County of north Wales. It was part of the tribal territory of the Celtic Venedotae, later the Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd. ‘Arfon’ is the land over against Môn (Anglesey) and the county's name is derived from the Roman fortress Castrum (or Caer) of Segontium—Caer yn Arfon. Arfon, together with the Llŷn peninsula, Eifionydd to the south, and Arllechwedd, the land west of the Conwy river, were joined together by the statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 as Caernarfonshire. At the Act of Union with England in 1536 the county remained, but in 1974 became part of the county of Gwynedd. In 1996 Môn was detached and Caernarfonshire, Eifionydd, and Aberconwy remain as the new county of Gwynedd.
The county was dominated by the Snowdon massif (Eryri) with the highest peaks in Wales (yr Wyddfa, 3,560 feet). It is predominantly agricultural with sheep‐farming as the main enterprise but extensive slate‐quarrying and mining in the 18th and 19th cents. have scarred the landscape. In 1901, 89.6 per cent spoke Welsh with 47.7 being monoglot Welsh. By 1991 the percentage speaking Welsh had fallen to 61.5.
Subjects: British History.