Powys is a local government principal area and a preserved county in Wales.
Powys covers the former administrative counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire, and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,196 km², making it the largest principal area in Wales by land area.
It is bounded the north by Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Wrexham; to the west by Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire; to the east by England (counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire); and to the south by Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly (county borough), Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire.
Most of Powys is very mountainous with north-south transportation by car and rail being quite difficult.
Just under a third of the residents have Welsh linguistical skills and first language speakers are concentrated mainly in the rural areas both in and around Machynlleth, Llanfyllin and Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (where William Morgan first translated the whole Bible into Welsh in 1588) in Montgomeryshire (Sir Drefaldwyn), and the industrial area of Ystradgynlais in the extreme south-west of Brecknock (Sir Frycheiniog). Radnorshire (Sir Faesyfed) was almost completely Anglicised by the end of the 18th century.
This area is named after the older Welsh/British Kingdom of Powys, which occupied the northern two thirds of the area as well as lands now in England, and came to an end when it was occupied by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd of Gwynedd during the 1260s.
Powys was originally created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, and originally had Montgomery and Radnor and Brecknock as districts under it, which were based directly on the former administrative counties.
On 1 April 1996, the districts were abolished, and Powys was reconstituted as a unitary authority, with a minor border adjustment in the north-east (specifically the addition of the communities of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, Llansilin and Llangedwyn from Glyndwr district in Clwyd, all historically part of Denbighshire).
The present Lord Lieutenant is The Honourable Mrs Legge-Bourke LVO.