Republic of Gwynedd

Birth of The Republic

The Republic of Gwynedd began in a unique way, it was born more than seven centuries after the demise of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. The Republic was not a child of revolution or political turmoil, no military coup or popular movement brought it into existence. The Republic of Gwynedd was the dream of one person in a Welsh cottage in Gwynedd. His unconventional approach seems to have inspired the majority of the people of Gwynedd and created a lot of goodwill from outside of the Republic.

From Roman times until the English crown seized Wales, Gwynedd was the political powerhouse of the area we know as Wales. Before the Saxons invaded Britain, most of the area know as England was Celtic – like Wales, until the Saxons took what they wanted. Saxon England expanded until it was decided that the western lands were not really worth the effort or cost of taking – beside which, the local natives were a bit tougher than those in the more accessible parts of the islands of Britain. It was during Saxon times that Wales evolved into a patchwork of tribal lands, the most powerful of which became Gwynedd.

It was not until the English brutally subjugated Gwynedd, in 1282, that Wales ceased to exist as a separate entity to England – indeed English Law still claims authority in our lands. Wales has a government, in its capital city of Cardiff – Cardiff being about as far from Gwynedd as one can go, without leaving Wales.

As previously mentioned, the Republic of Gwynedd came to being in a unique way. The legend, a modern day legend, tells that a storm in the Irish Sea set the ball rolling. The captain of a stone carrying cargo ship, who had a little side line to boost his masters pay, was heading across Caernarfon Bay. He was a smuggler, but one with a difference - he smuggled birds, exotic birds – rare birds, any bird with a cash value. On the night of the storm the ship sought shelter from the tempest but was swept before the waves onto rocks near the Gwynedd shore. On command of the master, the crew abandoned ship, but not before the first mate had broken into the masters cabin and freed the pair of snow eagles which were the masters 'bonus' for the trip. The female eagle was released with ease, but the male was distressed by the storm and alarmed by the disappearance of his mate through the open door of the cabin. The eagles panic prevented the first mate from removing the shackle from the leg of the eagle. In the fracas, the first mate managed to snap the perch which anchored the eagle's chain. Realizing that he was no longer tethered, the eagle flew out of the cabin door and into the storm.

Meanwhile, on dry land and high above the sea, the founder of our republic was online - researching the history of Gwynedd. Shortly after loosing internet connection, due to his telephone line falling foul of the gale force winds – again, he turned in for an early night. Next day he was woken, to a relatively calm morning, by a noise on the roof and a strange crying sound from somewhere nearby. He tried to ignore the sounds, but he couldn't. Determined to find the cause of his rude awakening, he quickly dressed, opened the door and took a few paces forward to give himself a view of the roof. He stared in amazement at a large, white bird with outstretched wings which was bouncing up and down on the ridge of his roof! The bird was clearly distressed, though it looked uninjured. He then became aware of the sound which answered each cry of the bird on the roof, he followed the sound to the end of his cottage and was confronted by an even larger white bird which was shuffling about on top of a pile of old pallets which were waiting to be sawn up as fuel for the boiler.

The second bird was as distressed as the first, it appeared to be injured and unable to fly off. Closer inspection revealed a thin chain, attached to the bird's leg – clearly this was the problem. The other end of the chain was caught in the top pallet, thus preventing the bird flying away. Dashing back into the house, our founder raided the fridge and then rifled his toolbox. Returning to the trapped bird and protected by a blanket, a pair of gardening gloves and a few tasty morsels for distracting the bird, he set about freeing the poor creature from its chain. The weakened bird seemed to realize what was happening, for he made no attempt to attack his rescuer. Freed from his chain, with only the souvenir of a loose ring around its leg, the bird flew up into the air where he was joined by his mate. The leg which had been shackled hung down from the bird, clearly it was damaged in some way. – they flew off to the mountains on the far side of the valley. Next day the pair returned for food. The female remained on the roof while the male allowed his damaged leg to be cleaned and dressed. The damage was minor and it healed quickly, once the last vestige of captivity had been removed from his leg. Three days after there first arrival, the pair took only a small portion of the food on offer, then they took to the air and circled three times, each time they seemed to dip in salute to their rescuer – this was the last time he saw them.

That evening he was eating his evening meal while watching the BBC Wales news program at six thirty. The news of a wreck being pulled off rocks was of minor interest, but the reports of white eagles returning to Snowdon set his mind racing! A couple of shaky film clips of white birds confirmed that his visitors were indeed white eagles! A cocktail of legend and history swamped his brain and set his imagination on fire. Not a religious or superstitious man, he nonetheless mused on the possibility that the arrival of these birds could be interpreted as a 'sign' of something, but what? That night his dreams loaded with speculation as to what the sign might portend. By morning he had a vision of a reborn Gwynedd – built on peace and co-operation, a land and a people with pride and compassion. Then – as we all know, the following day delivered him the means to bring about those changes. Within a single year the framework of the Republic was in place and the whole of Gwynedd was looking forward to a brighter future.

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Page last updated 29th April 2013