Clwyd (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈklʊɨd]) is a preserved county of Wales, situated in the north-east corner of the country; it is named after the River Clwyd, which runs through the area. To the north lies the Irish Sea, with the English ceremonial counties of Cheshire to the east and Shropshire to the south-east. Powys and Gwynedd lie to the south and west respectively. Clwyd also shares a maritime boundary with Merseyside along the River Dee. Between 1974 and 1996, a slightly different area had a county council, with local government functions shared with six district councils. In 1996, Clwyd was abolished, and the new unitary authorities of Wrexham, Conwy County Borough, Denbighshire, and Flintshire were created; under this reorganisation, “Clwyd” became a preserved county, with the name being retained for certain ceremonial functions.
This area of north-eastern Wales has been settled since prehistoric times; the Romans built a fort beside a ford on the River Conwy, and the Normans and Welsh disputed the territory. They built their castles at strategic locations as they advanced and retreated, but in the end England prevailed, and Edward I conquered the country in 1282. The Act of Union in 1535 incorporated Wales under the English Crown and made it subject to English law.
Traditionally, agriculture was the mainstay of the economy of this part of Wales, but with the Industrial Revolution, the North Wales Coalfield was developed and parts of eastern Clwyd around the Dee estuary and Wrexham became industrialised. The advent of the railway running from Chester along the North Wales coast in the mid-19th century made it easy for urban dwellers from Lancashire and Cheshire to visit the seaside towns of North Wales.