Huw Llywelyn Rees


 

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20th January

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By: Huw Llywelyn Rees
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Robert_Morris_circa_1876

Born to Welsh parents on this day 1734 in Liverpool

Robert Morris - merchant, benefactor of the American Revolution and signer of the American Declaration of Independence. 

Morris and his family relocated to Philadelphia in 1747, where he soon became a highly successful merchant. His interest in politics led to him becoming a member of the Continental Congress and his money, coupled with his business acumen and contacts meant he was able to provide Washington's army with supplies and arms.

Following  American Independence, Morris remained involved in politics, being appointed the superintendent of finance in which role, he established a national mint and used his considerable wealth to raise funds for the government.

He was later Senator for Pennsylvania but lost his personal fortune as a result of land speculation, being sent to debtors' prison from 1798 to 1801 and never recovered financially.  


 
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On 20th January 1288 Rhys ap Maredudd's revolt against Edward I was suppressed when his final stronghold at  Newcastle Emlyn castle surrendered, forcing him to go to ground.  

Following the death of Rhys's great grandfather, Lord Rhys in 1197, his father ruled over a truncated portion of Deheubarth, known as the Cantref Mawr, which Rhys succeeded to in 1271  and as such considered himself the custodian of Dinefwr castle, the stronghold of Deheubarth.

Rhys's relationship with the prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, was strained and he, therefore, supported the English crown during Edward I's campaigns in Wales in 1276–77 and 1282–3, which following Llywelyn's death, led to him being bestowed additional lands by Edward.  However, to his extreme disappointment, he was not given Dinefwr castle, which led him to rebel in 1287, capturing the majority of Ystrad Tywi, including the castles at Dinefwr and Carreg Cennen.

The rebellion was put down the following year and Rhys was forced into hiding, being eventually captured in 1291 and executed for treason at York in 1292.  


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The Amlwch riots of 1817. 

January 1817 saw violence, directed mainly against farmers, corn merchants and shippers in Amlwch, Anglesey. 

At the end of the Napoleonic wars, the government brought in the Corn Laws which prohibited the import of cheap corn in an effort to maintain prices for farmers. In 1817, the Anglesey grain harvest had failed following a very wet summer. The result was widespread poverty and hunger for the people of Anglesey. 

Despite the local problems, grain was still available to those in England who could afford to pay for it. Anglesey corn was still being exported via Amlwch port.  It was the transfer of wagonloads of such corn to a ship called “ The Wellington” in Amlwch port which caused the local people to stir.  In the dead of night, a number of men removed the rudder from the ship and hid it at Llanwenllwyfo church 3 miles away.  Meanwhile, in the “Ty Mawr” a public meeting was held to try and resolve the famine problem. It was decided to try and raised £2000 to buy food for the needy, the mine owners were approached but their paltry offer only resulted in further inflaming the situation. 

Over the next 6 days, the mood of the people worsened and two magistrates were dispatched to the town. Their first act was to enrol the help of 30 Special Constables who arrested some of the ring leaders of the disturbances. However, it was decided that only one of the men arrested should be taken to the Court House at Beaumaris. The following day the hiding place of the rudder was discovered but when some of the special constables attempted to take it back to the ship they were pelted with stones and smelter slag. The magistrates wrote to Sir Robert Peel requesting military assistance. Peel decided to ask the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to send a detachment of troops. 

164 men of the Regiment of Holyhead set sail from Dublin. They arrived in Amlwch on 20th February. Within a few hours, the rudder was restored to the Wellington and over the next few days and weeks normality returned to Amlwch. The soldiers eventually left on 29th March.


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Between January and April 1962 an outbreak of smallpox in Wales infected 45 people and killed 19 people, six in the Llantrisant and Rhondda and thirteen in Bridgend.  It resulted in over 900,000 people in South Wales being vaccinated against the disease. 

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