It was a small village until the industrial revolution. It was close by iron ore, coal, limestone and water, making it an ideal site for ironworks. This led to it becoming the largest town in Wales in 1851, with a population of 46,000. It has been in decline since the 1920s.
Its football club, Merthyr Tydfil F.C or 'The Martyrs' play in the Southern Football League.
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