Wales by jianghongl



Dryslwyn Castle built by Edward I in 1287.
This year we decided to introduce you a bit of Wales.
Here are some important and interesting data and stories about Wales and the
Welsh. Please study the texts to be able to participate in our competition.

Wales (Welsh: Cymru;)

The name of the country comes from the German word ‘walha’, which means
‘stranger from abroad’.

The Welsh call their country ‘Cymru’ pronounced [ˈkəmrɨ]. (Its Latinized
version is Cambria.)


Wales is located on a peninsula in central-west Great Britain.

Its area, the size of Wales is about 20,779 km². It is about 274 km (170 miles)
north-south and 97 km (60 miles) east-west.

Wales is bordered by England to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea
to its west. Altogether, Wales has over 1,200 km (750 miles) of coastline.

The capital Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd) is Wales' largest city with 317,500
people. For a period it was the biggest coal port in the world. Cardiff is also the
largest media centre in the UK outside of London.


The population of Wales is about 2,958,876.

The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales, consisting of the
cities of Cardiff (Caerdydd), Swansea (Abertawe) and Newport (Casnewydd)
and Wrexham (Wrecsam) in the north-east.


Much of Wales' landscape is mountainous, particularly in the north and central

The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia (Eryri), and include Snowdon
(Yr Wyddfa), which, at 1085 m (3,560 ft) is the highest peak in Wales. The 14
(or possibly 15) Welsh mountains over 3,000 feet (914m) high are known
collectively as the Welsh 3000s, and are located in a small area in the north-

Wales has three National Parks: Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons and
Pembrokeshire Coast. It also has four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
These areas include Anglesey, the Clwydian Range, the Gower peninsula and
the Wye Valley.

Much of the coastline of South and West Wales is particularly wild and
impressive. Gower, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay all have
clean blue water, white sand beaches and impressive marine life. Despite this
beauty the coast of Wales has a dark side; a lot of ships and vessels sank here.

The Seven Wonders of Wales is a list 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, 1085 m
    the Gresford bells - the peal of bells in the medieval church of All Saints
       at Gresford
    the Llangollen bridge - built in 1347 over the River Dee, Afon Dyfrdwy
    St Winefride's Well - a pilgrimage site at Holywell, Treffynnon in
    the Wrexham (Wrecsam) steeple - a 6th century tower of St. Giles Church
       in Wrexham
    the Overton Yew trees - ancient yew trees in the churchyard of St. Mary's
       at Overton-on-Dee
    and Pistyll Rhaeadr - Wales' tallest waterfall, at 240ft (73m)

    Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa),                       Gwynedd, from the peak.

    St Winefride's Well                        Overton's yew trees
The steeple of St Giles' Church in Wrexham              Llangollen Bridge

   Gresford Bells                            Pistyll Rhaeadr, the tallest waterfall


The Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998 provide
that the Welsh and English languages are equal.

English is spoken by almost all people in Wales. However, in northern and
western Wales in many areas Welsh is spoken as a first language by the majority
of the population. Road signs in Wales are generally in both English and Welsh;
where place names 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.

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.

The red dragon was included in the Tudor royal arms to show their Welsh
origin. It was officially recognised as the Welsh national flag in 1959. The flag
is sometimes claimed to be the oldest national flag still in use.

The British Union Flag incorporates the flags of Scotland, Ireland and England
but does not have any Welsh representation.
                                    Many legends are associated with the Welsh
                                    dragon. The most famous is the prophecy of
                                    Myrddin (or Merlin) of a long fight between a
                                    red dragon and a white dragon. According to
                                    the prophecy, the white dragon would at first
                                    dominate but at the end the red dragon would
                                    win. It might have meant the fight between the
                                    Welsh and the invading Saxons.

           The Daffodil,
           Wales's Floral emblem.

"Hen Wlad fy Nhadau" ("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.

St David's Day, 1 March, is the national day, they celebrate their main saint. At
this time, Welsh people wear daffodil on their clothes.

Saint David

St. David has been the patron saint of Wales since the 12th century. He was born
around 500 and according to the legend his mother gave birth to him on a cliff
top during a violent storm. He became a teacher and preacher, founding
monastic settlements and churches.

                         St David's Cathedral now stands on the site of the
                         monastery he founded in the valley of 'Glyn Rhosyn' in

                         It is claimed that David lived for over 100 years, and he
                         died on a Tuesday 1 March (now St David's Day).
                         It is generally accepted that this was around 590. His
                         last words 'Do the little things in life' ('Gwnewch y
                         pethau bychain mewn bywyd') is today a very well-
                         known phrase in Welsh.

Surely you have heard about the legend of King Arthur and the
Knights of the Round Table.
Here is a short revision of their story:
The legend of King Arthur began to appear in the 12th century.
It is based on a Celtic leader who defended his country against
Saxon invasion in the sixth century. He fought twelve battles
against the Saxons. His name in Welsh means „bear-man”.

                                                 Statue of King Arthur

King Arthur presides at the Round Table                    The Excalibur

      King Arthur was the son of Pendragon, and was born in Tintagel in
Cornwall. He grew up with Merlin, an old magician, and became a king when he
was fifteen. He could be a king because he managed to pull out a sword from a
rock. He defeated his enemies with Merlin and he got the magic sword
Excalibur (Caliburnus, Caledfwlch) from the Lady of the Lake.

                     He married Guinevere (Gwenhwyfar) and lived in a castle at
                     Camelot. His knights sat at a round table so that they were all
                     equal-nobody was sitting at the head of the table. The most
                     famous knights were Lancelot, Perceval, Gawain, and
                     Galahad. They were also looking for the Holy Grail.
                     Arthur went to Rome to fight the emperor, when he heard that
                     his nephew, Modred, had taken control of his kingdom and
                     captured Guinevere. In the battle, he killed his nephew, but
                     he was also seriously wounded. He died in the Isle of Avalon
                     at about 537-539.
History of Wales

The country of Wales, or Cymru in Welsh, has been inhabited by modern
humans for at least 29,000 years.The first documented history of the area that
would become Wales was in AD 48. Roman forts were established across what
is now the South Wales region, as far west as Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin; Latin:
Maridunum), and gold was mined . The Romans also built the Roman legionary
fortress at Caerleon (Latin: Isca Silurum), its magnificent amphitheatre is the
best preserved in Britain.

After the Romans left Britain in 410, much of the lowlands were overrun by
various Germanic tribes. During the early medieval period Wales was divided
into a number of kingdoms, but the ruler of Gwynedd was usually called King of
the Britons. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn in the mid 11th century controlled all of
Wales and some areas in England for a period. In these centuries Wales fought
against English kingdoms such as Mercia, then against the united English
kingdom and finally against the Normans, who arrived on the borders of Wales
around 1067. Mercia’s king, Offa built a huge earthwork- force system on the
borders of Mercia and Wales, part of it can be seen today. Warfare continued for
over two centuries.

The most important ruler was Llywelin Fawr (llywelin
the Great) who united the different parts and founded
Principality of Wales. The rise lasted until the death of
Llywelyn the Last in 1282, it led to the conquest of the
Principality of Wales by the Kingdom of England in
1301. Wales became part of England although they spoke
a different language and had a different culture. To help
maintain his dominance, Edward constructed a series of
great stone castles, Beaumaris, Caernarfon, and Conwy
were built then.

                          The Llywelyn Monument at Cilmeri

Under Henry VIII of England, the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542 integrated
Wales with England in legal terms, destroying the Welsh legal system, and
banning the Welsh language from any official role or status, but it did for the
first time define the England-Wales border and allowed Wales to send members
to the English Parliament.

In the twentieth century Plaid Cymru, The Party of Wales was formed in 1925
seeking greater autonomy or independence from the rest of England. Wales was
officially de-annexed from England within the United Kingdom in 1955, with
the term "England" being replaced with "England and Wales", and Cardiff
became the capital city of Wales.]In 1961 Plaid Cymru got into the Parliament.
The Welsh Language Act 1993 gave the Welsh language equal status with
English in Wales with regard to the public sector.

The head of state in Wales, a constituent part of the United Kingdom, is the
British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952). Today The Prince of
Wales is Prince Charles, the Queen’s eldest son.

In 2006 the Government of Wales Act gained Royal Assent meaning that from
May 2007 the Queen would have the new legal identity of 'Her Majesty in Right
of Wales' and would for the first time appoint Welsh Ministers and sign Welsh
Orders in Council.

                                  Harlech Castle was one of a series built by Edward I


Wales is famous for its singers and men choirs. Some well-known Welsh are:
Tom Jones, Bonie Tyler, Robbie Williams, and the actress Keira Knightley.

Welsh folk music is getting more and more popular.

Every year Wales have a national Eisteddfodau which is a
competition of singers and poets. It was first held in 1176 in
Cardingan. Choirs from all over the country join there to show
their knowledge.

Today three Eisteddfodaus are held every year for the different

To top