Wales

Wales

Overview
Wales (ˈweɪlz, ; pronounced ˈkəm.rɨ) is a country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 that is part of
Countries of the United Kingdom
Countries of the United Kingdom is a term used to describe England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These four countries together form the sovereign state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is also described as a country. The alternative terms, constituent...

 the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the island of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, bordered
Wales–England border
The Wales–England border, between two of the countries of the United Kingdom, extends for about from the Dee estuary, in the north, to the Severn estuary in the south....

 by England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to its east and the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and Irish Sea
Irish Sea
The Irish Sea separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. It is connected to the Celtic Sea in the south by St George's Channel, and to the Atlantic Ocean in the north by the North Channel. Anglesey is the largest island within the Irish Sea, followed by the Isle of Man...

 to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km² (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,200 km (746 mi) of coastline, including its offshore islands; the largest, Anglesey
Anglesey
Anglesey , also known by its Welsh name Ynys Môn , is an island and, as Isle of Anglesey, a county off the north west coast of Wales...

 , is also the largest island in the Irish Sea.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Wales'
Start a new discussion about 'Wales'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Timeline

1282   Llywelyn the Last, the last native Prince of Wales, is killed at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells, south Wales.

1283   Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, becomes the first person executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered.

1797   The Last Invasion of Britain begins near Fishguard, Wales.

1804   The first self-propelling steam locomotive makes its outing at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales.

1826   The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world's first modern suspension bridge, connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the north West coast of Wales, is opened.

1837   A system of the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths is established in England and Wales.

1850   The Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait between the Isle of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales is opened.

1850   The Roman Catholic hierarchy is re-established in England and Wales by Pope Pius IX.

1859   The Royal Charter is wrecked on the coast of Anglesey, north Wales with 459 dead.

1865   Welsh settlers arrive at Chubut in Argentina.

 
Encyclopedia
Wales (ˈweɪlz, ; pronounced ˈkəm.rɨ) is a country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 that is part of
Countries of the United Kingdom
Countries of the United Kingdom is a term used to describe England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These four countries together form the sovereign state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is also described as a country. The alternative terms, constituent...

 the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the island of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, bordered
Wales–England border
The Wales–England border, between two of the countries of the United Kingdom, extends for about from the Dee estuary, in the north, to the Severn estuary in the south....

 by England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to its east and the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and Irish Sea
Irish Sea
The Irish Sea separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. It is connected to the Celtic Sea in the south by St George's Channel, and to the Atlantic Ocean in the north by the North Channel. Anglesey is the largest island within the Irish Sea, followed by the Isle of Man...

 to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km² (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,200 km (746 mi) of coastline, including its offshore islands; the largest, Anglesey
Anglesey
Anglesey , also known by its Welsh name Ynys Môn , is an island and, as Isle of Anglesey, a county off the north west coast of Wales...

 , is also the largest island in the Irish Sea. Generally mountainous, its highest mountains are in the north and central areas, especially in Snowdonia
Snowdonia
Snowdonia is a region in north Wales and a national park of in area. It was the first to be designated of the three National Parks in Wales, in 1951.-Name and extent:...

 , which contains Snowdon
Snowdon
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, at an altitude of above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside Scotland. It is located in Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, and has been described as "probably the busiest mountain in Britain"...

 , its highest peak.

During the Iron Age
British Iron Age
The British Iron Age is a conventional name used in the archaeology of Great Britain, referring to the prehistoric and protohistoric phases of the Iron-Age culture of the main island and the smaller islands, typically excluding prehistoric Ireland, and which had an independent Iron Age culture of...

 and early medieval
Wales in the Early Middle Ages
The history of Wales in the early Middle Ages is sketchy, as there is very little written history from the period. Nonetheless, some information may be gleaned from archaeological evidence and what documentary history does exist.-Sub-Roman Britain :...

 period, Wales was inhabited by the Celtic Britons
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

. A distinct Welsh national identity
Welsh people
The Welsh people are an ethnic group and nation associated with Wales and the Welsh language.John Davies argues that the origin of the "Welsh nation" can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th centuries, following the Roman departure from Britain, although Brythonic Celtic languages seem to have...

 emerged in the centuries after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations
Celtic nations
The Celtic nations are territories in North-West Europe in which that area's own Celtic languages and some cultural traits have survived.The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common traditional identity and culture and are identified with a traditional...

 today. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn was the ruler of all Wales from 1055 until his death, the only Welsh monarch able to make this boast...

 was recognised as king of Wales in 1057. Llywelyn ap Gruffydd
Llywelyn the Last
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd or Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf , sometimes rendered as Llywelyn II, was the last prince of an independent Wales before its conquest by Edward I of England....

's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

's conquest of Wales. The castles and town walls
Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd
The Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd refers to a UNESCO-designated site of patrimony located in Gwynedd, Wales.In 1986, four castles related to the reign of King Edward I of England were proclaimed collectively as a World Heritage Site, as outstanding examples of fortifications and...

 erected to ensure its permanence are now UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

s. Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndwr
Owain Glyndŵr , or Owain Glyn Dŵr, anglicised by William Shakespeare as Owen Glendower , was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales...

 briefly restored independence to what was to become modern Wales, in the early 15th century. Wales was subsequently annexed by England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 since when, excluding those matters now devolved to Wales, English law
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

 has been the legal system of Wales and England
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh Liberalism
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

, was displaced by the growth of socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 and the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

. Welsh national feeling grew over the century; Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

 was formed in 1925 and Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Welsh Language Society) in 1962. The National Assembly for Wales
National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales is a devolved assembly with power to make legislation in Wales. The Assembly comprises 60 members, who are known as Assembly Members, or AMs...

, created in 1999 following a referendum, holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters.

Wales lies within the north temperate zone, its changeable, maritime climate making it one of the wettest countries in Europe. It was an agricultural society for most of its early history, the country's terrain making arable
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

 farming secondary to pastoral
Pastoralism
Pastoralism or pastoral farming is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. It may have a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and...

 farming, the primary source of Wales' wealth. In the 18th century, the introduction of the slate and metallurgical industries, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, began to transform the country into an industrial nation; the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a navigable aqueduct that carries the Llangollen Canal over the valley of the River Dee in Wrexham in north east Wales....

 and the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape date from that period. The south Wales coalfield
South Wales Coalfield
The South Wales Coalfield is a large region of south Wales that is rich with coal deposits, especially the South Wales Valleys.-The coalfield area:...

's exploitation in the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 caused a rapid expansion of the Welsh population. Two-thirds of Wales' three million population live in south Wales
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

, mainly in and around the cities of Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

 , Swansea
Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

  and Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

 , and in the nearby valleys
South Wales Valleys
The South Wales Valleys are a number of industrialised valleys in South Wales, stretching from eastern Carmarthenshire in the west to western Monmouthshire in the east and from the Heads of the Valleys in the north to the lower-lying, pastoral country of the Vale of Glamorgan and the coastal plain...

. Another concentration live in eastern north Wales
North Wales
North Wales is the northernmost unofficial region of Wales. It is bordered to the south by the counties of Ceredigion and Powys in Mid Wales and to the east by the counties of Shropshire in the West Midlands and Cheshire in North West England...

. Cardiff, Wales' capital, is the country's most populous city, with 317,500 residents, and for a period was the biggest coal port in the world. Today, with the country's traditional heavy industries (coal, steel, copper, tinplate and slate) either gone or in decline, Wales' economy depends on the public sector
Public sector
The public sector, sometimes referred to as the state sector, is a part of the state that deals with either the production, delivery and allocation of goods and services by and for the government or its citizens, whether national, regional or local/municipal.Examples of public sector activity range...

, light and service industries, and tourism
Tourism in Wales
Wales is an emerging tourist destination, with 8,078,900 visitors to National Trust and Welsh Tourist Board destinations in 2002. The industry has been estimated to have an annual turnover of £3.5 billion....

.

Although Wales shares a close political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, it has retained a distinct cultural identity. Wales is officially bilingual, the Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 languages having equal status. The Welsh language is an important element of Welsh culture
Culture of Wales
Wales has a distinctive culture including its own language, customs, holidays and music.Wales is primarily represented by the symbol of the red Welsh Dragon, but other national emblems include the leek and daffodil. The Welsh words for leeks and daffodils Wales has a distinctive culture including...

, and its use is supported by national policy. Over 580,000 Welsh speakers live in Wales, more than 20% of the population. From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song", attributable in part to the revival of the eisteddfod tradition. At international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

, Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

 and the Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years....

, Wales is represented by national teams regulated and organised by over fifty national governing bodies
Governing bodies of sports in Wales
The governing bodies of sports in Wales perform an organisational, regulatory or sanctioning function at a national level in Wales, some tracing their history to the 19th Century. Many cooperate with similar bodies from other countries to agree rule changes for their sport. Most implement decisions...

 of sports in Wales. At the Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

, Welsh athletes compete as part of a Great Britain team. Although football has traditionally been the more popular sport in north Wales, rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 is seen as a symbol of Welsh identity and an expression of national consciousness.

Etymology of Wales


The Anglo-Saxon
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 word for 'foreign' or 'foreigner' was Waelisc and a 'foreign(er's) land' was called Wēalas. The modern English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 forms of these words with respect to the modern country are Welsh (the people) and Wales (the land), respectively.

Historically in Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used indiscriminately to refer to anything that the Anglo-Saxons associated with Celtic Britons
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

, including other foreign lands (e.g., Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

), places once associated with Celtic Britons (e.g., Walworth
Walworth, County Durham
Walworth is a central small village with outlying farmsteads, which together constitute a scattered village in the borough of Darlington and the ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It is a civil parish which does not have a church. It is situated to the north west of Darlington. The...

 in County Durham
County Durham
County Durham is a ceremonial county and unitary district in north east England. The county town is Durham. The largest settlement in the ceremonial county is the town of Darlington...

 and Walton
Walton, Leeds
Walton is an affluent village and civil parish 2 miles east of Wetherby, West Yorkshire, England. It is adjacent to Thorp Arch village and Thorp Arch Trading Estate. The village is in the LS 23 Leeds postcode area, The nearest locally important town is Wetherby, with Tadcaster and the large...

 in West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England with a population of 2.2 million. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972....

), the surnames of people (e.g., Walsh and Wallace) and various other things that were once new and foreign to the Anglo-Saxons (e.g., the walnut
Walnut
Juglans is a plant genus of the family Juglandaceae, the seeds of which are known as walnuts. They are deciduous trees, 10–40 meters tall , with pinnate leaves 200–900 millimetres long , with 5–25 leaflets; the shoots have chambered pith, a character shared with the wingnuts , but not the hickories...

). None of these historic usages is necessarily connected to Wales or the Welsh.

The Anglo-Saxon words are derived from the same Germanic root (singular Walh
Walha
Walhaz is a reconstructed Proto-Germanic word, meaning "foreigner", "stranger", "Roman", "Romance-speaker", or "Celtic-speaker". The adjective derived from this word can be found in , Old High German walhisk, meaning "Romance", in Old English welisċ, wælisċ, wilisċ, meaning "Romano-British" and in...

, plural Walha), applied to Italic and Celtic
Italo-Celtic
In historical linguistics, Italo-Celtic is a grouping of the Italic and Celtic branches of the Indo-European language family on the basis of features shared by these two branches and no others. These are usually considered to be innovations, which are likely to have developed after the breakup of...

 peoples and places, that has provided modern names for Continental
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

 lands (e.g., Wallonia and Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

) and peoples (e.g., the Vlachs
Vlachs
Vlach is a blanket term covering several modern Latin peoples descending from the Latinised population in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. English variations on the name include: Walla, Wlachs, Wallachs, Vlahs, Olahs or Ulahs...

 via a borrowing into Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

), none of which has any connection to Wales or the Welsh.

Etymology of Cymru



The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, and Cymru is Welsh for "Land of the Cymry". The etymological origin of Cymry is from the Brythonic word combrogi, meaning "fellow-countrymen". The use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the post-Roman Era
Sub-Roman Britain
Sub-Roman Britain is a term derived from an archaeological label for the material culture of Britain in Late Antiquity: the term "Sub-Roman" was invented to describe the potsherds in sites of the 5th century and the 6th century, initially with an implication of decay of locally-made wares from a...

 relationship of the Welsh with the Brythonic-speaking peoples of northern England and southern Scotland, the peoples of Yr Hen Ogledd
Hen Ogledd
Yr Hen Ogledd is a Welsh term used by scholars to refer to those parts of what is now northern England and southern Scotland in the years between 500 and the Viking invasions of c. 800, with particular interest in the Brythonic-speaking peoples who lived there.The term is derived from heroic...

 (The Old North). In its original use, it amounted to a self-perception that the Welsh and the "Men of the North" were one people, exclusive of all others. In particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish
Cornish people
The Cornish are a people associated with Cornwall, a county and Duchy in the south-west of the United Kingdom that is seen in some respects as distinct from England, having more in common with the other Celtic parts of the United Kingdom such as Wales, as well as with other Celtic nations in Europe...

 or the Breton
Breton people
The Bretons are an ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brythonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain in waves from the 3rd to 6th century into the Armorican peninsula, subsequently named Brittany after them.The...

 peoples, who are of similar heritage, culture, and language to both the Welsh and the Men of the North. The word came into use as a self-description probably before the 7th century.
It is attested in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan
Cadwallon ap Cadfan
Cadwallon ap Cadfan was the King of Gwynedd from around 625 until his death in battle. The son and successor of Cadfan ap Iago, he is best remembered as the King of the Britons who invaded and conquered Northumbria, defeating and killing its king, Edwin, prior to his own death in battle against...

 (Moliant Cadwallon, by Afan Ferddig) c. 633. In Welsh literature
Literature of Wales (Welsh language)
After literature written in the classical languages literature in the Welsh language is the oldest surviving literature in Europe. The Welsh literary tradition stretches from the 6th century to the twenty-first. Its fortunes have fluctuated over the centuries, in line with those of the Welsh...

, the word Cymry was used throughout the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the Britonnic peoples
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

 (including the Welsh) and was the more common literary term until c. 1100. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh. Until c. 1560 Cymry was used indiscriminately to mean either the people (Cymry) or their homeland (Cymru).

The Latinised forms of these names are Cambrian or Cambric ("Welsh") and Cambria
Cambria
Cambria is the classical name for Wales, being the Latinised form of the Welsh name Cymru . The etymology of Cymry "the Welsh", Cimbri, and Cwmry "Cumbria", improbably connected to the Biblical Gomer and the "Cimmerians" by 17th-century celticists, is now known to come from Old Welsh combrog...

("Wales"). They survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales, Welsh and the Welsh people. Examples include the Cambrian Mountains
Cambrian Mountains
The Cambrian Mountains are a series of mountain ranges in Wales, reaching from, and including, the South Wales mountains of the Brecon Beacons, north Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, the Black Mountains of eastern Wales, to Snowdonia in North Wales...

 (which cover most of Wales), the newspaper Cambrian News
Cambrian News
The Cambrian News is a weekly newspaper distributed in Wales. It was founded in 1860 and is based in Cefn Llan Science Park, Aberystwyth. Cambrian News Ltd was bought by media entrepreneur Sir Ray Tindle in 1998.- History :...

, as well as the organisations Cambrian Airways
Cambrian Airways
Cambrian Airways was a Welsh airline based in Cardiff, Wales, which started operations in 1935. It was incorporated into British Airways in 1976.-Company history:...

, Cambrian Railways
Cambrian Railways
Cambrian Railways owned of track over a large area of mid-Wales. The system was an amalgamation of a number of railways that were incorporated in 1864, 1865 and 1904...

 and Cambrian Archaeological Association
Cambrian Archaeological Association
The Cambrian Archaeological Association was founded in 1846 to examine, preserve and illustrate the ancient monuments and remains of the history, language, manners, customs, arts and industries of Wales and the Welsh Marches and to educate the public in such matters.Its activities include holding...

. Outside Wales, this form survives as the name of Cumbria
Cumbria
Cumbria , is a non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local authority, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's largest settlement and county town is Carlisle. It consists of six districts, and in...

 in North West England
North West England
North West England, informally known as The North West, is one of the nine official regions of England.North West England had a 2006 estimated population of 6,853,201 the third most populated region after London and the South East...

, which was once a part of Yr Hen Ogledd. This form also appears at times in literary references, perhaps most notably in the pseudohistorical
Pseudohistory
Pseudohistory is a pejorative term applied to a type of historical revisionism, often involving sensational claims whose acceptance would require rewriting a significant amount of commonly accepted history, and based on methods that depart from standard historiographical conventions.Cryptohistory...

 Historia Regum Britanniae
Historia Regum Britanniae
The Historia Regum Britanniae is a pseudohistorical account of British history, written c. 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It chronicles the lives of the kings of the Britons in a chronological narrative spanning a time of two thousand years, beginning with the Trojans founding the British nation...

 of Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth was a cleric and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography and the popularity of tales of King Arthur...

, where the character of Camber is described as the eponymous King of Cymru.

Prehistoric origins




Wales has been inhabited by modern humans
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 for at least 29,000 years. Continuous human habitation dates from the end of the last ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

, between 12,000 and 10,000 years before present (BP)
Before Present
Before Present years is a time scale used in archaeology, geology, and other scientific disciplines to specify when events in the past occurred. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use AD 1950 as the origin of the age scale, reflecting the fact that radiocarbon...

, when Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 hunter-gatherers from central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 began to migrate to Great Britain. At that time sea levels were much lower than today, and the shallower parts of what is now the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 were dry land. The east coast of present day England and the coasts of present day Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands were connected by the former landmass known as Doggerland
Doggerland
Doggerland is a name given by archaeologists and geologists to a former landmass in the southern North Sea that connected the island of Great Britain to mainland Europe during and after the last Ice Age, surviving until about 6,500 or 6,200 BCE, though gradually being swallowed by rising sea levels...

, forming the British Peninsula on the European mainland
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

. Wales was free of glaciers by about 10,250 BP, the warmer climate allowing the area to become heavily wooded. The post-glacial rise in sea level separated Wales and Ireland, forming the Irish Sea
Irish Sea
The Irish Sea separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. It is connected to the Celtic Sea in the south by St George's Channel, and to the Atlantic Ocean in the north by the North Channel. Anglesey is the largest island within the Irish Sea, followed by the Isle of Man...

. Doggerland was submerged by the North Sea and, by 8,000 BP, the British Peninsula had become an island. By the beginning of the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 (c. 6,000 BP) sea levels in the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

 were still about 33 feet (10 m) lower than today. John Davies
John Davies (historian)
John Davies is a Welsh historian, and a television and radio broadcaster.Davies was born in the Rhondda, Wales, and studied at both University College, Cardiff, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He is married with four children...

 has theorised that the story of Cantre'r Gwaelod's drowning and tales in the Mabinogion
Mabinogion
The Mabinogion is the title given to a collection of eleven prose stories collated from medieval Welsh manuscripts. The tales draw on pre-Christian Celtic mythology, international folktale motifs, and early medieval historical traditions...

, of the waters between Wales and Ireland being narrower and shallower, may be distant folk memories of this time.

Neolithic colonists integrated with the indigenous people, gradually changing their lifestyles from a nomadic life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers about 6,000 BP – the Neolithic Revolution
Neolithic Revolution
The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution. It was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved independently in 6 separate locations worldwide circa...

. They cleared the forests to establish pasture and to cultivate the land, developed new technologies such as ceramics and textile production, and built cromlechs such as Pentre Ifan
Pentre Ifan
Pentre Ifan is the name of an ancient manor in the civil parish of Nevern, in North Pembrokeshire, West Wales. It contains the largest and best preserved neolithic dolmen in Wales.-History:...

, Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu is a prehistoric site on the Welsh island of Anglesey located near Llanddaniel Fab. Its name means 'the mound in the dark grove'. It was plundered in 1699 and archaeologically excavated between 1928 and 1929....

 and Parc Cwm long cairn
Parc Cwm long cairn
Parc Cwm long cairn , also known as Parc le Breos burial chamber , is a partly restored Neolithic chambered tomb, identified in 1937 as a Severn-Cotswold type of chambered long barrow. The cromlech, a megalithic burial chamber, was built around 5850 years before present , during the early...

 between about 5,500 BP and 5,800 BP. In common with people living all over Great Britain, over the following centuries the people living in what was to become known as Wales assimilated immigrants and exchanged ideas of the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 and Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 Celtic cultures. According to John T. Koch
John T. Koch
Professor John T. Koch is an American academic, historian and linguist who specializes in Celtic studies, especially prehistory and the early Middle Ages....

 and others, Wales in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-networked culture
Atlantic Bronze Age
The Atlantic Bronze Age is a cultural complex of the Bronze Age period of approximately 1300–700 BC that includes different cultures in Portugal, Andalusia, Galicia, Armorica and the British Isles.-Trade:...

 that also included the other Celtic nations
Celtic nations
The Celtic nations are territories in North-West Europe in which that area's own Celtic languages and some cultural traits have survived.The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common traditional identity and culture and are identified with a traditional...

, England, France, Spain and Portugal where Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 developed. By the time of the Roman invasion of Britain
Roman conquest of Britain
The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning effectively in AD 43 under Emperor Claudius, whose general Aulus Plautius served as first governor of Britannia. Great Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and...

 the area of modern Wales had been divided among the tribes of the Deceangli
Deceangli
The Deceangli or Deceangi were one of the Celtic tribes living in Britain, prior to the Roman invasion of the island. The tribe lived mainly in what is now north-east Wales, though it is uncertain whether their territory covered only the modern counties of Flintshire, Denbighshire and part of...

, Ordovices
Ordovices
The Ordovices were one of the Celtic tribes living in Great Britain, before the Roman invasion of Britain. Its tribal lands were located in present day Wales and England between the Silures to the south and the Deceangli to the north-east...

, Cornovii, Demetae
Demetae
The Demetae were a Celtic people of Iron Age Britain who inhabited modern Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire in south-west Wales, and gave their name to the county of Dyfed.-Classical mention:...

 and Silures
Silures
The Silures were a powerful and warlike tribe of ancient Britain, occupying approximately the counties of Monmouthshire, Breconshire and Glamorganshire of present day South Wales; and possibly Gloucestershire and Herefordshire of present day England...

 for centuries.

Roman era


The Roman conquest of Wales began in AD 48 and took 30 years to complete. Roman rule lasted over 300 years. The campaigns of conquest are the most widely known feature of Wales during the Roman era
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, due to the spirited, but ultimately unsuccessful, defence of their homelands by two native tribes: the Silures
Silures
The Silures were a powerful and warlike tribe of ancient Britain, occupying approximately the counties of Monmouthshire, Breconshire and Glamorganshire of present day South Wales; and possibly Gloucestershire and Herefordshire of present day England...

; and the Ordovices
Ordovices
The Ordovices were one of the Celtic tribes living in Great Britain, before the Roman invasion of Britain. Its tribal lands were located in present day Wales and England between the Silures to the south and the Deceangli to the north-east...

. Roman rule in Wales was a military occupation, save for the southern coastal region of South Wales
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

, east of the Gower Peninsula
Gower Peninsula
Gower or the Gower Peninsula is a peninsula in south Wales, jutting from the coast into the Bristol Channel, and administratively part of the City and County of Swansea. Locally it is known as "Gower"...

, where there is a legacy of Romanisation. The only town in Wales founded by the Romans, Caerwent
Caerwent
Caerwent is a village and community in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located about five miles west of Chepstow and eleven miles east of Newport, and was founded by the Romans as the market town of Venta Silurum, an important settlement of the Brythonic Silures tribe. The modern village is built...

, is in South Wales. Both Caerwent and Carmarthen
Carmarthen
Carmarthen is a community in, and the county town of, Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is sited on the River Towy north of its mouth at Carmarthen Bay. In 2001, the population was 14,648....

, also in southern Wales, became Roman civitates
Civitas
In the history of Rome, the Latin term civitas , according to Cicero in the time of the late Roman Republic, was the social body of the cives, or citizens, united by law . It is the law that binds them together, giving them responsibilities on the one hand and rights of citizenship on the other...

. Wales had a rich mineral wealth. The Romans used their engineering
Roman engineering
Romans are famous for their advanced engineering accomplishments, although some of their own inventions were improvements on older ideas, concepts and inventions. Technology for bringing running water into cities was developed in the east, but transformed by the Romans into a technology...

 technology
Roman technology
Roman technology is the engineering practice which supported Roman civilization and made the expansion of Roman commerce and Roman military possible over nearly a thousand years....

 to extract large amounts of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 and lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, as well as modest amounts of some other metals such as zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 and silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

. Roman economic development was concentrated in south-eastern Britain, and no significant industries located in Wales. This was largely a matter of circumstance, as Wales had none of the necessary materials in suitable combination, and the forested, mountainous countryside was not amenable to industrialisation. Although Latin became the official language of Wales, the people tended to continue to speak in Brythonic. While Romanisation was far from complete, the upper classes of Wales began to consider themselves Roman, particularly after the ruling of 212
Constitutio Antoniniana
The Constitutio Antoniniana was an edict issued in 212 AD, by the Roman Emperor Caracalla...

 that granted Roman citizenship
Roman citizenship
Citizenship in ancient Rome was a privileged political and legal status afforded to certain free-born individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance....

 to all free men throughout the Empire. Further Roman influence came through the spread of Christianity, which gained many followers after Christians were allowed to worship freely in 313.
Early historians, including the 6th century cleric Gildas
Gildas
Gildas was a 6th-century British cleric. He is one of the best-documented figures of the Christian church in the British Isles during this period. His renowned learning and literary style earned him the designation Gildas Sapiens...

, have noted 383 as a significant point in Welsh history, as it is stated in literature as the foundation point of several medieval royal dynasties. In that year the Roman general Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus , also known as Maximianus and Macsen Wledig in Welsh, was Western Roman Emperor from 383 to 388. As commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against Emperor Gratian in 383...

, or Macsen Wledig, stripped all of western and northern Britain of troops and senior administrators, to launch a successful bid for imperial power; continuing to rule Britain from Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 as Emperor. Gildas, writing in about 540, says that Maximus left Britain not only with all of its Roman troops, but also with all of its armed bands, governors, and the flower of its youth, never to return. Having left with the troops and Roman administrators, and planning to continue as the ruler of Britain in the future, his practical course was to transfer local authority to local rulers. The earliest Welsh genealogies give Maximus the role of founding father for several royal dynasties, including those of Powys and Gwent. It was this transfer of power that has given rise to the belief that he was the father of the Welsh Nation. He is given as the ancestor of a Welsh king on the Pillar of Eliseg
Pillar of Eliseg
The Pillar of Eliseg also known as Elise's Pillar or Croes Elisedd in Welsh, stands near Valle Crucis Abbey, Denbighshire, Wales, at . It was erected by Cyngen ap Cadell , king of Powys in honour of his great-grandfather Elisedd ap Gwylog...

, erected nearly 500 years after he left Britain, and he figures in lists of the Fifteen Tribes of Wales
Fifteen Tribes of Wales
The five royal tribes of Wales and The fifteen tribes of Gwynedd refer to a class of genealogical lists which were compiled by Welsh bards in the mid-15th century. These lists were constructed on the premise that many of the leading Welsh families of their time could trace their descent to the...

.

Post-Roman era


The 400 years following the collapse of Roman rule is the most difficult to interpret in the history of Wales. After the Roman departure from Britain in 410, much of the lowlands of Britain to the east and south-east were overrun by various Germanic tribes. However by 500 AD, the land that would become Wales had divided into a number of kingdoms free from Anglo-Saxon rule. The kingdoms of Gwynedd
Kingdom of Gwynedd
Gwynedd was one petty kingdom of several Welsh successor states which emerged in 5th-century post-Roman Britain in the Early Middle Ages, and later evolved into a principality during the High Middle Ages. It was based on the former Brythonic tribal lands of the Ordovices, Gangani, and the...

, Powys, Dyfed and Seisyllg, Morgannwg and Gwent emerged as independent Welsh successor states
Successor States
In the fictional BattleTech universe, the Successor States are the major military powers of the Inner Sphere, each governed by one of the Great Houses...

. Archaeological evidence, in the Low Countries and what was to become England, shows early Anglo-Saxon migration to Great Britain reversed between 500 to 550, which concurs with Frankish chronicles. John Davies notes this as consistent with the British
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

 victory at Badon Hill
Battle of Mons Badonicus
The Battle of Mons Badonicus was a battle between a force of Britons and an Anglo-Saxon army, probably sometime between 490 and 517 AD. Though it is believed to have been a major political and military event, there is no certainty about its date, location or the details of the fighting...

, attributed to Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

 by Nennius
Nennius
Nennius was a Welsh monk of the 9th century.He has traditionally been attributed with the authorship of the Historia Brittonum, based on the prologue affixed to that work, This attribution is widely considered a secondary tradition....

. This tenacious survival by the Romano-Britons and their descendants in the western kingdoms was to become the foundation of what we now know as Wales. With the loss of the lowlands, England's kingdoms of Mercia
Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

 and Northumbria
Northumbria
Northumbria was a medieval kingdom of the Angles, in what is now Northern England and South-East Scotland, becoming subsequently an earldom in a united Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England. The name reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary.Northumbria was...

, and later Wessex
Wessex
The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England, from the 6th century, until the emergence of a united English state in the 10th century, under the Wessex dynasty. It was to be an earldom after Canute the Great's conquest...

, wrestled with Powys, Gwent and Gwynedd to define the frontier between the two peoples.

Having lost much of what is now the West Midlands
West Midlands (region)
The West Midlands is an official region of England, covering the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands. It contains the second most populous British city, Birmingham, and the larger West Midlands conurbation, which includes the city of Wolverhampton and large towns of Dudley,...

 to Mercia in the 6th and early 7th centuries, a resurgent late-seventh-century Powys checked Mercian advancement. Aethelbald of Mercia, looking to defend recently acquired lands, had built Wat's Dyke
Wat's Dyke
Wat's Dyke is a 40 mile earthwork running through the northern Welsh Marches from Basingwerk Abbey on the River Dee estuary, passing to the east of Oswestry and onto Maesbury in Shropshire, England...

. According to John Davies
John Davies (historian)
John Davies is a Welsh historian, and a television and radio broadcaster.Davies was born in the Rhondda, Wales, and studied at both University College, Cardiff, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He is married with four children...

, this endeavour may have been with Powys king Elisedd ap Gwylog
Elisedd ap Gwylog
Elisedd ap Gwylog , also known as Elise, was king of Powys in eastern Wales.Little has been preserved in the historical records about Elisedd, who was a descendant of Brochwel Ysgithrog. He appears to have reclaimed the territory of Powys after it had been overrun by the English...

's own agreement, however, for this boundary, extending north from the valley of the River Severn
River Severn
The River Severn is the longest river in Great Britain, at about , but the second longest on the British Isles, behind the River Shannon. It rises at an altitude of on Plynlimon, Ceredigion near Llanidloes, Powys, in the Cambrian Mountains of mid Wales...

 to the Dee estuary, gave Oswestry
Oswestry
Oswestry is a town and civil parish in Shropshire, England, close to the Welsh border. It is at the junction of the A5, A483, and A495 roads....

 to Powys. Another theory, after carbon dating placed the dyke's existence 300 years earlier, is that it may have been built by the post-Roman rulers of Wroxeter
Wroxeter
Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

. King Offa of Mercia
Offa of Mercia
Offa was the King of Mercia from 757 until his death in July 796. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa, Offa came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald after defeating the other claimant Beornred. In the early years of Offa's reign it is likely...

 seems to have continued this consultative initiative when he created a larger earthwork, now known as Offa's Dyke
Offa's Dyke
Offa's Dyke is a massive linear earthwork, roughly followed by some of the current border between England and Wales. In places, it is up to wide and high. In the 8th century it formed some kind of delineation between the Anglian kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys...

 . Davies wrote of Cyril Fox
Cyril Fox
Sir Cyril Fred Fox , born, Chippenham, Wiltshire, was an English archaeologist.Cyril Fox became keeper of archaeology at the National Museum of Wales...

's study of Offa's Dyke: "In the planning of it, there was a degree of consultation with the kings of Powys and Gwent. On the Long Mountain near Trelystan, the dyke veers to the east, leaving the fertile slopes in the hands of the Welsh; near Rhiwabon, it was designed to ensure that Cadell ap Brochwel retained possession of the Fortress of Penygadden." And, for Gwent, Offa had the dyke built "on the eastern crest of the gorge, clearly with the intention of recognizing that the River Wye
River Wye
The River Wye is the fifth-longest river in the UK and for parts of its length forms part of the border between England and Wales. It is important for nature conservation and recreation.-Description:...

 and its traffic belonged to the kingdom of Gwent." However, Fox's interpretations of both the length and purpose of the Dyke have been questioned by more recent research. Offa's Dyke largely remained the frontier between the Welsh and English, though the Welsh would recover by the 12th century the area between the Dee , and the Conwy known then as Y Berfeddwlad
Perfeddwlad
Perfeddwlad, , , was a name adopted during the twelfth century for the territories in north-east Wales lying between the rivers Conwy and Dee, and comprised the cantrefi of Rhos, Rhufoniog, Dyffryn Clwyd and Tegeingl...

. By the eighth century, the eastern borders with the Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon may refer to:* Anglo-Saxons, a group that invaded Britain** Old English, their language** Anglo-Saxon England, their history, one of various ships* White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, an ethnicity* Anglo-Saxon economy, modern macroeconomic term...

s had broadly been set.

In 853 the Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

s raided Anglesey, but in 856 Rhodri Mawr
Rhodri the Great
Rhodri the Great was King of Gwynedd from 844 until his death. He was the first Welsh ruler to be called 'Great', and the first to rule most of present-day Wales...

 defeated and killed their leader, Gorm. The Britons of Wales later made their peace with the Vikings and Anarawd ap Rhodri
Anarawd ap Rhodri
Anarawd ap Rhodri was a King of Gwynedd, also referred to as "King of the Britons" by the Annales Cambriae.Anarawd's father Rhodri the Great had eventually become ruler of most of Wales, but on his death in 878 his kingdom was shared out between his sons, with Anarawd inheriting the throne of...

 allied with the Norsemen occupying Northumbria to conquer the north. This alliance later broke down and Anarawd came to an agreement with Alfred
Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to 899.Alfred is noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings, becoming the only English monarch still to be accorded the epithet "the Great". Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself...

, king of Wessex
Wessex
The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England, from the 6th century, until the emergence of a united English state in the 10th century, under the Wessex dynasty. It was to be an earldom after Canute the Great's conquest...

, with whom he fought against the west Welsh. According to Annales Cambriae
Annales Cambriae
Annales Cambriae, or The Annals of Wales, is the name given to a complex of Cambro-Latin chronicles deriving ultimately from a text compiled from diverse sources at St David's in Dyfed, Wales, not later than the 10th century...

, in 894, "Anarawd came with the Angles and laid waste Ceredigion and Ystrad Tywi."

Medieval Wales




The southern and eastern parts of Great Britain lost to English settlement became known in Welsh as Lloegyr
Lloegyr
Lloegyr is the medieval Welsh name for that part of Britain south and east of a line extending from the Humber Estuary to the Severn Estuary, exclusive of Cornwall and Devon...

 (Modern Welsh Lloegr), which may have referred to the kingdom of Mercia originally, and which came to refer to England as a whole. The Germanic tribes who now dominated these lands were invariably called Saeson, meaning "Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

". The Anglo-Saxons called the Romano-British 'Walha
Walha
Walhaz is a reconstructed Proto-Germanic word, meaning "foreigner", "stranger", "Roman", "Romance-speaker", or "Celtic-speaker". The adjective derived from this word can be found in , Old High German walhisk, meaning "Romance", in Old English welisċ, wælisċ, wilisċ, meaning "Romano-British" and in...

', meaning 'Romanised foreigner' or 'stranger'. The Welsh continued to call themselves Brythoniaid (Brythons or Britons) well into the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, though the first written evidence of the use of Cymru and y Cymry is found in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan
Cadwallon ap Cadfan
Cadwallon ap Cadfan was the King of Gwynedd from around 625 until his death in battle. The son and successor of Cadfan ap Iago, he is best remembered as the King of the Britons who invaded and conquered Northumbria, defeating and killing its king, Edwin, prior to his own death in battle against...

 (Moliant Cadwallon, by Afan Ferddig) c. 633. In Armes Prydain, believed to be written around 930–942, the words Cymry and Cymro are used as often as 15 times. However, from the Anglo-Saxon settlement onwards, the people gradually begin to adopt the name Cymry over Brythoniad.
From 800 onwards, a series of dynastic marriages led to Rhodri Mawr
Rhodri the Great
Rhodri the Great was King of Gwynedd from 844 until his death. He was the first Welsh ruler to be called 'Great', and the first to rule most of present-day Wales...

's (r. 844–77) inheritance of Gwynedd
Gwynedd
Gwynedd is a county in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. Although the second biggest in terms of geographical area, it is also one of the most sparsely populated...

 and Powys
Powys
Powys is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.-Geography:Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire , and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,179 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.It is...

. His sons in turn would found three principal dynasties (Aberffraw
Aberffraw
Aberffraw is a small village and community on the south west coast of the Isle of Anglesey , in Wales, by the west bank of the River Ffraw, at . The UK postcode begins LL63. Access by road is by way of the A4080 and the nearest rail station is Bodorgan. In the early Middle Ages Aberffraw was the...

 for Gwynedd, Dinefwr
Dinefwr
Dinefwr was a local government district of Dyfed, Wales from 1974 to 1996. It was named after Dinefwr Castle which was the royal capital of the Principality of Deheubarth and one of the three principal royal courts of Wales....

 for Deheubarth, and Mathrafal
Mathrafal
Mathrafal near Welshpool, in Powys, Mid Wales, was the seat of the Kings and Princes of Powys probably from the 9th century until its destruction in 1212 by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth of Gwynedd.- Location :...

 for Powys). Rhodri's grandson Hywel Dda
Hywel Dda
Hywel Dda , was the well-thought-of king of Deheubarth in south-west Wales, who eventually came to rule Wales from Prestatyn to Pembroke. As a descendant of Rhodri Mawr, through his father Cadell, Hywel was a member of the Dinefwr branch of the dynasty and is also named Hywel ap Cadell...

 (r. 900–50) founded Deheubarth out of his maternal and paternal inheritances of Dyfed
Dyfed
Dyfed is a preserved county of Wales. It was created on 1 April 1974 under the terms of the Local Government Act 1972, and covered approximately the same geographic extent as the ancient Principality of Deheubarth, although excluding the Gower Peninsula and the area west of the River Tawe...

 and Seisyllwg in 930, ousted the Aberffraw
Aberffraw
Aberffraw is a small village and community on the south west coast of the Isle of Anglesey , in Wales, by the west bank of the River Ffraw, at . The UK postcode begins LL63. Access by road is by way of the A4080 and the nearest rail station is Bodorgan. In the early Middle Ages Aberffraw was the...

 dynasty from Gwynedd and Powys, and then codified Welsh law
Welsh law
Welsh law was the system of law practised in Wales before the 16th century. According to tradition it was first codified by Hywel Dda during the period between 942 and 950 when he was king of most of Wales; as such it is usually called Cyfraith Hywel, the Law of Hywel, in Welsh...

 in the 940s. Maredudd ab Owain
Maredudd ab Owain
Maredudd ab Owain was a King of Deheubarth, and through conquest also of Gwynedd and Powys, kingdoms in medieval Wales.Maredudd was the son of Owain ap Hywel and the grandson of Hywel Dda. His father was king of Deheubarth before him. As Owain grew too old to lead in battle his son Maredudd took...

 (r. 986–99) of Deheubarth (Hywel's grandson) would, (again) temporarily oust the Aberffraw line from control of Gwynedd and Powys.

Maredudd's great-grandson (through his daughter Princess Angharad
Angharad
Angharad is a popular Welsh name, having a long association with Welsh royalty, history and myth. It translates to .-Mythology:Angharad, also sometimes known as Angharad Golden-Hand, is the lover of Peredur in the Welsh myth cycle The Mabinogion. In some versions of the story, Peredur meets her...

) Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn was the ruler of all Wales from 1055 until his death, the only Welsh monarch able to make this boast...

 (r. 1039–63) would conquer his cousins' realms from his base in Powys, and even extend his authority into England. Historian John Davies
John Davies (historian)
John Davies is a Welsh historian, and a television and radio broadcaster.Davies was born in the Rhondda, Wales, and studied at both University College, Cardiff, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He is married with four children...

 states that Gruffydd was "the only Welsh king ever to rule over the entire territory of Wales... Thus, from about 1057 until his death in 1063, the whole of Wales recognised the kingship of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. For about seven brief years, Wales was one, under one ruler, a feat with neither precedent nor successor." Owain Gwynedd
Owain Gwynedd
Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd , in English also known as Owen the Great, was King of Gwynedd from 1137 until his death in 1170. He is occasionally referred to as "Owain I of Gwynedd"; and as "Owain I of Wales" on account of his claim to be King of Wales. He is considered to be the most successful of...

 (1100–70) of the Aberffraw line was the first Welsh ruler to use the title princeps Wallensium (prince of the Welsh), a title of substance given his victory on the Berwyn Mountains, according to John Davies.


Within four years of the Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
The Battle of Hastings occurred on 14 October 1066 during the Norman conquest of England, between the Norman-French army of Duke William II of Normandy and the English army under King Harold II...

 England had been completely subjugated
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

 by the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

. William I of England established a series of lordships, allocated to his most powerful warriors along the Welsh border, the boundaries fixed only to the east. This frontier region, and any English-held lordships in Wales, became known as Marchia Wallie, the Welsh Marches
Welsh Marches
The Welsh Marches is a term which, in modern usage, denotes an imprecisely defined area along and around the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods...

, in which the Marcher Lords were subject to neither English
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

 nor Welsh law
Welsh law
Welsh law was the system of law practised in Wales before the 16th century. According to tradition it was first codified by Hywel Dda during the period between 942 and 950 when he was king of most of Wales; as such it is usually called Cyfraith Hywel, the Law of Hywel, in Welsh...

. The area of the March varied as the fortunes of the Marcher Lords and the Welsh princes ebbed and flowed. The March of Wales, which existed for over 450 years, was abolished under the Acts of Union in 1536.

Owain Gwynedd's grandson Llywelyn Fawr
Llywelyn the Great
Llywelyn the Great , full name Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, was a Prince of Gwynedd in north Wales and eventually de facto ruler over most of Wales...

 (the Great, 1173–1240), wrested concessions out of the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

 in 1215 and receiving the fealty
Fealty
An oath of fealty, from the Latin fidelitas , is a pledge of allegiance of one person to another. Typically the oath is made upon a religious object such as a Bible or saint's relic, often contained within an altar, thus binding the oath-taker before God.In medieval Europe, fealty was sworn between...

 of other Welsh lords in 1216 at the council at Aberdyfi
Aberdyfi
Aberdyfi , or Aberdovey is a village on the north side of the estuary of the River Dyfi in Gwynedd, on the west coast of Wales....

, became the first Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

. His grandson Llywelyn ap Gruffydd
Llywelyn the Last
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd or Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf , sometimes rendered as Llywelyn II, was the last prince of an independent Wales before its conquest by Edward I of England....

 also secured the recognition of the title Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

 from Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

 with the Treaty of Montgomery
Treaty of Montgomery
By means of the Treaty of Montgomery , Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was acknowledged as Prince of Wales by the English king Henry III, the only time in history that an English ruler would recognise the right of a ruler of Gwynedd over Wales...

 in 1267. Later however, a succession of disputes, including the imprisonment of Llywelyn's wife Eleanor
Eleanor de Montfort
Eleanor de Montfort, Princess of Wales and Lady of Snowdon was a daughter of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and Eleanor of England. She was also the first woman who can be shown to have used the title Princess of Wales....

, daughter of Simon de Montfort
Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester
Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, 1st Earl of Chester , sometimes referred to as Simon V de Montfort to distinguish him from other Simon de Montforts, was an Anglo-Norman nobleman. He led the barons' rebellion against King Henry III of England during the Second Barons' War of 1263-4, and...

, culminated in the first invasion by King Edward I of England
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

. As a result of military defeat, the Treaty of Aberconwy
Treaty of Aberconwy
The Treaty of Aberconwy was signed in 1277 by King Edward I of England and Llewelyn the Last of modern-day Wales, who had fought each other on and off for years over control of the Welsh countryside...

 exacted Llywelyn's fealty to England in 1277. Peace was short lived and, with the 1282 Edwardian conquest, the rule of the Welsh princes permanently ended. With Llywelyn's death and his brother prince Dafydd
Dafydd ap Gruffydd
Dafydd ap Gruffydd was Prince of Wales from 11 December 1282 until his execution on 3 October 1283 by King Edward I of England...

's execution, the few remaining Welsh lords
Welsh peers
This is an index of Welsh peers whose primary peerage, life peerage, and baronetcy titles includes a Welsh place-name origin or its territorial qualification is within the historic counties of Wales....

 did homage for their lands to Edward I. Llywelyn's head was carried through London on a spear; his baby daughter Gwenllian was locked in the priory
Priory
A priory is a house of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. Priories may be houses of mendicant friars or religious sisters , or monasteries of monks or nuns .The Benedictines and their offshoots , the Premonstratensians, and the...

 at Sempringham
Sempringham
Sempringham is a hamlet in Lincolnshire, England that is located north of Bourne, on the Lincolnshire fen edge. Sempringham is now a very small hamlet consisting of a church, a house and a well, giving little clue to the history embodied within its parish boundary. Most of its houses are a...

, where she remained until her death 54 years later.


To help maintain his dominance, Edward constructed a series of great stone castles. Beaumaris
Beaumaris Castle
Beaumaris Castle, located in the town of the same name on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, was built as part of King Edward I's campaign to conquer the north of Wales. It was designed by James of St. George and was begun in 1295, but never completed...

, Caernarfon
Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle is a medieval building in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. There was a motte-and-bailey castle in the town of Caernarfon from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began replacing it with the current stone structure...

 and Conwy
Conwy Castle
Conwy Castle is a castle in Conwy, on the north coast of Wales.It was built between 1283 and 1289 during King Edward I's second campaign in North Wales....

. His son, the future King Edward II of England
Edward II of England
Edward II , called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed by his wife Isabella in January 1327. He was the sixth Plantagenet king, in a line that began with the reign of Henry II...

, was born at Edward's new castle at Caernarfon
Caernarfon
Caernarfon is a Royal town, community and port in Gwynedd, Wales, with a population of 9,611. It lies along the A487 road, on the east banks of the Menai Straits, opposite the Isle of Anglesey. The city of Bangor is to the northeast, while Snowdonia fringes Caernarfon to the east and southeast...

 in 1284. He became the first English Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

, not as an infant, but in 1301. The apocryphal story that Edward tricked the Welsh by offering them a Welsh-born Prince who could speak no English, was first recorded in 1584. The title also provided an income from the north–west part of Wales known as the Principality of Wales
Principality of Wales
The Principality of Wales existed between 1216 and 1542, encompassing two-thirds of modern Wales.It was formally founded in 1216 at the Council of Aberdyfi, and later recognised by the 1218 Treaty of Worcester between Llywelyn the Great of Wales and Henry III of England...

, until the Act of Union (1536), after which the term principality, if used at all, was believed to be associated with the whole of Wales. After the failed revolt in 1294–95 of Madog ap Llywelyn
Madog ap Llywelyn
Madog ap Llywelyn, or Prince Madoc, was from a junior branch of the House of Aberffraw and a distant relation of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last recognised native Prince of Wales.-Lineage:...

 – who styled himself Prince of Wales in the so-called Penmachno Document
Penmachno Document
The Penmachno Document was drawn up at Penmachno in Gwynedd on 19 December 1294 by Madog ap Llywelyn at the height of his revolt against English rule in Wales...

 – there was no major uprising until that led by Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndwr
Owain Glyndŵr , or Owain Glyn Dŵr, anglicised by William Shakespeare as Owen Glendower , was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales...

 a century later, against Henry IV of England
Henry IV of England
Henry IV was King of England and Lord of Ireland . He was the ninth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather's claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry Bolingbroke...

. In 1404, Owain was reputedly crowned Prince of Wales in the presence of emissaries from France, Spain and Scotland. Glyndŵr went on to hold parliamentary assemblies at several Welsh towns, including Machynlleth
Machynlleth
Machynlleth is a market town in Powys, Wales. It is in the Dyfi Valley at the intersection of the A487 and the A489 roads.Machynlleth was the seat of Owain Glyndŵr's Welsh Parliament in 1404, and as such claims to be the "ancient capital of Wales". However, it has never held any official...

. The rebellion was ultimately to founder, however, and Owain went into hiding in 1412, with peace being essentially restored in Wales by 1415. Although the English conquest of Wales took place under the 1284 Statute of Rhuddlan
Statute of Rhuddlan
The Statute of Rhuddlan , also known as the Statutes of Wales or as the Statute of Wales provided the constitutional basis for the government of the Principality of North Wales from 1284 until 1536...

, a formal Union did not occur until 1536, shortly after which Welsh law, which continued to be used in Wales after the conquest, was fully replaced by English law, under what would become known as the Act of Union.

Industrial Wales




Prior to the British Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, which saw a rapid economic expansion between 1750 and 1850, there were signs of small-scale industries scattered throughout Wales. These ranged from industries connected to agriculture, such as milling and the manufacture of woollen textiles, through to mining and quarrying. Until the Industrial Revolution, Wales had always been reliant on its agricultural output for its wealth and employment and the earliest industrial businesses were small scale and localised in manner. The emerging industrial period commenced around the development of copper smelting in the Swansea
Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

 area. With access to local coal deposits and a harbour that could take advantage of Cornwall's copper mines and the copper deposits being extracted from the then largest copper mine in the world at Parys Mountain
Parys Mountain
Parys Mountain – in the Welsh language Mynydd Parys – is located south of the town of Amlwch in north east Anglesey, Wales. It is the site of a large copper mine that was extensively exploited in the late 18th century.-History:...

 on Anglesey, Swansea developed into the world's major centre for non-ferrous metal smelting in the 19th century. The second metal industry to expand in Wales was iron smelting, and iron manufacturing became prevalent in both the north and the south of the country. In the north of Wales, John Wilkinson
John Wilkinson (industrialist)
John "Iron-Mad" Wilkinson was an English industrialist who pioneered the use and manufacture of cast iron and cast-iron goods in the Industrial Revolution.-Early life:...

's Ironworks at Bersham
Bersham
Bersham is a small Welsh village in the suburbs of the county borough of Wrexham that lies next to the River Clywedog. Wrexham owes a large amount of its original industrial heritage to Bersham, but despite this the village still retains a rural feeling....

 was a significant industry, while in the south, a second world centre of metallurgy was founded in Merthyr Tydfil
Merthyr Tydfil
Merthyr Tydfil is a town in Wales, with a population of about 30,000. Although once the largest town in Wales, it is now ranked as the 15th largest urban area in Wales. It also gives its name to a county borough, which has a population of around 55,000. It is located in the historic county of...

, where the four ironworks of Dowlais
Dowlais Ironworks
The Dowlais Ironworks was a major ironworks and steelworks located at Dowlais near Merthyr Tydfil, in Wales. Founded in the 18th century, it operated until the end of the 20th, at one time in the 19th century being the largest steel producer in the UK...

, Cyfarthfa
Cyfarthfa Ironworks
The Cyfarthfa Ironworks was a major 18th century and 19th century ironworks located in Cyfarthfa, on the north-western edge of Merthyr Tydfil, in South Wales.-The beginning:...

, Plymouth and Penydarren became the most significant hub of iron manufacture in Wales. In the 1820s, south Wales alone accounted for 40% of all pig iron
Pig iron
Pig iron is the intermediate product of smelting iron ore with a high-carbon fuel such as coke, usually with limestone as a flux. Charcoal and anthracite have also been used as fuel...

 manufactured in Britain.

In the late 18th century, slate quarrying began to expand rapidly, most notably in north Wales. The most notable site, opened in 1770 by Richard Pennant, is Penrhyn Quarry
Penrhyn Quarry
The Penrhyn Slate Quarry is a slate quarry located near Bethesda in north Wales. At the end of the nineteenth century it was the world's largest slate quarry; the main pit is nearly long and deep, and it was worked by nearly 3,000 quarrymen. It has since been superseded in size by slate quarries...

 which, by the late 19th century, was employing 15,000 men; and along with Dinorwic Quarry
Dinorwic Quarry
The Dinorwic Slate Quarry is a large former slate quarry, now home to the Welsh National Slate Museum, located between the villages of Llanberis and Dinorwig in north Wales. It was the second largest slate quarry in Wales, indeed in the world, after the neighbouring Penrhyn Quarry....

, dominated the Welsh slate trade. Although slate quarrying has been described as 'the most Welsh of Welsh industries', it is coal mining which has become the single industry synonymous with Wales and its people. Initially, coal seams were exploited to provide energy for local metal industries but, with the opening of canal systems and later the railways, Welsh coal mining saw a boom in its demand. As the south Wales coalfield
South Wales Coalfield
The South Wales Coalfield is a large region of south Wales that is rich with coal deposits, especially the South Wales Valleys.-The coalfield area:...

 was exploited, mainly in the upland valleys around Aberdare
Aberdare
Aberdare is an industrial town in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Dare and Cynon. The population at the census was 31,705...

 and later the Rhondda
Rhondda
Rhondda , or the Rhondda Valley , is a former coal mining valley in Wales, formerly a local government district, consisting of 16 communities built around the River Rhondda. The valley is made up of two valleys, the larger Rhondda Fawr valley and the smaller Rhondda Fach valley...

, the ports of Swansea, Cardiff and later Penarth, grew into world exporters of coal and, with them, came a population boom. By its height in 1913, Wales was producing almost 61 million tons of coal. As well as in South Wales, there was also a significant coalfield in the north-east of the country, particularly around Wrexham. As Wales was reliant on the production of capital goods rather than consumer goods, it possessed few of the skilled craftspeople and artisans found in the workshops of Birmingham or Sheffield in England and had few factories producing finished goods – a key feature of most regions associated with the Industrial Revolution. However, there is increasing support that the industrial revolution was reliant on harnessing the energy and materials provided by Wales and, in that sense, Wales was of central importance.

Modern Wales



Historian Kenneth Morgan described Wales on the eve of the First World War as a "relatively placid, self-confident, and successful nation". Output from the coalfields continued to increase, with the Rhondda Valley recording a peak of 9.6 million tons of coal extracted in 1913. The outbreak of the First World War (1914–1918) saw Wales, as part of the United Kingdom, enter hostilities with Germany. A total of 272,924 Welshmen served in the war, representing 21.5% of the male population. Of these, roughly 35,000 were killed. The two most notable battles of the War to include Welsh forces were those at Mametz Wood on the Somme and Third Ypres.

The first quarter of the 20th century also saw a shift in the political landscape of Wales. Since 1865, the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 had held a parliamentary majority in Wales and, following the general election of 1906
United Kingdom general election, 1906
-Seats summary:-See also:*MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1906*The Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885-1918-External links:***-References:*F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987**...

, only one non-Liberal Member of Parliament, Keir Hardie
Keir Hardie
James Keir Hardie, Sr. , was a Scottish socialist and labour leader, and was the first Independent Labour Member of Parliament elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom...

 of Merthyr Tydfil
Merthyr Tydfil (UK Parliament constituency)
Merthyr Tydfil was a parliamentary constituency centred on the town of Merthyr Tydfil in Glamorgan. From 1832 to 1868 it returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and in 1868 this was increased to two members...

, represented a Welsh constituency in Westminster. Yet by 1906, industrial dissension and political militancy had begun to undermine Liberal consensus in the Southern coalfields. In 1916, David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

 became the first Welshman to become Prime Minister of Britain when he was made head of the 1916 coalition government. In December 1918, Lloyd George was re-elected at the head of a Conservative-dominated coalition government, and his poor handling of the 1919 coalminers' strike was a key factor in destroying support for the Liberal party in south Wales. The industrial workers of Wales began shifting towards a new political organisation, established by Hardie and others to ensure an elected representation for the working class, and now called the Labour party. When in 1908 the Miners' Federation of Great Britain became affiliated to the Labour Party the four Labour candidates sponsored by miners were all elected as MPs. By 1922, half of the Welsh seats in Westminster were held by Labour politicians, which was the beginning of a Labour hegemony which would dominate Wales into the 21st century.

Despite economic growth in the first two decades of the 20th century, from the early 1920s to the late 1930s, Wales' staple industries endured a prolonged slump, leading to widespread unemployment and poverty in the South Wales valleys. For the first time in centuries, the population of Wales went into decline; the scourge of unemployment only relented with the production demands of the Second World War. The Second World War (1939–1945) saw Welsh servicemen and women fight in all the major theatres of war, with some 15,000 of them killed. Bombing raids brought major loss of life as the German Air Force
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 targeted the docks at Swansea
Swansea Blitz
The Swansea Blitz was the heavy and sustained bombing of Swansea by the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany on 19–21 February 1941.Swansea was selected as a legitimate target due to its importance as a port and docks and the oil refinery just beyond and its destruction was key to Nazi German war efforts as...

, Cardiff
Cardiff Blitz
The Cardiff Blitz refers to the bombing of Cardiff, Wales during World War II.At the time, Cardiff Docks was the biggest coal port in the world and, for a few years before World War I, it handled a greater tonnage of cargo than either London or Liverpool....

 and Pembroke
Pembroke Dock
Pembroke Dock is a town in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales, lying north of Pembroke on the River Cleddau. Originally a small fishing village known as Paterchurch, the town was greatly expanded from 1814 onwards following the construction of a Royal Naval Dockyard...

. After 1943, 10% of Welsh conscripts aged 18 were sent to work in the coal mines to rectify labour shortages; they became known as Bevin Boys
Bevin Boys
Bevin Boys were young British men conscripted to work in the coal mines of the United Kingdom, from December 1943 until 1948. Chosen at random from conscripts but also including volunteers, nearly 48,000 Bevin Boys performed vital but largely unrecognised service in the mines, many of them...

. Pacifist
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

 numbers during both World Wars were fairly low, especially in the Second World War, which was seen as a fight against fascism. Of the political parties active in Wales, only Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

 advocated a neutral stance, on the grounds that it was an 'imperialist war'.


The 20th century saw a revival in Welsh national feeling. Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925, seeking greater autonomy or independence from the rest of the UK. In 1955, the term England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 became common for describing the area to which English law applied, and Cardiff was proclaimed as capital city of Wales. Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg  was formed in 1962, in response to fears that the language may soon die out. Nationalist sentiment grew following the flooding of the Tryweryn valley in 1965 to create a reservoir supplying water to the English city of Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

. Despite 35 of the 36 Welsh Members of Parliament voting against the bill, with the other abstaining, Parliament still passed the bill and the village of Capel Celyn
Capel Celyn
Capel Celyn was a rural community to the north west of Bala in Gwynedd, north Wales, in the Afon Tryweryn valley. The village and other parts of the valley were flooded to create a reservoir, Llyn Celyn, in order to supply Liverpool and The Wirral with water for industry...

 was submerged, highlighting Wales' powerlessness in her own affairs in the face of the numerical superiority of English MPs in the Westminster Parliament. Both the Free Wales Army
Free Wales Army
The Free Wales Army was a paramilitary Welsh nationalist organisation, formed in Lampeter, Mid Wales, by William Julian Cayo-Evans in 1963. Its objective was to establish an independent Welsh republic.-History:...

 and Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru
Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru
Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru , abbreviated as MAC, was a paramilitary Welsh nationalist organisation, which was responsible for a number of bombing incidents between 1963 and 1969....

  were formed as a direct result of the Tryweryn destruction, conducting campaigns from 1963. In the years leading up to the investiture of Prince Charles
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

 as Prince of Wales in 1969, these groups were responsible for a number of bomb blasts—destroying water pipes, tax and other offices and part of a dam being built for a new English-backed project in Clywedog
Clywedog
Clywedog may refer to:* River Clywedog, a tributary of River Dee near Wrexham* A tributary of the River Mawddach* Clywedog Reservoir, a reservoir in the Welsh county of Powys* River Clywedog, Denbigh, a tributary of the River Clwyd...

, Montgomeryshire. In 1966 the Carmarthen Parliamentary seat
Carmarthen (UK Parliament constituency)
Carmarthen was the name of a parliamentary constituency in Wales which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom between 1542 and 1997...

 was won by Gwynfor Evans
Gwynfor Evans
Dr Richard Gwynfor Evans , was a Welsh politician, lawyer and author. President of Plaid Cymru for thirty six years, he was the first Member of Parliament to represent Plaid Cymru at Westminster ....

 at a by-election, Plaid Cymru's first Parliamentary seat. In the following year, the Wales and Berwick Act 1746
Wales and Berwick Act 1746
The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which created a statutory definition of "England" as including England, Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed. This definition applied to all acts passed before and after the Act's coming into force, unless a given Act provided an...

 was repealed and a legal definition of Wales and of the boundary with England was stated.

By the end of the 1960s, the regional policy of bringing firms into disadvantaged areas of Wales through financial incentives, had proven very successful in diversifying the once industrial landscape. This policy, begun in 1934, was enhanced by the construction of industrial estates and improving transport communications, most notably the M4 motorway
M4 motorway
The M4 motorway links London with South Wales. It is part of the unsigned European route E30. Other major places directly accessible from M4 junctions are Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea...

 linking Wales directly to London. There was a belief that the foundations for stable economic growth had been firmly established in Wales during this period; but these views were shown to be wildly optimistic after the recession of the early 1980s
Early 1980s recession
The early 1980s recession describes the severe global economic recession affecting much of the developed world in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The United States and Japan exited recession relatively early, but high unemployment would continue to affect other OECD nations through at least 1985...

 saw the collapse of much of the manufacturing base that had been built over the preceding forty years.

The first referendum
Wales referendum, 1979
In a referendum on St David's Day 1979, the people of Wales voted against proposals by the Labour government of the United Kingdom to establish a Welsh Assembly....

, in 1979, in which the Welsh electorate voted on the creation of an assembly for Wales resulted in a large majority for the "no" vote. However, in 1997, a referendum on the same issue secured a "yes", although by a very narrow majority. The National Assembly for Wales
National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales is a devolved assembly with power to make legislation in Wales. The Assembly comprises 60 members, who are known as Assembly Members, or AMs...

 (Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) was set up in 1999 (as a consequence of the Government of Wales Act 1998
Government of Wales Act 1998
This is about the Act that set up the Welsh Assembly. For the newer Government of Wales Act 2006, see that article.The Government of Wales Act 1998 This is about the Act that set up the Welsh Assembly. For the newer Government of Wales Act 2006, see that article.The Government of Wales Act 1998...

) and possesses the power to determine how the central government budget for Wales is spent and administered, although the UK parliament reserves the right to set limits on the powers of the Welsh Assembly.

The governments of the United Kingdom and of Wales almost invariably define Wales as a country. The Welsh Assembly Government says: "Wales is not a Principality. Although we are joined with England by land, and we are part of Great Britain, Wales is a country in its own right." The title Prince of Wales is still conferred on the heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 to the British throne, currently Prince Charles. However the Prince of Wales has no constitutional role in modern Wales. According to the Welsh Assembly Government: "Our Prince of Wales at the moment is Prince Charles, who is the present heir to the throne. But he does not have a role in the governance of Wales, even though his title might suggest that he does."

Government and politics


Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom (UK). Constitutionally, the UK is a de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

, unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

, its parliament and government in Westminster. In the House of Commons – the lower house of the UK government – Wales is represented by 40 MPs
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (of 646) from Welsh constituencies. Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 MPs hold 29 of the 40 seats, the Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 hold four seats, Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

, three and the Conservatives
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

, three. A Secretary of State for Wales
Secretary of State for Wales
The Secretary of State for Wales is the head of the Wales Office within the British cabinet. He or she is responsible for ensuring Welsh interests are taken into account by the government, representing the government within Wales and overseeing the passing of legislation which is only for Wales...

 sits in the UK cabinet
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

 and is responsible for representing matters pertaining to Wales. The Wales Office
Wales Office
The Wales Office / Swyddfa Cymru is a United Kingdom government department. It replaced the former Welsh Office, which had extensive responsibility for governing Wales prior to Welsh devolution in 1999....

 is a department of the United Kingdom government, responsible for Wales. Cheryl Gillan
Cheryl Gillan
Cheryl Elise Kendall Gillan is a British Conservative Party politician. She is currently the Secretary of State for Wales, and the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Chesham and Amersham in Buckinghamshire....

 has been Secretary of State for Wales since 12 May 2010, replacing Peter Hain
Peter Hain
Peter Gerald Hain is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for the Welsh constituency of Neath since 1991, and has served in the Cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, firstly as Leader of the House of Commons under Blair and both Secretary of State for...

 of the previous Labour administration. Gillan was appointed to the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition
Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement
The Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement was a policy document drawn up following the 2010 general election in the United Kingdom...

 Westminster government following the United Kingdom general election of 2010.

Referendums held in Wales and Scotland in 1997 chose to establish a limited form of self-government in both countries. In Wales, the consequent process of devolution
Devolution in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, devolution refers to the statutory granting of powers from the Parliament of the United Kingdom to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly and to their associated executive bodies the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government...

 began with the Government of Wales Act 1998
Government of Wales Act 1998
This is about the Act that set up the Welsh Assembly. For the newer Government of Wales Act 2006, see that article.The Government of Wales Act 1998 This is about the Act that set up the Welsh Assembly. For the newer Government of Wales Act 2006, see that article.The Government of Wales Act 1998...

, which created the National Assembly for Wales
National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales is a devolved assembly with power to make legislation in Wales. The Assembly comprises 60 members, who are known as Assembly Members, or AMs...

 . Powers of the Secretary of State for Wales were transferred to the devolved government on 1 July 1999, granting the Assembly responsibility to decide how the Westminster government's budget for devolved areas is spent and administered. The 1998 Act was amended by the Government of Wales Act 2006
Government of Wales Act 2006
The Government of Wales Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reforms the National Assembly for Wales and allows further powers to be granted to it more easily...

 which enhanced the Assembly's powers, giving it legislative powers akin to the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

 and Northern Ireland Assembly
Northern Ireland Assembly
The Northern Ireland Assembly is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and to appoint the Northern Ireland Executive...

. The Assembly consists of 60 members, known as Assembly Members . Members (AMs ) are elected for four year terms under an additional member system
Mixed member proportional representation
Mixed-member proportional representation, also termed mixed-member proportional voting and commonly abbreviated to MMP, is a voting system originally used to elect representatives to the German Bundestag, and nowadays adopted by numerous legislatures around the world...

. Forty of the AMs represent geographical constituencies, elected under the First Past the Post
Plurality voting system
The plurality voting system is a single-winner voting system often used to elect executive officers or to elect members of a legislative assembly which is based on single-member constituencies...

 system. The remaining twenty AMs represent five electoral regions, each representing between seven and nine constituencies, using the d'Hondt method
D'Hondt method
The d'Hondt method is a highest averages method for allocating seats in party-list proportional representation. The method described is named after Belgian mathematician Victor D'Hondt who described it in 1878...

 of proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

. The Assembly must elect a First Minister, who selects ministers to form the Welsh Assembly Government
Welsh Assembly Government
The Welsh Government is the devolved government of Wales. It is accountable to the National Assembly for Wales, the legislature which represents the interests of the people of Wales and makes laws for Wales...

.


Labour remained the largest Assembly party following the 2007 election
National Assembly for Wales election, 2007
The 2007 National Assembly election was held on Thursday 3 May 2007 to elect members to the National Assembly for Wales. It was the third general election. On the same day local elections in England and Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament election took place...

, winning 26 of the 60 seats. Having insufficient support to form a government, the Labour Party entered into the 'One Wales
One Wales
One Wales is the coalition agreement for the National Assembly for Wales between Labour and Plaid Cymru agreed to by Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of Wales and leader of Welsh Labour, and Ieuan Wyn Jones, leader of Plaid Cymru, on 27 June 2007. It was negotiated in the wake of the preceding...

' agreement with Plaid Cymru, forming a coalition
Coalition
A coalition is a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause. This alliance may be temporary or a matter of convenience. A coalition thus differs from a more formal covenant...

, the Labour leader as First Minister. Carwyn Jones
Carwyn Jones
Carwyn Howell Jones is a Welsh politician and the First Minister of Wales. The third official to lead the Welsh Government, Jones has been Assembly Member for Bridgend since 1999. In the coalition government of Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, he was appointed Counsel General for Wales and Leader of...

 has been First Minister and leader of Welsh Labour since Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan
Hywel Rhodri Morgan is a Welsh Labour politician who, as First Secretary for Wales, and subsequently First Minister, was leader of the Welsh Assembly Government from 2000 to 2009. A former leader of Welsh Labour, he was the Assembly Member for Cardiff West from 1999 to 2011...

 retired from office in December 2009, after nine years and ten months as First Minister. Ieuan Wyn Jones
Ieuan Wyn Jones
Ieuan Wyn Jones, AM is a Welsh politician, who was the Deputy First Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government from 2007 until 2011. Jones is the current leader of Plaid Cymru and Member of the National Assembly for Wales for the Ynys Môn constituency...

, Deputy First Minister in the coalition government, is leader of Plaid Cymru, the second-largest party in the Assembly with 14 of the 60 seats. The Presiding Officer
Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales
The Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales is the Speaker of the National Assembly for Wales, elected by the Members of the National Assembly for Wales to chair their meetings ; to maintain order; and to protect the rights of Members.He or she also heads the Corporate Body of the...

 of the Assembly is Rosemary Butler
Rosemary Butler (politician)
Rosemary Janet Mair Butler is a British politician and Labour Member of the National Assembly for Wales for Newport West since 1999. Serving briefly as Assembly Secretary for Education in the first two years of the Assembly, she was elected Deputy Presiding Officer of the Assembly in May 2007...

 of Welsh Labour. Other Assembly parties are the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

, the loyal opposition
Loyal opposition
In parliamentary systems of government, the term loyal opposition is applied to the opposition parties in the legislature to indicate that the non-governing parties may oppose the actions of the sitting cabinet typically comprising parliamentarians from the party with the most seats in the elected...

 with 13 seats, the Liberal Democrats with six seats, and one independent member. The Lib-Dems had previously formed part of a coalition government with Labour in the first Assembly. Under the 'One Wales' agreement, a referendum on giving the Welsh assembly full law-making powers on devolved 'matters' is promised "as soon as practicable, at or before the end of the assembly term (in 2011)" and both parties have agreed "in good faith to campaign for a successful outcome to such a referendum".

The twenty areas of responsibility devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government, known as 'matters', include agriculture, economic development, education, health, housing, local government, social services, tourism, transport and the Welsh language. On its creation in 1999, the National Assembly for Wales had no primary legislative powers. However, since the Government of Wales Act 2006
Government of Wales Act 2006
The Government of Wales Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reforms the National Assembly for Wales and allows further powers to be granted to it more easily...

 (GoWA 2006) came into effect in 2007, the Assembly has power to pass primary legislation as Assembly Measures on some specific matters within the areas of devolved responsibility. Further matters have been added subsequently, either directly by the UK Parliament or by the UK Parliament approving a Legislative Competence Order (LCO); a request from the National Assembly for additional powers. The GoWA 2006 allows for the Assembly to gain primary lawmaking powers on a more extensive range of matters within the same devolved areas if approved in a referendum.

A referendum on extending the law-making powers of the National Assembly was accordingly held on 3 March 2011. It asked the question: "Do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for?" The result of the vote was that 63.49% voted 'yes', and 36.51% voted 'no'. Consequently, the Assembly is now able to make laws, known as Acts of the Assembly
Act of the National Assembly for Wales
In Wales, an Act of the National Assembly for Wales is primary legislation that can be made by the National Assembly for Wales under part 4 of the Government of Wales Act 2006...

, on all matters in the subject areas, without needing the UK Parliament's agreement.

Wales is also a distinct UK electoral region
Wales (European Parliament constituency)
Wales is a constituency of the European Parliament. It currently elects 4 MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.- Boundaries :...

 of the European Union represented by four Members of the European Parliament.

Local government


For the purposes of local government, Wales has been divided into 22 council areas since 1996. These "principal areas" are responsible for the provision of all local government services.

Map of principal areas
  • Blaenau Gwent
    Blaenau Gwent
    Blaenau Gwent is a county borough in South Wales, sharing its name with a parliamentary constituency. It borders the unitary authority areas of Monmouthshire and Torfaen to the east, Caerphilly to the west and Powys to the north. Its main towns are Abertillery, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and...

     †
  • Bridgend
    Bridgend (county borough)
    Bridgend is a county borough in the historic county of Glamorgan, south Wales. The county borough has a total population of 130,000 people, and contains the settlements of Bridgend, after which it is named, Maesteg, and the seaside town of Porthcawl...

     (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr) †
  • Caerphilly
    Caerphilly (county borough)
    Caerphilly is a county borough in southern Wales, straddling the ancient county boundary between Glamorgan and Monmouthshire.Its main town is Caerphilly, and also the largest...

     (Caerffili) †
  • Cardiff
    Cardiff
    Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

     (Caerdydd) *
  • Carmarthenshire
    Carmarthenshire
    Carmarthenshire is a unitary authority in the south west of Wales and one of thirteen historic counties. It is the 3rd largest in Wales. Its three largest towns are Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford...

     (Sir Gaerfyrddin)
  • Ceredigion
    Ceredigion
    Ceredigion is a county and former kingdom in mid-west Wales. As Cardiganshire , it was created in 1282, and was reconstituted as a county under that name in 1996, reverting to Ceredigion a day later...

  • Conwy
    Conwy (county borough)
    Conwy County Borough is a unitary authority area in North Wales.-Geography:It contains the major settlements of Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Llanrwst, Betws-y-Coed, Conwy, Colwyn Bay, Abergele, Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan, and has a total population of about 110,000.The River Conwy, after...

     †
  • Denbighshire
    Denbighshire
    Denbighshire is a county in north-east Wales. It is named after the historic county of Denbighshire, but has substantially different borders. Denbighshire has the distinction of being the oldest inhabited part of Wales. Pontnewydd Palaeolithic site has remains of Neanderthals from 225,000 years...

     (Sir Ddinbych)
  • Flintshire
    Flintshire
    Flintshire is a county in north-east Wales. It borders Denbighshire, Wrexham and the English county of Cheshire. It is named after the historic county of Flintshire, which had notably different borders...

     (Sir y Fflint)
  • Gwynedd
    Gwynedd
    Gwynedd is a county in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. Although the second biggest in terms of geographical area, it is also one of the most sparsely populated...

  • Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Môn)
  • Merthyr Tydfil
    Merthyr Tydfil
    Merthyr Tydfil is a town in Wales, with a population of about 30,000. Although once the largest town in Wales, it is now ranked as the 15th largest urban area in Wales. It also gives its name to a county borough, which has a population of around 55,000. It is located in the historic county of...

     (Merthyr Tudful) †
  • Monmouthshire
    Monmouthshire
    Monmouthshire is a county in south east Wales. The name derives from the historic county of Monmouthshire which covered a much larger area. The largest town is Abergavenny. There are many castles in Monmouthshire .-Historic county:...

     (Sir Fynwy)
  • Neath Port Talbot
    Neath Port Talbot
    Neath Port Talbot is a county borough and one of the unitary authority areas of Wales. Neath Port Talbot is the 8th most populous county in Wales and the third most populous county borough....

     (Castell-nedd Port Talbot) †
  • Newport
    Newport
    Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

     (Casnewydd) *
  • Pembrokeshire
    Pembrokeshire
    Pembrokeshire is a county in the south west of Wales. It borders Carmarthenshire to the east and Ceredigion to the north east. The county town is Haverfordwest where Pembrokeshire County Council is headquartered....

     (Sir Benfro)
  • Powys
    Powys
    Powys is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.-Geography:Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire , and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,179 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.It is...

  • Rhondda Cynon Taf †
  • Swansea
    Swansea
    Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

     (Abertawe) *
  • Torfaen
    Torfaen
    Torfaen is a county borough in Wales within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It was originally formed in 1974 as a district of the county of Gwent and in 1996 it was reconstituted as a unitary authority.-Education:...

     (Tor-faen) †
  • Vale of Glamorgan
    Vale of Glamorgan
    The Vale of Glamorgan is a county borough in Wales; an exceptionally rich agricultural area, it lies in the southern part of Glamorgan, South Wales...

     (Bro Morgannwg) †
  • Wrexham
    Wrexham (county borough)
    Wrexham is a county borough centred on the town of Wrexham in north-east Wales. The county borough has a population of 130,200 inhabitants. Just under half of the population live either within the town of Wrexham or its surrounding conurbation of urban villages. The remainder living to the south...

     (Wrecsam) †


Areas are Counties, unless marked *(for Cities) or † (for County Boroughs). Welsh language
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 forms are given in parentheses, where they differ from the English..

Note: Wales has five cities. In addition to Cardiff, Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

 and Swansea
Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

, the communities of Bangor
Bangor, Wales
Bangor is a city in Gwynedd, north west Wales, and one of the smallest cities in Britain. It is a university city with a population of 13,725 at the 2001 census, not including around 10,000 students at Bangor University. Including nearby Menai Bridge on Anglesey, which does not however form part of...

 and St David's
St David's
St Davids , is a city and community in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Lying on the River Alun on St David's Peninsula, it is Britain's smallest city in terms of both size and population, the final resting place of Saint David, the country's patron saint, and the de facto ecclesiastical capital of...

 also have city status in the United Kingdom
City status in the United Kingdom
City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the British monarch to a select group of communities. The holding of city status gives a settlement no special rights other than that of calling itself a "city". Nonetheless, this appellation carries its own prestige and, consequently, competitions...

.

Law and order


By tradition, Welsh Law was compiled during an assembly held at Whitland
Whitland
Whitland is a small town in Carmarthenshire, south-west Wales, lying on the River Tâf. Whitland is home to the elusive "Whitland Trout" noted for its eggs and oily scales.- History :...

 around 930 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

 by Hywel Dda
Hywel Dda
Hywel Dda , was the well-thought-of king of Deheubarth in south-west Wales, who eventually came to rule Wales from Prestatyn to Pembroke. As a descendant of Rhodri Mawr, through his father Cadell, Hywel was a member of the Dinefwr branch of the dynasty and is also named Hywel ap Cadell...

, king of most of Wales between 942 and his death in 950. The 'law of Hywel Dda' , as it became known, codified the previously existing folk laws and legal customs
Celtic law
A number of law codes have in the past been in use in Celtic countries. While these vary considerably in details, there are certain points of similarity....

 that had evolved in Wales over centuries. Welsh Law emphasised the payment of compensation for a crime to the victim, or the victim's kin, rather than on punishment by the ruler. Other than in the Marches
Welsh Marches
The Welsh Marches is a term which, in modern usage, denotes an imprecisely defined area along and around the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods...

, where law was imposed by the Marcher Lords, Welsh Law remained in force in Wales until the Statute of Rhuddlan
Statute of Rhuddlan
The Statute of Rhuddlan , also known as the Statutes of Wales or as the Statute of Wales provided the constitutional basis for the government of the Principality of North Wales from 1284 until 1536...

 in 1284. Edward I of England
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

 annexed the Principality of Wales
Principality of Wales
The Principality of Wales existed between 1216 and 1542, encompassing two-thirds of modern Wales.It was formally founded in 1216 at the Council of Aberdyfi, and later recognised by the 1218 Treaty of Worcester between Llywelyn the Great of Wales and Henry III of England...

 following the death of Llywelyn the Last
Llywelyn the Last
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd or Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf , sometimes rendered as Llywelyn II, was the last prince of an independent Wales before its conquest by Edward I of England....

 and Welsh Law was replaced for criminal cases under the Statute. Marcher Law and Welsh Law (for civil cases) remained in force until Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 annexed the whole of Wales under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542
Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542
The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 were parliamentary measures by which the legal system of Wales was annexed to England and the norms of English administration introduced. The intention was to create a single state and a single legal jurisdiction; frequently referred to as England and Wales...

 (often referred to as the Acts of Union of 1536 and 1543), after which English Law applied to the whole of Wales. The Wales and Berwick Act 1746
Wales and Berwick Act 1746
The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which created a statutory definition of "England" as including England, Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed. This definition applied to all acts passed before and after the Act's coming into force, unless a given Act provided an...

 provided that all laws that applied to England would automatically apply to Wales (and the Anglo-Scottish border town of Berwick
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick-upon-Tweed or simply Berwick is a town in the county of Northumberland and is the northernmost town in England, on the east coast at the mouth of the River Tweed. It is situated 2.5 miles south of the Scottish border....

) unless the law explicitly stated otherwise. This act, with regard to Wales, was repealed in 1967. However, excluding those matters devolved to Wales since 1999, English law has been the legal system of Wales and England
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 since 1536.

English law is regarded as a common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 system, with no major codification of the law, and legal precedent
Precedent
In common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a principle or rule established in a legal case that a court or other judicial body may apply when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts...

s are binding as opposed to persuasive. The court system is headed by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the supreme court in all matters under English law, Northern Ireland law and Scottish civil law. It is the court of last resort and highest appellate court in the United Kingdom; however the High Court of Justiciary remains the supreme court for criminal...

 which is the highest court of appeal in the land for criminal and civil cases. The Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales is the highest court of first instance
Trial court
A trial court or court of first instance is a court in which trials take place. Such courts are said to have original jurisdiction.- In the United States :...

 as well as an appellate court
Appellate court
An appellate court, commonly called an appeals court or court of appeals or appeal court , is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal...

. The three divisions are the Court of Appeal
Court of Appeal of England and Wales
The Court of Appeal of England and Wales is the second most senior court in the English legal system, with only the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom above it...

; the High Court of Justice and the Crown Court
Crown Court
The Crown Court of England and Wales is, together with the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, one of the constituent parts of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

. Minor cases are heard by the Magistrates' Courts or the County Court
County Court
A county court is a court based in or with a jurisdiction covering one or more counties, which are administrative divisions within a country, not to be confused with the medieval system of county courts held by the High Sheriff of each county.-England and Wales:County Court matters can be lodged...

.

Since devolution in 2006, the Welsh Assembly has had the authority to draft and approve some laws outside of the UK Parliamentary
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 system to meet the specific needs of Wales. Under powers conferred by Legislative Competency Order
Legislative Competency Order
In Wales, a Legislative Competence Order was a piece of constitutional legislation in the form of an Order in Council. It transferred legislative authority from the Parliament of the United Kingdom to the National Assembly for Wales...

s agreed by all parliamentary stakeholders, it is able to pass laws known as Assembly Measures in relation to specific fields, such as health and education. As such, Assembly Measures are a subordinate form of primary legislation
Primary legislation
Primary legislation is law made by the legislative branch of government. This contrasts with secondary legislation, which is usually made by the executive branch...

, lacking the scope of UK-wide acts of parliament, but able to be passed without the approval of the UK parliament or Royal Assent for each 'act'. Through this primary legislation, the Welsh Assembly Government
Welsh Assembly Government
The Welsh Government is the devolved government of Wales. It is accountable to the National Assembly for Wales, the legislature which represents the interests of the people of Wales and makes laws for Wales...

 can then also draft more specific secondary legislation. In 2007 the Wales and Cheshire Region (known as the Wales and Cheshire Circuit before 2005) came to an end when Cheshire was attached to the North-Western England Region. From that point Wales became a legal unit in its own right.

Wales is served by four regional police forces, Dyfed-Powys Police
Dyfed-Powys Police
Dyfed-Powys Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and the county of Powys, in Wales. The territory it covers is the largest police area in England and Wales, and the fourth largest in the United Kingdom...

, Gwent Police
Gwent Police
Gwent Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the local authority areas of Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen in southeast Wales....

, North Wales Police
North Wales Police
North Wales Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing North Wales. The headquarters are in Colwyn Bay, with divisional headquarters in St Asaph, Caernarfon and Wrexham....

 and South Wales Police
South Wales Police
South Wales Police is one of the four territorial police forces in Wales. Its headquarters are based in Bridgend.Covering Wales' capital city, Cardiff, as well as Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Swansea, and the western South Wales Valleys, it is the largest police force in Wales in terms of population,...

. There are four prisons in Wales
Prisons in Wales
The prisons in Wales are run by Her Majesty's Prison Service, which is in turn a part of the National Offender Management Service which is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice responsible for the correctional services in England and Wales...

, though all are based in the southern half of the country. As well as no northern provision for Welsh prisoners, there are no female prisons in Wales, with inmates being housed in English prisons.

Geography and natural history



Wales is a generally mountainous country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 on the western side of central southern Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

. It is about 274 km (170 mi) north–south and 97 km (60 mi) east–west. The oft-quoted 'size of Wales' is about 20,779 km² (8,023 sq mi). Wales is bordered by England to the east and by sea in all other directions: the Irish Sea
Irish Sea
The Irish Sea separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. It is connected to the Celtic Sea in the south by St George's Channel, and to the Atlantic Ocean in the north by the North Channel. Anglesey is the largest island within the Irish Sea, followed by the Isle of Man...

  to the north and west, St George's Channel
St George's Channel
St George's Channel is a sea channel connecting the Irish Sea to the north and the Celtic Sea to the southwest.Historically, the name "St Georges Channel" was used interchangeably with "Irish Sea" or "Irish Channel" to encompass all the waters between Ireland to the west and Great Britain to the...

  and the Celtic Sea
Celtic Sea
The Celtic Sea is the area of the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Ireland bounded to the east by Saint George's Channel; other limits include the Bristol Channel, the English Channel, and the Bay of Biscay, as well as adjacent portions of Wales, Cornwall, Devon, and Brittany...

  to the southwest and the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

  to the south. Altogether, Wales has over 1,180 km (733 mi) of coastline. Over 50 islands lie off the Welsh mainland; the largest being Anglesey , in the northwest.


Much of Wales' diverse landscape is mountainous, particularly in the north and central regions. The mountains were shaped during the last ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

, the Devensian glaciation. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia
Snowdonia
Snowdonia is a region in north Wales and a national park of in area. It was the first to be designated of the three National Parks in Wales, in 1951.-Name and extent:...

 (Eryri), of which five are over 1,000 m (3,281 ft); known as 'super-mountains'. The highest of these is Snowdon
Snowdon
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, at an altitude of above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside Scotland. It is located in Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, and has been described as "probably the busiest mountain in Britain"...

 (Yr Wyddfa), at 1,085 m (3,560 ft). The 14 (or 15 if including Garnedd Uchaf; often discounted due to its low topographic prominence
Topographic prominence
In topography, prominence, also known as autonomous height, relative height, shoulder drop , or prime factor , categorizes the height of the mountain's or hill's summit by the elevation between it and the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit...

) Welsh mountains over 3,000 feet (914 m) high are known collectively as the Welsh 3000s
Welsh 3000s
This is a list of what are known as the Welsh 3000s, i.e. those 15 mountains in Wales which have a height of 3000 ft or more. Geographically they fall within three ranges, all sufficiently close to make it possible to reach all 15 summits within 24 hours, a challenge known as the Welsh 3000s...

 and are located in a small area in the north-west.

The highest outside the 3000s is Aran Fawddwy
Aran Fawddwy
Aran Fawddwy is a mountain in southern Snowdonia, Wales, United Kingdom.The nearest urban centres to the mountain are Dinas Mawddwy to the south, Llanymawddwy to the southeast, Llanuwchllyn on the shores of Bala Lake to the north, and Rhydymain to the west. On the eastern slopes of Aran Fawddwy is...

, at 905 metres (2,969 ft), in the south of Snowdonia. The Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons is a mountain range in South Wales. In a narrow sense, the name refers to the range of popular peaks south of Brecon, including South Wales' highest mountain, Pen y Fan, and which together form the central section of the Brecon Beacons National Park...

  are in the south (highest point Pen-y-Fan, at 886 metres (2,907 ft)), and are joined by the Cambrian Mountains
Cambrian Mountains
The Cambrian Mountains are a series of mountain ranges in Wales, reaching from, and including, the South Wales mountains of the Brecon Beacons, north Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, the Black Mountains of eastern Wales, to Snowdonia in North Wales...

 in Mid Wales
Mid Wales
Mid Wales is the name given to the central region of Wales. The Mid Wales Regional Committee of the National Assembly for Wales covered the counties of Ceredigion and Powys and the area of Gwynedd that had previously been the district of Meirionydd. A similar definition is used by the BBC...

. The highest point being Pumlumon at 752 metres (2,467 ft).


Wales has three national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

s: Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire Coast
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is a national park along the Pembrokeshire coast in West Wales.It was established as a National Park in 1952, and is the only one in the United Kingdom to have been designated primarily because of its spectacular coastline...

. It has five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These areas include Anglesey, the Clwydian Range
Clwydian Range
The Clwydian Range is a series of hills and mountains in north east Wales that runs from Llandegla in the south to Prestatyn in the north, with the highest point being the popular Moel Famau...

, the Gower Peninsula
Gower Peninsula
Gower or the Gower Peninsula is a peninsula in south Wales, jutting from the coast into the Bristol Channel, and administratively part of the City and County of Swansea. Locally it is known as "Gower"...

 and the Wye Valley
Wye Valley
The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an internationally important protected landscape straddling the border between England and Wales. It is one of the most dramatic and scenic landscape areas in southern Britain....

. The Gower Peninsula was the first area in the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in 1956. Forty two percent of the coastline of South and West Wales is designated as Heritage Coast
Heritage Coast
A Heritage Coast is a strip of UK coastline designated by the Countryside Agency in England and the Countryside Council for Wales as having notable natural beauty or scientific significance.- Designated coastline :...

, with 13 specific designated strips of coastline maintained by the Countryside Council of Wales. As from 2010 the coastline of Wales has 45 Blue Flag beach
Blue Flag beach
The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education that a beach or marina meets its stringent standards.The Blue Flag is a trademark owned by FEE which is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation consisting of 65 organisations in 60 member countries in Europe,...

es and five Blue Flag marinas. Despite its Heritage and award winning beaches; the south and west coasts of Wales, along with the Irish and Cornish coasts, are frequently blasted by Atlantic westerlies
Westerlies
The Westerlies, anti-trades, or Prevailing Westerlies, are the prevailing winds in the middle latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees latitude, blowing from the high pressure area in the horse latitudes towards the poles. These prevailing winds blow from the west to the east, and steer extratropical...

/south westerlies that, over the years, have sunk and wrecked many vessels. On the night of 25 October 1859, over 110 ships were destroyed off the coast of Wales when a hurricane blew in from the Atlantic. More than 800 lives were lost across Britain due to the storm but the greatest tragedy was the sinking of the Royal Charter
Royal Charter (ship)
The Royal Charter was a steam clipper which was wrecked off the beach of Porth Alerth in Dulas Bay on the north-east coast of Anglesey on 26 October 1859. The precise number of dead is uncertain as the passenger list was lost in the wreck but about 459 lives were lost, the highest death toll of any...

 of the coast of Anglesey in which 459 people died. The number of shipwrecks around the coast of Wales reached a peak in the 19th century with over 100 craft losses and an average loss of life of about 78 sailors per year. Wartime action caused losses near Holyhead, Milford Haven
Milford Haven
Milford Haven is a town and community in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is situated on the north side of the Milford Haven Waterway, a natural harbour used as a port since the Middle Ages. The town was founded in 1790 on the north side of the Waterway, from which it takes its name...

 and Swansea. Due to offshore rocks and unlit islands, Anglesey and Pembrokeshire are still notorious for shipwrecks, most notably the Sea Empress Disaster
Sea Empress Disaster
The Sea Empress oil spill occurred at the entrance to the Milford Haven Waterway in Pembrokeshire, Wales on 15 February 1996. The Sea Empress was en-route to the Texaco oil refinery near Pembroke when she became grounded on mid-channel rocks at St. Ann's Head. Over the course of a week, she spilt...

 in 1996.

The first border between Wales and England was zonal, apart from around the River Wye, which was the first accepted boundary. Offa's Dyke was supposed to form an early distinct line but this was thwarted by Gruffudd ap Llewellyn, who reclaimed swathes of land beyond the dyke. The Act of Union of 1536 formed a linear border stretching from the mouth of the Dee to the mouth of the Wye. Even after the Act of Union, many of the borders remained vague and moveable until the Welsh Sunday Closing act of 1881, which forced local businesses to decide which country they fell within to accept either the Welsh or English law.


The Seven Wonders of Wales
Seven Wonders of Wales
The Seven Wonders of Wales is a traditional list of notable landmarks in North Wales, commemorated in an anonymously written rhyme:The seven wonders comprise:...

 is a list in doggerel
Doggerel
Doggerel is a derogatory term for verse considered of little literary value. The word probably derived from dog, suggesting either ugliness, puppyish clumsiness, or unpalatability in the 1630s.-Variants:...

 verse of seven geographic and cultural landmarks in Wales probably composed in the late 18th century under the influence of tourism from England. All the "wonders" are in north Wales: Snowdon (the highest mountain), the Gresford
Gresford
Gresford is a village and a local government community, the lowest tier of local government, part of Wrexham County Borough in Wales.According to the 2001 Census, the population of the community, which also includes the village of Marford, was 5,334....

 bells (the peal of bells in the medieval church of All Saints
All Saints' Church, Gresford
All Saints' Church stands in the former coal mining village of Gresford in Wrexham County Borough, Wales. The bells of the parish church of All Saints is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales...

 at Gresford), the Llangollen
Llangollen
Llangollen is a small town and community in Denbighshire, north-east Wales, situated on the River Dee and on the edge of the Berwyn mountains. It has a population of 3,412.-History:...

 bridge (built in 1347 over the River Dee, St Winefride's Well
St Winefride's Well
St Winefride's Well is a holy well located in Holywell, in Flintshire in North Wales. It is the oldest continually visited pilgrimage site in Great Britain....

 (a pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

 site at Holywell
Holywell
Holywell is the fifth largest town in Flintshire, North Wales, lying to the west of the estuary of the River Dee.-History:The market town of Holywell takes its name from the St Winefride's Well, a holy well surrounded by a chapel...

) in Flintshire
Flintshire
Flintshire is a county in north-east Wales. It borders Denbighshire, Wrexham and the English county of Cheshire. It is named after the historic county of Flintshire, which had notably different borders...

, the Wrexham
Wrexham
Wrexham is a town in Wales. It is the administrative centre of the wider Wrexham County Borough, and the largest town in North Wales, located in the east of the region. It is situated between the Welsh mountains and the lower Dee Valley close to the border with Cheshire, England...

  steeple
Steeple (architecture)
A steeple, in architecture, is a tall tower on a building, often topped by a spire. Steeples are very common on Christian churches and cathedrals and the use of the term generally connotes a religious structure...

 (16th-century tower of St Giles' Church, Wrexham
St Giles' Church, Wrexham
St Giles' Church is the parish church of Wrexham, Wales. Its tower is traditionally one of the Seven Wonders of Wales, which are commemorated in an anonymously written rhyme:...

), the Overton
Overton-on-Dee
Overton-on-Dee is a small rural town and a local government community, the lowest tier of local government, part of Wrexham County Borough in Wales....

 Yew
Taxus
Taxus is a genus of yews, small coniferous trees or shrubs in the yew family Taxaceae. They are relatively slow-growing and can be very long-lived, and reach heights of 1-40 m, with trunk diameters of up to 4 m...

 trees (ancient yew trees in the churchyard of St. Mary's at Overton-on-Dee) and Pistyll Rhaeadr
Pistyll Rhaeadr
Pistyll Rhaeadr is a waterfall, located a few miles from the village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in Powys, Wales, twelve miles west of Oswestry.- Description :...

 – a tall waterfall, at 240 ft (73 m). The wonders are part of the rhyme:
Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple,
Snowdon's mountain without its people,
Overton yew trees, St Winefride's Wells,
Llangollen bridge and Gresford bells.

Geology



The earliest geological
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 period of the Paleozoic
Paleozoic
The Paleozoic era is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon, spanning from roughly...

 era, the Cambrian
Cambrian
The Cambrian is the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, lasting from Mya ; it is succeeded by the Ordovician. Its subdivisions, and indeed its base, are somewhat in flux. The period was established by Adam Sedgwick, who named it after Cambria, the Latin name for Wales, where Britain's...

, takes its name from the Cambrian Mountains
Cambrian Mountains
The Cambrian Mountains are a series of mountain ranges in Wales, reaching from, and including, the South Wales mountains of the Brecon Beacons, north Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, the Black Mountains of eastern Wales, to Snowdonia in North Wales...

 in mid-Wales where geologists first identified Cambrian remnants. In evolutionary studies the Cambrian is the period when most major groups of complex animals appeared (the Cambrian explosion
Cambrian explosion
The Cambrian explosion or Cambrian radiation was the relatively rapid appearance, around , of most major phyla, as demonstrated in the fossil record, accompanied by major diversification of other organisms, including animals, phytoplankton, and calcimicrobes...

). The older rocks underlying the Cambrian rocks in Wales lacked fossils which could be used to differentiate their various groups and were referred to as Pre-cambrian
Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

.

In the mid-19th century, two prominent geologists, Roderick Murchison
Roderick Murchison
Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, 1st Baronet KCB DCL FRS FRSE FLS PRGS PBA MRIA was a Scottish geologist who first described and investigated the Silurian system.-Early life and work:...

 and Adam Sedgwick
Adam Sedgwick
Adam Sedgwick was one of the founders of modern geology. He proposed the Devonian period of the geological timescale...

 (who first proposed the name of the Cambrian period), independently used their studies of the geology of Wales to establish certain principles of stratigraphy
Stratigraphy
Stratigraphy, a branch of geology, studies rock layers and layering . It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks....

 and palaeontology. The next two periods of the Paleozoic era, the Ordovician
Ordovician
The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six of the Paleozoic Era, and covers the time between 488.3±1.7 to 443.7±1.5 million years ago . It follows the Cambrian Period and is followed by the Silurian Period...

 and Silurian
Silurian
The Silurian is a geologic period and system that extends from the end of the Ordovician Period, about 443.7 ± 1.5 Mya , to the beginning of the Devonian Period, about 416.0 ± 2.8 Mya . As with other geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period's start and end are well identified, but the...

, were named after ancient Celtic tribes from this area based on Murchison's and Sedgwick's work.

Climate


Wales lies within the north temperate zone. It has a changeable, maritime climate and is one of the wettest countries in Europe. Welsh weather is often cloudy, wet and windy, with warm summers and mild winters. The long summer days and short winter days are due to Wales' northerly latitude
Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

s (between 53° 43′ N and 51° 38′ N). Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth is a historic market town, administrative centre and holiday resort within Ceredigion, Wales. Often colloquially known as Aber, it is located at the confluence of the rivers Ystwyth and Rheidol....

, at the mid point of the country's west coast, has nearly 17 hours of daylight at the summer solstice. Daylight at midwinter there falls to just over seven and a half hours. The country's wide geographic variations cause localised differences in sunshine, rainfall and temperature. Average annual coastal temperatures are 10.5 °C (51 °F) and in low lying inland areas, 1 °C (34 °F) lower. It becomes cooler at higher altitudes; annual temperatures decrease on average approximately 0.5 °C (33 °F) each 100 metres (330 ft) of altitude. Consequently, the higher parts of Snowdonia
Snowdonia
Snowdonia is a region in north Wales and a national park of in area. It was the first to be designated of the three National Parks in Wales, in 1951.-Name and extent:...

 experience average annual temperatures of 5 °C (41 °F). Temperatures in Wales are kept higher than would otherwise be expected at its latitude by the North Atlantic Drift
North Atlantic Current
The North Atlantic Current is a powerful warm ocean current that continues the Gulf Stream northeast. West of Ireland it splits in two; one branch, the Canary Current, goes south, while the other continues north along the coast of northwestern Europe...

, a branch of the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

. The ocean current, bringing warmer water to northerly latitudes, has a similar effect on most of north west Europe. As well as its influence on Wales' coastal areas, air warmed by the Gulf Stream is carried further inland by the prevailing winds.

At low elevations, summers tend to be warm and sunny. Average maximum temperatures range between 19 °C (66 °F) and 22 °C (72 °F). Winters tend to be fairly wet, but rainfall is rarely excessive and the temperature usually stays above freezing. Spring and autumn feel quite similar and the temperatures tend to stay above 14 °C (57 °F) – also the average annual daytime temperature.
The sunniest time of year tends to be between May and August. The south-western coast is the sunniest part of Wales, averaging over 1700 hours of sunshine annually. Wales' sunniest town is Tenby
Tenby
Tenby is a walled seaside town in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales, lying on Carmarthen Bay.Notable features of Tenby include of sandy beaches; the 13th century medieval town walls, including the Five Arches barbican gatehouse ; 15th century St...

, Pembrokeshire. The dullest time of year tends to be between November and January. The least sunny areas are the mountains, some parts of which average less than 1200 hours of sunshine annually. The prevailing wind is south-westerly. Coastal areas are the windiest, gales
Beaufort scale
The Beaufort Scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. Its full name is the Beaufort Wind Force Scale.-History:...

 occur most often during winter, on average between 15 and 30 days each year, depending on location. Inland, gales average fewer than six days annually.

Rainfall patterns show significant variation. The further west, the higher the expected rainfall; up to 40% more. At low elevations, rain is unpredictable at any time of year, although the showers tend to be shorter in summer. The uplands of Wales have most rain, normally more than 50 days of rain during the winter months (December to February), falling to around 35 rainy days during the summer months (June to August). Annual rainfall in Snowdonia averages between 3,000 millimetres (120 in) (Blaenau Ffestiniog
Blaenau Ffestiniog
Blaenau Ffestiniog is a town in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. It has a population of 5,000, including Llan Ffestiniog, which makes it the third largest town in Gwynedd, behind Caernarfon & Porthmadog. Although the population reached 12,000 at the peak of the slate industry, the population fell due to...

) and 5,000 millimetres (200 in) (Snowdon
Snowdon
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, at an altitude of above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside Scotland. It is located in Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, and has been described as "probably the busiest mountain in Britain"...

's summit). The likelihood is that it will fall as sleet or snow when the temperature falls below 5 °C (41 °F), and snow tends to be lying on the ground there for an average of 30 days a year. Snow falls several times each winter in inland areas, but is relatively uncommon around the coast. Average annual rainfall in those areas can be less than 1,000 millimetres (39 in). Met Office
Met Office
The Met Office , is the United Kingdom's national weather service, and a trading fund of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills...

 statistics show Swansea to be the wettest city in Great Britain, with an average annual rainfall of 1,360.8 millimetres (53.57 in). This has led to the old adage "If you can see Mumbles Head
Mumbles
Mumbles or The Mumbles is an area and community in Swansea, Wales which takes its name from the adjacent headland stretching into Swansea Bay...

 it is going to rain – if you can't, it is raining". Cardiff is Great Britain's fifth wettest city, with 908 millimetres (35.7 in). Rhyl
Rhyl
Rhyl is a seaside resort town and community situated on the north east coast of Wales, in the county of Denbighshire , at the mouth of the River Clwyd . To the west is the suburb of Kinmel Bay, with the resort of Towyn further west, Prestatyn to the east and Rhuddlan to the south...

 is Wales' driest town, its average annual rainfall 640 millimetres (25 in).
  • Highest maximum temperature: 35.2 °C (95 °F) at Hawarden Bridge
    Hawarden Bridge
    Hawarden Bridge is a railway bridge over the River Dee, near to Shotton, Flintshire, Wales. It was built by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway , as part of the Chester & Connah's Quay Railway...

    , Flintshire
    Flintshire
    Flintshire is a county in north-east Wales. It borders Denbighshire, Wrexham and the English county of Cheshire. It is named after the historic county of Flintshire, which had notably different borders...

     on 2 August 1990.
  • Lowest minimum temperature: -23.3 °C at Rhayader
    Rhayader
    Rhayader is a market town and community in Powys, Mid Wales. It has a population of 2,075, and is the first town on the banks of the River Wye, from its source on the Plynlimon range of the Cambrian Mountains....

    , Radnorshire
    Radnorshire
    Radnorshire is one of thirteen historic and former administrative counties of Wales. It is represented by the Radnorshire area of Powys, which according to the 2001 census, had a population of 24,805...

     (now Powys
    Powys
    Powys is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.-Geography:Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire , and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,179 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.It is...

    ) on 21 January 1940.
  • Maximum number of hours of sunshine in a month: 354.3 hours at Dale Fort
    Dale Fort
    Dale Fort is a battery site to the West of Milford Haven, Wales.Occupied from Elizabethan times to the present day, the main buildings were built for the military protection of Milford Haven in the 1850s, but the most unusual feature is its use for trials of Edmund Zalinski's Pneumatic Dynamite Gun...

    , Pembrokeshire in July 1955.
  • Minimum number of hours of sunshine in a month: 2.7 hours at Llwynon, Brecknockshire
    Brecknockshire
    Brecknockshire , also known as the County of Brecknock, Breconshire, or the County of Brecon is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, and a former administrative county.-Geography:...

     in January 1962.
  • Maximum rainfall in a day (0900 UTC – 0900 UTC): 211 millimetres (8 in) at Rhondda
    Rhondda
    Rhondda , or the Rhondda Valley , is a former coal mining valley in Wales, formerly a local government district, consisting of 16 communities built around the River Rhondda. The valley is made up of two valleys, the larger Rhondda Fawr valley and the smaller Rhondda Fach valley...

    , Glamorgan, on 11 November 1929.
  • Wettest spot – an average of 4,473 millimetres (176 in) rain a year at Crib Goch
    Crib Goch
    Crib Goch is described as a "knife-edged" arête in the Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, Wales. The name means red comb in the Welsh language, presumably referring to the serrated ridge and the colour of some of the rocks....

     in Snowdonia, Gwynedd (making it also the wettest spot in the United Kingdom).

Flora and fauna




Wales’ wildlife is typical of Britain with several distinctions. Due to its long coastline Wales hosts a variety of seabirds. The coasts and surrounding islands are home to colonies of gannet
Gannet
Gannets are seabirds comprising the genus Morus, in the family Sulidae, closely related to the boobies.The gannets are large black and white birds with yellow heads. They have long pointed wings and long bills. Northern gannets are the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic, with a wingspan of up...

s, Manx Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
The Manx Shearwater is a medium-sized shearwater in the seabird family Procellariidae. The scientific name of this species records a name shift: Manx Shearwaters were called Manks Puffins in the 17th century. Puffin is an Anglo-Norman word for the cured carcasses of nestling shearwaters...

, puffin
Puffin
Puffins are any of three small species of auk in the bird genus Fratercula with a brightly coloured beak during the breeding season. These are pelagic seabirds that feed primarily by diving in the water. They breed in large colonies on coastal cliffs or offshore islands, nesting in crevices among...

s, kittiwakes, shags and razorbill
Razorbill
The Razorbill is colonial seabird that will only come to land in order to breed. It is the largest living member of the Auk family. This agile bird will choose only one partner for life and females will lay one egg per year. Razorbills will nest along coastal cliffs in enclosed or slightly exposed...

s. In comparison, with 60% of Wales above the 150m contour, the country also supports a variety of upland habitat birds, including raven
Raven
Raven is the common name given to several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus—but in Europe and North America the Common Raven is normally implied...

 and ring ouzel
Ring Ouzel
The Ring Ouzel is a European member of the thrush family Turdidae.It is the mountain equivalent of the closely related Common Blackbird, and breeds in gullies, rocky areas or scree slopes....

. Birds of prey include the merlin
Merlin (bird)
The Merlin is a small species of falcon from the Northern Hemisphere. A bird of prey once known colloquially as a pigeon hawk in North America, the Merlin breeds in the northern Holarctic; some migrate to subtropical and northern tropical regions in winter.-European and North American...

, hen harrier
Hen Harrier
The Hen Harrier or Northern Harrier is a bird of prey. It breeds throughout the northern parts of the northern hemisphere in Canada and the northernmost USA, and in northern Eurasia. This species is polytypic, with two subspecies. Marsh Hawk is a historical name for the American form.It migrates...

 and the red kite
Red Kite
The Red Kite is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and harriers. The species is currently endemic to the Western Palearctic region in Europe and northwest Africa, though formerly also occurred just...

, a national symbol of Welsh wildlife. In total, more than 200 different species of bird have been seen at the RSPB reserve at Conwy
Conwy
Conwy is a walled market town and community in Conwy County Borough on the north coast of Wales. The town, which faces Deganwy across the River Conwy, formerly lay in Gwynedd and prior to that in Caernarfonshire. Conwy has a population of 14,208...

, including seasonal visitors.

The larger Welsh mammals died out during the Norman period, including the brown bear, wolf and the wildcat. Today, mammals of note include shrews, voles, badgers, otters, hedgehogs and fifteen species of bat. Two species of small rodent, the yellow-necked mouse
Yellow-necked mouse
The Yellow-necked Mouse Apodemus flavicollis is closely related to the wood mouse, with which it was long confused, only being recognised as a separate species in 1894. It differs in its band of yellow fur around the neck and in having slightly larger ears and usually being slightly larger overall....

 and the dormouse
Hazel Dormouse
The Hazel Dormouse or Common Dormouse is a small mammal and the only living species in the genus Muscardinus....

, are of special Welsh note being found at the historically undisturbed border area. Other animals of note include, otter
Otter
The Otters are twelve species of semi-aquatic mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals....

, stoat
Stoat
The stoat , also known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel, is a species of Mustelid native to Eurasia and North America, distinguished from the least weasel by its larger size and longer tail with a prominent black tip...

 and weasel
Weasel
Weasels are mammals forming the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. They are small, active predators, long and slender with short legs....

. The Pine Marten
Pine Marten
The European Pine Marten , known most commonly as the pine marten in Anglophone Europe, and less commonly also known as Pineten, baum marten, or sweet marten, is an animal native to Northern Europe belonging to the mustelid family, which also includes mink, otter, badger, wolverine and weasel. It...

 which has the occasional sighting, has not been officially recorded since the 1950s. The polecat
European polecat
The European polecat , also known as the black or forest polecat , is a species of Mustelid native to western Eurasia and North Africa, which is classed by the IUCN as Least Concern due to its wide range and large numbers. It is of a generally dark brown colour, with a pale underbelly and a dark...

 was nearly driven to extinction in Britain, but hung on in Wales and is now rapidly spreading. Feral goat
Feral goat
The feral goat is the domestic goat when it has become established in the wild. Feral goats occur in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Great Britain, Hawaii, the Galapagos and in many other parts of the world...

s can be found in Snowdonia.

Like Cornwall, Brittany and Ireland, the waters of South-west Wales of Gower, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay attract marine animals including basking sharks, Atlantic grey seal
Grey Seal
The grey seal is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the family Phocidae or "true seals". It is the only species classified in the genus Halichoerus...

s, leatherback turtles, dolphins, porpoises, jellyfish, crabs and lobsters. Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion in particular are recognised as an area of international importance for Bottlenose dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin
Bottlenose dolphins, the genus Tursiops, are the most common and well-known members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphins. Recent molecular studies show the genus contains two species, the common bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin , instead of one...

s, and New Quay
New Quay
New Quay is a seaside town in Ceredigion, West Wales with a resident population of around 1,200 people. Located on Cardigan Bay with a harbour and large sandy beaches, it remains a popular seaside resort and traditional fishing town.-History:...

 has the only summer residence of bottlenose dolphins in the whole of the UK. River fish of note include char
Salvelinus
Salvelinus is a genus of salmonid fish often called char or charr; some species are called "trout". Salvelinus is a member of the Salmoninae subfamily of the Salmonidae family. Charr may be identified by light cream pink or red spots over a darker body. Scales tend to be small, with 115-200 along...

, eel
Eel
Eels are an order of fish, which consists of four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera and approximately 800 species. Most eels are predators...

, salmon
Salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

, shad
Shad
The shads or river herrings comprise the genus Alosa, fish related to herring in the family Clupeidae. They are distinct from others in that family by having a deeper body and spawning in rivers. The several species frequent different areas on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea....

, sparling and Arctic char
Arctic char
Arctic char or Arctic charr is both a freshwater and saltwater fish in the Salmonidae family, native to Arctic, sub-Arctic and alpine lakes and coastal waters. No other freshwater fish is found as far north. It is the only species of fish in Lake Hazen, on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic...

, whilst the Gwyniad
Gwyniad
The gwyniad is a freshwater whitefish native to Bala Lake in northern Wales.The population is threatened by deteriorating water quality and by the ruffe, a fish introduced to the lake in the 1980s and now eating the eggs and fry of gwyniad...

 is unique to Wales, found only in Bala Lake
Bala Lake
Bala Lake is a large lake in Gwynedd, Wales. It was the largest natural body of water in Wales prior to the level being raised by Thomas Telford to help support the flow of the Ellesmere Canal. It is long by wide, and is subject to sudden and dangerous floods. The River Dee runs through it and...

. Wales is also known for its shellfish, including cockle
Cockle (bivalve)
Cockle is the common name for a group of small, edible, saltwater clams, marine bivalve molluscs in the family Cardiidae.Various species of cockles live in sandy sheltered beaches throughout the world....

s, limpet
Limpet
Limpet is a common name for a number of different kinds of saltwater and freshwater snails ; it is applied to those snails that have a simple shell which is more or less conical in shape, and either is not spirally coiled, or appears not to be coiled in the adult snails.The name limpet is most...

, mussel
Mussel
The common name mussel is used for members of several families of clams or bivalvia mollusca, from saltwater and freshwater habitats. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is elongated and asymmetrical compared with other edible clams, which are often more or less rounded or oval.The...

s and periwinkle
Common Periwinkle
The common periwinkle or winkle, scientific name Littorina littorea, is a species of small edible sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk which has gills and an operculum, and is classified within the family Littorinidae, the periwinkles....

s. Herring
Herring
Herring is an oily fish of the genus Clupea, found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring may each be divided into subspecies...

, mackerel
Mackerel
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They may be found in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel , enter bays and can be...

 and hake
Hake
The term hake refers to fish in either of:* family Phycidae of the northern oceans* family Merlucciidae of the southern oceans-Hake fish:...

 are the more common of the country's seafish.

The north facing high grounds of Snowdonia support a relict
Relict
A relict is a surviving remnant of a natural phenomenon.* In biology a relict is an organism that at an earlier time was abundant in a large area but now occurs at only one or a few small areas....

 pre-glacial flora including the iconic Snowdon lily -Lloydia serotina
Lloydia serotina
Lloydia serotina is an arctic-alpine flowering plant of the lily family. It is the only member of the genus Lloydia to live outside central and eastern Asia, and is widespread across western North America, from Alaska to New Mexico, and in Europe is found in the Alps and Carpathians, as well as in...

 – and other alpine
Alpine climate
Alpine climate is the average weather for a region above the tree line. This climate is also referred to as mountain climate or highland climate....

 species such as Saxifraga cespitosa, Saxifraga oppositifolia and Silene acaulis – an eco-system not found elsewhere in the UK. Wales also hosts a number of plant species not found elsewhere in the UK including the Spotted Rock-rose Tuberaria guttata
Tuberaria guttata
Tuberaria guttata, the spotted rockrose, is a common plant of the Mediterranean region which also occurs very locally in Wales and Ireland. The flowers are very variable with the characteristic spot at the base of the petal very variable in size and intensity of colour.The plant typically grows in...

 on Anglesey and Draba aizoides
Draba aizoides
Draba aizoides is a species of Draba, known as yellow whitlow-grass.-Description:Draba aizoides is a perennial plant, with a basal rosette of linear, entire leaves...

 on the Gower.

Education


A distinct education system has developed in Wales. Formal education before the 18th century was the preserve of the elite. The first grammar schools were established in Welsh towns such as Ruthin
Ruthin
Ruthin is a community and the county town of Denbighshire in north Wales. Located around a hill in the southern part of the Vale of Clwyd - the older part of the town, the castle and Saint Peter's Square are located on top of the hill, while many newer parts of the town are on the floodplain of...

, Brecon and Cowbridge. One of the first successful schooling systems was started by Griffiths Jones
Griffith Jones (Llanddowror)
Griffith Jones was a minister of the Church of England famous for his work in organising circulating schools in Wales. His name is usually associated with that of Llanddowror, Carmarthenshire....

, who introduced the circulating schools in the 1730s; believed to have taught half the country's population to read. In the 19th century, with increasing state involvement in education, Wales was forced to adopt an education system that was English in ethos even though the country was predominantly Non-conformist, Welsh speaking and demographically uneven due to the economic expansion in the south. In some schools, to ensure Welsh children spoke English at school, the Welsh Not
Welsh Not
The Welsh Not or Welsh Note was a punishment system used in some Welsh schools in the late 19th and early 20th century to dissuade children from speaking Welsh...

 was used; a policy seen as a hated symbol of English oppression. The "not", a piece of wood hung round the neck by string, was given to any child overheard speaking Welsh, who would pass it to a different child if overheard speaking Welsh. At the end of the day, the wearer of the "not" would be beaten. The extent of its practice, however, is difficult to determine. State and local governmental edicts resulted in schooling in the English language which, following Brad y Llyfrau Gleision
Treachery of the Blue Books
The Treachery of the Blue Books or Treason of the Blue Books was the name given in Wales to the Reports of the commissioners of enquiry into the state of education in Wales published in 1847. The term Brad y Llyfrau Gleision was coined by the author R. J...

 (the ), was seen as more academic and worthwhile for children.

The University College of Wales opened in Aberystwyth in 1872. Cardiff
Cardiff University
Cardiff University is a leading research university located in the Cathays Park area of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. It received its Royal charter in 1883 and is a member of the Russell Group of Universities. The university is consistently recognised as providing high quality research-based...

 and Bangor
Bangor University
Bangor University is a university based in the city of Bangor in the county of Gwynedd in North Wales-United Kingdom.It was officially known for most of its history as the University College of North Wales...

 followed, and the three colleges came together in 1893 to form the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

. The Welsh Intermediate Education Act of 1889 created 95 secondary schools. The Welsh Department for the Board of Education followed in 1907, which gave Wales its first significant educational devolution. A resurgence in Welsh language schools in the later half of the 20th century at nursery and primary level saw attitudes shift towards teaching in the medium of Welsh. In schools where English is the first language, Welsh is a compulsory subject until the age of 16. However, there has never been a Welsh-language college, and in the University of Wales, at the start of the 21st century only 100 of its 5000 academic staff were teaching through the medium of Welsh. In 2006 there were 33 nursery, 1555 primary, 244 secondary comprehensive and 43 special schools with 56 independent schools in Wales. In 2004 the country had 505,208 pupils taught by 27,378 teachers.

Economy


Over the last 250 years, Wales has been transformed first from a predominantly agricultural country to an industrial, and now a post-industrial economy. Since the Second World War, the service sector has come to account for the majority of jobs, a feature typifying most advanced economies. Total headline Gross Value Added
Gross value added
Gross Value Added ' is a measure in economics of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy...

 (GVA) in Wales in 2009 was £44.5 billion, or £14,842 per head of population; 74.3 per cent of the UK average. In the three months to July 2010, the employment rate for working-age adults in Wales was 67 per cent, compared to 70.7 per cent across the UK as a whole.

From the middle of the 19th century until the post-war era, the mining and export of coal was a dominant industry. At its peak of production in 1913, nearly 233,000 men and women were employed in the South Wales coalfield
South Wales Coalfield
The South Wales Coalfield is a large region of south Wales that is rich with coal deposits, especially the South Wales Valleys.-The coalfield area:...

, mining 56 million tons of coal. Cardiff was once the largest coal-exporting port in the world and, for a few years before the First World War, handled a greater tonnage of cargo than either London or Liverpool. In the 1920s, over 40% of the male Welsh population worked in heavy industry
Heavy industry
Heavy industry does not have a single fixed meaning as compared to light industry. It can mean production of products which are either heavy in weight or in the processes leading to their production. In general, it is a popular term used within the name of many Japanese and Korean firms, meaning...

. According to Professor Phil Williams, the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 "devastated Wales", north and south, due to its "overwhelming dependence on coal and steel". From the mid 1970s, the Welsh economy faced massive restructuring with large numbers of jobs in traditional heavy industry disappearing and being replaced eventually by new ones in light industry
Light industry
Light industry is usually less capital intensive than heavy industry, and is more consumer-oriented than business-oriented...

 and in services. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Wales was successful in attracting an above average share of foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

 in the UK. However, much of the new industry was essentially of a "branch factory" ("screwdriver factory") type where a manufacturing plant or call centre is located in Wales but the most highly-paid jobs in the company are retained elsewhere.


Due to poor-quality soil, much of Wales is unsuitable for crop-growing and livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

 farming has traditionally been the focus of agriculture. The Welsh landscape (protected by three national parks) and 45 Blue Flag beach
Blue Flag beach
The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education that a beach or marina meets its stringent standards.The Blue Flag is a trademark owned by FEE which is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation consisting of 65 organisations in 60 member countries in Europe,...

es, as well as the unique culture of Wales, attract large numbers of tourists, who play an especially vital role in the economy of rural areas. Wales has struggled to develop or attract high value-added employment in sectors such as finance and research and development, attributable in part to a comparative lack of 'economic mass' (i.e. population) – Wales lacks a large metropolitan centre. The lack of high value-added employment is reflected in lower economic output per head relative to other regions of the UK – in 2002 it stood at 90% of the EU25 average and around 80% of the UK average. In June 2008, Wales made history by becoming the first nation in the world to be awarded Fairtrade Status.

The pound sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 is the currency used in Wales. Numerous Welsh banks issued their own banknotes in the 19th century. The last bank to do so closed in 1908, since when, although banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland continue to have the right to issue banknotes in their own countries, the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

 has a monopoly on the issue of banknotes in Wales. The Commercial Bank of Wales
Bank of Wales
The Bank of Wales was a bank based in Cardiff, Wales, founded by Sir Julian Hodge in 1971. The company provided commercial banking services to small and medium-sized businesses in Wales....

, established in Cardiff by Sir Julian Hodge
Julian Hodge
Sir Julian Hodge was a London-born entrepreneur and banker who lived in Wales for most of his life, from the age of five. He formed the Bank of Wales , and later the Julian Hodge Bank in Cardiff.- Background and beginnings :As the son of a plumber, he came from humble beginnings...

 in 1971, was taken over by the Bank of Scotland
Bank of Scotland
The Bank of Scotland plc is a commercial and clearing bank based in Edinburgh, Scotland. With a history dating to the 17th century, it is the second oldest surviving bank in what is now the United Kingdom, and is the only commercial institution created by the Parliament of Scotland to...

 in 1988 and absorbed into its parent company in 2002. The Royal Mint
Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the body permitted to manufacture, or mint, coins in the United Kingdom. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but since 2009 it operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a company which has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK...

, who issue the coinage circulated through the whole of the UK, have been based at a single site in Llantrisant
Llantrisant
Llantrisant is a town in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales, within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan, Wales, lying on the River Ely and the Afon Clun. The town's name translates as The Parish of the Three Saints. The three saints in question are St Illtyd, St Gwynno and St...

 since 1980. Since decimalisation
Decimalisation
Decimal currency is the term used to describe any currency that is based on one basic unit of currency and a sub-unit which is a power of 10, most commonly 100....

, in 1971, at least one of the coins in UK circulation has depicted a Welsh design, e.g. the 1995 and 2000 one Pound coin (shown left). However, Wales has not been represented on any coin minted from 2008.

Healthcare



Public healthcare in Wales is provided by NHS Wales , which was originally formed as part of the NHS structure for England and Wales created by the National Health Service Act 1946
National Health Service Act 1946
The National Health Service Act 1946 came into effect on 5 July 1948 and created the National Health Service in England and Wales. Though the title 'National Health Service' implies one health service for the United Kingdom, in reality a separate NHS was created for England and Wales accountable to...

, but with powers over the NHS in Wales coming under the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969. In turn, responsibility for NHS Wales was passed to the Welsh Assembly and Executive under devolution in 1999. Historically, Wales was served by smaller 'cottage' hospitals, built as voluntary institutions. As newer more expensive diagnostic techniques and treatments became available through medical advancement, much of the clinical work of the country has been concentrated in newer, larger district hospitals. As of 2006, there were seventeen district hospitals in Wales, although none situated in Powys. NHS Wales provides public healthcare in Wales and employs some 90,000 staff, making it Wales’ biggest employer. The Minister for Health and Social Services is the person within the Welsh Assembly Government who holds cabinet responsibilities for both health and social care in Wales.

A 2009 Welsh health survey, conducted by the Welsh Assembly, reported that 51% of adults reported their health good or excellent, while 21% described their health as fair or poor. The survey also recorded that 27% of Welsh adults had a long-term chronic illness, such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Enquiries into health related lifestyle choices report 27% of the adult population are smokers
Smoking
Smoking is a practice in which a substance, most commonly tobacco or cannabis, is burned and the smoke is tasted or inhaled. This is primarily practised as a route of administration for recreational drug use, as combustion releases the active substances in drugs such as nicotine and makes them...

, 45% admit drinking alcohol above recommended guidelines at least once a week, while 29% undertake the recommended weekly physical activity.

Demographics



In 2011, Wales' population was estimated to have risen to over three million for the first time (mid 2010 estimate: 3,006,400). Data from the last census (2001)
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

 reported the population in Wales as 2,903,085. The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

, consisting of the cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport and surrounding areas, with another significant population in the north-east around Wrexham. According to the 2001 census, 96% of the population was White British
White British
White British was an ethnicity classification used in the 2001 United Kingdom Census. As a result of the census, 50,366,497 people in the United Kingdom were classified as White British. In Scotland the classification was broken down into two different categories: White Scottish and Other White...

, and 2.1% non-white (mainly of British Asian
British Asian
British Asian is a term used to describe British citizens who descended from mainly South Asia, also known as South Asians in the United Kingdom...

 origin). Most non-white groups were concentrated in the southern port cities of Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. Welsh Asian and African communities developed mainly through immigration since the Second World War. In the early 21st century, parts of Wales saw an increased number of immigrants settle from recent EU accession countries
Enlargement of the European Union
The Enlargement of the European Union is the process of expanding the European Union through the accession of new member states. This process began with the Inner Six, who founded the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952...

 such as Poland; though a 2007 study showed a relatively low number of employed immigrant workers from the former Eastern bloc countries in Wales compared to other regions of the United Kingdom.


In the 2001 Labour Force Survey
Labour Force Survey
Labour Force Surveys are statistical surveys conducted in a number of countries designed to capture data about the labour market. All European Union member states are required to conduct a Labour Force Survey annually. Labour Force Surveys are also carried out in some non-EU countries. They are...

, 72% of adults in Wales considered their national identity as wholly Welsh and another 7% considered themselves to be partly Welsh (Welsh and British were the most common combination). A recent study estimated that 35% of the Welsh population have surnames of Welsh origin
Welsh surnames
Fixed family names were adopted in Wales from the 15th century onwards. Hitherto, the Welsh had a patronymic naming system.-History:In 1292, 48 per cent of Welsh names were patronymics, and in some parishes over 70 per cent. Other names were derived from nicknames, occupational names, and a few...

 (5.4% of the English and 1.6% of the Scottish population also bore 'Welsh' names). However, many modern surnames derived from old Welsh personal names actually arose in England.
In 2001, a quarter of the Welsh population were born outside Wales, mainly in England; about 3% were born outside the UK. The proportion of people who were born in Wales differs across the country, with the highest percentages in the South Wales Valleys
South Wales Valleys
The South Wales Valleys are a number of industrialised valleys in South Wales, stretching from eastern Carmarthenshire in the west to western Monmouthshire in the east and from the Heads of the Valleys in the north to the lower-lying, pastoral country of the Vale of Glamorgan and the coastal plain...

 and the lowest in Mid Wales
Mid Wales
Mid Wales is the name given to the central region of Wales. The Mid Wales Regional Committee of the National Assembly for Wales covered the counties of Ceredigion and Powys and the area of Gwynedd that had previously been the district of Meirionydd. A similar definition is used by the BBC...

 and parts of the north-east. In both Blaenau Gwent
Blaenau Gwent
Blaenau Gwent is a county borough in South Wales, sharing its name with a parliamentary constituency. It borders the unitary authority areas of Monmouthshire and Torfaen to the east, Caerphilly to the west and Powys to the north. Its main towns are Abertillery, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and...

 and Merthyr Tydfil
Merthyr Tydfil
Merthyr Tydfil is a town in Wales, with a population of about 30,000. Although once the largest town in Wales, it is now ranked as the 15th largest urban area in Wales. It also gives its name to a county borough, which has a population of around 55,000. It is located in the historic county of...

, 92% were Welsh-born, compared to only 51% and 56% in the border
Wales–England border
The Wales–England border, between two of the countries of the United Kingdom, extends for about from the Dee estuary, in the north, to the Severn estuary in the south....

 counties of Flintshire
Flintshire
Flintshire is a county in north-east Wales. It borders Denbighshire, Wrexham and the English county of Cheshire. It is named after the historic county of Flintshire, which had notably different borders...

 and Powys
Powys
Powys is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.-Geography:Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire , and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,179 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.It is...

. Just over 1.75 million Americans report themselves to have Welsh
Welsh American
Welsh Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Wales. In the 2008 U.S. Census community survey, an estimated 1.98 million Americans had Welsh ancestry, 0.6% of the total U.S. population. This compares with a population of 3 million in Wales. However,...

 ancestry, as did 440,965 Canadians in Canada's 2006 census.

Languages




In his 1707 work Archaeologia Britannica Edward Lhuyd
Edward Lhuyd
Edward Lhuyd was a Welsh naturalist, botanist, linguist, geographer and antiquary. He is also known by the Latinized form of his name, Eduardus Luidius....

, Keeper
Curator
A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material...

 of the Ashmolean Museum
Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean Museum on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's first university museum...

, noted the similarity between the two Celtic language families: Brythonic
Brythonic languages
The Brythonic or Brittonic languages form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family, the other being Goidelic. The name Brythonic was derived by Welsh Celticist John Rhys from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael...

 or P–Celtic (Breton
Breton language
Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany , France. Breton is a Brythonic language, descended from the Celtic British language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages. Like the other Brythonic languages, Welsh and Cornish, it is classified as...

, Cornish
Cornish language
Cornish is a Brythonic Celtic language and a recognised minority language of the United Kingdom. Along with Welsh and Breton, it is directly descended from the ancient British language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate...

 and Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

); and Goidelic
Goidelic languages
The Goidelic languages or Gaelic languages are one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic languages, the other consisting of the Brythonic languages. Goidelic languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from the south of Ireland through the Isle of Man to the north of Scotland...

 or Q–Celtic (Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

, Manx
Manx language
Manx , also known as Manx Gaelic, and as the Manks language, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, historically spoken by the Manx people. Only a small minority of the Island's population is fluent in the language, but a larger minority has some knowledge of it...

 and Scottish Gaelic). He argued that the Brythonic languages originated in Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 (France), and that the Goidelic languages originated in the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

. Lhuyd concluded that as the languages had been of Celt
Celt
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

ic origin, the people who spoke those languages were Celts. (According to a more recent hypothesis, also widely embraced today, Goidelic and Brythonic languages, collectively known as Insular Celtic languages
Insular Celtic languages
Insular Celtic languages are those Celtic languages that originated in the British Isles, in contrast to the Continental Celtic languages of mainland Europe and Anatolia. All surviving Celtic languages are from the Insular Celtic group; the Continental Celtic languages are extinct...

, evolved together for some time separately from Continental Celtic languages
Continental Celtic languages
The Continental Celtic languages are the Celtic languages, now extinct, that were spoken on the continent of Europe, as distinguished from the Insular Celtic languages of Britain and Ireland. The Continental Celtic languages were spoken by the people known to Roman and Greek writers as Keltoi,...

 such as Gaulish and Celtiberian.) From the 18th century, the peoples of Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

, Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, Isle of Man
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and Wales were known increasingly as Celts, and they are regarded as the modern Celtic nations
Celtic nations
The Celtic nations are territories in North-West Europe in which that area's own Celtic languages and some cultural traits have survived.The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common traditional identity and culture and are identified with a traditional...

 today.

The Welsh Language Act 1993
Welsh Language Act 1993
The Welsh Language Act 1993 , is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which put the Welsh language on an equal footing with the English language in Wales with regard to the public sector....

 and the Government of Wales Act 1998
Government of Wales Act 1998
This is about the Act that set up the Welsh Assembly. For the newer Government of Wales Act 2006, see that article.The Government of Wales Act 1998 This is about the Act that set up the Welsh Assembly. For the newer Government of Wales Act 2006, see that article.The Government of Wales Act 1998...

 provide that the English and Welsh languages be treated on a basis of equality. English is spoken by almost all people in Wales and is the de facto main language. Code-switching
Code-switching
In linguistics, code-switching is the concurrent use of more than one language, or language variety, in conversation. Multilinguals—people who speak more than one language—sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other...

 is common in all parts of Wales and is known by various terms, though none is recognised by professional linguists. "Wenglish
Welsh English
Welsh English, Anglo-Welsh, or Wenglish refers to the dialects of English spoken in Wales by Welsh people. The dialects are significantly influenced by Welsh grammar and often include words derived from Welsh...

" is the Welsh English language dialect. It has been influenced significantly by Welsh grammar and includes words derived from Welsh. According to John Davies, Wenglish has "been the object of far greater prejudice than anything suffered by Welsh". Northern and western Wales retain many areas where Welsh is spoken as a first language by the majority of the population, and English learnt as a second language. The 2001 census showed 582,400 people, 20.8% of the Welsh population, were able to speak Welsh, an increase from the 19.0% shown in the 1981 census. According to language surveys conducted in 2004 and 2006, that number has dropped slightly to 20.5%, and the number of fluent speakers dropped by 3% between 1992 and 2006. Although monoglotism in young children continues, life-long monoglotism in Welsh is recognised to be a thing of the past.

Road signs in Wales are generally in both English and Welsh; where place names
Welsh placenames
The placenames of Wales derive in most cases from the Welsh language, but have also been influenced by linguistic contact with the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Anglo-Normans and modern English...

 differ in the two languages, both versions are used (e.g. "Cardiff" and "Caerdydd"). The decision as to which is placed first being that of the local authority. During the 20th century, a number of small communities of speakers of languages other than Welsh or English, such as Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

 or Cantonese, established themselves in Wales as a result of immigration.

Religion



The largest religion in Wales is Christianity, with 71.9% of the population describing themselves as Christian in the 2001 census. The Church in Wales
Church in Wales
The Church in Wales is the Anglican church in Wales, composed of six dioceses.As with the primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Wales serves concurrently as one of the six diocesan bishops. The current archbishop is Barry Morgan, the Bishop of Llandaff.In contrast to the...

 with 56,000 adherents has the largest attendance of the denominations. It is a province of the Anglican Communion, and was part of the Church of England until disestablishment in 1920 under the Welsh Church Act 1914
Welsh Church Act 1914
The Welsh Church Act 1914 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom under which the Welsh part of the Church of England was separated and disestablished, leading to the creation of the Church in Wales...

. The Presbyterian Church of Wales was born out of the Welsh Methodist revival
Welsh Methodist revival
The Welsh Methodist revival was an evangelical revival that revitalised Christianity in Wales during the 18th century. Methodist preachers such as Griffith Jones, William Williams and Howell Harris were such powerful speakers that they converted thousands of people back to the church...

 in the 18th century and seceded from the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 in 1811.

The second largest attending faith in Wales is Roman Catholic, with an estimated 43,000 adherents. Non-Christian religions are small in Wales, making up approximately 1.5% of the population. The 2001 census recorded 18.5% of people declaring no religion, while 8% did not reply to the question. The patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of Wales is Saint David
Saint David
Saint David was a Welsh Bishop during the 6th century; he was later regarded as a saint and as the patron saint of Wales. David was a native of Wales, and a relatively large amount of information is known about his life. However, his birth date is still uncertain, as suggestions range from 462 to...

 , with St David's Day
Saint David's Day
Saint David's Day is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and falls on 1 March each year. The date of 1 March was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David. Tradition holds that he died on that day in 589...

  celebrated annually on 1 March.

In 1904, there was a religious revival (known by some as the 1904-1905 Welsh Revival
1904-1905 Welsh Revival
The Welsh Revival was the largest Christian revival in Wales during the 20th century. While by no means the best known of revivals, it was one of the most dramatic in terms of its effect on the population, and it had repercussions that reached far beyond the Welsh border, triggering a series of...

 or simply The 1904 Revival) which started through the evangelism of Evan Roberts
Evan Roberts (minister)
Evan John Roberts , was a leading figure of the 1904-1905 Welsh Revival who suffered many setbacks in his later life.His obituary in The Western Mail summed up his career thus:- Early life :...

 and saw large numbers of people converting to nonconformist and Anglican Christianity, sometimes whole communities. Robert's style of preaching became the blueprint for new religious bodies such as Pentacostalism and the Apostolic Church. The Apostolic Church holds its annual Apostolic Conference in Swansea each year, usually in August.

Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 is the largest non-Christian religion in Wales, with more than 30,000 reported Muslims in the 2001 census. There are also communities of Hindus
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Sikhs
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 mainly in the South Wales cities of Newport, Cardiff and Swansea, while the largest concentration of Buddhists
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 is in the western rural county of Ceredigion
Ceredigion
Ceredigion is a county and former kingdom in mid-west Wales. As Cardiganshire , it was created in 1282, and was reconstituted as a county under that name in 1996, reverting to Ceredigion a day later...

.
Judaism was the first non-Christian faith (excluding pre-Roman animism) to be established in Wales however, as of the year 2001, the community has declined to approximately 2,000. Paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 and Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

 are also growing in Wales. According to the 2001 Census, there are 7,000-recorded Wiccans in England and Wales, with 31,000 Pagans.

Culture


Wales has a distinctive culture including its own language, customs, holidays and music.

Wales has three UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

s: The Castles and Town walls of King Edward I in Gwynedd
Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd
The Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd refers to a UNESCO-designated site of patrimony located in Gwynedd, Wales.In 1986, four castles related to the reign of King Edward I of England were proclaimed collectively as a World Heritage Site, as outstanding examples of fortifications and...

; Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a navigable aqueduct that carries the Llangollen Canal over the valley of the River Dee in Wrexham in north east Wales....

; and the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape.

Mythology



The remnants of the native Celtic mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the pre-Christian Britons was passed down orally, in much altered form, by the cynfeirdd . Some of their work survives in much later medieval Welsh manuscripts
Medieval Welsh literature
Medieval Welsh literature is the literature written in the Welsh language during the Middle Ages. This includes material from the fifth century, when Welsh was in the process of becoming distinct from the British language, to the works of the 16th century....

, known as: the Black Book of Carmarthen
Black Book of Carmarthen
The Black Book of Carmarthen is thought to be the earliest surviving manuscript written entirely or substantially in Welsh. Written in around 1250, the book's name comes from its association with the Priory of St. John the Evangelist and Teulyddog at Carmarthen, and is referred to as black due to...

 and the Book of Aneirin
Book of Aneirin
The Book of Aneirin is a late 13th century Welsh manuscript containing Old and Middle Welsh poetry attributed to the late 6th century Northern Brythonic poet, Aneirin....

 (both 13th century); the Book of Taliesin
Book of Taliesin
The Book of Taliesin is one of the most famous of Middle Welsh manuscripts, dating from the first half of the 14th century though many of the fifty-six poems it preserves are taken to originate in the 10th century. The manuscript, known as Peniarth MS 2 and kept at the National Library of Wales,...

 and the White Book of Rhydderch
White Book of Rhydderch
The White Book of Rhydderch is one of the most notable and celebrated manuscripts in Welsh. Written in the middle of the fourteenth century it is the earliest collection of Welsh prose texts, though it also contains some examples of early Welsh poetry...

 (both 14th century); and the Red Book of Hergest
Red Book of Hergest
The Red Book of Hergest is a large vellum manuscript written shortly after 1382, which ranks as one of the most important medieval manuscripts written in the Welsh language. It preserves a collection of Welsh prose and poetry, notably the tales of the Mabinogion, Gogynfeirdd poetry...

 (c. 1400). The prose
Prose
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure...

 stories from the White and Red Books are known as the Mabinogion
Mabinogion
The Mabinogion is the title given to a collection of eleven prose stories collated from medieval Welsh manuscripts. The tales draw on pre-Christian Celtic mythology, international folktale motifs, and early medieval historical traditions...

, a title given to them by their first translator, Lady Charlotte Guest
Lady Charlotte Guest
Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Guest, , later Lady Charlotte Schreiber, was an English businesswoman and translator...

, and also used by subsequent translators. Poems such as Cad Goddeu
Cad Goddeu
Cad Goddeu is a medieval Welsh poem preserved in the 14th-century manuscript known as the Book of Taliesin. The poem refers to a traditional story in which the legendary enchanter Gwydion animates the trees of the forest to fight as his army...

 (The Battle of the Trees) and mnemonic list-texts like the Welsh Triads
Welsh Triads
The Welsh Triads are a group of related texts in medieval manuscripts which preserve fragments of Welsh folklore, mythology and traditional history in groups of three. The triad is a rhetorical form whereby objects are grouped together in threes, with a heading indicating the point of likeness...

 and the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain
Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain
The Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain are a series of items in late medieval Welsh tradition. Lists of the items appear in texts dating to the 15th and 16th centuries...

, also contain mythological material. These texts also include the earliest forms of the Arthurian legend and the traditional history of post-Roman Britain
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

.

Other sources of Welsh folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 include the 9th century Latin historical compilation Historia Britonum
Historia Britonum
The Historia Brittonum, or The History of the Britons, is a historical work that was first composed around 830, and exists in several recensions of varying difference. It purports to relate the history of the Brittonic inhabitants of Britain from earliest times, and this text has been used to write...

 (the History of the Britons) and Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth was a cleric and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography and the popularity of tales of King Arthur...

's 12th century Latin chronicle
Chronicle
Generally a chronicle is a historical account of facts and events ranged in chronological order, as in a time line. Typically, equal weight is given for historically important events and local events, the purpose being the recording of events that occurred, seen from the perspective of the...

 Historia Regum Britanniae
Historia Regum Britanniae
The Historia Regum Britanniae is a pseudohistorical account of British history, written c. 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It chronicles the lives of the kings of the Britons in a chronological narrative spanning a time of two thousand years, beginning with the Trojans founding the British nation...

 (the History of the Kings of Britain), as well as later folklore, such as The Welsh Fairy Book by W. Jenkyn Thomas.

Visual arts



Many works of Celtic art
Celtic art
Celtic art is the art associated with the peoples known as Celts; those who spoke the Celtic languages in Europe from pre-history through to the modern period, as well as the art of ancient peoples whose language is uncertain, but have cultural and stylistic similarities with speakers of Celtic...

 have been found in Wales. In the Early Medieval period, the Celtic Christianity
Celtic Christianity
Celtic Christianity or Insular Christianity refers broadly to certain features of Christianity that were common, or held to be common, across the Celtic-speaking world during the Early Middle Ages...

 of Wales was part of the Insular art
Insular art
Insular art, also known as Hiberno-Saxon art, is the style of art produced in the post-Roman history of Ireland and Great Britain. The term derives from insula, the Latin term for "island"; in this period Britain and Ireland shared a largely common style different from that of the rest of Europe...

 of the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

. A number of illuminated manuscript
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

s from Wales survive, of which the 8th century Hereford Gospels
Hereford Gospels
The Hereford Gospels is an 8th century illuminated manuscript Gospel Book in insular script minuscule script, with large illuminated initials in the Insular style....

 and Lichfield Gospels
Lichfield Gospels
The Lichfield Gospels is an eighth century Insular Gospel Book housed in Lichfield Cathedral. There are 236 surviving folios, eight of which are illuminated. Another four contain framed text...

 are the most notable. The 11th century Ricemarch Psalter
Ricemarch Psalter
The Ricemarch Psalter is an 11th century Welsh illuminated psalter, in a late Insular style, that has been described as "Hiberno-Danish", instead of the usual "Hiberno-Saxon", as it reflects Viking influence. Its 159 pages are vellum, and include the following sections: Letter of St...

 (now in Dublin) is certainly Welsh, made in St David's
St David's
St Davids , is a city and community in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Lying on the River Alun on St David's Peninsula, it is Britain's smallest city in terms of both size and population, the final resting place of Saint David, the country's patron saint, and the de facto ecclesiastical capital of...

, and shows a late Insular style with unusual Viking influence.

The best of the few Welsh artists of the 16th–18th centuries tended to leave the country to work, many of them moving to London and Italy. Richard Wilson
Richard Wilson (painter)
Richard Wilson was a Welsh landscape painter, and one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768. Wilson has been described as '...the most distinguished painter Wales has ever produced and the first to appreciate the aesthetic possibilities of his country.' He is considered to be the...

 (1714–82) is arguably the first major British landscapist. Although more notable for his Italian scenes, he painted several Welsh scenes on visits from London. By the late 18th century, the popularity of landscape art
Landscape art
Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

 grew and clients were found in the larger Welsh towns, allowing more Welsh artists to stay in their homeland. Artists from outside Wales were also drawn to paint Welsh scenery, at first due to the Celtic Revival
Celtic Revival
Celtic Revival covers a variety of movements and trends, mostly in the 19th and 20th centuries, which drew on the traditions of Celtic literature and Celtic art, or in fact more often what art historians call Insular art...

. Then in the early 19th century, the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 preventing the Grand Tour
Grand Tour
The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage...

 to continental Europe, travel through Wales came to be considered more accessible.

An Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 in 1857 provided for the establishment of a number of art schools throughout the United Kingdom and the Cardiff School of Art
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
Cardiff Metropolitan University is a university situated in Cardiff. It operates from three campuses: Llandaff on Western Avenue, Cyncoed, and Howard Gardens in the City Centre. The university serves over 12,000 students...

 opened in 1865. Graduates still very often had to leave Wales to work but Betws-y-Coed
Betws-y-Coed
Betws-y-Coed is a village and community in the Conwy valley in Conwy County Borough, Wales. It has a population of 534. The name Betws or Bettws is generally thought to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon Old English 'bed-hus' - i.e. a bead-house - a house of prayer, or oratory...

 became a popular centre for artists and its artist's colony helped form the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art
Royal Cambrian Academy of Art
The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art is a centre of excellence for art in Wales. Its main gallery is located in Conwy and it has over a hundred members.thumb|right|240px|Plas Mawr, Conwy-Early history:...

 in 1881. The sculptor Sir William Goscombe John
Goscombe John
Sir William Goscombe John R.A. , was a Welsh sculptor.-Biography:He was born in Canton, Cardiff and as a youth assisted his father, Thomas John, a wood carver, in the restoration of Cardiff Castle...

 made many works for Welsh commissions, although he had settled in London. Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams (Welsh artist)
Christopher David Williams was a Welsh artist.He was born in Maesteg, Wales. His father Evan Williams intended him to be a doctor, but he disliked the idea. A visit to the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, in 1892, where he spent some hours in front of Frederick Leighton's "Perseus and Andromeda,"...

, whose subjects were mostly resolutely Welsh, was also based in London. Thomas E. Stephens
Thomas E. Stephens
Thomas Edgar Stephens was a portrait painter and friend of Dwight D. Eisenhower, whom the President addressed as "Dear Tommy", born in Cardiff, Wales in 1886. His father Thomas Stephens was born in Aberthaw, South Wales...

 and Andrew Vicari
Andrew Vicari
Andrew Vicari is a Welsh painter working in France who has established a career painting portraits of the rich and famous. Despite being largely unknown in his own country, Vicari was Britain's richest living painter....

 had very successful careers as portraitists based respectively in the United States and France. Sir Frank Brangwyn
Frank Brangwyn
Sir Frank William Brangwyn RA RWS RBA was an Anglo-Welsh artist, painter, water colourist, virtuoso engraver and illustrator, and progressive designer.- Biography :...

 was Welsh by origin but spent little time in Wales.

Many Welsh painters gravitated towards the art capitals of Europe. Augustus John
Augustus John
Augustus Edwin John OM, RA, was a Welsh painter, draughtsman, and etcher. For a short time around 1910, he was an important exponent of Post-Impressionism in the United Kingdom....

 and his sister Gwen John
Gwen John
Gwendolen Mary John was a Welsh artist who worked in France for most of her career. She is noted for her still lifes and for her portraits, especially of anonymous female sitters...

, lived mostly in London and Paris. However the landscapists Sir Kyffin Williams
Kyffin Williams
Sir John "Kyffin" Williams, KBE, RA was a Welsh landscape painter who lived at Pwllfanogl, Llanfairpwll on the Island of Anglesey...

 and Peter Prendergast
Peter Prendergast (artist)
Peter Prendergast was a Welsh landscape painter. After the death of Sir Kyffin Williams in September 2006, he was recognised as the leading landscape painter in Wales.-Early years:...

 lived in Wales for most of their lives, though remaining in touch with the wider art world. Ceri Richards
Ceri Richards
-Biography:Richards was born in the village of Dunvant, near Swansea, the son of Thomas Coslett Richards and Sarah Richards . He and his younger brother and sister, Owen and Esther, were brought up in a highly cultured, working-class environment...

 was very engaged in the Welsh art scene; as a teacher in Cardiff and even after moving to London. He was a figurative painter in international styles including Surrealism
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

. Various artists have moved to Wales, including Eric Gill
Eric Gill
Arthur Eric Rowton Gill was a British sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement...

, the London-Welshman David Jones
David Jones (poet)
David Jones CH was both a painter and one of the first generation British modernist poets. As a painter he worked chiefly in watercolor, painting portraits and animal, landscape, legendary and religious subjects. He was also a wood-engraver and designer of inscriptions. As a writer he was...

 and the sculptor Jonah Jones. The Kardomah Gang was a intellectual circle centred on the poet Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas
Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer, Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 January 2008. who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself...

 and poet and artist Vernon Watkins
Vernon Watkins
Vernon Phillips Watkins , was a British poet, and a translator and painter. He was a close friend of Dylan Thomas, who described him as "the most profound and greatly accomplished Welshman writing poems in English"....

 in Swansea, which also included the painter Alfred Janes
Alfred Janes
Alfred George Janes was a Welsh artist, who is also remembered as one of The Kardomah Gang; a group of bohemian friends that included the poets Dylan Thomas and Vernon Watkins, and the composer Daniel Jones....

.

South Wales had several notable potteries, one of the first important sites being the Ewenny Pottery in Bridgend
Bridgend
Bridgend is a town in the Bridgend County Borough in Wales, west of the capital, Cardiff. The river crossed by the original bridge, which gave the town its name, is the River Ogmore but the River Ewenny also passes to the south of the town...

, which began producing earthenware in the 17th century. In the 18th and 19th centuries, with more scientific methods becoming available more refined ceramics were produced led by the Cambrian Pottery
Cambrian Pottery
The Cambrian Pottery was founded in 1764 by William Coles in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales.In 1790, John Coles, son of the founder, went into partnership with George Haynes, who introduced new business strategies based on the ideas of Josiah Wedgwood....

 (1764–1870, also known as "Swansea pottery") and later Nantgarw Pottery
Nantgarw Pottery
The Nantgarw Pottery was a noted pottery, located in Nantgarw on the eastern bank of the Glamorganshire Canal, north of Cardiff in the River Taff valley, Glamorganshire, Wales. It closed in 1920, when cigarettes replaced clay pipes...

 near Cardiff, which was in operation from 1813 to 1822 making fine porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

 and then utilitarian pottery until 1920. Portmeirion Pottery
Portmeirion Pottery
Portmeirion is a British pottery company based in Stoke-on-Trent.-History:Portmeirion Pottery came into being in 1960 when the pottery designer Susan Williams-Ellis and her husband, Euan Cooper-Willis took over a small pottery decorating company in Stoke-on-Trent called A. E. Gray Ltd.. Susan...

, founded in 1960 by Susan Williams-Ellis
Susan Williams-Ellis
Susan Williams-Ellis , a pottery designer and the eldest daughter of Clough Williams-Ellis, was best known for co-founding Portmeirion Pottery.-Background:...

, daughter of Clough Williams-Ellis
Clough Williams-Ellis
Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis, CBE, MC was an English-born Welsh architect known chiefly as creator of the Italianate village of Portmeirion in North Wales.-Origins, education and early career:...

, creator of the italianate village of Portmeirion
Portmeirion
Portmeirion is a popular tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village and is now owned by a charitable trust....

, Gwynedd
Gwynedd
Gwynedd is a county in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. Although the second biggest in terms of geographical area, it is also one of the most sparsely populated...

, is based in Stoke-on-Trent
Stoke-on-Trent
Stoke-on-Trent , also called The Potteries is a city in Staffordshire, England, which forms a linear conurbation almost 12 miles long, with an area of . Together with the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme Stoke forms The Potteries Urban Area...

, England.

Literature in Wales


Wales can claim one of the oldest unbroken literary traditions in Europe. The literary tradition of Wales stretches back to the sixth century and, with the inclusion of Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth was a cleric and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography and the popularity of tales of King Arthur...

 and Gerald of Wales, boasts two of the finest Latin authors of the Middle Ages. The earliest body of Welsh verse, by poets Taliesin
Taliesin
Taliesin was an early British poet of the post-Roman period whose work has possibly survived in a Middle Welsh manuscript, the Book of Taliesin...

 and Aneirin
Aneirin
Aneirin or Neirin was a Dark Age Brythonic poet. He is believed to have been a bard or 'court poet' in one of the Cumbric kingdoms of the Old North or Hen Ogledd, probably that of Gododdin at Edinburgh, in modern Scotland...

, survive not in their original form, but in medieval versions and have undergone significant linguistic changes. Welsh poetry and native lore and learning survived the Dark Ages, through the era of the Poets of the Princes (c1100–1280) and then the Poets of the Gentry (c1350-1650). The Poets of the Princes were professional poets who composed eulogies and elegies to the Welsh princes while the Poets of the Gentry where a school of poets that favoured the cywydd
Cywydd
The cywydd is one of the most important metrical forms in Welsh traditional poetry.There are a variety of forms of the cywydd, but the word on its own is generally used to refer to the cywydd deuair hirion as it is by far the most common type.The first recorded examples of the cywydd date from the...

 metre. The period is notable for producing one of Wales' greatest poets, Dafydd ap Gwilym
Dafydd ap Gwilym
Dafydd ap Gwilym , is regarded as one of the leading Welsh poets and amongst the great poets of Europe in the Middle Ages. Dafydd ap Gwilym (c. 1315/1320 – c. 1350/1370), is regarded as one of the leading Welsh poets and amongst the great poets of Europe in the Middle Ages. Dafydd ap Gwilym...

. After the Anglicisation of the gentry the tradition declined.

Despite the extinction of the professional poet, the integration of the native elite into a wider cultural world did bring other literary benefits. Humanists such as William Salesbury
William Salesbury
William Salesbury also Salusbury was the leading Welsh scholar of the Renaissance and the principal translator of the 1567 Welsh New Testament.Salesbury was born in about 1520 in the parish of Llansannan, Conwy...

 and John Davies
John Davies (Mallwyd)
Dr John Davies, Mallwyd was one of Wales's leading scholars of the late Renaissance. He wrote a Welsh grammar and dictionary. He was also a translator and editor and an ordained minister of the Church of England....

 brought Renaissance ideals from English universities when they returned to Wales. While in 1588 William Morgan
William Morgan (Bible translator)
William Morgan was Bishop of Llandaff and of St Asaph, and the translator of the first version of the whole Bible into Welsh from Greek and Hebrew.-Life:...

 became the first person to translate the Bible into Welsh
Welsh Bible
Bible translations into Welsh have existed since at least the 15th century, but the most widely used translation of the Bible into Welsh for several centuries was the 1588 translation by William Morgan, as revised in 1620...

. From the 16th Century onwards the proliferation of the 'free-metre' verse became the most important development in Welsh poetry, but from the middle of the 17th century a host of imported accentual metres from England became very popular. By the 19th century the creation of a Welsh epic, fuelled by the eisteddfod, became an obsession with Welsh language writers. The output of this period was prolific in quantity but unequal in quality. Initially the eisteddfod was askance with the religious denominations, but in time these bodies came to dominate the competitions, with the bardic themes becoming increasingly scriptural and didactic. The period is notable for the adoption by Welsh poets of bardic name
Bardic name
A bardic name is a pseudonym, used in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany, by poets and other artists, especially those involved in the eisteddfod movement....

s, made popular by the eisteddfod movement.

Major developments in 19th century Welsh literature include Lady Charlotte Guest's translation of the Mabinogion, one of the most important medieval Welsh prose tales of Celtic mythology, into English. 1885 saw the publication of Rhys Lewis
Rhys Lewis
Rhys Lewis is a novel by Daniel Owen, written in the Welsh language and first published in 1885. Its full title is Hunangofiant Rhys Lewis, Gweinidog Bethel...

 by Daniel Owen
Daniel Owen
Daniel Owen was a Welsh novelist, generally regarded as the foremost Welsh-language novelist of the 19th century.-Early life:...

, credited as the first novel written in the Welsh language. The 20th century experienced an important shift away from the stilted and long-winded Victorian Welsh prose, with Thomas Gwynn Jones
Thomas Gwynn Jones
Thomas Gwynn Jones or T. Gwynn Jones was a leading Welsh poet, scholar, literary critic, novelist, translator, and journalist who did important work in Welsh literature, Welsh education, and the study of Welsh folk tales in the first half of the twentieth century...

 leading the way with his 1902 work Ymadawiad Arthur. The slaughter in the trenches of the First World War, had a profound effect on Welsh literature with a more pessimistic style of prose championed by T. H. Parry-Williams
T. H. Parry-Williams
Sir Thomas Herbert Parry-Williams was a Welsh poet, author and academic.Parry-Williams was born at Rhyd Ddu, Caernarfonshire. He was educated at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, Jesus College, Oxford , the University of Freiburg and the Sorbonne...

 and R. Williams Parry
R. Williams Parry
Robert Williams Parry was one of Wales' most notable poets in the twentieth century.- His life :R. Williams Parry was born in Talysarn, in Dyffryn Nantlle, a first cousin to T.H. Parry-Williams and Sir Thomas Parry...

. The industrialisation of south Wales saw a further shift with the likes of Rhydwen Williams
Rhydwen Williams
Robert Rhydwenfro Williams, known as Rhydwen Williams , was a Welsh poet, novelist and Baptist minister. His work is mainly written in his native Welsh language, and is noted for adapting the established style and context of Welsh poetry from a rural and bygone age to that of a modern industrial...

 who used the poetry and metre of a bygone rural Wales but in the context of an industrial landscape. Though the inter-war period is dominated by Saunders Lewis
Saunders Lewis
Saunders Lewis was a Welsh poet, dramatist, historian, literary critic, and political activist. He was a prominent Welsh nationalist and a founder of the Welsh National Party...

, for his political and reactionary views as much as his plays, poetry and criticism.

After the end of the Second World War, several Welsh poets and writers in the English language came to note. These included Alexander Cordell
Alexander Cordell
Alexander Cordell was the pen-name of George Alexander Graber, a prolific Welsh novelist and author of thirty acclaimed works including Rape of the Fair Country, The Hosts of Rebecca and Song of the Earth....

, whose novels are often set within a historic Wales, while Gwyn Thomas
Gwyn Thomas (novelist)
Gwyn Thomas was a Welsh writer who has been called 'the true voice of the English-speaking valleys'.-Early life:...

 became the voice of the English speaking Welsh valleys with his humorous take on grim lives. At the same time the post war period saw the emergence of one of the most notable and popular Welsh writers of the 20th century; Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas
Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer, Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 January 2008. who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself...

 one of the most innovative poets of his time. Other important authors born in Wales, but not writing in the Welsh language or with a 'Welsh' style, include Nobel Prize winner Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 and children's writer Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, fighter pilot and screenwriter.Born in Wales to Norwegian parents, he served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, in which he became a flying ace and intelligence agent, rising to the rank of Wing Commander...

.

Sport



Over fifty national governing bodies
Governing bodies of sports in Wales
The governing bodies of sports in Wales perform an organisational, regulatory or sanctioning function at a national level in Wales, some tracing their history to the 19th Century. Many cooperate with similar bodies from other countries to agree rule changes for their sport. Most implement decisions...

 regulate and organise their sports in Wales. Most of those involved in competitive sports select, organise and manage individuals or teams to represent their country at international events or fixtures against other countries. Wales is represented at major world sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

, Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

 and the Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years....

. At the Olympics Games, Welsh athletes compete alongside those of Scotland, England and Northern Ireland as part of a Great Britain team.

Although football has traditionally been the more popular sport in North Wales
North Wales
North Wales is the northernmost unofficial region of Wales. It is bordered to the south by the counties of Ceredigion and Powys in Mid Wales and to the east by the counties of Shropshire in the West Midlands and Cheshire in North West England...

, rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 is seen as a symbol of Welsh identity and an expression of national consciousness. The Welsh national rugby union team
Wales national rugby union team
The Wales national rugby union team represent Wales in international rugby union tournaments. They compete annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland, Italy and Scotland. Wales have won the Six Nations and its predecessors 24 times outright, second only to England with...

 takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship
Six Nations Championship
The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales....

 and has also competed in every Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

, hosting the tournament in 1999
1999 Rugby World Cup
The 1999 Rugby World Cup was the fourth Rugby World Cup, and the first to be held in rugby union's professional era. The principal host nation was Wales, although the majority of matches were played outside the country, shared between England, France, Scotland and Ireland...

. The five professional sides that replaced the traditional club sides in major competitions in 2003 were replaced in 2004 by the four regions: Scarlets; Cardiff Blues
Cardiff Blues
Cardiff Blues are one of the four professional Welsh regional rugby union teams. Based in Cardiff, the capital of Wales, the team have played at Cardiff City Stadium since the start of the 2009/2010 season and are owned by Cardiff Rugby Football Club....

; Newport Gwent Dragons
Newport Gwent Dragons
Newport Gwent Dragons are one of the four professional Rugby Union regional teams in Wales. They are jointly owned by Newport RFC and the Welsh Rugby Union and play all their home games at Rodney Parade, Newport. They play in the RaboDirect Pro12, the Anglo-Welsh Cup and the Heineken Cup...

; and the Ospreys. The Welsh regional teams play in the Magners League, the Anglo-Welsh Cup (LV Cup), the European Heineken Cup
Heineken Cup
The Heineken Cup is one of two annual rugby union competitions organised by European Rugby Cup involving leading club, regional and provincial teams from the six International Rugby Board countries in Europe whose national teams compete in the Six Nations Championship: England, France, Ireland,...

 and the European (Amlin) Challenge Cup
European Challenge Cup
The European Challenge Cup, currently known for sponsorship reasons as the Amlin Challenge Cup, is one of two annual rugby union competitions organised by European Rugby Cup. The cup was known as the Parker Pen Shield from 2001 to 2003 and Parker Pen Challenge Cup from 2003 to 2005. The European...

.

Wales has had its own football league, the Welsh Premier League, since 1992. For historical reasons, two Welsh clubs (Swansea City and Cardiff City
Cardiff City F.C.
Cardiff City Football Club are a Welsh professional football club based in Cardiff, Wales. The club competes in the English football pyramid and is currently playing in the Football League Championship. Cardiff City is the best supported football club in Wales, averaging approximately 22,500 for...

) play in the English Football League
The Football League
The Football League, also known as the npower Football League for sponsorship reasons, is a league competition featuring professional association football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest such competition in world football...

. Another four Welsh clubs play in English football's feeder leagues: Wrexham
Wrexham A.F.C.
Wrexham Football Club are a professional football team based in Wrexham, north-east Wales, who play in the English football pyramid.Founded in 1872, they are one of the oldest surviving football clubs in Britain and the oldest professional club in Wales...

, Newport County, Merthyr Town
Merthyr Town F.C.
Merthyr Town Football Club is a Welsh semi-professional football club based in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. For the 2011–2012 season the club will be playing in the Western Football League Premier Division at Penydarren Park in Merthyr....

 and Colwyn Bay
Colwyn Bay F.C.
Colwyn Bay F.C. are a Welsh football club, as of the 2011–12 season are playing in the Conference North. Nicknamed the Seagulls, the club play at Llanelian Road in Old Colwyn.-History:...

.

In international cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, Wales and England field a single representative team, administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board
England and Wales Cricket Board
The England and Wales Cricket Board is the governing body of cricket in England and Wales. It was created on 1 January 1997 combining the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board, the National Cricket Association and the Cricket Council...

 (ECB), called the England cricket team, or simply 'England'. Occasionally, a separate Wales team play limited-overs competitions. Glamorgan County Cricket Club
Glamorgan County Cricket Club
Glamorgan County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh national cricket structure, representing the historic county of Glamorgan aka Glamorganshire . Glamorgan CCC is the only Welsh first-class cricket club. Glamorgan CCC have won the English County...

 is the only Welsh participant in the England and Wales County Championship.

Wales has produced several world-class participants of individual sports including snooker
Snooker
Snooker is a cue sport that is played on a green baize-covered table with pockets in each of the four corners and in the middle of each of the long side cushions. A regular table is . It is played using a cue and snooker balls: one white , 15 worth one point each, and six balls of different :...

 players Ray Reardon
Ray Reardon
Ray Reardon, MBE is a retired Welsh snooker player. He dominated the sport in the 1970s, winning six World Championships in that decade...

, Terry Griffiths
Terry Griffiths
Terrence "Terry" Griffiths OBE is a retired Welsh snooker player and current snooker coach and pundit. He won the World Championship in 1979 at the first attempt, and reached the 1988 final. He also won the Masters in 1980 and the UK Championship in 1982, making him one of seven players to have...

, Mark Williams
Mark Williams (snooker player)
Mark James Williams, MBE is a Welsh professional snooker player who has been World Champion twice, in 2000 and 2003. Often noted for his single-ball potting, he has earned the nickname, The Welsh Potting Machine...

 and Matthew Stevens
Matthew Stevens
Matthew Stevens is a Welsh professional snooker player. Stevens has won two of the game's most prestigious events, the Benson and Hedges Masters in 2000 and the UK Championship in 2003. He has also been the runner-up in the World Snooker Championship on two occasions, in 2000 and 2005...

. Track athletes who have made a mark on the world stage, including the 110-metre hurdler Colin Jackson
Colin Jackson
Colin Ray Jackson CBE is a British former sprint and hurdling athlete who specialised in the 110 metres hurdles. Over his career representing Great Britain and Wales he won an Olympic silver medal, became world champion three times, went undefeated at the European Championships for 12 years and...

 who is a former world record holder and the winner of numerous Olympic, World and European medals as well as Tanni Grey-Thompson
Tanni Grey-Thompson
Carys Davina "Tanni" Grey-Thompson, Baroness Grey-Thompson, DBE is a Welsh athlete and TV presenter.Grey-Thompson was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. She is considered to be one of the most successful disabled athletes in the UK...

 who has won 11 Paralympic gold medals. Wales also has a tradition of producing world-class boxers. Joe Calzaghe
Joe Calzaghe
Joseph William Calzaghe, CBE, MBE is a Welsh former professional boxer. He is the former WBO, WBA, WBC, IBF, The Ring & British super middleweight champion and The Ring light heavyweight champion....

 was WBO World Super-Middleweight Champion who then won the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super middleweight and Ring Magazine Light-Heavyweight titles. Other former boxing World champions include Enzo Maccarinelli
Enzo Maccarinelli
Enzo Maccarinelli is a Welsh professional boxer who fights in the light heavyweight division. He is a former World Boxing Organization cruiserweight title holder and also held the European title at that weight limit...

, Freddie Welsh
Freddie Welsh
Freddie Welsh was a Welsh lightweight boxing champion. Born in Pontypridd, Wales, and christened Frederick Hall Thomas, he was nicknamed the "Welsh Wizard". Brought up in a tough mining community, Welsh left a middle-class background to make a name for himself in America...

, Howard Winstone
Howard Winstone
Howard Winstone, MBE was a Welsh world champion boxer, born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. As an amateur, Winstone won the Amateur Boxing Association bantamweight title in 1958, and a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff-Boxing style:In his early...

, Percy Jones
Percy Jones (boxer)
Rhondda's Percy Jones became the first Welshman ever to win a World Boxing title when he took the World Flyweight Championship from Bill Ladbury in 1914...

, Jimmy Wilde
Jimmy Wilde
Jimmy Wilde , was a Welsh world boxing champion. He was the first official world flyweight champion and was rated by American boxing writer Nat Fleischer, as well as many other professionals and fans including former boxer, trainer, manager and promoter, Charley 'Broadway' Rose, as "the greatest...

, Steve Robinson and Robbie Regan
Robbie Regan
Robbie Regan Robbie Regan Robbie Regan (born 30 August 1968 in Caerphilly, Wales is a Welsh former professional boxer.-Pro career:Regan is a former WBO World Bantamweight champion and former interim IBF World Flyweight champion. In 1995 he captured the interim IBF flyweight title with a KO win...

.

Media


All Welsh television broadcasts are digital
Digital terrestrial television
Digital terrestrial television is the technological evolution of broadcast television and advance from analog television, which broadcasts land-based signals...

. The last of the analogue
Analog television
Analog television is the analog transmission that involves the broadcasting of encoded analog audio and analog video signal: one in which the message conveyed by the broadcast signal is a function of deliberate variations in the amplitude and/or frequency of the signal...

 transmitters ceased broadcasts in April 2010, and Wales became the UK's first digital
Digital television
Digital television is the transmission of audio and video by digital signals, in contrast to the analog signals used by analog TV...

 nation. Cardiff is home to the television output of Wales. BBC Cymru Wales is the national broadcaster. Based in Llandaff
Llandaff
Llandaff is a district in the north of Cardiff, capital of Wales, having been incorporated into the city in 1922. It is the seat of the Church in Wales Bishop of Llandaff, whose diocese covers the most populous area of South Wales. Much of the district is covered by parkland known as Llandaff...

, Cardiff, it produces Welsh-oriented English and Welsh language television for BBC ONE Wales, BBC TWO Wales
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 and S4C
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

 channels. BBC Cymru Wales has also produced programmes, such as Life on Mars, Dr Who and Torchwood
Torchwood
Torchwood is a British science fiction television programme created by Russell T Davies. The series is a spin-off from Davies's 2005 revival of the long-running science fiction programme Doctor Who. The show has shifted its broadcast channel each series to reflect its growing audience, moving from...

, shown worldwide. ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 the UK's main commercial broadcaster has a Welsh-oriented service branded as ITV Wales, whose studios are in Culverhouse Cross
Culverhouse Cross
Culverhouse Cross is suburban district in the west of Cardiff, capital of Wales, lying on the border with the Vale of Glamorgan.The busy Culverhouse Cross roundabout is an important part of the primary road network to the west of the city and connects the A4232 , the A4050 , and...

, Cardiff. S4C, based in Llanishen
Llanishen
Llanishen is a district in the north of Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. Llanishen is well-known as the home of the 'Tax Offices', the tallest buildings in north Cardiff and a landmark for miles around...

, Cardiff, first broadcast on 1 November 1982. Its output was mostly Welsh language at peak hours, but shared English language content with Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 at other times. Since the digital switchover
Digital television transition
The digital television transition is the process in which analog television broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital television. This primarily involves both TV stations and over-the-air viewers; however it also involves content providers like TV networks, and cable television...

 in April 2010, the channel has broadcast exclusively in Welsh. BBC Cymru Wales provide S4C with ten hours of programming per week. Their remaining output is commissioned from ITV and independent producers.

BBC Cymru Wales is Wales' only national radio broadcaster. BBC Radio Wales
BBC Radio Wales
BBC Radio Wales is the BBC's national radio station broadcasting to Wales in the English language. Operated by BBC Wales, it began broadcasting on 12 November 1978 following the demise of the old "Radio 4 Wales" when BBC Radio 4 became a national network and moved from medium wave to long wave...

 is their English language radio service, broadcasting throughout Wales in English. BBC Radio Cymru
BBC Radio Cymru
BBC Radio Cymru is BBC Cymru's Welsh-language radio station, broadcasting throughout Wales from studios in Cardiff, Bangor, and Aberystwyth on FM since 1977. At the time of its launch it was one of the few FM-only radio services in the UK...

 is their Welsh language radio service, broadcasting throughout Wales in Welsh. A number of independent radio stations broadcast to the Welsh regions, predominantly in English. Several regional radio stations broadcast in Welsh: output ranges from two, two minute news bulletins each weekday (Radio Maldwyn
Radio Maldwyn
Radio Maldwyn - The Magic 756 was a local commercial radio station serving Mid Wales and the English border counties. Their transmitter site is currently based a few miles outside of Newtown, Powys.-History:...

), through over 14 hours of Welsh language programmes weekly (Swansea Sound
Swansea Sound
Swansea Sound is a British independent local radio station broadcasting to Swansea and surrounding areas, aimed at a core 40+ demographic. Swansea Sound was the first local radio station in Wales, and has won several awards, including the number one regional station in South Wales....

), to essentially bilingual stations offering between 37% and 44% of programme content (Heart Cymru (formerly Champion 103) and Radio Ceredigion
Radio Ceredigion
Radio Ceredigion is a bilingual local radio station that serves the Welsh county of Ceredigion.-History:From its launch on 14th December 1992, the station broadcast a bilingual schedule with roughly half-and-half proportion of English and Welsh output, much of it community-oriented, from studios...

 respectively).

Most of the newspapers sold and read in Wales are national newspapers available throughout Britain, unlike in Scotland where many newspapers have rebranded into Scottish based titles. The Western Mail is Wales' only national daily newspaper. Wales-based regional daily newspapers include: Daily Post
Liverpool Daily Post
The Liverpool Daily Post is a newspaper published by Trinity Mirror in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. It is published Monday to Friday and is published in Merseyside, Cheshire, and North Wales editions, and is a morning paper...

 (which covers north Wales); South Wales Evening Post
South Wales Evening Post
The South Wales Evening Post is a tabloid daily newspaper that distributed in South West Wales. The paper has three daily editions - Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire and is published by South West Wales Publications, part of the Northcliffe Media group. The current editor is...

 (Swansea); South Wales Echo
South Wales Echo
The South Wales Echo is a daily tabloid newspaper published in Cardiff, Wales and distributed throughout the surrounding area.The newspaper was founded in 1884 and was based in Thomson House, Cardiff city centre. It is published by Media Wales Ltd , part of the Trinity Mirror group...

 (Cardiff); and South Wales Argus
South Wales Argus
The South Wales Argus is a daily tabloid newspaper published in Newport, south Wales. The Argus is distributed in Newport and the historic area of Monmouthshire....

 (Newport). Y Cymro
Y Cymro
Y Cymro is a Welsh language newspaper, first published in 1932.Y Cymro was founded in Wrexham, and succeeded other newspapers of the same name that had existed during the 19th and early 20th century. It is the only national newspaper in the Welsh language, and is published weekly, on a Friday.In...

 is a Welsh language newspaper, published weekly. Wales on Sunday is the only Welsh Sunday newspaper to cover the whole of Wales.

The Welsh Books Council
Welsh Books Council
The Welsh Books Council or Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru was established in 1961 under the name of Cyngor Llyfrau Cymraeg . Today it is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. The Council's aims are to promote the interest in Welsh language books and English language books of interest to Wales...

 (WBC) is the Welsh Assembly Government funded body tasked with promoting Welsh literature. The WBC provides publishing grants for qualifying English and Welsh language publications. Around 600–650 books are published each year, by some of the dozens of Welsh publishers. Wales' main publishing houses include Gomer Press
Gomer Press
Gomer Press is a printing and publishing company based in Llandysul, west Wales. The company was first established in 1892 and is owned by the same family to this day. Jonathan Lewis, the great grandson of the company's founder, is the current managing director...

, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch
Gwasg Carreg Gwalch
Gwasg Carreg Gwalch is a publishing company based in Llanrwst, Wales. They specialise in publishing works in the Welsh language, but also publish English-language books of Welsh interest....

, Honno
Honno (press)
Honno is a Welsh women's press, based in Aberystwyth, which is run as an independent co-operative. The press concentrates solely on publishing writing by the women of Wales, with the twin aims of increasing publication opportunities for Welsh women and expanding the audience for Welsh women's writing...

, the University of Wales Press
University of Wales Press
The University of Wales Press was founded in 1922 as a central service of the University of Wales. It publishes academic journals and around sixty books a year in the English and Welsh languages, based around a core of six subjects: History; Political Philosophy and Religious Studies;Welsh and...

 and Y Lolfa
Y Lolfa
Y Lolfa is a Welsh printing and publishing company based in Tal-y-bont, Ceredigion in Mid-Wales. It publishes a wide variety of books in Welsh and English. It also provides a commercial print service. Y Lolfa was established in 1967 by Robat Gruffudd...

.

Magazines published in Welsh and English cover general and specialist subjects. Cambria, a Welsh affairs magazine published bi-monthly in English, has subscribers in over 30 countries. Titles published quarterly in English include Planet and Poetry Wales
Poetry Wales
Poetry Wales is a quarterly magazine published in Bridgend, Wales in the UK. It publishes poetry, articles and reviews.Poetry Wales was founded by Meic Stephens in 1965, and has since been edited by Sam Adams, John Powell Ward , Cary Archard, Mike Jenkins , Richard Poole , Robert Minhinnick and...

. Welsh language magazines include the current affairs titles Golwg
Golwg
Golwg is a Welsh-language magazine established in 1988. It covers current events and features and claims a circulation of 12,000 a month, the largest circulation of any magazine in Wales....

  (published weekly) and Barn
Barn (Welsh magazine)
Barn is a monthly Welsh language current affairs magazine. It was established in 1962 and over 500 issues have been published. Its first editor was Emlyn Evans and it was published by Llyfrau'r Dryw, Llandybie...

  (monthly). Among the specialist magazines, Y Wawr is published quarterly by Merched y Wawr
Merched y Wawr
Merched y Wawr is a national, voluntary, non-political, organisation for women in Wales. It is similar to the Women's Institute but its activities are conducted through the medium of Welsh...

, the national organisation for women. Y Traethodydd
Y Traethodydd
Y Traethodydd is a quarterly cultural magazine published in the Welsh language covering historical, literary and theological topics. The journal was originally published in 1845 on behalf of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church...

 , a quarterly publication by The Presbyterian Church of Wales
Presbyterian Church of Wales
The Presbyterian Church of Wales , also known as The Calvinistic Methodist Church , is a denomination of Protestant Christianity. It was born out of the Welsh Methodist revival and the preaching of Hywel Harris Howell Harris in the 18th century and seceded from the Church of England in 1811...

, first appeared in 1845; the oldest Welsh publication still in print.

Cuisine



About 78% of the land surface of Wales is given over to agricultural use. However, very little of this is arable land; the vast majority consists of permanent grass pasture or rough grazing for herd animals such as sheep and cows. Although both beef and dairy cattle are raised widely, especially in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, Wales is more well-known for its sheep farming and thus lamb is the meat traditionally associated with Welsh cooking.

Traditional dishes include laverbread (made from laver
Laver (seaweed)
Laver is an edible algae often considered to be a seaweed that has a high mineral salt content, particularly iodine and iron. It is used for making laverbread, a traditional Welsh dish. Laver is common around the west coast of Britain and east coast of Ireland along the Irish Sea.It is smooth and...

 (porphyra umbilicalis), an edible seaweed
Seaweed
Seaweed is a loose, colloquial term encompassing macroscopic, multicellular, benthic marine algae. The term includes some members of the red, brown and green algae...

); bara brith
Bara brith
Bara brith, sometimes known as "speckled bread" , can be either a yeast bread enriched with dried fruit or something more like a fruitcake made with self-raising flour...

 (fruit bread); Cawl
Cawl
Cawl is the Welsh word for soup or broth. The term is used in English to refer to traditional Welsh stews, usually containing meat and vegetables. Its ingredients tend to vary, but lamb and leeks are particularly common, owing to their association with Wales....

 (a lamb stew); cawl cennin (leek soup
Leek soup
Leek soup is a soup based on potatoes, leeks, broth , and heavy cream. Other things used may be salt andpepper, and various spices.Generally the potatoes are diced and cooked in broth, while the leeks...

); Welsh cake
Welsh cake
Welsh cakes are traditional Welsh snacks.The cakes are also known as bakestones within Wales because they are traditionally cooked on a bakestone , a cast iron griddle about 1.5 cm or more thick which is placed on the fire or cooker; on rare occasions, people may refer to them as griddle...

s; and Welsh lamb. Cockles
Cockle (bivalve)
Cockle is the common name for a group of small, edible, saltwater clams, marine bivalve molluscs in the family Cardiidae.Various species of cockles live in sandy sheltered beaches throughout the world....

 are sometimes served as a traditional breakfast with bacon and laverbread.

Although Wales has its own traditional food, and has absorbed much of the cuisine of England, Welsh diets now owe more to the countries of India
Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. The dishes of India are characterised by the extensive use of various Indian spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit. Indian cuisine is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society...

, China
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

 and the United States
Cuisine of the United States
American cuisine is a style of food preparation originating from the United States of America. European colonization of the Americas yielded the introduction of a number of ingredients and cooking styles to the latter...

. Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken tikka masala is a curry dish of roasted chicken chunks in a spicy sauce. The sauce is usually creamy, spiced and orange-coloured...

 is the country's favourite dish while hamburgers and Chinese food outsell fish and chips
Fish and chips
Fish and chips is a popular take-away food in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada...

 as a takeaway.

Music


Wales is often referred to as "the land of song", and is notable for its harpists, male choirs, and solo artists. The principal Welsh festival of music and poetry is the annual National Eisteddfod. The Llangollen International Eisteddfod
International Eisteddfod
The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is a music festival which takes place every year during the second week of July in Llangollen, North Wales. Singers and dancers from around the world are invited to take part in over 20 high quality competitions followed each evening by concerts where...

 echoes the National Eisteddfod but provides an opportunity for the singers and musicians of the world to perform. Traditional music and dance in Wales is supported by a myriad of societies. The Welsh Folk Song Society has published a number of collections of songs and tunes.

Traditional instruments of Wales include telyn deires (triple harp
Triple Harp
The triple harp, often referred to as the Welsh triple harp , is a type of harp employing three rows of strings instead of the more common single row...

), fiddle, crwth
Crwth
The crwth is an archaic stringed musical instrument, associated particularly with Welsh music, once widely-played in Europe.-Origin of the name:...

, pibgorn (hornpipe) and other instruments. The Cerdd Dant
Cerdd dant
Cerdd Dant or Canu Penillion is the art of vocal improvisation over a given melody in Welsh musical tradition. It is an important competition in eisteddfodau. The singer or choir sings a counter melody over a harp melody.Cerdd Dant is a unique tradition of singing lyrics over a harp accompaniment...

 Society promotes its specific singing art primarily through an annual one-day festival.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales is a Welsh symphony orchestra and one of the BBC's five professional orchestras. The BBC NOW is the only professional symphony orchestra organisation in Wales, occupying a dual role as both a broadcasting orchestra and national orchestra.The BBC NOW has its...

 performs in Wales and internationally. The Welsh National Opera
Welsh National Opera
Welsh National Opera is an opera company founded in Cardiff, Wales in 1943. The WNO tours Wales, the United Kingdom and the rest of the world extensively. Annually, it gives more than 120 performances of eight main stage operas to a combined audience of around 150,000 people...

 is based at the Wales Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre is an arts centre located in the Cardiff Bay area of Cardiff, Wales. The site covers a total area of . Phase 1 of the building was opened during the weekend of the 26–28 November 2004 and phase 2 opened on 22 January 2009 with an inaugural concert...

 in Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay is the area created by the Cardiff Barrage in South Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The regeneration of Cardiff Bay is now widely regarded as one of the most successful regeneration projects in the United Kingdom. The Bay is supplied by two rivers to form a freshwater lake round the...

, while the National Youth Orchestra of Wales
National Youth Orchestra of Wales
The National Youth Orchestra of Wales , founded in 1945, has the distinction of being the first national youth orchestra in the world and is Europe’s longest-standing national youth orchestra....

 was the first of its type in the world.

Wales has a tradition for producing notable singing artists including Sir Geraint Evans
Geraint Evans
Sir Geraint Llewellyn Evans was a Welsh baritone or bass-baritone noted for operatic roles including Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and the title roles in Falstaff and Wozzeck...

, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Dame Anne Evans
Anne Evans
Dame Anne Evans DBE is an international Welsh operatic soprano.-Education:Anne Elizabeth Jane Evans was born in London of Welsh descent. She studied at the Royal College of Music with among others Margaret Cable, and the Geneva Conservatoire. She was accepted into the conservatoire without...

, Dame Margaret Price
Margaret Price
Dame Margaret Berenice Price, DBE was a Welsh soprano.-Early years:Price was born in Blackwood, Wales. Born with deformed legs, she was operated on at age four and suffered pain in her legs the rest of her life. She often looked after her younger brother John who was born with a mental handicap...

, Sir Tom Jones
Tom Jones (singer)
Sir Thomas John Woodward, OBE , known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh singer.Since the mid 1960s, Jones has sung many styles of popular music – pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, techno, soul and gospel – and sold over 100 million records...

, Bonnie Tyler
Bonnie Tyler
Bonnie Tyler is a Welsh singer, most notable for her hits in the 1970s and 1980s including "It's a Heartache", "Holding Out for a Hero" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart".-Early life:...

, Bryn Terfel
Bryn Terfel
Bryn Terfel Jones CBE is a Welsh bass-baritone opera and concert singer. Terfel was initially associated with the roles of Mozart, particularly Figaro and Leporello, but has subsequently shifted his attention to heavier roles, especially those by Wagner....

, Mary Hopkin
Mary Hopkin
Mary Hopkin , credited on some recordings as Mary Visconti, is a Welsh folk singer best known for her 1968 UK number one single "Those Were The Days". She was one of the first musicians to sign to The Beatles' Apple label....

, Charlotte Church
Charlotte Church
Charlotte Maria Church is a Welsh singer-songwriter, actress and television presenter. She rose to fame in childhood as a classical singer before branching into pop music in 2005. By 2007, she had sold more than 10 million records worldwide including over 5 million in the United States...

, Katherine Jenkins
Katherine Jenkins
Katherine Jenkins is a Welsh mezzo-soprano. She is a classical-popular crossover singer who performs across a spectrum of operatic arias, popular songs, musical theatre and hymns.-Early life and education:...

, Meic Stevens
Meic Stevens
Meic Mortimer Stevens is a Welsh singer-songwriter often referred to as "the Welsh Dylan" and has been compared favourably with musicians like Syd Barrett. Stevens's songs have a mystical, faintly psychedelic flavour, and are mostly sung in his native Welsh language...

, Dame Shirley Bassey
Shirley Bassey
Dame Shirley Bassey, DBE , is a Welsh singer. She found fame in the late 1950s and was "one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain during the last half of the 20th century"...

 and Duffy
Duffy (singer)
Aimée Ann Duffy , known as Duffy, is a Welsh singer-songwriter. Her 2008 debut album Rockferry entered the UK Album Chart at number one. It was the best-selling album in the United Kingdom in 2008 with 1.68 million copies sold...

.

Popular bands to have emerged from Wales have included the Beatles-nurtured power pop
Power pop
Power pop is a popular musical genre that draws its inspiration from 1960s British and American pop and rock music. It typically incorporates a combination of musical devices such as strong melodies, crisp vocal harmonies, economical arrangements, and prominent guitar riffs. Instrumental solos are...

 group Badfinger
Badfinger
Badfinger were a British rock band consisting originally of Pete Ham, Ron Griffiths, Mike Gibbins and Tom Evans, active from 1968 to 1983, and evolving from The Iveys, formed by Ham, Griffiths and David "Dai" Jenkins in Swansea, Wales, in the early 1960s. Joey Molland joined the group in 1969,...

 in the 1960s, Man
Man (band)
Man are a rock band from South Wales whose style is a mixture of West Coast psychedelia, progressive rock, blues and country-rock. Formed in 1968 as a reincarnation of Welsh rock harmony group ‘’The Bystanders’’, Man are renowned for the extended jams in their live performances, and having had...

 and Budgie
Budgie (band)
Budgie is a Welsh Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band from Cardiff. They are widely considered as one of the first heavy metal bands and a seminal influence to many acts of that scene, with fast, heavy rock being played as early as 1971. The band has been noted as "among the heaviest metal of its day"...

 in the 1970s and The Alarm
The Alarm
The Alarm are an alternative rock band that emerged from North Wales in the late 1970s. They started as a mod band and stayed together for over ten years. As a rock band, they displayed marked influences from Welsh language and culture...

 in the 1980s. Wales experienced a strong emergence of groups during the 1990s led by Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers are a Welsh alternative rock band, formed in 1986. They are James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire, Richey Edwards and Sean Moore. The band are part of the Cardiff music scene, and were at their most prominent during the 1990s...

, followed by the likes of the Stereophonics
Stereophonics
The Stereophonics are a Welsh rock band now living in turners x that formed in 1992 in the village of Cwmaman in Cynon Valley, Wales. The band currently comprises lead vocalist and guitarist Kelly Jones, bassist and backing vocalist Richard Jones, drummer Javier Weyler, guitarist and backing...

 and Feeder
Feeder
-Technology:* Feeder , any of several devices used in apiculture to supplement or replace natural food sources* Feeder , another name for a riser, a reservoir built into a metal casting mold to prevent cavities due to shrinkage...

; notable during this period were Catatonia
Catatonia (band)
Catatonia were an alternative rock band from Wales who gained a national following in the United Kingdom in the mid to late 1990s. The band consisted of Cerys Matthews on vocals, Mark Roberts on guitar, Paul Jones on bass , Owen Powell on...

, Super Furry Animals
Super Furry Animals
Super Furry Animals are a Welsh rock band that lean towards psychedelic rock and electronic experimentation. Since their formation in Cardiff, Wales in 1993, the band has consisted of Gruff Rhys , Huw Bunford , Guto Pryce , Cian Ciaran and Dafydd Ieuan Super Furry Animals are a Welsh rock band...

, and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci were a Welsh alternative rock band, formed in Carmarthen, west Wales in 1991. They sang songs in both Welsh and English. They split up in May 2006.-Biography:...

 who gained popular success as dual-language artists. Recently successful Welsh bands include Lostprophets
Lostprophets
Lostprophets is a Welsh rock band from Pontypridd, formed in 1997. Founded by vocalist Ian Watkins, bassist Mike Lewis, drummer Mike Chiplin and guitarist Lee Gaze, they were originally a side-project to hardcore punk band Public Disturbance. To date, Lostprophets have released four studio...

, Bullet for My Valentine
Bullet for My Valentine
Bullet for My Valentine are a Welsh heavy metal band from Bridgend, formed in 1998. The band is composed of Matt Tuck , Michael Paget , Jason James , and Michael Thomas . They were formed under the name Jeff Killed John and started their music career by covering songs by Metallica and Nirvana...

, Funeral for a Friend
Funeral for a Friend
Funeral for a Friend are a Welsh post-hardcore band, from Bridgend. Formed 2001, they have released five studio albums, seven EPs, sixteen singles, one DVD, and one compilation album.-Formation and Early Years:...

 and Kids in Glass Houses
Kids in Glass Houses
Kids in Glass Houses are a Welsh rock band from Cardiff, and are considered a significant part of the Cardiff music scene. The band's name is inspired by the lyrics "not throwing stones at you anymore" from Glassjaw song "Tip Your Bartender". The band achieved success on the strength of the singles...

. The Welsh traditional and folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 scene is in resurgence with performers and bands such as Crasdant, Carreg Lafar
Carreg Lafar
Carreg Lafar is a traditional Welsh band.It was formed in Cardiff in 1994 with Antwn Owen Hicks, James Rourke, Rhian Evan Jones, Linda Owen Jones and Simon O'Shea. Carreg Lafar literally means a "speaking stone", or "echo stone"....

, Fernhill
Fernhill (band)
Fernhill is a Welsh folk band, formed in 1996. They have been described by music critic and journalist Colin Irwin, as "highly regarded, innovative cultural ambassadors for Wales and its folk music, having toured in over 20 countries in four continents"...

, Siân James and The Hennessys
The Hennessys
The Hennessys are one of Wales' foremost traditional folk music groups.In 1966 Frank Hennessy and Dave Burns , both from Cardiff's Irish community, won a talent competition organised by Cardiff City Council which persuaded them to take up music professionally shortly afterwards, adding Paul Powell ...

.

The emergence of male voice choirs in the 19th century, has remained a lasting tradition in Wales. Originally these choirs where formed as the tenor and bass sections of chapel choirs, and embraced the popular secular hymns of the day. Many of the historic choirs continue to survive in modern Wales singing a mixture of traditional and popular songs.

Drama



The earliest surviving Welsh plays are two medieval miracle plays, Y Tri Brenin o Gwlen and Y Dioddefaint a'r Atgyfodiad. A recognised Welsh tradition of theatre emerged on the 18th century, in the form of an interlude
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

, a metrical play performed at fairs and markets. The larger Welsh towns began building theatres during the 19th century, and drew in the likes of James Sheridan Knowles
James Sheridan Knowles
James Sheridan Knowles , Irish dramatist and actor, was born in Cork.-Biography:His father was the lexicographer James Knowles , cousin of Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The family removed to London in 1793, and at the age of fourteen Knowles published a ballad entitled The Welsh Harper, which, set to...

 and William Charles Macready
William Charles Macready
-Life:He was born in London, and educated at Rugby.It was his intention to go up to Oxford, but in 1809 the embarrassed affairs of his father, the lessee of several provincial theatres, called him to share the responsibilities of theatrical management. On 7 June 1810 he made a successful first...

 to Wales. Along with the playhouses, there existed mobile companies at visiting fairs, though from 1912, most of these travelling theatres settled, purchasing theatres to perform in.

Drama in the early 20th century thrived, but the country failed to produce a Welsh National Theatre company. After the Second World War the substantial number of amateur companies that existed before the outbreak of hostilities, reduced by two thirds. Though the increasing competition of television in the 1950s and 1960s, saw a need for greater professionalism in the theatre. The result of which saw the plays of the likes of Emlyn Williams
Emlyn Williams
George Emlyn Williams, CBE , known as Emlyn Williams, was a Welsh dramatist and actor.-Biography:He was born into a Welsh-speaking, working class family in Mostyn, Flintshire....

 and Alun Owen
Alun Owen
Alun Owen was a British screenwriter, predominantly active in television, but best remembered by a wider audience for writing the screenplay of The Beatles' debut feature film A Hard Day's Night ....

 staged, while Welsh actors, including Richard Burton
Richard Burton
Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

, Rachel Roberts, Donald Houston
Donald Houston
Donald Daniel Houston was a Welsh actor whose first two films – The Blue Lagoon with Jean Simmons, and A Run for Your Money with Sir Alec Guinness – were highly successful...

 and Stanley Baker
Stanley Baker
Sir Stanley Baker was a Welsh actor and film producer.-Early career:William Stanley Baker was born in Ferndale, Rhondda Valley, Wales. In the mid-1930s his parents moved to London, where Baker spent most of his formative years...

 were establishing themselves as artistic talents. Welsh actors to have crossed the Atlantic more recently to star in Hollywood films
Cinema of the United States
The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

 include: Ioan Gruffudd
Ioan Gruffudd
Ioan Gruffudd is a Welsh actor.Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he started off in Welsh language film productions, then came to international attention as Fifth Officer Harold Lowe in the film Titanic , and as Lt. John Beales in Black Hawk Down...

; John Rhys-Davies
John Rhys-Davies
John Rhys-Davies is a Welsh actor and voice actor. He is perhaps best known for playing the charismatic Arab excavator Sallah in the Indiana Jones films and the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy...

; Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, KBE , best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television...

; Matthew Rhys
Matthew Rhys
Matthew Rhys Evans , known professionally as Matthew Rhys, is a Welsh actor, best known as Kevin Walker on the U.S. ABC family drama Brothers & Sisters, and as Dylan Thomas in The Edge of Love.-Early life:...

; Michael Sheen
Michael Sheen
Michael Christopher Sheen, OBE , is a Welsh stage and screen actor. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England and made his professional debut opposite Vanessa Redgrave in When She Danced at the Globe Theatre in 1991...

; and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones, CBE, is a British actress. She began her career on stage at an early age. After starring in a number of United Kingdom and United States television films and small roles in films, she came to prominence with roles in Hollywood movies such as the 1998 action film The Mask of...

.

Welsh comedian
Comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

s include Tommy Cooper
Tommy Cooper
Thomas Frederick "Tommy" Cooper was a very popular British prop comedian and magician from Caerphilly, Wales.Cooper was a member of The Magic Circle, and respected by traditional magicians...

, Griff Rhys Jones
Griff Rhys Jones
Griffith "Griff" Rhys Jones is a Welsh comedian, writer, actor, television presenter and personality. Jones came to national attention in the early 1980s for his work in the BBC television comedy sketch shows Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones along with his comedy partner Mel Smith...

, Harry Secombe
Harry Secombe
Sir Harry Donald Secombe CBE was a Welsh entertainer with a talent for comedy and a noted fine tenor singing voice. He is best known for playing Neddie Seagoon, the central character in the BBC radio comedy series The Goon Show...

 and Paul Whitehouse
Paul Whitehouse
Paul Whitehouse is a Welsh actor, writer and comedian. He became known for his work with Harry Enfield and as one of the stars of the popular BBC sketch show, The Fast Show. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was in the top 50 comedy acts voted for by comedians and comedy insiders...

.

Dance


Dance as a pastime is a popular hobby in Wales, while the country's traditional dance lie in folk dancing and clog dancing
Clogging
Clogging is a type of folk dance with roots in traditional European dancing, early African-American dance, and traditional Cherokee dance in which the dancer's footwear is used musically by striking the heel, the toe, or both in unison against a floor or each other to create audible percussive...

. The first mention of dancing in Wales was recorded in a 12th Century account by Giraldus Cambrensis, but by the 19th Century traditional dance had all but died out; attributed to the influence of Nonconformists and their belief that any physical diversion was worthless and satanic, especially mixed dancing. These ancient dances, orally passed down, were almost single-handedly rescued by Lois Blake (1890–1974) who recorded them in numerous instruction pamphlets, recording both steps
Dance move
Dance moves or dance steps are the building blocks of many dances.More complex dance moves are called dance patterns, dance figures or dance variations....

 and music. In a similar vein, clog dancing was preserved and developed by the likes of Howel Wood (1882–1967) who perpetuated the art at local and national stages. Clog dancing, traditionally a male dominated art, is now a common part of eisteddfodau. In 2010, a 30 year traditional dance festival held in Caernarvon came to an end after a lack of attending participants, though clog dancing has seen a revival during the early part of the 21st century.

The Welsh Folk Dance Society was founded in 1949, and it supports a network of national amateur dance teams and publishes support material. Contemporary dance
Contemporary dance
Contemporary dance is a genre of concert dance that employs compositional philosophy, rather than choreography, to guide unchoreographed movement...

 grew out of the capital in the 1970s, one of the earliest companies, Moving Being, came from London to Cardiff in 1973. Jumpers Dance Company was formed in 1978, eventually becoming The Dance Company of Wales. Conversely, Wales does not have its own national ballet company.

Museums and libraries


The National Museum [of] Wales was founded by royal charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 in 1907 and is now a Welsh Government sponsored body. The National Museum is made up of seven sites across the country, including the National Museum Cardiff
National Museum Cardiff
National Museum Cardiff is a museum and art gallery in Cardiff, Wales. The museum is part of the wider network of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales...

, St Fagans National History Museum
St Fagans National History Museum
St Fagans National History Museum , commonly referred to as St Fagans after the village where it is located, is an open-air museum in Cardiff chronicling the historical lifestyle, culture and architecture of the Welsh people...

 and Big Pit National Coal Museum. In April 2001, the attractions attached to the National Museum were granted free entry by the Assembly, and this action saw the visitor numbers to the sites increase during 2001–2002 by 87.8% to 1,430,428.

Aberystwyth is home to the National Library of Wales
National Library of Wales
The National Library of Wales , Aberystwyth, is the national legal deposit library of Wales; one of the Welsh Government sponsored bodies.Welsh is its main medium of communication...

, which houses some of the most important collections in Wales, including the John William's Library and the Shirburn Castle
Shirburn Castle
Shirburn Castle is at the village of Shirburn, south of Thame, Oxfordshire.Shirburn Castle was the seat of the Earls of Macclesfield. George Parker, 2nd Earl of Macclesfield , celebrated as an astronomer, spent much time conducting astronomical observations at Shirburn Castle, which his father...

 collection. As well as its printed collection the Library holds important Welsh art collections including portraits and photographs, ephemera such as postcards, posters and Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...

 maps.

Festivals


As well as celebrating many of the traditional religious festivals of Great Britain, such as Easter and Christmas, Wales has its own unique celebratory days. An early festivity was Mabsant
Gwyl Mabsant
Traditionally in Wales, every parish would celebrate a Gŵyl Mabsant in commemoration of its native saint. This annual celebration developed from a dedication through prayer to a programme of recreational activities. Owing to the combination of betting, feasting and alcohol consumption, parish...

, where local parishes would celebrate the patron saint of their local church. This celebration died out in the 19th century, to be replaced by Saint David's Day; celebrated on 1 March throughout Wales, and by Welsh expats
Expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

 around the world.

Commemorating the patron saint of friendship and love, Dydd Santes Dwynwen
Dydd Santes Dwynwen
Dydd Santes Dwynwen, literally meaning 'Day of Saint Dwynwen' in Welsh, is considered to be the Welsh equivalent to Valentine's Day and is celebrated on 25 January every year. It celebrates Dwynwen, the Welsh Saint of love...

's popularity has been increasing recently. It is celebrated on 25 January in a similar way to St Valentine's Day; by exchanging cards and by holding parties and concerts.

Calan Gaeaf
Calan Gaeaf
Calan Gaeaf is the name of the first day of winter in Wales, observed on 1 November. The night before is Nos Galan Gaeaf , an Ysbrydnos when spirits are abroad...

, associated with the supernatural and the dead, is observed on 1 November. It has largely been replaced by Hallowe'en. Other festivities include Calan Mai
Calan Mai
In Wales, May 1 is a holiday known as Calan Mai or Calan Haf, which means the first day of summer. Celebrations start on the evening before, known as May Eve, with bonfires; as with Calan Gaeaf, the night before is an Ysbrydnos, or "spirit night," when spirits are out and about and divination is...

, celebrating the beginning of summer, Calan Awst and Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau
Gwyl Fair y Canhwyllau
Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau is a Welsh name of Candlemas, celebrated on 2 February. It is the Welsh equivalent of the Goidelic holiday of Imbolc. It was derived from the pre-Reformation ceremony of blessing the candles and distributing them to be carried in a procession...

.

Transport



The main road artery linking cities and other settlements along the south Wales coast is the M4 motorway
M4 motorway
The M4 motorway links London with South Wales. It is part of the unsigned European route E30. Other major places directly accessible from M4 junctions are Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea...

. It also provides a link to England and eventually, London. The Welsh section of the motorway, managed by the Welsh Assembly Government, runs from the Second Severn Crossing
Second Severn Crossing
The Second Severn Crossing is a bridge which carries the M4 motorway over the River Severn between England and Wales, inaugurated on 5 June 1996 by HRH The Prince of Wales to augment the traffic capacity of the original Severn Bridge built in 1966...

 to Pont Abraham, Carmarthenshire, connecting the cities of Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. In north Wales the A55 expressway
A55 road
The A55, also known as the North Wales Expressway, is a major road in Britain. Its entire length is a dual carriageway primary route, with the exception of the point where it crosses the Britannia Bridge over the Menai Strait. All junctions are grade separated except for two roundabouts — one...

 performs a similar role along the north Wales coast providing connections between Holyhead
Holyhead
Holyhead is the largest town in the county of Anglesey in the North Wales. It is also a major port adjacent to the Irish Sea serving Ireland....

 and Bangor
Bangor, Gwynedd
Bangor is a city in Gwynedd, north west Wales, and one of the smallest cities in Britain. It is a university city with a population of 13,725 at the 2001 census, not including around 10,000 students at Bangor University. Including nearby Menai Bridge on Anglesey, which does not however form part of...

, and Wrexham and Flintshire. It also links to England, principally Chester
Chester
Chester is a city in Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 77,040 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider unitary authority area of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 328,100 according to the...

. The main north-south Wales link is the A470
A470 road
The A470 is a major long-distance connective spine road in Wales, running from Cardiff on the south coast to Llandudno on the north coast. It covers approximately 186 miles , over a zig-zagging route through the entirety of the country's mountainous central region, including the Brecon Beacons and...

, which runs from Cardiff to Llandudno
Llandudno
Llandudno is a seaside resort and town in Conwy County Borough, Wales. In the 2001 UK census it had a population of 20,090 including that of Penrhyn Bay and Penrhynside, which are within the Llandudno Community...

.

Cardiff International Airport
Cardiff International Airport
Cardiff Airport is an international airport serving Cardiff, and the rest of South, Mid and West Wales. Around 1.4 million passengers passed through the airport in 2010....

 is the only large and international airport in Wales. Providing links to European and North American destinations, it is about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Cardiff city centre
Cardiff city centre
Cardiff city centre is the central business district of Cardiff, Wales. The area is tightly bounded by the River Taff to the west, the Civic centre to the north and railway lines and two railway stations - Central and Queen Street - to the south and east respectively...

, in the Vale of Glamorgan. Highland Airways
Highland Airways
Highland Airways was an airline based in Inverness, Scotland. It ceased trading on 24 March 2010 after failing to secure new investment. The airline operated passenger and freight charters as well as scheduled services from its main base at Inverness Airport...

 ran internal flights between Anglesey (Valley) and Cardiff, from May 2007 until March 2010, until the company went into administration. The service (dubbed "Ieaun Air" after Deputy First Minister
Deputy First Minister for Wales
The Deputy First Minister for Wales can be the deputy leader of the Welsh Government, the devolved administration for Wales. The post was created October 2000 when Mike German of the Welsh Liberal Democrats was appointed Deputy First Minister as part of a coalition government with Welsh Labour...

 Ieuan Wyn Jones
Ieuan Wyn Jones
Ieuan Wyn Jones, AM is a Welsh politician, who was the Deputy First Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government from 2007 until 2011. Jones is the current leader of Plaid Cymru and Member of the National Assembly for Wales for the Ynys Môn constituency...

, AM
Members of the National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales is composed of 60 members known as AMs or Assembly Members...

 for Ynys Môn) resumed on 10 May 2010, with Isle of Man
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...

 airline Manx2
Manx2
Manx2 Limited is a virtual commuter airline, with its head office in Hangar 9, Isle of Man Airport in Ballasalla, Malew, Isle of Man. It sells flights and services from several airports in the UK with bases in Belfast City, Blackpool, Cardiff and Isle of Man...

 the carrier.


The country also has a significant railway network managed by the Welsh Assembly Government, which reopened old railway lines to extend rail usage. Cardiff Central
Cardiff Central railway station
Cardiff Central railway station is a major railway station on the South Wales Main Line in Cardiff, Wales.It is the largest and busiest station in Wales and one of the major stations of the British rail network, the tenth busiest station in the United Kingdom outside of London , based on 2007/08...

 and Cardiff Queen Street
Cardiff Queen Street railway station
Cardiff Queen Street railway station is Wales' second busiest railway station in Cardiff, Wales. It is one of 20 stations in the city and two in the city centre, the other being Cardiff Central...

 are the busiest and the major hubs on the internal and national network. Beeching cuts
Beeching Axe
The Beeching Axe or the Beeching Cuts are informal names for the British Government's attempt in the 1960s to reduce the cost of running British Railways, the nationalised railway system in the United Kingdom. The name is that of the main author of The Reshaping of British Railways, Dr Richard...

 in the 1960s mean that most of the remaining network is geared toward east-west travel to or from England. Services between north and south Wales operate through the English towns of Chester and Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

. Valley Lines
Valley Lines
Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes is the busy network of passenger suburban railway services radiating from Cardiff, Wales. It includes lines within the city itself, the Vale of Glamorgan and the South Wales Valleys....

 services operate in Cardiff, the South Wales Valleys
South Wales Valleys
The South Wales Valleys are a number of industrialised valleys in South Wales, stretching from eastern Carmarthenshire in the west to western Monmouthshire in the east and from the Heads of the Valleys in the north to the lower-lying, pastoral country of the Vale of Glamorgan and the coastal plain...

 and surrounding area and are heavily used as commuter lines. Arriva Trains Wales
Arriva Trains Wales
Arriva Trains Wales is a train operating company, owned by Arriva, that operates urban and inter urban passenger services in Wales and the Welsh Marches...

 is the major operator of rail services within Wales. It also operates routes from within Wales to Crewe
Crewe
Crewe is a railway town within the unitary authority area of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. According to the 2001 census the urban area had a population of 67,683...

, Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 and Cheltenham
Cheltenham
Cheltenham , also known as Cheltenham Spa, is a large spa town and borough in Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Cotswolds in the South-West region of England. It is the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase horse racing, the Gold Cup, the main event of the Cheltenham Festival held...

. Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains is a train operating company in the United Kingdom. It operates long-distance passenger services on the West Coast Main Line between London, the West Midlands, North West England, North Wales and Scotland...

 operate services from north Wales to London as part of the West Coast Main Line
West Coast Main Line
The West Coast Main Line is the busiest mixed-traffic railway route in Britain, being the country's most important rail backbone in terms of population served. Fast, long-distance inter-city passenger services are provided between London, the West Midlands, the North West, North Wales and the...

. First Great Western
First Great Western
First Great Western is the operating name of First Greater Western Ltd, a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup that serves Greater London, the South East, South West and West Midlands regions of England, and South Wales....

 operate services from London to Newport and Cardiff every half hour, with an hourly continuation to Swansea. It also runs services from Cardiff and Newport to southern England. CrossCountry
CrossCountry
CrossCountry is the brand name of XC Trains Ltd., a British train operating company owned by Arriva...

 offer services from Cardiff to Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

 and Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

 via the West Midlands
West Midlands (region)
The West Midlands is an official region of England, covering the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands. It contains the second most populous British city, Birmingham, and the larger West Midlands conurbation, which includes the city of Wolverhampton and large towns of Dudley,...

, East Midlands
East Midlands
The East Midlands is one of the regions of England, consisting of most of the eastern half of the traditional region of the Midlands. It encompasses the combined area of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Northamptonshire and most of Lincolnshire...

 and Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

.

Wales is served by four commercial ferry
Ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 ports. Regular ferry services to Ireland operate from Holyhead, Pembroke and Fishguard
Fishguard
Fishguard is a coastal town in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales, with a population of 3,300 . The community of Fishguard and Goodwick had a population of 5043 at the 2001 census....

. The Swansea to Cork
Cork (city)
Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the island of Ireland's third most populous city. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city in the province of Munster. Cork has a population of 119,418, while the addition of the suburban...

 service, cancelled in 2006, was reinstated in March 2010.

National symbols


The Flag of Wales
Flag of Wales
The Flag of Wales consists of a red dragon passant on a green and white field. As with many heraldic charges, the exact representation of the dragon is not standardised and many renderings exist....

 incorporates the red dragon  of Prince Cadwalader
Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd
Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd was the third son of Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd, Wales and younger brother of Owain Gwynedd.-Appearance in history:...

 along with the Tudor
Tudor dynasty
The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin that ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including the Lordship of Ireland, later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1485 until 1603. Its first monarch was Henry Tudor, a descendant through his mother of a legitimised...

 colours of green and white. It was used by Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

 at the Battle of Bosworth
Battle of Bosworth Field
The Battle of Bosworth Field was the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians...

 in 1485 after which it was carried in state to St. Paul's Cathedral. The red dragon was then included in the Tudor royal arms to signify their Welsh descent. It was officially recognised as the Welsh national flag in 1959. The British Union Flag
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

 incorporates the flags of Scotland, Ireland and England, but has no Welsh representation. Technically it is represented by the flag of England, as the Laws in Wales act of 1535 annexed Wales to England, following the 13th-century conquest.

The daffodil and the leek
Leek
The leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum , also sometimes known as Allium porrum, is a vegetable which belongs, along with the onion and garlic, to family Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Allioideae...

 are also symbols of Wales. The origins of the leek can be traced to the 16th century, while the daffodil became popular in the 19th century, encouraged by David Lloyd-George. This is attributed to confusion of the Welsh for leek, cenhinen, and that for daffodil, cenhinen Bedr or St. Peter's leek. A report in 1916 gave preference to the leek, which has appeared on British pound coins.

The Prince of Wales' heraldic badge
Heraldic badge
A heraldic badge is an emblem or personal device worn as a badge to indicate allegiance to or the property of an individual or family. Medieval forms are usually called a livery badge, and also a cognizance...

 is sometimes used to symbolise Wales. The badge, known as the Prince of Wales's feathers
Prince of Wales's feathers
The Prince of Wales's feathers is the heraldic badge of the Heir Apparent to the British and Commonwealth Realms thrones. It consists of three white feathers emerging from a gold coronet. A ribbon below the coronet bears the motto Ich dien...

, consists of three white feathers emerging from a gold coronet. A ribbon below the coronet bears the German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 motto Ich dien . Several Welsh representative teams, including the Welsh rugby union, and Welsh regiments in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 (the Royal Welsh
Royal Welsh
The Royal Welsh was formed on St David's Day, 1 March 2006. It is one of the new large infantry regiments of the British Army, and the regiment's formation was announced on 16 December 2004 by Geoff Hoon and General Sir Mike Jackson as part of the restructuring of the infantry.-Formation:The...

, for example) use the badge, or a stylised version of it. The Prince of Wales has claimed that only he has the authority to use the symbol.

"Hen Wlad fy Nhadau
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is the national anthem of Wales. The title – taken from the first words of the song – means "Old Land of My Fathers", usually rendered in English as simply "Land of My Fathers". The words were written by Evan James and the tune composed by his son, James James, both residents...

" is the National Anthem of Wales, and is played at events such as football or rugby matches involving the Wales national team as well as the opening of the Welsh Assembly and other official occasions.

See also


  • Aberfan disaster
  • Aneurin Bevan
    Aneurin Bevan
    Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

  • Chartism
    Chartism
    Chartism was a movement for political and social reform in the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century, between 1838 and 1859. It takes its name from the People's Charter of 1838. Chartism was possibly the first mass working class labour movement in the world...

  • Dic Penderyn
    Dic Penderyn
    Richard Lewis, better known as Dic Penderyn , was a Welsh labourer and coal miner who was involved with the Merthyr Rising of June 3, 1831. In the course of the riot he was arrested alongside Lewis Lewis, one of the primary figures in the uprising, and charged with stabbing a soldier with a bayonet...

  • Merthyr Rising
  • Rebecca Riots
    Rebecca Riots
    The Rebecca Riots took place between 1839 and 1843 in South and Mid Wales. They were a series of protests undertaken by local farmers and agricultural workers in response to perceived unfair taxation. The rioters, often men dressed as women, took their actions against toll-gates, as they were...

  • Tonypandy Riots
  • Y Wladfa


External links