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Etymology • The English name "Wales" originates from the Germanic word Walha, meaning "foreigner", probably derived from the term Volcae. The term also appears in the "-wall" of Cornwall. The Welsh call themselves Cymry in Welsh, which most likely meant "compatriots" in Old Welsh..The name competed for a long time in Welsh literature with the older name Brythoniaid (Brythons). Only after 1100 did the former become as common as the latter; both terms applied originally not only to the inhabitants of what is now called Wales, but in general to speakers of the Brythonic language and its descendants, many of whom lived in "the Old North": the placenames Cymru (Welsh for Wales) and Cumbria are of the same origin. The Angles, Saxons and Jutes were known indiscriminately as Saeson in Welsh (the term is cognate with "Saxon"; compare Gaelic Sassenach); Sais, plural Saeson, is the modern Welsh word for "Englishman.“ There is also a medieval legend found in the Historia Regum Britanniae of Sieffre o Fynwy (Geoffrey of Monmouth) that derives it from the name Camber, son of Brutus and, according to the legend, the eponymous King of Cymru (Cambria in Latin); this however is considered largely the fruit of Geoffrey's vivid imagination. Cumberland and Cumbria in the North of England derive their names from the same Old Welsh word.
History of Wales The first documented history was recorded during the Roman occupation of Britain. At that time the area of modern Wales was divided into many tribes, of which the Silures in the south-east and the Ordovices in the central and north-west areas were the largest and most powerful. The Romans established a string of forts across what is now Southern Wales, as far west as Carmarthen , and mined gold at Dolaucothi in Carmarthenshire. There is evidence that they progressed even farther west. They also built the legionary fortress at Caerleon, whose magnificent amphitheatre is the best preserved in Britain. The Romans were also busy in Northern Wales, and the mediaeval Welsh tale Breuddwyd Macsen Wledig claims that Magnus Maximus, one of the last western Roman emperors, married Elen or Helen, the daughter of a Welsh chieftain from Segontium, present-day Caernarfon. It was in the 4th century during the Roman occupation that Christianity was introduced to Wales.
Geography • Wales is located on a peninsula in central-west Great Britain. Its area, the size of Wales, is about 20,779 km². Wales is bordered by England to the east and by sea in the other three directions: the Môr Hafren (Bristol Channel) to the south, St. George's Channel to the west, and the Irish Sea to the north. Altogether, Wales has over 1,200km (750 miles) of coastline. There are several islands off the Welsh mainland, the largest being Ynys Môn in the northwest. • Wales is a land of contrast:high mountains,green valleys and beautifoul beaches. One day you can go mountain climbing,the next you can go surfing on one of Wales’s beaches.
Wales Wales is one of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom. Wales is closely, but not completely, integrated politically with England. Wales is located in the south-west of the island of Great Britain and is bordered by England to the east, the Bristol Channel to the south and the Irish Sea to the west and north, and also by the estuary of the River Dee in the north-east. Wales is the largest principality in the world. Welsh cultural identity is represented by elements such as the Welsh language (which remains one of Europe's oldest spoken indigenous languages) Population Two thirds of the population of Wales live in and around the capital Cardiff (around 1,695,500) and around 2,006,225 in the whole of South Wales. There is further significant population concentration in the north east. The remaining areas in mid Wales, the north west and south west are predominantly rural and characterised by hilly and mountainous terrain. The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales, consisting of the cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport and surrounding areas, with another significant population in the north-east around Wrexham
Religion The largest religion in Wales is Christianity, with 72% of the population describing themselves as Christian in the 2001 census. The Presbyterian Church of Wales is the largest denomination and was born out of the Welsh Methodist revival in the eighteenth century and seceded from the Church of England in 1811. The Church in Wales is the next largest denomination, and forms part of the Anglican Communion. It too was part of the Church of England, and was disestablished by the British Government under the Welsh Church Act 1914 (the act did not take effect until 1920). The Roman Catholic Church makes up the next largest denomination at 3% of the population. Non-Christian religions are small in Wales, making up approximately 1.5% of the population. 18% of people declare no religion. The Apostolic Church holds its annual Apostolic Conference in Swansea each year, usually in August. The patron saint of Wales is Saint David (Welsh: Dewi Sant), with St David's Day (Welsh: Gŵyl Dewi) celebrated annually on March 1.
Sports • The most popular sports in Wales are Rugby Union and football. Wales, like other constituent nations, enjoys independent representation in major world sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and in the Commonwealth Games. • Wales has its own governing bodies in rugby, the Welsh Rugby Union and in football, the Football Association of Wales (the third oldest in the world) and most other sports. • The Welsh national rugby union team takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship, and the Rugby World Cup. Welsh teams also play in the Magners League (rugby union) alongside teams from Ireland and Scotland, the EDF Energy Cup and the European Heineken Cup. • Welsh sports people include 11 times gold medal winning paralympic athlete Tanni Grey Thompson, footballer RyanGiggs who is currently playing for Manchester United in the English Premiership, and formerly for the Welsh national team football team prior to his retirement from international football, BDO world darts champion RichieBurnett, international champion cyclists Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas, who competed in the 2007 Tour de France and Commonwealth Games gold and bronze medallist in shooting Dave Phelps.
Food • Some traditional dishes include laverbread (made from seaweed), bara brith (fruit bread), cawl cennin (leek soup),thus lamb is the traditionally meat,Welsh cakes, Welsh rarebit (cheese on toast), and Welsh lamb. Cockles are sometimes served with breakfast. • In 2005 the Welsh National Culinary Teams returned from the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg with 8 gold, 15 silver and 7 bronze medals, and were placed in the world.
Music of Wales • Wales is a nation within the United Kingdom sometimes referred to as "the land of song". Wales has a strong and distinctive tradition of folk music related to the Celtic music of countries such as Ireland and Scotland. • It has distinctive instrumentation and song types, and is often heard at a twmpath (folk dance session), gŵyl werin (folk festival) or noson lawen (traditional party or ceilidh). Modern Welsh folk musicians have sometimes reconstructed traditions which had been suppressed or forgotten, and have competed with imported and indigenous rock and pop trends. The record label Fflach Tradd has become especially influential. • The principal Welsh festival of music and poetry is the NationalEisteddfod. This takes place annually in a different town or city. The Llangollen InternationalEisteddfod echoes the National Eisteddfod but provides an opportunity for the singers and musicians of the world to perform. Famous singers • Adelina Patti • John Cale • Sir Tom Jones • Charlotte Church • Manic Street Preachers • Catatonia • Stereophonics • Super Furry Animals
National symbols • The Flag of Wales incorporates the red dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) of Prince Cadwalader along with the Tudor colours of green and white. It was used by Henry VII at the battle of Bosworth 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 leek is also a national emblem of Wales. According to legend, Saint David ordered his Welsh soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field.
Bryn Celli Ddu, a late Neolithic chambered tomb on Anglesey Dolwyddelan Castle Clock tower of Cardiff City Hall Millennium Stadium The summit of Snowdon, Gwynedd, highest mountain in Wales Die Normandiese weertoring in die kasteel van Cardiff