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The Legend of Owain Glyndwr

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The Legend of Owain Glyndwr

Owain Glyndŵr  or Owain Glyn Dŵr,
 (c. 1354 or 1359 – c. 1416) 
was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welsh person to hold the title Prince of Wales. He instigated an ultimately unsuccessful but long-running revolt against English rule of Wales.

Glyndŵr was a descendant of the Princes of Powys from his father Gruffydd Fychan II, hereditary Tywysog of Powys Fadog and Lord of Glyndyfrdwy, and of those of Deheubarth through his mother Elen ferch Tomas ap Llywelyn. On 16 September 1400, Glyndŵr instigated the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England. Although initially successful, the uprising was eventually put down — Glyndŵr was last seen in 1412 and was never captured nor tempted by royal pardons and never betrayed. His final years are a mystery.

Glyndŵr has remained a notable figure in the popular culture of both Wales and England, portrayed in Shakespeare's play Henry IV, Part 1 (as Owen Glendower) as a wild and exotic man ruled by magic and emotion ("at my nativity, The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes, Of burning cressets, and at my birth The frame and huge foundation of the earth Shaked like a coward." — Henry IV, Part 1, Act 3, scene 1). In the late 19th century the "Young Wales" movement recreated him as the father of Welsh nationalism, revising the historical image of him and joining him in popular memory as a national hero on par with King Arthur.

In 2000, celebrations were held all over Wales to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Glyndŵr rising. Owain has since been voted in at 23rd in a poll of 100 Greatest Britons in 2002.

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