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County of south‐west Wales. It was part of the early Welsh kingdom of Dyfed and its core became the heart of the later kingdom of Deheubarth. At the Norman Conquest, a royal lordship was created about the borough of Carmarthen. The shire was created at the statute of Rhuddlan. At the Act of Union with England, other royal lordships and sublordships were added to the county. In 1974 Carmarthen became a district in the county of Dyfed, but in 1996 it was restored as a county within its traditional bounds.

Carmarthenshire is a county of rich Welsh tradition. The name, an Anglicization of the Welsh Caerfyrddin, is derived from the Welsh name of Merlin. Welsh is spoken by 58.0 per cent in the district of Carmarthen, rising to 66.5 per cent in Dinefwr and falling to 46.5 in Llanelli. The population of the new county was 169,000 in 2000, of whom 44,000 live in Llanelli.

Subjects: British History.

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