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Cornwall Map by C & J Greenwood - Framed Print - 16"H x 20"W


Cornwall Map by C & J Greenwood - Framed Print - 16"H x 20"W

Cornwall (Kernow) is a ceremonial county of England within the United Kingdom. The only city in Cornwall, is Truro.

Cornwall was first inhabited in the Palaeolithic / Mesolithic periods. It continued to be occupied by Neolithic and then Bronze Age peoples, and later by Brythons with distinctive cultural relations to neighbouring Wales and Brittany. There is little evidence that Roman rule was effective west of Exeter.

Cornwall was the home of a division of the Dumnonii tribe – whose tribal centre was in the modern county of Devon – known as the Cornovii, separated from the Brythons of Wales after the Battle of Deorham, often coming into conflict with the expanding kingdom of Wessex before King Athelstan in AD 936 set the boundary between English and Cornish at the eastern bank of the River Tamar.

Historically tin mining was important in the Cornish economy, becoming increasingly significant during the High Middle Ages and expanding greatly during the 19th century when rich copper mines were also in production.

Cornwall is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history.

The name Cornwall derives from the combination of two separate terms from different languages. The Corn- part comes from the hypothesised original tribal name of the Celtic people who had lived here since the Iron Age, the Cornovii. The second element -wall derives from Old English, meaning a "foreigner" or "Welshman". The name first appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 891 as On Corn walum. In the Domesday Book it was referred to as Cornualia and in c. 1198 as Cornwal.

A latinisation of the name as Cornubia first appears in a mid-9th-century deed purporting to be a copy of one dating from c. 705AD deriving directly from the original Cornowii, which is postulated from a single mention in the Ravenna Cosmography of around 700AD of Purocoronavis. This is considered to be a corruption of Durocornovium, 'a fort or walled settlement of the Cornovii'.

In pre-Roman times, Cornwall was part of the kingdom of Dumnonia, and was later known to the Anglo-Saxons as "West Wales", to distinguish it from "North Wales".

Cornwall is one of only a few places in Britain – London, Edinburgh, and Dover being other examples – to have a corresponding name in the French language: Cornouailles

The first account of Cornwall comes from the 1st century BC Sicilian Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, supposedly quoting or paraphrasing the 4th-century BCE geographer Pytheas, who had sailed to Britain:

The inhabitants of that part of Britain called Belerion (or Land's End) from their intercourse with foreign merchants, are civilised in their manner of life. They prepare the tin, working very carefully the earth in which it is produced ... Here then the merchants buy the tin from the natives and carry it over to Gaul, and after travelling overland for about thirty days, they finally bring their loads on horses to the mouth of the Rhône.

The identity of these merchants is unknown. It has been theorised that they were Phoenicians.

After 410, Cornwall appears to have reverted to rule by Romano-Celtic chieftains of the Cornovii tribe as part of Dumnonia including one Marcus Cunomorus with at least one significant power base at Tintagel. Mark of Cornwall is a semi-historical figure known from Welsh literature, and the Breton medieval romance of Tristan and Yseult where he is regarded as a close kinsman of King Arthur.

The Battle of Deorham in 577 saw the separation of Dumnonia (Cornwall) from Wales, following which the Dumnonii often came into conflict with the expanding English kingdom of Wessex.

In 838, the Cornish and their Danish allies were defeated by Egbert in the Battle of Hingston Down at Hengestesdune. In 875, the last recorded king of Cornwall, Dumgarth, is said to have drowned. Around the 880s, Anglo-Saxons from Wessex had established modest land holdings in the eastern part of Cornwall; notably Alfred the Great who had acquired a few estates.

Soon after the Norman conquest most of the land was transferred to the new Breton-Norman aristocracy, with the most going to Robert, Count of Mortain, half-brother of King William and the largest landholder in England after the king with his stronghold at Trematon Castle near the mouth of the Tamar.

Norman absentee landlords became replaced by a new Cornu-Norman elite including scholars such as Richard Rufus of Cornwall. These families eventually became the new ruling class of Cornwall, many becoming involved in the operation of the Stannary Parliament system, Earldom and eventually the Duchy.

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