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This form also appears at times in literary references, as in the pseudohistorical "Historia Regum Britanniae" of Geoffrey of Monmouth, where the character of Camber is described as the eponymous King of Cymru.
Continuous human habitation dates from the end of the last ice age, between 12,000 and 10,000 years before present (BP), when Mesolithic hunter-gatherers from central Europe began to migrate to Great Britain.
The word came into use as a self-description probably before the 7th century.
In Welsh literature, the word Cymry was used throughout the Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the Britonnic peoples (including the Welsh) and was the more common literary term until c. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh. 1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland.
Doggerland was submerged by the North Sea and, by 8,000 BP, the British Peninsula had become an island.
John Davies has theorised that the story of Cantre'r Gwaelod's drowning and tales in the Mabinogion, of the waters between Wales and Ireland being narrower and shallower, may be distant folk memories of this time.
Historically in Britain, the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used to refer to anything that the Anglo-Saxons associated with the Britons, including other non-Germanic territories in Britain (e.g.
Wales was free of glaciers by about 10,250 BP, the warmer climate allowing the area to become heavily wooded.
The post-glacial rise in sea level separated Wales and Ireland, forming the Irish Sea.
Welsh national feeling grew over the century; Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925 and the Welsh Language Society in 1962.
Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters.