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Some definitions of West Wales include only Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, an area which historically comprised the Welsh principality of Deheubarth, an area called "South West Wales" in the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. Other definitions include Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, but exclude Ceredigion. The 'West Wales and the Valleys' NUTS (The Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics) area includes more westerly parts of North Wales. The preserved county of Dyfed covers what is generally considered to be "West Wales", which between 1974 and 1996, was also a county with a county council and six district councils.
Historically, the term West Wales was applied to the Kingdom of Cornwall during the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain and the period of the Heptarchy. The Old English word Wealas, meaning "foreigners" in the sense of Britons, gave its name to Wales, and was also applied to Cornwall, as "West Wealas" meaning Western foreigners.