By 1415, Wales had been conquered, finally and irreversibly. The story of that conquest dominated the history of the country for the 350 years covered by this book. What was surprising was that conquest had taken so long. Already by 1093 the odds against the survival of Wales's political independence seemed hopeless. But the Welsh showed remarkable resourcefulness and resilience. For almost two centuries they survived and even, periodically, flourished. They took full advantage of their own terrain, climate, and hardiness; they exploited the lack of stamina and frequent diversions of the Anglo-Norman invaders; they capitalized on the domestic preoccupations and periodic impotence of the English monarchy. Even the completion of the process of conquest did not bring political or governmental unity to Wales. Indeed, the country's natural particularism had been further entrenched by the piecemeal and protracted character of the Anglo-Norman conquest.
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