The whole process of trying to enumerate and explain the various kingdoms of Wales that existed between the 6th and 13th centuries is rather complicated, mainly for the following two reasons.

(1) Welsh kingdoms were essentially fluid and unstable constructs that relied upon the personal authority of whoever was recognised as king at the time.

The kingdoms were really no more than aggregations of commotes that recognised some particular individual as king. Each king would possess a power base derived from his authority as tywysog of the commutes in his possession, but ultimately his power depended on the support he had from the other tywysogion within the kingdom. Such power naturally waxed or waned in accordance with the personal qualities of each king. There were no real political or administrative institutions attached to the kingdom above the level of the commote and therefore nothing to sustain anything remotely approaching a nation state.

Which was basically a recipe for constant intrigue and internecine strife and a certain vagueness over borders.

(2) The presumption against primogeniture.

The medieval Welsh were an egalitarian lot, (unlike for example, the English who were strict adherents of primogeniture) and there was a presumption that every male heir had an equal right to inherit. This meant that whenever a ruler died, his territories were often divided up between his sons (and quite often the sons would have a good argument and a minor civil war over who got what).

Also since Welsh Law also recognised the inheritance rights of illegitimate children, this could sometimes get quite silly; the kingdom of Deheubarth eventually disappeared in the 12th century when the last king died leaving 18 heirs.

As a result of the both the above, the kingdoms were forever dividing, being reformed, dividing again, taking over neighbouring kingdoms, changing their names, getting occupied by the Anglo-Saxons or Normans, revolting, getting re-occupied, until the Welsh eventually accepted the inevitable and gave up armed resistance at the end of the 13th century.

It should also be remembered that for much of this period there is little in the way of surviving records. It is therefore difficult, particularly for the first three or four centuries or so, to have any clear idea of what is going on at all.

But with above qualifications, these are the kingdoms that existed within the confines of Wales between the fifth and thirteenth centuries anno domini;

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