Games that are accepted as direct predecessors to bandy have been recorded in Russian monastery records dating back to the 10th to 11th centuries. A game that could be recognized as essentially modern bandy was played in Russia by the early 1700s, although the rules used differed from those that were invented in England at a much later date. All the way through modern times, Russia has kept a top position in the bandy area, being one of the founding nations of the International Federation, as well as the most successful team in the World Championships. Russians see themselves as the creators of the sport, which is reflected by the unofficial title for bandy, "Russian hockey," or "русский хоккей."
In the western world, Britain has played an important role in the development of bandy. A game similar to bandy was known in Wales as Bando. It was played throughout the country in varying forms and is still to be found in some areas. The earliest example of the Welsh language term bando occurs in a dictionary by John Walters published in 1770–94. It was particularly popular in the Cynffig-Margam district of the Vale of Glamorgan where wide stretches of sandy beaches afforded ample room for play. As a winter sport, British bandy originated in the Fens of East Anglia where large expanses of ice formed on flooded meadows or shallow washes in cold winters, and skating was a tradition. Members of the Bury Fen Bandy Club published rules of the game in 1882, and introduced it into other countries. The first international match was played between Bury Fen and Haarlem from the Netherlands.
There are now national federations in a few nations, including Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United States.
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