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Cymru (Welsh)
Ethnic groups
GovernmentDevolved parliamentary legislature within parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Charles III
Mark Drakeford
Parliament of the United Kingdom
• Secretary of StateDavid TC Davies
• House of Commons40 MPs (of 650)
Laws in Wales Act
27 July 1967[5]
31 July 1998[6]
• Mid-2021 estimate
Neutral decrease 3,105,000
• 2021 census
Neutral increase 3,107,494
• Density
150/km2 (388.5/sq mi)[8]
GVA2021 estimate
 • Total£69.5 billion
 • Per capita£22,380[9]
Internet .cymru[c]
  1. GeoTLDs, open to use by all people in Wales and related to Wales. .uk as part of the United Kingdom is also used. ISO 3166-1 is GB, but .gb
    is unused.

Wales (

maritime climate. The capital and largest city is Cardiff

Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh Liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by David Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party. Welsh national feeling grew over the century: a nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, was formed in 1925, and the Welsh Language Society in 1962. A governing system of Welsh devolution is employed in Wales, of which the most major step was the formation of the Senedd (Welsh Parliament, formerly the National Assembly for Wales) in 1998, responsible for a range of devolved policy matters

At the dawn of the

agricultural self-sufficiency

The country has a distinct

Welsh speakers
across the whole country.


The English words "Wales" and "Welsh" derive from the same

Britons in particular; the plural form Wēalas evolved into the name for their territory, Wales.[15][16] Historically in Britain, the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used to refer to anything that Anglo-Saxons associated with Britons, including other non-Germanic territories in Britain (e.g. Cornwall) and places in Anglo-Saxon territory associated with Britons (e.g. Walworth in County Durham and Walton in West Yorkshire).[17]

The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, and Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. These words (both of which are pronounced

Latinised forms of these names, Cambrian, Cambric and Cambria, survive as names such as the Cambrian Mountains and the Cambrian geological period.[21]


Prehistoric origins

A low grassy mound with an entrance at its centre framed by cyclopean stones
Bryn Celli Ddu, a late Neolithic chambered tomb on Anglesey
Caradog by Thomas Prydderch. Caradog was leader of the north Walian Celtic tribe, the Ordovices.

Wales has been inhabited by

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. By 8,000 BP the British Peninsula had become an island.[23] By the beginning of the Neolithic (c. 6,000 BP) sea levels in the Bristol Channel were still about 33 feet (10 metres) lower than today.[24] The historian John Davies theorised that the story of Cantre'r Gwaelod's drowning and tales in the Mabinogion, of the waters between Wales and Ireland being narrower and shallower, may be distant folk memories of this time.[25]

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.[25][26] 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, Bryn Celli Ddu, and Parc Cwm long cairn between about 5,800 BP and 5,500 BP.[27] Over the following centuries they assimilated immigrants and adopted ideas from Bronze Age and Iron Age Celtic cultures. Some historians, such as John T. Koch, consider Wales in the Late Bronze Age as part of a maritime trading-networked culture that included other Celtic nations.[28] This "Atlantic-Celtic" view is opposed by others who hold that the Celtic languages derive their origins from the more easterly Hallstatt culture.[29] By the time of the Roman invasion of Britain the area of modern Wales had been divided among the tribes of the Deceangli (north-east), Ordovices (north-west), Demetae (south-west), Silures (south-east) and Cornovii (east), centuries.[25][30]

Roman era

Map of the Roman invasion of Wales

The Roman conquest of Wales began in AD 48 and took 30 years to complete; the occupation lasted over 300 years. The campaigns of conquest were opposed by two native tribes: the

Constantine I issuing an edict of toleration in 313.[37]

Early historians, including the 6th-century cleric Gildas, have noted 383 as a significant point in Welsh history.[38] In that year, the Roman general Magnus Maximus, or Macsen Wledig, stripped Britain of troops to launch a successful bid for imperial power, continuing to rule Britain from Gaul as emperor, and transferring power to local leaders.[39] The earliest Welsh genealogies cite Maximus as the founder of several royal dynasties,[40] and as the father of the Welsh Nation.[38] He is given as the ancestor of a Welsh king on the Pillar of Eliseg, erected nearly 500 years after he left Britain, and he figures in lists of the Fifteen Tribes of Wales.[41]

Post-Roman era

Britons, here labelled Welsh. The pale blue areas in the east were controlled by Germanic tribes, whilst the pale green areas to the north were inhabited by the Gaels and Picts

The 400-year period following the collapse of Roman rule is the most difficult to interpret in the history of Wales.[37] After the Roman departure in AD 410, much of the lowlands of Britain to the east and south-east was overrun by various Germanic peoples, commonly known as Anglo-Saxons. Some have theorized that the cultural dominance of the Anglo-Saxons was due to apartheid-like social conditions in which the Britons were at a disadvantage.[42] By AD 500 the land that would become Wales had divided into a number of kingdoms free from Anglo-Saxon rule.

Badon Hill against the Saxons, which was attributed to Arthur by Nennius.[43]

Having lost much of what is now the

Aethelbald of Mercia, looking to defend recently acquired lands, had built Wat's Dyke. According to Davies, this had been with the agreement of king Elisedd ap Gwylog of Powys, as this boundary, extending north from the valley of the River Severn to the Dee estuary, gave him Oswestry.[44] Another theory, after carbon dating placed the dyke's existence 300 years earlier, is that it was built by the post-Roman rulers of Wroxeter.[45] King Offa of Mercia seems to have continued this initiative when he created a larger earthwork, now known as Offa's Dyke (Clawdd Offa). Davies wrote of Cyril Fox'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 and its traffic belonged to the kingdom of Gwent."[44] However, Fox's interpretations of both the length and purpose of the Dyke have been questioned by more recent research.[46]

In 853, the

Rhodri Mawr defeated and killed their leader, Gorm.[47] The Celtic Britons of Wales made peace with the Vikings and Anarawd ap Rhodri allied with the Norsemen occupying Northumbria to conquer the north.[48] This alliance later broke down and Anarawd came to an agreement with Alfred, king of Wessex, with whom he fought against the west Welsh. According to Annales Cambriae, in 894, "Anarawd came with the Angles and laid waste Ceredigion and Ystrad Tywi."[49]

Medieval map of Welsh realms
Hywel Dda enthroned

The southern and eastern parts of Great Britain lost to English settlement became known in Welsh as

Armes Prydain, believed to be written around 930–942, the words Cymry and Cymro are used as often as 15 times.[51] However, from the Anglo-Saxon settlement onwards, the people gradually begin to adopt the name Cymry over Brythoniad.[52]

From 800 onwards, a series of dynastic marriages led to

Rhodri Mawr's (r. 844–77) inheritance of Gwynedd and Powys. His sons founded the three dynasties of (Aberffraw for Gwynedd, Dinefwr for Deheubarth and Mathrafal for Powys). Rhodri's grandson Hywel Dda (r. 900–50) founded Deheubarth out of his maternal and paternal inheritances of Dyfed and Seisyllwg in 930, ousted the Aberffraw dynasty from Gwynedd and Powys and then codified Welsh law in the 940s.[53]

High to late middle ages

Berwyn Mountains, according to Davies.[57] During this time, between 1053 and 1063, Wales lacked any internal strife and was at peace.[58]

Within four years of the

completely subjugated by the Normans.[2] William I of England established a series of lordships, allocated to his most powerful warriors, along the Welsh border, their boundaries fixed only to the east (where they met other feudal properties inside England).[59] Starting in the 1070s, these lords began conquering land in southern and eastern Wales, west of the River Wye. The frontier region, and any English-held lordships in Wales, became known as Marchia Wallie, the Welsh Marches, in which the Marcher lords were subject to neither English nor Welsh law.[60] The extent of the March varied as the fortunes of the Marcher lords and the Welsh princes ebbed and flowed.[61]

Owain Gwynedd's grandson

English parliament made the Welsh second-class citizens. With hopes of independence ended, there were no further wars or rebellions against English colonial rule and the laws remained on the statute books until 1624.[73]

Richard III in 1485, uniting England and Wales under one royal house. The last remnants of Celtic-tradition Welsh law were abolished and replaced by English law by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 during the reign of Henry VII's son, Henry VIII.[74] In the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales, Wales became unified with the kingdom of England; the "Principality of Wales" began to refer to the whole country, though it remained a "principality" only in a ceremonial sense.[66][75] The Marcher lordships were abolished, and Wales began electing members of the Westminster parliament.[76]

Early modern period

Dowlais Ironworks (1840) by George Childs (1798–1875)

In 1536 Wales had around 278,000 inhabitants, which increased to around 360,000 by 1620. This was primarily due to rural settlement, where animal farming was central to the Welsh economy. Increase in trade and increased economic stability occurred due to the increased diversity of the Welsh economy. Population growth however outpaced economic growth and the standard of living dropped.[77]

Prior to the

manufacture of woollen textiles, through to mining and quarrying.[78] Agriculture remained the dominant source of wealth.[78] The emerging industrial period saw the development of copper smelting in the Swansea area. With access to local coal deposits and a harbour that connected it with Cornwall's copper mines in the south and the large copper deposits at Parys Mountain on Anglesey, Swansea developed into the world's major centre for non-ferrous metal smelting in the 19th century.[78] 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.[79] In the north, John Wilkinson's Ironworks at Bersham was a major centre, while in the south, at Merthyr Tydfil, the ironworks of Dowlais, Cyfarthfa, Plymouth and Penydarren became the most significant hub of iron manufacture in Wales.[79] By the 1820s, south Wales produced 40 per cent of all Britain's pig iron.[79]

By the 18th century, lawyers, doctors, estate agents and government officials formed a

South Wales coalfield was exploited, Cardiff, Swansea, Penarth and Barry grew as world exporters of coal. By its height in 1913, Wales was producing almost 61 million tons of coal.[82]

Modern period

Battle at Mametz Wood by Christopher Williams (1918)
A Plaid Cymru rally in Machynlleth in 1949, where the "Parliament for Wales in 5 years" campaign was started


First World War as a "relatively placid, self-confident and successful nation". The output from the coalfields continued to increase, with the Rhondda Valley recording a peak of 9.6 million tons of coal extracted in 1913.[83] The First World War (1914–1918) saw a total of 272,924 Welshmen under arms, representing 21.5 per cent of the male population. Of these, roughly 35,000 were killed,[84] with particularly heavy losses of Welsh forces at Mametz Wood on the Somme and the Battle of Passchendaele.[85] The first quarter of the 20th century also saw a shift in the political landscape of Wales. Since 1865, the Liberal Party had held a parliamentary majority in Wales and, following the general election of 1906, only one non-Liberal Member of Parliament, Keir Hardie of Merthyr Tydfil, represented a Welsh constituency at Westminster. Yet by 1906, industrial dissension and political militancy had begun to undermine Liberal consensus in the southern coalfields.[86] In 1916, David Lloyd George became the first Welshman to become Prime Minister of Britain.[87] In December 1918, Lloyd George was re-elected at the head of a Conservative-dominated coalition government, and his poor handling of the 1919 coal miners' strike was a key factor in destroying support for the Liberal party in south Wales.[88] The industrial workers of Wales began shifting towards 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 the Welsh seats at Westminster were held by Labour politicians—the start of a Labour dominance of Welsh politics that continued into the 21st century.[89]

After economic growth in the first two decades of the 20th century, Wales's staple industries endured a prolonged slump from the early 1920s to the late 1930s, leading to widespread unemployment and poverty.

Second World War.[91] The war saw Welsh servicemen and women fight in all major theatres, with some 15,000 of them killed. Bombing raids brought high loss of life as the German Air Force targeted the docks at Swansea, Cardiff and Pembroke. After 1943, 10 per cent of Welsh conscripts aged 18 were sent to work in the coal mines, where there were labour shortages; they became known as Bevin Boys. Pacifist numbers during both World Wars were fairly low, especially in the Second World War, which was seen as a fight against fascism.[92]

Charles in 1969, these groups were responsible for a number of bomb attacks on infrastructure.[98] At a by-election in 1966, Gwynfor Evans won the parliamentary seat of Carmarthen, Plaid Cymru's first Parliamentary seat.[99]

"Cofiwch Dryweryn" mural after rebuild in October 2020, protesting the Tryweryn flooding to supply water to England

By the end of the 1960s, the policy of bringing businesses into disadvantaged areas of Wales through financial incentives had proven very successful in diversifying the industrial economy.

industrial estates and improvements in transport communications,[100] most notably the M4 motorway linking south Wales directly to London. It was believed that the foundations for stable economic growth had been firmly established in Wales during this period, but this was shown to be optimistic after the recession of the early 1980s saw the collapse of much of the manufacturing base that had been built over the preceding forty years.[101]


The Welsh Language Act 1967 repealed a section of the Wales and Berwick Act and thus "Wales" was no longer part of the legal definition of England. This essentially defined Wales as a separate entity legally (but within the UK), for the first time since before the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 which defined Wales as a part of the Kingdom of England. The Welsh Language Act 1967 also expanded areas where use of Welsh was permitted, including in some legal situations.[102]

Llywelyn the Last
, native Prince of Wales in Cilmeri, 1969

In a

National Assembly for Wales (Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) was set up in 1999 (under the Government of Wales Act 1998) with the power to determine how Wales's central government budget is spent and administered, although the UK Parliament reserved the right to set limits on its powers.[103] The governments of the United Kingdom and of Wales almost invariably define Wales as a country.[104] The Welsh 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."[105][b]

The Government of Wales Act 2006 (c 32) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed the

National Assembly for Wales and allows further powers to be granted to it more easily. The Act creates a system of government with a separate executive drawn from and accountable to the legislature.[107] Following a successful referendum in 2011 on extending the law making powers of the National Assembly it is now able to make laws, known as Acts of the Assembly, on all matters in devolved subject areas, without needing the UK Parliament's agreement.[107]

In the 2016 referendum, Wales voted in support of leaving the European Union, although demographic differences became evident. According to Danny Dorling, professor of geography at Oxford University, votes for Leave may have been boosted by the large proportion (21 per cent) of retired English people living in Wales.[108]

After the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020, the National Assembly was renamed "Senedd Cymru" (in Welsh) and the "Welsh Parliament" (in English), which was seen as a better reflection of the body's expanded legislative powers.[109]

First ever rally for Welsh Independence, Cardiff 2019

In 2016, YesCymru was launched. A non party-political campaign for an independent Wales which held its first rally in Cardiff in 2019.[110] An opinion poll in March 2021 showed a record 39 per cent support for Welsh independence when excluding don't knows.[111]

Welsh language

Brythonic languages ceased to be spoken in England and were replaced by the English language, which arrived in Wales around the end of the eighth century due to the defeat of the Kingdom of Powys.[114]


Protestant Reformation, which encouraged use of the vernacular in religious services, helped the language survive after Welsh elites abandoned it in favour of English in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.[115]

Successive Welsh Language Acts, in 1942, 1967 and 1993, improved the legal status of Welsh.[116] The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 modernised the 1993 Welsh Language Act and gave Welsh an official status in Wales for the first time, a major landmark for the language. The Measure also created the post of Welsh Language Commissioner, replacing the Welsh Language Board.[117] Following the referendum in 2011, the Official Languages Act became the first Welsh law to be created in 600 years, according to the First Minister at the time, Carwyn Jones. This law was passed by Welsh Assembly members (AMs) only and made Welsh an official language of the National Assembly.[118]

Starting in the 1960s, many road signs have been replaced by bilingual versions.[119] Various public and private sector bodies have adopted bilingualism to a varying degree and (since 2011) Welsh is the only official (de jure) language in any part of Great Britain.[120]

Government and politics

The Senedd building, designed by Richard Rogers, opened on St David's Day 2006.

Wales is a country that is part of the sovereign state of the

unicameral legislature known as the Senedd (Senedd Cymru - Welsh Parliament) which holds devolved powers from the UK Parliament via a reserved powers model.[122] For the purposes of local government, Wales has been divided into 22 council areas since 1996. These "principal areas"[123] are responsible for the provision of all local government services.[124]

In the

Wales Office is a department of the UK government responsible for Wales, whose minister, the secretary of state for Wales (Welsh secretary), sits in the UK cabinet.[125]

Devolved Government

First Minister Mark Drakeford meets with First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf in Edinburgh, 2023


National Assembly for Wales and allowed further powers to be granted to it more easily. The Act also created a system of government with a separate executive, the Welsh Government, drawn from and accountable to the legislature, the National Assembly. Following a successful referendum in 2011, the National Assembly was empowered to make laws, known as Acts of the Assembly, on all matters in devolved subject areas, without requiring the UK Parliament's approval of legislative competence. It also gained powers to raise taxes.[127]: 33–34  In May 2020, the National Assembly was renamed "Senedd Cymru" or "the Welsh Parliament", commonly known as the Senedd in both English and Welsh.[127]
: 18, 33–34 

Devolved areas of responsibility include agriculture, economic development, education, health, housing, local government, social services, tourism, transport and the Welsh language.[128] The Welsh Government also promotes Welsh interests abroad.[129]


A half timbered building of two floors, with four sets of leaded windows to the front aspect and one set to the side. The build has a steep, slate roof, with a single chimney placed left of centre. Steps and a ramp lead up to its single visible entrance
The Old Court House, Ruthin, Denbighshire, built 1401, following Owain Glyndŵr's attack on the town
Henry VIII of England annexed the whole of Wales under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 (often referred to as the Acts of Union of 1536 and 1543), after which English law applied to the whole of Wales.[131][132] The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 provided that all laws that applied to England would automatically apply to Wales (and the Anglo-Scottish border town of Berwick) unless the law explicitly stated otherwise; this Act was repealed with regard to Wales in 1967. English law has been the legal system of England and Wales since 1536.[133]

English law is regarded as a

County Court. 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, although it remains part of the single jurisdiction of England and Wales.[134]


Wales is served by four regional police forces:

Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police, North Wales Police, and South Wales Police.[136] There are five prisons in Wales: four in the southern half of the country, and one in Wrexham. Wales has no women's prisons: female inmates are imprisoned in England.[137]

Geography and natural history

Snowdon (Welsh: Yr Wyddfa) Gwynedd, the highest mountain in Wales

Wales is a generally mountainous

Anglesey, in the north-west.[144]

Much of Wales's diverse landscape is mountainous, particularly in the north and central regions. The mountains were shaped during the last ice age, the

Pumlumon, at 752 metres (2,467 feet)).[150]

Relief map of Wales:
  Topography above 600 feet (180 m)

Wales has

Pembrokeshire Coast (Arfordir Penfro). It has five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Anglesey, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley, the Gower Peninsula, the Llŷn Peninsula, and the Wye Valley.[151] The Gower Peninsula was the first area in the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in 1956. As of 2019, the coastline of Wales had 40 Blue Flag beaches, three Blue Flag marinas and one Blue Flag boat operator.[152] 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/south-westerlies that, over the years, have sunk and wrecked many vessels. In 1859 over 110 ships were destroyed off the coast of Wales in a hurricane that saw more than 800 lives lost across Britain.[153] The greatest single loss occurred with the sinking of the Royal Charter off Anglesey in which 459 people died.[154] The 19th century saw over 100 vessels lost with an average loss of 78 sailors per year.[155] Wartime action caused losses near Holyhead, Milford Haven and Swansea.[155] Because of offshore rocks and unlit islands, Anglesey and Pembrokeshire are still notorious for shipwrecks, most notably the Sea Empress oil spill in 1996.[156]

The first border between Wales and England was zonal, apart from around the River Wye, which was the first accepted boundary.[157] 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.[157] The Act of Union of 1536 formed a linear border stretching from the mouth of the Dee to the mouth of the Wye.[157] 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.[157]


The earliest

palaeontology. The next two periods of the Palaeozoic era, the Ordovician and Silurian, were named after ancient Celtic tribes from this area.[160][161]


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Met Office
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
A Red kite, considered one of the national symbols of Wales and voted the nation's favourite bird[162]

Wales lies within the

maritime climate and is one of the wettest countries in Europe.[163][164] Welsh weather is often cloudy, wet and windy, with warm summers and mild winters.[163][165]

Flora and fauna

Wales's wildlife is typical of Britain with several distinctions. Because of its long coastline, Wales hosts a variety of seabirds. The coasts and surrounding islands are home to colonies of

pine marten, which has been sighted occasionally, has been reintroduced in parts of Wales since 2015, having previously not been officially recorded since the 1950s.[176] The polecat was nearly driven to extinction in Britain, but hung on in Wales and is now rapidly spreading. Feral goats can be found in Snowdonia.[177] In March 2021, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) granted a licence to release up to six beavers in the Dyfi Valley, the first official beaver release in Wales.[178]

Believed to be home to some of Wales's rarest land invertebrates, some 2,500 disused coal tips are the subject of study by the Welsh Government; the tips are home to a wide variety of other wildlife.[179]

The waters of south-west Wales of Gower, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay attract marine animals, including

shad, sparling and Arctic char, whilst the gwyniad is unique to Wales, found only in Bala Lake. Wales is known for its shellfish, including cockles, limpet, mussels and periwinkles. Herring, mackerel and hake are the more common of the country's marine fish.[180] The north facing high grounds of Snowdonia support a relict pre-glacial flora including the iconic Snowdon lily – Gagea serotina – and other alpine species such as Saxifraga cespitosa, Saxifraga oppositifolia and Silene acaulis. Wales has a number of plant species not found elsewhere in the UK, including the spotted rock-rose Tuberaria guttata on Anglesey and Draba aizoides on the Gower.[181]


A profile of the economy of Wales in 2012
A 2021 introduction to some of the largest companies based in Wales, including: Airbus, bipsync, HCI Pharmaceutical, ReNeuron, Deloitte, Coaltown Coffee, DMM International and Freudenberg

Over the last 250 years, Wales has been transformed from a

Welsh fiscal deficit accounts for 19.4 per cent of Wales's estimated GDP.[187]

In 2019, Wales was a net exporter of electricity. It produced 27.9 TWh of electricity while only consuming 14.7 TWh.

hydropower projects.[189]

By UK law, Wales contributes to items that do not directly benefit Wales e.g. over £5 billion for

HS2 "which will damage the Welsh economy by £200m pa", according to the UK and Welsh Government's transport adviser Mark Barry. Wales also pays more in military costs than most similar-sized countries e.g. Wales pays twice the amount Ireland spends on the military.[190] The UK government spends £1.75bn per year on the military in Wales, which is almost as much as Wales spends on education every year (£1.8 billion in 2018/19) and five times as much as the total amount spent on the police in Wales (£365 million).[191]

From the middle of the 19th century until the post-war era, the mining and export of coal was the dominant industry. At its peak of production in 1913, nearly 233,000 men and women were employed in the

South Wales coalfield, mining 56 million tons of coal.[192] 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.[193] In the 1920s, over 40 per cent of the male Welsh population worked in heavy industry.[194] According to Phil Williams, the Great Depression "devastated Wales", north and south, because of its "overwhelming dependence on coal and steel".[194] From the mid-1970s, the Welsh economy faced massive restructuring with large numbers of jobs in heavy industry disappearing and being replaced eventually by new ones in light industry and in services. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Wales was successful in attracting an above average share of foreign direct investment in the UK.[195] Much of the new industry was essentially of a "branch (or "screwdriver") factory" type where a manufacturing plant or call centre is in Wales but the most highly-paid jobs in the company are elsewhere.[196][197]

Poor-quality soil in much of Wales is unsuitable for crop-growing, so

The pound sterling 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 then the Bank of England has had a monopoly on the issue of banknotes in Wales.[201] The Commercial Bank of Wales, established in Cardiff by Sir Julian Hodge in 1971, was taken over by the Bank of Scotland in 1988 and absorbed into its parent company in 2002.[202] The Royal Mint, which issues the coinage circulating through the whole of the UK, has been based at a single site in Llantrisant since 1980.[203] Since decimalisation, in 1971, at least one of the coins in circulation emphasises Wales such as the 1995 and 2000 one pound coin (above). As at 2012, the last designs devoted to Wales saw production in 2008.[204]

During 2020, and well into 2021, the restrictions and lockdowns necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic affected all sectors of the economy and "tourism and hospitality suffered notable losses from the pandemic" across the UK.[205] As of 6 April 2021, visitors from "red list" countries were still not allowed to enter unless they were UK residents. Restrictions will "likely be in place until the summer", one report predicted, with June being the most likely time for tourism from other countries to begin a rebound.[206] On 12 April 2021, many tourist facilities were still closed in Wales but non-essential travel between Wales and England was finally permitted. Wales also allowed non-essential retail stores to open.[207] 



Pont Abraham
services, sits with the Welsh Government.

North-South railway has been suggested to better link North and South Wales.[214][215][216]

Cardiff Airport is the international airport of Wales. Providing links to European, African and North American destinations, it is about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Cardiff city centre, in the Vale of Glamorgan. Intra-Wales flights used to run between Anglesey (Valley) and Cardiff, and were operated since 2017 by Eastern Airways.,[217] those flights are no longer, as of 2022, available. Other internal flights operate to northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.[218] Wales has four commercial ferry ports. Regular ferry services to Ireland operate from Holyhead, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard. The Swansea to Cork service was cancelled in 2006, reinstated in March 2010, and withdrawn again in 2012.[219]


Griffith Jones, who introduced the circulating schools in the 1730s; these are believed to have taught half the country's population to read.[222] 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 because of the economic expansion in the south.[222] In some schools, to ensure Welsh children spoke English at school, the Welsh Not was employed as corrective punishment; this was much resented,[223] although the extent of its use is difficult to determine.[224] State and local governmental edicts resulted in schooling in the English language which, following the 1847 Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales – an event subsequently referred to as the Treachery of the Blue Books (Welsh: Brad y Llyfrau Gleision) – was seen as more academic and worthwhile for children.[225]

The University College of Wales opened in Aberystwyth in 1872. Cardiff and Bangor followed, and the three colleges came together in 1893 to form the University of Wales.[222] 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.[222] A resurgence in Welsh-language schools in the latter half of the 20th century at nursery and primary level saw attitudes shift towards teaching in the medium of Welsh.[226] Welsh is a compulsory subject in all of Wales's state schools for pupils aged 5–16 years old.[227] While there has never been an exclusively Welsh-language college, Welsh-medium higher education is delivered through the individual universities and has since 2011 been supported by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (Welsh National College) as a delocalised federal institution. In 2021–2022, there were 1,470 maintained schools in Wales.[228] In 2021–22, the country had 471,131 pupils taught by 25,210 full-time equivalent teachers.[229][230]


University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff

Public healthcare in Wales is provided by NHS Wales (GIG Cymru), through seven local health boards and three all-Wales trusts. It was originally formed as part of the NHS structure for England and Wales by the National Health Service Act 1946, but with powers over the NHS in Wales coming under the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969.[231] Responsibility for NHS Wales passed to the Welsh Assembly under devolution in 1999, and is now the responsibility of the Minister for Health and Social Services.[232] Historically, Wales was served by smaller 'cottage' hospitals, built as voluntary institutions.[233] As newer, more expensive, diagnostic techniques and treatments became available, clinical work has been concentrated in newer, larger district hospitals.[233] In 2006, there were seventeen district hospitals in Wales.[233] NHS Wales directly employs over 90,000 staff, making it Wales's biggest employer.[234] The National Survey for Wales in 2021–22 reported that 72 per cent of adults surveyed had good or very good general health, 19 per cent had fair general health and 8 had bad or very bad general health.[235] The survey recorded that 46 per cent of Welsh adults had a long-standing illness, such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes or heart disease.[236] The survey also reported that 13 per cent of the adult population were smokers, 16 per cent admitted drinking alcohol above weekly recommended guidelines, while 56 per cent undertook the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week.[237] According to the survey, 30 per cent of adults in Wales reported to have eaten at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables the previous day and 36 per cent reported a healthy weight.[238]


Population history

Population of Wales
1536 278,000—    
1620 360,000+29.5%
1770 500,000+38.9%
1801 587,000+17.4%
1851 1,163,000+98.1%
1911 2,421,000+108.2%
1921 2,656,000+9.7%
1939 2,487,000−6.4%
1961 2,644,000+6.3%
1991 2,811,865+6.3%
2001 2,910,200+3.5%
2011 3,063,456+5.3%
2021 3,107,500+1.4%
Estimated (pre-1801);
census (post-1801)[239]
2001 census[240]
2021 census[241]

The population of Wales doubled from 587,000 in 1801 to 1,163,000 in 1851 and had reached 2,421,000 by 1911. Most of the increase came in the coal mining districts, especially

Asian communities add to the ethnocultural mix, particularly in urban Wales. Many of these self-identify as Welsh.[245]

The population in 1972 stood at 2.74 million and remained broadly static for the rest of the decade. However, in the early 1980s, the population fell due to net

population of England and Wales in 2021. Wales has seven cities, those being Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, and Wrexham, with the communities of Bangor, St Asaph and St Davids also having city status in the United Kingdom.[248] Wrexham, north Wales's largest settlement, became Wales's newest and seventh city in September 2022.[249]

Largest cities or towns in Wales
Council area
Council area
1 Cardiff City & County of Cardiff 335,145 11 Caerphilly Caerphilly County Borough 41,402 Newport
2 Swansea City & County of Swansea 239,000 12 Port Talbot Neath Port Talbot 37,276
3 Newport Newport City 128,060 13 Pontypridd Rhondda Cynon Taf 30,457
4 Wrexham Wrexham County Borough 61,603 14 Aberdare Rhondda Cynon Taf 29,748
Vale of Glamorgan 54,673 15 Colwyn Bay Conwy County Borough 29,405
6 Neath Neath Port Talbot 50,658 16 Pontypool Torfaen 28,334
7 Cwmbran Torfaen 46,915 17 Penarth Vale of Glamorgan 27,226
8 Bridgend Bridgend County Borough 46,757 18 Rhyl Denbighshire 25,149
9 Llanelli Carmarthenshire 43,878 19
Caerphilly County Borough 24,042
10 Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr Tydfil 43,820 20 Maesteg Bridgend County Borough 18,888


According to the 2021 census, the Welsh-speaking population of Wales aged three or older was 17.8 per cent (538,300 people) and nearly three quarters of the population in Wales said they had no Welsh language skills.[256] Other estimates suggest that 29.7 per cent (899,500) of people aged three or older in Wales could speak Welsh in June 2022.[257]

English is spoken by almost all people in Wales and is the main language in most of the country. Code-switching is common in all parts of Wales and is known by various terms, though none is recognised by professional linguists.[258] "Wenglish" is the Welsh English language dialect. It has been influenced significantly by Welsh grammar and includes words derived from Welsh.[259] 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. Although monoglotism in young children continues, life-long monoglotism in Welsh no longer occurs.[260]

Since Poland joined the European Union, Wales has seen a significant increase in Polish immigrants. This has made Polish the most common main language in Wales after English or Welsh, at 0.7 per cent of the population.[261]


St. David's Cathedral
, Pembrokeshire

Forms of Christianity have dominated religious life in what is now the Wales for more than 1,400 years.[262][263] The 2021 census recorded 46.5 per cent had "No religion", more than any single religious affiliation and up from 32.1 per cent in 2011.

1904–1905 Welsh Revival, which started through the evangelism of Evan Roberts and brought large numbers of converts, sometimes whole communities, to non-Anglican Christianity.[266]


Roman Catholic, with an estimated 43,000 adherents.[267]

Non-Christian religions are small in Wales, making up approximately 2.7 per cent of the population.[269] Islam is the largest, with 24,000 (0.8 per cent) reported Muslims in the 2011 census.[269] There are also communities of Hindus and Sikhs, mainly in the south Wales cities of Newport, Cardiff and Swansea, while the largest concentration of Buddhists is in the western rural county of Ceredigion.[270] Judaism was the first non-Christian faith to be established in Wales since Roman times, though by 2001 the community had declined to approximately 2,000[271] and as of 2019 only numbers in the hundreds.[272]


Singer Shirley Bassey

The 2021 census showed that 93.8 per cent of the population of Wales identified as "White", compared to 95.6 per cent in 2011. 90.6 per cent of the population identified as "White: Welsh, English, Scottish, Northern Irish or British" in 2021. The second-highest ethnicity in 2021 was "Asian, Asian Welsh or Asian British" at 2.9 per cent of the population, compared to 2.3 per cent in 2011. 1.6 per cent of the population identified as "Mixed or multiple ethnic groups", compared to 1.0 per cent in 2011; 0.9 per cent of the population identified as "Black, Black Welsh, Black British, Caribbean or African", compared to 0.6 per cent in 2011; and 0.9 per cent identified as "Other ethnic group" compared to 0.5 per cent in 2011. The local authorities with the highest proportions of "high-level" ethnic groups other than "White" were mainly urban areas including Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. 5.3 per cent of households in Wales were multiple ethnic group households, up from 4.2 per cent in 2011.[273]

In 2021, the first statue of a named, non-fictional woman outdoors was raised for Wales's first black headteacher, Betty Campbell. In 2023, Patti Flynn (a contemporary of Shirley Bassey, both of Tiger Bay, Cardiff) became the first black Welsh woman to be awarded a purple plaque. [274]

National identity

The 2021 census showed that 55.2 per cent identified as "Welsh only" and 8.1 per cent identified as "Welsh and British", giving the combined proportion of 63.3 per cent for people identifying as Welsh.[275] The Welsh Annual Population Survey showed that the proportion of people who identified as Welsh versus another identity was 62.3 per cent in 2022, compared to 69.2 per cent in 2001.[276] A 2022 YouGov poll found that 21 per cent considered themselves Welsh not British, 15 per cent more Welsh than British, 24 per cent equally Welsh and British, 7 per cent more British than Welsh, 20 per cent British and not Welsh, and 8 per cent other; a total of 67 per cent thus considered themselves Welsh to some degree.[277]


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

The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales.[278]


Remnants of native Celtic

Historia Britonum (the History of the Britons) and Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th-century Latin chronicle Historia Regum Britanniae (the History of the Kings of Britain), and later folklore, such as The Welsh Fairy Book by W. Jenkyn Thomas.[282]


Welsh poetry from the 13th-century Black Book of Carmarthen.

Wales has one of the oldest unbroken literary traditions in Europe[283] going back to the sixth century and including Geoffrey of Monmouth and Gerald of Wales, regarded as among the finest Latin authors of the Middle Ages.[283] The earliest body of Welsh verse, by poets Taliesin and Aneirin, survive not in their original form, but in much-changed, medieval versions.[283] Welsh poetry and native lore and learning survived the Dark Ages, through the era of the Poets of the Princes (c. 1100–1280) and then the Poets of the Gentry (c. 1350–1650). The former were professional poets who composed eulogies and elegies to their patrons while the latter favoured the cywydd metre.[284] The period produced one of Wales's greatest poets, Dafydd ap Gwilym.[285] After the Anglicisation of the gentry the tradition declined.[284]

Despite the extinction of the professional poet, the integration of the native elite into a wider cultural world did bring other literary benefits.

Bible into Welsh.[286] From the 16th century 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.[286] By the 19th century the creation of a Welsh epic, fuelled by the eisteddfod, became an obsession with Welsh-language writers.[287] The output of this period was prolific in quantity but unequal in quality.[288] Initially excluded, religious denominations came to dominate the competitions, with bardic themes becoming scriptural and didactic.[288]

Developments in 19th-century Welsh literature include

Thomas Gwynn Jones's Ymadawiad Arthur.[287] The First World War had a profound effect on Welsh literature with a more pessimistic style championed by T. H. Parry-Williams and R. Williams Parry.[287] The industrialisation of south Wales saw a further shift with the likes of Rhydwen Williams who used the poetry and metre of a bygone rural Wales but in the context of an industrial landscape. The inter-war period is dominated by Saunders Lewis, for his political and reactionary views as much as his plays, poetry and criticism.[287]

The careers of some 1930s writers continued after World War Two, including those of

Llŷn Peninsula in 1936.[290] In poetry R. S. Thomas (1913–2000) was the most important figure throughout the second half of the twentieth century. He "did not learn the Welsh language until he was 30 and wrote all his poems in English".[291] Major writers in the second half of the twentieth century include Emyr Humphreys (born 1919), who during his long writing career published over twenty novels,[292] and Raymond Williams (1921–1988).[293]

Museums and libraries

The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

St Fagans National History Museum, Big Pit National Coal Museum, National Wool Museum, National Slate Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, and the National Waterfront Museum. Entry to all sites is free.[294] The National Library of Wales, based in Aberystwyth, houses important collections of printed works, including the Sir John Williams Collection and the Shirburn Castle collection,[295] as well as art collections including portraits and photographs, ephemera and Ordnance Survey maps.[295]

Visual arts

Works of

St David's, and shows a late Insular style with unusual Viking influence.[297]

Some Welsh artists of the 16th–18th centuries tended to leave the country to work, moving to London or Italy.

landscape art 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 because of the Celtic Revival.[298]

The Bard, 1774, by Thomas Jones (1742–1803).


Cardiff School of Art opened in 1865. Graduates still very often had to leave Wales to work, but Betws-y-Coed became a popular centre for artists, and its artists' colony helped to form the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art in 1881.[299] The sculptor Sir William Goscombe John made works for Welsh commissions, although he had settled in London. Christopher Williams, whose subjects were mostly resolutely Welsh, was also based in London. Thomas E. Stephens[300] and Andrew Vicari had very successful careers as portraitists, based respectively in the United States and France.[301]

Welsh painters gravitated towards the art capitals of Europe.

David Jones, and the sculptor Jonah Jones. The Kardomah Gang was an intellectual circle in Swansea, centred on the poet Dylan Thomas and the poet and artist Vernon Watkins, which also included the painter Alfred Janes.[302]

South Wales had several notable

Nantgarw Pottery near Cardiff, which was in operation from 1813 to 1820 making fine porcelain, and then utilitarian pottery from 1833 until 1920.[303] Portmeirion Pottery, founded in 1960 by Susan Williams-Ellis (daughter of Clough Williams-Ellis, creator of the Italianate village of Portmeirion, Gwynedd) is based in Stoke-on-Trent, England.[304]

National symbols and identity

The red dragon, a popular symbol in Wales.

Wales is regarded as a modern Celtic nation which contributes to its national identity,[30][305] with Welsh artists regularly appearing at Celtic festivals.[306] The red dragon is the principal symbol of national identity and pride, personifying the fearlessness of the Welsh nation.[307] The dragon is first referenced in literature as a symbol of the people in the Historia Brittonum. Vortigern (Welsh: Gwrtheyrn), King of the Celtic Britons, is interrupted whilst attempting to build a fort at Dinas Emrys. He is told by Ambrosius[c] to dig up two dragons beneath the castle. He discovers a red dragon representing the Celtic Britons, and a white dragon representing Anglo-Saxons. Ambrosius prophesies that the Celtic Britons will reclaim the island and push the Anglo-Saxons back to the sea.[309]

As an emblem, the red dragon of Wales has been used since the reign of

Glyndŵr's battles against the English, and includes four lions on red and gold.[311] The standard is similar to the arms of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (Llywelyn the Last), the last Prince of Wales before the conquest of Wales by Edward I of England. The design may also be influenced by the arms of Glyndwr's parents, both of whom had lions in their arms. Owain Glyndŵr Day is celebrated on 16 September in Wales and there have been calls to make it a national bank holiday.[312][313][314] The Prince of Wales's feathers is also used in Wales: it consists of three white feathers emerging from a gold coronet, and the German motto Ich dien (I serve). Several Welsh representative teams, including the Welsh rugby union, and Welsh regiments in the British Army, including the Royal Welsh, use the badge or a stylised version of it.[315][316][d]

On 1 March, Welsh people celebrate

Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen's Day), observed on 25 January in a similar way to St Valentine's Day.[325]

"Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" (English: Land of My Fathers) 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 Senedd and other official occasions.[326] "Cymru am byth" ("Wales forever") is a popular Welsh motto.[327] Another Welsh motto "Y Ddraig Goch Ddyry Cychwyn" ("the red dragon inspires action") has been used on the Royal Badge of Wales when it was created in 1953.[328]


Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

More than 50

2017 UEFA Champions League Final.[330][332]

Although football has traditionally been the more popular sport in

European Rugby Challenge Cup, again dependent on qualification.[337] Rugby league in Wales dates back to 1907. A professional Welsh League existed from 1908 to 1910.[338]

Wales has had

Merthyr Town.[340] The country has produced a considerable number of footballers who have played at international level.[341] At UEFA Euro 2016, the Wales national team achieved their best ever finish, reaching the semi-finals.[342]

In international cricket, Wales and England field a single representative team, administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), called the England cricket team, or simply 'England'.[343] Occasionally, a separate Wales team play limited-overs competitions. Glamorgan County Cricket Club is the only Welsh participant in the England and Wales County Championship.[344] Wales has produced notable participants of individual sports including snooker,[345] track and field,[346] cycling,[347][348] and boxing.[349][350]


A number of BBC productions, such as Doctor Who and Torchwood, have been filmed in Wales.

Wales became the UK's first

Heart Cymru and Radio Ceredigion.[357]

Most of the newspapers sold and read in Wales are national newspapers available throughout Britain. The

Honno, the University of Wales Press and Y Lolfa.[363] Journals with a Welsh focus include Cambria (a Welsh affairs magazine published bi-monthly in English),[365] Planet, and Poetry Wales.[366] Welsh-language magazines include the current affairs titles Golwg ("View"), published weekly, and Barn ("Opinion"), published monthly.[359] Y Wawr ("The Dawn") is published quarterly by Merched y Wawr, the national organisation for women.[359] Y Traethodydd ("The Essayist"), a quarterly publication by the Presbyterian Church of Wales, first appeared in 1845 and is the oldest Welsh publication still in print.[359]


Cawl, a traditional meat and vegetable dish from Wales.

Traditional Welsh dishes include

United States. Chicken tikka masala is the country's favourite dish, while hamburgers and Chinese food outsell fish and chips as takeaways.[369]

Performing arts

Music and festivals

Singer Tom Jones

Wales, "the land of song", is notable for its solo artists, its

International Eisteddfod provides an opportunity for the singers and musicians of the world to perform. The Welsh Folk Song Society publishes collections of historical songs and tunes.[371] Traditional instruments of Wales include the telyn deires (triple harp), fiddle, crwth (bowed lyre) and the pibgorn (hornpipe).[372] Male voice choirs emerged in the 19th century, formed as the tenor and bass sections of chapel choirs, and embraced the popular secular hymns of the day.[373] Welsh congregations and choirs were known for singing in a rousing four-voice style, becoming characteristic of the country.[374] Many of the historic choirs survive in modern Wales, singing a mixture of traditional and popular songs.[373]

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales performs in Wales and internationally. The Welsh National Opera is based at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, while the National Youth Orchestra of Wales was the first of its type in the world.[375] Wales has a tradition of producing notable singers in both the classical and pop arenas,[376] as well as some popular bands.[377][378][379] The Welsh folk music scene has enjoyed a resurgence in the 21st century.[380]


Catherine Zeta-Jones, born in Swansea

The earliest surviving Welsh plays are two medieval

miracle plays, Y Tri Brenin o Gwlen ("The three Kings from Cologne") and Y Dioddefaint a'r Atgyfodiad ("The Passion and the Resurrection").[381] A recognised Welsh tradition of theatre emerged during the 18th century, in the form of an interlude, a metrical play performed at fairs and markets.[382] Drama in the early 20th century thrived, but the country established neither a Welsh National Theatre nor a national ballet company.[383] After the Second World War, the substantial number of amateur theatre companies reduced by two thirds.[384] Competition from television in the mid-20th century led to greater professionalism in the theatre.[384] Plays by Emlyn Williams and Alun Owen and others were staged, while Welsh actors, including Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins, were establishing international reputations.[384][385][386] Wales has also produced some well-known comedians.[387]


Welsh dancer at the Senedd building

Traditional dances include Welsh folk dancing and clog dancing. The first mention of dancing in Wales is in a 12th-century account by Giraldus Cambrensis, but by the 19th century traditional dance had all but died out due to religious opposition.[383] In the 20th century a revival was led by Lois Blake (1890–1974).[383] Clog dancing was preserved and developed by Hywel Wood (1882–1967) and others who perpetuated the art on local and national stages.[388] The Welsh Folk Dance Society was founded in 1949.[388] Contemporary dance grew out of Cardiff in the 1970s.[388] The National Dance Company Wales, formed in 1983, is now resident at the Wales Millennium Centre.[389]

See also


  1. Lloegrwys, "men of Lloegr", being earlier and more common. The English were sometimes referred to as an entity in early poetry (Saeson, as today) but just as often as Eingl (Angles), Iwys (Wessex-men), etc. Lloegr and Sacson became the norm later when England emerged as a kingdom. As for its origins, some scholars have suggested that it originally referred only to Mercia – at that time a powerful kingdom and for centuries the main foe of the Welsh. It was then applied to the new kingdom of England as a whole (see for instance Rachel Bromwich (ed.), Trioedd Ynys Prydein, University of Wales Press, 1987). "The lost land" and other fanciful meanings, such as Geoffrey of Monmouth
    's monarch Locrinus, have no etymological basis. (See also Discussion in Reference 40)
  2. ^ The title Prince of Wales is still conferred on the heir apparent to the British throne, currently Prince William, but he has no constitutional role in modern Wales.[106] According to the Welsh Government in 2008: "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."[105]
  3. Latin: Ambrosius vocor, id est, Embreis Guletic., lit.'"I am called Ambrosius, that is Embreis Guletic"'.[308]
    Embreis Guletic is probably Emrys Gwledig.
  4. ^ Wales is not separately represented on the Union Jack as, at the time of the flag's creation, Wales was considered part of England.[317]



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