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The area of Strathclyde (valley of the River Clyde) was a pre-Roman kingdom of the Britons ruled from Dumbarton. It was converted to Christianity in the 6th century by which time it had expanded to include most of modern Ayrshire. The name Strathclyde was first used in the 9th or 10th centuries. In 1034 it became one with the Scottish crown and disappeared as a separate entity.

The word reappeared in the context of the Strathclyde Regional Park after World War II, followed by the Strathclyde University, finally taking all before it in the government reorganisation of 1975 - the Strathclyde region incorporated most of south-west Scotland. It was replaced by various unitary authorities in 1996.