welsh saints like Cadoc, Dubricius and Tatheus.
Gwent have survived many ups and downs in many forms. It was related with its neighbors Glywysing until the Normans invaded the west in 1067 AD. The Normans separated this area into many Lordships of Monmouth, Abergavenny, Striguil or Chepstow and Usk where they constructed and fortified massive and lasting stone castles out of a many of the initial bailey and motte castles.
The age of these castles is very old and so is their density, it is highest in Britain. At least twenty five of these castles in Welsh Marches still remain intact that too in Monmouthshire alone today.
The castles proved defensive for new settlements and also made possible for older settlements to develop and become prospective under this Norman rule. All this happened despite their dictatorship policies, taxation, many small or big fights and rebellions that effected this portion of southeastern Wales over for many centuries.
Most of the time the Lordships were overseen by the strong Marcher Lords, as these remained the basic units in the administrative functions for the next round about 450 years or so till Henry VIII applied the Laws in Wales Act 1535.
The Act, when ceased, the Marcher Lordships perished and helped in creating new County called Monmouthshire and thus combined the four Lordships in eastern side of River Usk with Newport, or Gwynllwg and Caerleon, which lay to the west of it.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, writers and authors started mentioning the name Gwent in a romantic and intellectual way to illustrate Monmouthshire. In the local native government re-organizations of 1974/5 when several new administrative regions in UK were named after the middle ages kingdoms, like Gwent, Dyfed, and Gwynedd within Wales, Cumbria and Strathclyde.
A preserved county Gwent was an initially a local government county that is situated in south east Wales. It was created on 1 April 1974, because of the Local Government Act 1972 and its name was dedicated to an ancient Kingdom of Gwent.
Most of the previous administrative counties had belonged to Monmouthshire and the county borough of Newport. Both these authorities which were believed to be officially a part of England, however, since ages these were dealt as if these existed within Wales, along with Brynmawr and Llanelly from Brecknockshire, which is in Wales. According to Local Government (Wales) Act 1994, Gwent was eliminated on 1 April 1996.
The name still retains its position as one of the kept intact counties of Wales and is used in certain ceremonial functions and it still is surviving in several titles.eg Royal Gwent Hospital, Gwent Police, Coleg Gwent College and in sports too with the Newport Gwent Dragons rugby team.
When it was alive, the administrative area used to be divided into many districts like Torfaen, Newport, Monmouth, Islwyn, Gwent, and Blaenau.The descendant governing authorities are City of Newport, Blaenau, Gwent county borough, Torfaen county borough, Caerphilly county borough some part of it was deducted from Mid Glamorgan, Monmouthshire that is spread over the eastern half of the initial county with identical name.
This County of Gwent stretched itself and went to cover the whole of Caerphilly county borough in 2003.