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Wales measures roughly 225 km (140 miles) from north to south and between 60 and 160 km from west to east, where it borders England. This border region, the Marches, is a stretch of pastureland much broken by hills, woods, and twisting rivers. It rises to the Cambrian Mountains, which stretch down the centre of the country. In the south-east are the Brecon Beacons and the former coal mining valleys, and in the south-west the Pembroke Peninsula with its rocky coasts. Snowdonia is in the north-west. For loads of info on Wales go to BBC Wales


Wales has always been a lover of all sports, but rugby stands out by far the most.

"Welsh people have rugby in their blood,
they are born to play and they are born to win"

Says the leader of Plaid Cymru in 1995 and all welsh people I'm sure will agree(for those who don't know rugby very well check out Rugby Union
. Football although big in Wales is overtaken by Rugby, it is a shame, some say because there is endless talent in Wales, as the likes of Matthew Jones and Ryan Giggs have proven. For more Football info try Football
Sport in Wales is not only something people like, it is something people love, it is a passion and it is a part of life. The Welsh are by far the most competitive country in the U.K but most talented is an overstatement, even the welsh admit they're not the best in the world but they try to be.


Wales is described by its people as a proud and independent nation and has an ancient and beautiful heritage which its people are proud and in awe of. Wales also has some of the most beautiful countryside to be seen in all of the United Kingdom. Ranging from Porthmadog in the north to Camarthen in the south. It is, some say, the most beautiful country in the U.K.


Coal-mining and steel production were the main economic activities in Wales until the 1980s, when depletion of the coal seams led to closure of most of the mines. Coal mined in South Wales was of extremely high quality and the region was the world's chief exporter of coal in the 19th century. The closure of the mines led to a great rise in unemployment in Wales. Farming is and for a long time has been, a major part of Wales' economy. After the closure of the mines sheep farming became the main economy in Wales because the irregular hills and mountains make it incredibly difficult for vast industry or other economy.


The population of Wales, which is Celtic in origin, resisted the Romans who only penetrated as far as Anglesey in a campaign against the Druids, and when they left was increased in size by British refugees from the Saxon invaders. By the 7th century Wales was isolated from the other Celtic lands of Cornwall and Scotland. Christianity was gradually spread throughout Wales by such missionaries as St Illtud and St David, but politically the land remained disunited, having many different tribes and kingdoms, Gwynedd, Deheubarth, Powys, and Dyfed emerged as the largest kingdoms, one notable ruler being Hwyel Dda (Good Hwyel), is traditionally associated with an important code of laws.

From the 11th century the Normans colonized and feudalized much of Wales and Romanized the Church, but the native Welsh retained their own laws and tribal organization. There were several uprisings but as each revolt was crushed the English kings tightened their grip. Although Llywelyn the Great (ruled 1194-1240) recovered a measure of independence, Edward I's invasion in 1277 ended hopes of a Welsh state. Llywelyn II was killed in 1282, and in 1301 Edward of Caernavon (Edward II) was made Prince of Wales. Thereafter Wales was divided between the Principality, royal lands, and virtually independent marcher lordships. The unsuccessful revolt of Owen Glendower in the early 15th century revived Welsh aspirations, but Henry VIII, the son of the Welsh Henry VII, united Wales with England in 1536, bringing it within the English legal and parliamentary systems. Welsh culture was eroded as the gentry and church became Anglicized, although most of the population still spoke only Welsh. A Welsh form in the Bible of 1588 brought Christianity into Wales and pused any other Pagan religions out.
The social unrest of rural Wales, voiced in the Rebecca riots, resulted in significant emigration. The Industrial Revolution brought prosperity to South Wales but during the Great Depression in the 1930s many people lost their jobs. Unemployment was exacerbated by the closure of most of the coalfields by the 1980s and remains a problem despite the introduction of a more diversified industry. Political, cultural, and linguistic nationalism survive, and have manifested themselves in the Plaid Cymru Party, the National Eisteddfod, and Welsh-language campaigns. Although a Welsh referendum in 1979 resulted in an overwhelming vote against devolution, this result was reversed in 1997, when a small majority backed the creation of a Welsh assembly. For more info on The Celts see Celtic History


Nothing makes Wales stand out more however, than its Language. There has been a lot of attempts to resurrect the language and one of these is a vast educational program to sustain the language, including a nursery school movement, both Welsh-language and bilingual primary and secondary schools, and university degree schemes through the medium of Welsh, as well as facilities for teaching the language to adults. Modern Welsh, is very unlike English as it is descended from British, the Brythonic language and the original language of Britain. As England undertook the influence of French and Germanic language, Welsh developed itself . The spoken language occurs in several
local dialects but has been declining on the whole since 1485. In the Victorian times children in Wales were punished for speaking welsh so at present few people speak only Welsh. The welsh language has an entirely different alphabet: A,B,C,Ch,D,Dd,E,F,Ff,G,Ng,H,I,L,Ll,M,N,O,P,Ph,R,Rh,S,T,Th,U,W and Y
There are no letters J, K, Q, V, X or Z in the Welsh alphabet but the correct some Welsh letters produce the same sound e.g 'F' in Welsh is pronounced 'V' and 'cs' is pronounced 'X'. The big difference between English and Welsh is that words are pronounced exactly as they are seen, eg Bore da (Good Morning) b,o,r,e d,a but its easier if you think of the Welsh letters like the primary school alphabet like 'a' and 'b' instead of A,B and C. Although the Welsh alphabet does not posses the letter J it still has the all-famous sirname 'Jones'. This is because during the reign of Henry VIII he Anglicized all really welsh names, so the Welsh sirname 'Sion' was converted into the more English 'Jones' and 'Coch' bacame 'Gogh' etc.


Here are some examples of the Welsh language that will help you get around:
Bore da - Good morning
Ca dy Geg (ka de geg) - Shut your mouth
Faint hanner ydy'ch chi? (vaint hanner ydi-cccc cccci?) - What's the time?
For more info on the language post me at My Page

See also

Royal Welsh Show

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