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This was continued by his son Einion Yrth ap Cunedda and grandson Cadwallon Lawhir ap Einion ; the last Irish invaders were finally defeated in battle in As an island, Anglesey was in a good defensive position, and so Aberffraw became the site of the court, or Llys , of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. Apart from a devastating Danish raid in it remained the capital until the 13th century, when improvements to the English navy made the location indefensible. Anglesey was also briefly the most southern possession of the Norwegian Empire.
After the Irish, the island was invaded by Vikings — some of these raids were noted in famous sagas see Menai Strait History — and by Saxons , and Normans , before falling to Edward I of England in the 13th century. Anglesey together with Holy Island is one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales. The last times this occurred were a few years after , following the death of Owain Gwynedd , when the island was inherited by Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd , and between and c. Following the conquest of Wales by Edward I , Anglesey was created a county under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan of Prior to this it had been divided into the cantrefi of Aberffraw , Rhosyr and Cemaes.
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By the end of the war, approximately 1, of the island's men had died while on active service. Around half a dozen airships operated out of Mona airfield to monitor German submarine activity. In , Anglesey became a district of the new large county of Gwynedd.
The Local Government Wales Act abolished the county and the five districts on 1 April Anglesey became an independent unitary authority. In , the Welsh Government appointed a panel of commissioners to administer the council, thus the elected members were not in control.
The commissioners remained in control until an election was held in May , restoring an elected Council. Prior to the direct administration, there were a majority of independent councillors, though members did not generally divide along party lines, organised into five non-partisan groups on the council, containing a mix of party and independent candidates. The position remains substantially unchanged after the election, although the Labour party has formed a governing coalition with the independents. Anglesey is a relatively low-lying island, with low hills spaced evenly over the north of the island.
In all other directions the island is surrounded by the Irish Sea. It is the 51st largest island in Europe, and just five square kilometres smaller than Singapore. There are several small towns scattered around the island, making it quite evenly populated.
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Beaumaris is a yachting centre, with many boats moored in the bay or off Gallows Point. The village of Newborough Welsh: Niwbwrch , in the south, created when the townsfolk of Llanfaes were relocated to make way for the building of Beaumaris Castle, includes the site of Llys Rhosyr , another of the courts of the medieval Welsh princes, which features one of the oldest courtrooms in the United Kingdom. Llangefni is located in the centre and is the island's administrative centre. The town of Menai Bridge Welsh: Porthaethwy , in the southeast expanded when the first bridge to the mainland was being built, in order to accommodate workers and construction.
Until then, Porthaethwy had been one of the principal ferry crossing points from the mainland. Nearby is the village with the longest name in the United Kingdom , Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch , and Plas Newydd , ancestral home of the Marquesses of Anglesey.
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The town of Amlwch is situated in the northeast of the island and was once largely industrialised, having grown during the 18th century by supporting an important copper -mining industry at Parys Mountain. The Anglesey Sea Zoo is a local tourist attraction, providing a descriptive look at local marine wildlife from common lobsters to congers. All the fish and crustaceans on display are caught around the island and placed in reconstructions of their natural habitat. The Anglesey Sea Zoo also breed commercially lobsters, for food, and oysters , for pearls, both from local stocks.
There are a few natural lakes, mostly in the west, such as Llyn Llywenan , the largest on the island, Llyn Coron, and Cors Cerrig y Daran, but rivers are few and small. There are two large water supply reservoirs operated by Welsh Water. These are Llyn Alaw to the north of the island and Llyn Cefni in the centre of the island, which is fed by the headwaters of the afon Cefni. The climate is humid though much less so than neighbouring mountainous Gwynedd and generally equable, being influenced by the Gulf Stream. The land is of variable quality and it was probably much more fertile in the past.
Anglesey is the home of the northernmost olive grove in Europe and presumably in the world. The island's entire rural coastline has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and features many sandy beaches, especially along its eastern coast between the towns of Beaumaris and Amlwch and along the western coast from Ynys Llanddwyn through Rhosneigr to the little bays around Carmel Head. The northern coastline has dramatic cliffs interspersed with small bays  The Anglesey Coastal Path follows the entire way around the island.
The official start point is St Cybi's Church, Holyhead. Tourism is now the most significant economic activity on the island. Agriculture provides the secondary source of income for the island's economy, with the local dairies being some of the most productive in the region. Major industry is restricted to Holyhead Caergybi , which until 30 September supported an aluminium smelter , and the Amlwch area, once a major copper mining town. Nearby is the site of the former Wylfa Nuclear Power Station and a former bromine extraction plant. With construction starting in , the two Wylfa reactors began producing electricity in One reactor was decommissioned in and the other in Plans were developed for a replacement reactor, planned by Horizon , a subsidiary of Hitachi , to start production in the s.
Anglesey also has three wind farms on land,  and more than twenty offshore wind turbines near the north coast. There are plans for the world's first Tidal Flow turbines, near The Skerries , off the north coast,  and for a major biomass plant on Holy Island Ynys Gybi.
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Developing such low-carbon energy assets to their full potential forms part of the Anglesey Energy Island project. When the aluminium smelting operation closed in September , it reduced its workforce from to 80; this has been a major blow to the island's economy, especially to Holyhead. There is a wide range of smaller industries, mostly located in industrial and business parks, especially at Llangefni and Gaerwen.
These include an abattoir and fine chemical manufacturing, as well as factories for timber production, aluminium smelting, fish farming and food processing. Much of Anglesey is used for relatively intensive cattle and sheep farming. However, there are a number of important wetland sites which have protected status.
In addition the several lakes all have significant ecological interest, including their support for a wide range of aquatic and semi-aquatic bird species. The RAF airstrip at Mona is a nesting site for skylarks.
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The sheer cliff faces at South Stack near Holyhead provide nesting sites for huge numbers of auks including puffins , razorbills and guillemots together with choughs and peregrine falcons. There are significant occurrences of the Juncus subnodulosus - Cirsium palustre fen-meadow plant association , a habitat characterised by certain hydrophilic grasses, sedges and forbs. Anglesey is home to two of the UK's few remaining colonies of red squirrels , at Pentraeth and Newborough. Almost the entire coastline of Anglesey is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB to protect the aesthetic appeal and variety of the island's coastal landscape and habitats from inappropriate development.
Substantial areas of other land protected by the AONB form the backdrop to the coast.
A number of the habitats in Anglesey are afforded even greater protection through both UK and European designations because of their nature conservation value: These protected habitats support a variety of wildlife such as harbour porpoises and marsh fritillary. The sections of Heritage Coast are:. The most popular forms of recreation include sailing, angling, cycling, walking, wind surfing and jet skiing. These all place pressures and demands on the AONB; but these activities contribute to the local economy.
Anglesey has historically been a stronghold of the Welsh language , and according to the census it was the second most Welsh-speaking local authority area in Wales. The historical proportions of residents who could speak Welsh are as follows:. Today, Welsh is less widely used on the island, but it is still the dominant language in certain areas, particularly in the centre, including the town of Llangefni , and some areas of the south coast.
A notable example is the village of Llanfairpwll. The island's five secondary schools vary widely in the percentage of their pupils who come from predominantly Welsh-speaking homes, as do the percentages who can speak Welsh:. The geology of Anglesey is notably complex and is frequently used for geology field trips by schools and colleges. Younger strata in Anglesey rest upon a foundation of very old Precambrian rocks that appear at the surface in four areas:. These Precambrian rocks are schists and phyllites , often much contorted and disturbed.
The general line of strike of the formations in the island is from north-east to south-west.