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Wales - Cymru - Brythoniad - Welsh

Wales - Cymru - Brythoniad - Welsh

Wales - Cymru - Brythoniad - Welsh

Wales lies roughly in the lower third and on the west of Great Britain. It is not 'part of England', as many non-British put it, but it does form part of both Great Britain and the United Kingdom, as do England and Scotland. Northern Ireland is only part of the United Kingdom, not Great Britain.

The indigenous population of Wales is Celtic and the total number of inhabitants is just over three million The capital and most populous city is Cardiff, or Caerdydd in Welsh. The original language of the country is Welsh or Cymraeg, which is completely unlike English. It is not a dialect of English in any shape, manner or form.

The patron saint of Wales is Dewi Sant. or St. David, after whom St. David's in western Pembroke is named. St. David's is the smallest city in the United Kingdom with a population of just over two thousand. The national flag is the red dragon - y Ddraig Goch - on a white and green background.

The Welsh National Assembly of Wales has some devolved powers from Westminster, the UK's government and the trend is for even more decision-making to be done in Cardiff where it concerns Wales alone.

Wales has an area of just over 2,000 square miles, almost all of which is mountainous except the seaboard, the highest mountain is Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, it is the second highest in the UK after Ben Nevis in Scotland.

Wales was famous for its heavy industry in the 19th and first half of the 20th Centuries especially for coal and steel, which was based in South Wales. The work attracted so many people that two-thirds of the population live in the south and most of those in or near the capital.

Wales has heavy industry no more, as it was wiped out during the Thatcher era, but it is slowly picking itself back up. Tourism and office administration make up most of the jobs now. Tourism draws heavily on Wales' Celtic history and culture. It has long been known as 'The Land of Song' and the singing at international sporting events, especially at rugby union games, is legendary.

Wales is also famous for its sheep which can be seen roaming the countryside and lower mountain slopes all over the land outside the cities. Farming, both sheep and arable, still form a considerable part of the local economy.

People, modern humans, that is, have lived in Wales for at least 29,000 years and continuous habitation dates back 12,000 years. Wales was divided up into tribes before the Romans arrived and conquered the British Isles. When they left in the 4th Century AD, after about 450 years, the Roman ruler established several royal dynasties to help him rule Wales and the rest of Britain from afar.

This led to Magnus Maximus being called the 'Father of the Welsh Nation'. In those days, most of modern-day England and Wales was Celtic Britain, or Welsh. The departure of the Roman army led to various Germanic tribes, such as the Angles and the Saxons, invading the east coast and settling.

Up until the Middle Ages, the Welsh called themselves the Brythoniad, which in English would be Brythons or Britons, although y Cymry, the Welsh, was also used as early as 633. The Welsh called the invaders 'Saeson' for Saxons (now the Welsh word for English is 'Saesneg'), and their word for the Welsh was 'Walha' meaning 'Romanised foreigner'.


by +Owen Jones