Travel Guides: Wales
Wales is one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom. Its capital is Cardiff.
The name Wales comes from the Germanic word waelisc or walh, a word which referred to foreign Romanized nations. The native Gaelic name for their country is Cymru. The Welshman name for the English, Saxons and Juts was sais (singular) and season (plural); this is the Welshmen title for modern English people. Wales was administratively divided into 22 counties in 1996. These are unitary authorities responsible for all local services, including education, social security, environment and infrastructure. Below this level there are community councils, with powers similar to the English Parish. Queen of the United Kingdom is represented by a Lord Lieutenant of Wales in eight regions, which are combinations of counties. Top 13 traditional counties of Wales are also used as geographic areas.
The city status in the United Kingdom is given by the decision approved by the Queen. In Wales there are five such cities: Bangor; Cardiff; Newport; St David’s; Swansea. President: Queen Elizabeth II. Form of government: The Queen holds the executive power and is exercised by the Parliament of the United Kingdom with some powers belonging to the National Assembly of Wales in Cardiff. The National Assembly consists of 60 members. In the British House of Commons, Wales has 40 representatives (out of 646). Mountains: The relief is mostly mountainous, especially in northern and central regions. Mountains were formed during the last ice age, Devensian. The Snowdonia Mountains are taller. Muntoo Brecon Beacons are located in the south and meet with the Cambrian Mountains in central Wales.
The highest peak: Snowdon, 1085 m. Sea: Canal St. George, Bristol Channel and the Ireland Sea give it 1.200 km of coast. Climate: The climate is temperate; the weather is never too hot or too cold. May, June, July and August are sunny and dry months. Area: 20.779 km². Neighborhood: England, Ireland, Bristol Channel, Channel St. George. Administrative Divisions: 22 councils and 13 districts. Time Zone: UTC + 0. Country code (phone): 44. Medieval Territory: The first historical documentation of Wales was during the Roman occupation. At that time Wales was divided into many tribes including Silures and Ordovices. After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in 410, most depression areas were occupied by numerous tribes of Germany. Southern and eastern territories became known as Wales, which referred to the Empire Mercia. Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925 in search of autonomy and independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.
In 1955 England and Wales was the expression used to describe England area today and Cardiff was proclaimed capital. In 1962 the society “Welsh Language” was founded in the fear that the Gaelic language will dissolve. Modern Politics: National Assembly of Wales was founded in 1999 (due to the Government of Wales Act 1998), which manages the country’s budget (considering that the UK parliament reserves the right to limit the powers of the Assembly). The 1998 Act was changed by the Government Wales Act in 2006, which improves the ability of the National Assembly, Scottish Parliament’s legislative powers and transferring it to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Independence: Wales is not an independent state, being part of the United Kingdom. Organization: Tourism industry is a major income for survival and offers the most jobs in Wales. The country is rich in holiday cottages and private hotels for the convenience of tourists. What to see: Cardiff – the capital city, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Snowdonia National Park, Swansea. When to go: Wales weather is unpredictable and can be no rain throughout the year, but from October to January is the rainy period. July and August are the most crowded and expensive months. The best times would be spring and fall when the weather is pleasant and the crowds of tourists disappear. Events: Saint David – March 1. Estimated population: 2.958.600. Population density: 140 persons / km². Population living below the standard: 17% (2002) (statistics from the United Kingdom). Birth rate: 10.67 to 1000 people (statistics from the United Kingdom). Death rate: 10.09 to 1000 people (statistics from the United Kingdom). Average Age: 39.6 years (statistics from the United Kingdom).
Education Rates: 99% – People who know how to read and write (more than 15 years). Unemployment rate: 2.9% (2006) (statistics from the United Kingdom). Ethnic Groups: Britain 96%, 2.1% Non-White (mostly Asian) and others. Languages: Gaelic, English. Religion: Christian 72%, 3% Roman Catholic, 18% Atheist, 1.5% other non-Christian religions. Transport: car, bus / minibus, plane, train, ship ferryboat / metro. Shipping routes: 187.5km. Highways / Roads: 33.695 km. Airports: 13. Ports: 23. Coin: Pound. Gross Domestic Product: $ 48 billion. Minimum Wage: £ 5.52 per hour. Average salary: GBP 1400 per month (2001). Industries: Construction, electronics, engineering, financial services, food and beverage, engine, tourism. Agriculture Products: Sheep, beef, dairy.
Personalities: Sara Sugarman – Actress and film director in Hollywood; he starred in Disney films “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” and “Very Annie Mary”. Abigail Hopkinsv is a known singer with a large number of albums. Jack London – famous writer for the story published in 1903 “The Call of The Wild”, considered the best story about animals. Dewi Phillips is considered one of the leading philosophers of religion and morality in the world; Helen Adams – She won 2nd place in the show “Big Brother III”; Pamela Conway-Morris – Miss Wales, actress and model.
At the heart of Wales, in the countryside, an area highly sought by British tourists and foreigners is living a protected species of birds of prey – the red kite. To improve the tourism offer in the area, Kite Country project was initiated which aimed to develop rural tourism, local food industry, as well as traditional crafts as part of a package of ecological tourism, which includes also other activities required by most tourists: observing the red kite and other species of birds and wild animals living in the area. The best time to observe the red kite is in the winter, so visitors are mainly attracted to these birds when they arrive in the area being the traditional low season for tourism activities. It was therefore developed a network of small attractions for these visitors – such as feeding points for the red bird observation center, and the appropriate forms of ecological tourism, to promote conservation efforts in the area.
It was followed emphasizing the educational aspect of the attractions offered to visitors, maintaining biodiversity and protecting the natural habitat. Also, through this project have been strengthened links between conservation and agricultural activities, facilitating volunteer opportunities that may create or maintain hedgerows and marshy areas on the farm territory. The project promoted among visitors to use alternative modes of transport to replace the car. Moreover, the Center for Alternative Technology Machynlleth has been consulted on building the Tregaron Kite Centre to ensure energy efficiency and organic safety.
Wales is a historic land with castles, mountains, lovely beaches and a strong national identity, which dates from before the invasion of the Normans and was reinforced in 1999 when Wales was granted its own legislative body. Gaelic culture is full of myths and legends. Even the country’s national symbol – the dragon – is a mythical beast. Almost every mountain, river or lake, and most villages and farms are associated with any legend or fairy (tylwyth teg), or any magical properties fearsome beasts. Wales claim that the British hero King Arthur and Merlin the magician had been born in Wales. Another hero is often found in legends as Prince Madog ab Owain, who is said to have discovered America in the twelfth century. The capital Cardiff is one of the most attractive cities of Great Britain and built a large port in the estuary of the river Taff. Past the dismal coal exporter, now the city is an excellent example of renewal, with restaurants, hotels, exhibitions of modern and scientific centers.
The capital is a launching point in the south of Wales where you can visit some points of majesty of nature – Brecon Beacons National Park, Gower Peninsula and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Other major cities in the south are Swansea, the place where poet Dylan Thomas was born, Tenby, one of the most famous resorts on the coast with a medieval charm. The middle part of the territory is rich and varied, with beaches and headlands where you can see Ireland, over Cardigan Bay. Forests, hills, swamps and mountains, deep valleys, farms, quiet villages and trace minerals, make up within this region. North Wales is a destination that offers visitors enjoyment. The region is very different from England, linguistic and cultural, being known for the beauty of the landscape dotted with castles. Families come to vacation resorts on the coast in July and August, while others prefer to roam the Snowdonia National Park. Clwyd region, which occupies the north-east Wales, has miles of beach, uplands, marshes and deep valleys with luxuriant vegetation.
Main attractions: Admire the Cardiff Castle. Despite large-scale reconstruction of the nineteenth century, there are parts of the castle dating from the Middle Ages. Discover National Museum Wales, which has a collection of archeology, art and craft. Take a tour of the Millennium Stadium, headquarters of the Wales Rugby Federation. Explore the Cardiff Bay area in a boat excursion to the impressive dam, or visit the Techniquest Centre for Scientific Discoveries, excellent for children. Discover the history and culture of Wales at St Fagans National History Museum. You will find the days of power in the former industrial valleys of Wales coal producer. Blaenafon offers attractions related to World Heritage, Big Pit Mine Museum and Factory of steel. Venture to the northern tip of Cardigan Bay, for Harlech, famous for its castle overlooking the Snowdonia Mountains and because of the song Men of Harlech, which refers to defending the castle in the fifteenth century.
Cross the Menai Strait to the island of Anglesey, Menai Bridge and notice the Llanfair PG), which boasts the longest location name in the United Kingdom. Learn more about the Celtic heritage of Celtic Wales in Machynlleth. This city also boasts the interesting Alternative Technology Centre, focused on environmental issues and sustainable use of energy and Senedd-Dy Owain Glyndwr (XV century Welshman parliament building). Visit the location where the TV series was shot in 1960 – the Italian village of Portmeirion, near Porthmadog in North Wales. Enjoy the Brecon Beacons National Park, the largest natural attraction, with the main points Brecon and Abergavenny. Brecon Mountain Railway narrow gauge railway goes through the land hills Merthyr Tydfil.
Spend a day at the beach in one of the many resorts on the coast between Cardiff and Swansea, including Aberavon, Barry and Porthcawl. Farther west, along the Gower Peninsula, are the resorts Port Eynon and Oxwich. Admire the nature and history of Pembrokshire that was held in the southwest, where there are many castles and Pembrokshire Coast National Park. The most famous religious building is the cathedral of St. Davis, the smallest city in Great Britain. Take a trip with an old train, on a narrow railroad enactment. Snowdon railway climbs the highest peak in Wales. Simple culinary traditions of Wales are influenced by farm life. Soups and stews are very popular, and lamb, fish and shellfish are famous for quality. Welsh Rarebit is a famous dish and is made of toast covered with a mixture of milk, eggs, cheese and Worcestershire sauce. A way that is avoided by many is called Laverbread, and is a kind of seaweed puree, made with bacon and oatmeal. Wales have a variety of desserts, including bar brith, a kind of bread with raisins and figs kept overnight in ginger tea and bread.
People in prehistoric times of Wales have left behind impressive monuments and other megaliths. They were followed by the Celts. The Romans occupied the region between the first and the fifth century, then the British island was invaded by England, Saxons and Celts, Wales remained virtually untouched. In the early eighth century, several Gaul tribes fought Anglo-Saxon neighbors, but have managed to defeat the Wales invaders. After William the Conqueror was able to subjugate England in 1066, the Norman army occupied parts of Wales. By 1282 Wales was entirely conquered by England and the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 formalized the sovereignty of England over Wales. In 1301, King Edward I gave his son, who later became Edward II, Prince of Wales status, a gesture that symbolized the unity between the two regions. With the exception of Edward II, all subsequent monarchs have given their sons the biggest title.
In 1400, Prince Welshman Owen Glendower led a revolt against England, managed to liberate much of the region in just four years. By 1410, however, the rebellion had been defeated. In 145 he became King Henry VI of England. This was the first king of the Tudor line, and being the Welshman, made smoother for British leadership. His son, Henry VIII united England and Wales in 1536, with the Act of Union. Wales Industrial Revolution transformed the life and threatened the farmers and shepherds. In the twentieth century the region’s economy was mainly based on coal production. After World War and coal prices fell, along with Great Depression led to economic instability and a high rate of unemployment.
In recent years, a revival of the language and culture of Wales has demonstrated strong national identity of Wales, and the region is heading towards a growing political autonomy. In 1999, with prime ministers Tony Blair, Wales National Assembly inaugurated the Gaelic, the first self-governing body of the region for over 600 years. It is incorrect to call them in English; also Wales is not a region of England. In many parts of Wales you can hear Gaelic and will be appreciated if you use expressions such as Bore Da (Good day) and Diolch (thanks). But there are other regions where English is spoken exclusively, and will seem strange if you try to use these expressions. These regions near the border with England, along the north coast, the valleys of southern South Swansea and Gower, Pembrokeshire and Cardiff.
Wales Independence is a political ideal for which campaigning groups in Wales, and according to which the region would be to break of the United Kingdom and become an independent and sovereign state. This ideology is promoted mainly by the nationalist party Plaid Cymru Welshman. Wales has gained a political and cultural individuality distinct from other regions of Brittany, in the early Middle Ages. After the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, penetrated the Normans in Wales and gradually extended their control over parts of the region. The latter Llywelyn’s death in 1282, led to the conquest of the last independent kingdom Welshman by Edward I of England. Over the coming years Gaul revolted several times against English rule, the last major attempt was Glyndwr’s uprising, between 1400 and 1415.
In the sixteenth century, Henry VIII, himself of Gaelic origin, has enacted laws in Wales’ document, which aimed to complete the incorporation of Wales into the Kingdom of England. For centuries, the union has been considered an advantage for Wales, Wales providing new opportunities for small nobility (gentry), who could now become justices of the peace and members of Parliament from the Palace of Westminster. According to the Encyclopedia of Wales, the idea that Wales should become an independent state, first appeared in the mid-ninth century, nationalism and the equivalent for the word Welshman, cenedlaetholdeb dating from 1858. Law of closure of premises in Wales on Sunday, adopted by the English Parliament in 1881, was the first official document admitted that Wales has a politico-legal character separate from English rule, because it referred to separately in this region.
In 1886, Joseph Chamberlain proposed the idea of self-government throughout the UK and in the same year, the movement was founded Fydd Cymru (Wales Young), to support the cause. However, the goal was to get more of a regional parliamentary assembly and not a fully independent state, and the movement dissolved in 1896 due to personal rivalries and differences of opinion between representatives of different regions of Wales, Northern and South, East and West. After the First World War, the theme of self-government has attracted a great interest to the public. Wales targets of nationalist policies has shifted to the newly-founded in 1925, Plaid Cymru, but only in the late 60′s the party won the first electoral successes. In 1956, a petition signed by 250,000 people calling for the establishment of a parliament and Wales, had no visible effect. But the declaration in 1955, Cardiff City as the capital of Wales, in 1959 Labor promised to appoint a Secretary of State for Wales, creating the Office of the Government of Wales in 1965, and abrogation; two years later, Wales and Berwick Act of 1746, seemed to show an increase in nationalist momentum.
However, the overwhelming proportion of rejection in 1979, the establishment of a National Assembly for Wales, the Labor Party proposed the referendum on the transfer policy, suggested that the vast majority of the people of Wales did not want their country to have a national future. In the 80s, restructuring and economic reforms undertaken by the government of Margaret Thatcher have produced social dislocation in some parts of Wales, who was by then described as having “the most massive state sector to the west of the Iron Curtain. The succession of Secretaries of State for Wales by non-Gaelic origin, appointed by the Conservative Party after 1987, was branded by opponents as evidence of colonial democracy deficit. In the early ’90s, the Labor Party is committed to the idea of administrative transfer to Scotland and Wales, winning the 1997 election on the promise to hold a referendum on establishing a Scottish Parliament and a National Assembly of Wales.
National Assembly proposed referendum was adopted by a relative majority. At that time, the political climate was very different from that in 1979, a new generation of MPs at Westminster and Wales with a very broad consensus on disputed issues before the Gaul language. However, political commentator Denis Balsom administrative notice that the transfer of public feeling would be pointless following the election of a Labor government in London progressive. These feelings were reflected in the low to win the referendum and administrative transfer limit for devotees. Since 1997, it became apparent increase popular support and trust in the National Assembly and a growing desire that it be given greater powers. Surveys of support for independence have produced different results, but have generally emphasized that between 10 and 15% of Wales supports independence from the United Kingdom.
A 2001 survey commissioned by the Institute for Business in Wales showed that 11% of those polled support the independence. A poll commissioned in 2007, Policy Institute at the University of Wales, showed that 12% of respondents support independence, a slight decrease compared to the 14% in 1997. A survey conducted by the night news of BBC, in 2007, showed that 20% of respondents support the independence. A 2006 survey conducted by the Wales on Sunday, suggested that the number of independence supporters exceeds 52%. In 1066, William of Normandy (the Conqueror) arrives at the head of the kingdom founded by Alfred, while remaining one of the great nobles of France.
In the history of medieval England, this situation has subsequently imposed three main directions: A constant concern over issues ranging up to claim the French throne of France; Targeting Wales and Scotland, inherited the Anglo-Saxon kings; A certain competition between the French, the language of William and his successors, and native language called English medium (inheritor of the old English in the Anglo-Saxon era). Following the death of Edward the Confessor, who had no children, in January 1066, his legacy is claimed by three suitors: the Saxon Harold, Earl of Wessex, and is immediately crowned king of Norway William, Duke of Normandy. Harold II, the Norwegians crush near York on 25 September. Three days later, the Normans landed in the south. Harold confronts on 14 October and died in the battle of Hastings. Wilhelm crowns, in turn, on 25 December.
Soon he moves to dispose the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy that refused to submit to its lands and distribute his fellow Normans: in this process have its gentility barons. But Wilhelm directly under its management maintains three fifths of the country, stating such royal supremacy. At the same time, the Normans assign key posts in the Church of England. A small minority of foreign origin brought the total domination of the indigenous population. However, it is French elite, which becomes ipso facto official language of the kingdom. By the fourteenth century, the kings of England – with the possible exception of Henry I – ignores the English language, which disappears from written documents.
Wilhelm entrusts Gaul as subject of Norman who grant autonomy. Is formed surrounding the marked north-east Wales to the south and southwest, west and north remained independent. Henry I endeavor to discipline them both seniors, very turbulent, and the principles of Wales. It consolidates, in fact, royal positions in south-west, installing Flemish settlers there and in other nations (which is at the origin of Little England in the region Pembroke). During the twelfth century, divided into two Wales tends to be stable. The death of William the Conqueror, Normandy goes to the eldest son, Robert, and England to the second son, Wilhelm II. To the throne following his latter, Henry I, the third son of the conqueror, occupied Normandy and naming his nephew as his successor, Henry, whose parents were his daughter, Mathilde, and Geoffroy Plantagenet, Count of Anjou.
The death of Henry I, the barons of England, Angevin suspicious, put on the throne his brother’s nephew. However, Plantagenet conquers Normandy. In 1152, young Henry marries Alien Aquitaine and is found as the head of a field lying in the English Channel to the Pyrenees. Restoring royal authority, damaged during the reign of Stephen, Henry is hitting the resistance of the Church, threatened in its privileges. Conflict leads to the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1169. That same year, the Anglo-Normans who came ashore in southern Ireland and Wales are installed there. Henry II is not the initiator of this action, but a cover: he goes to Ireland in 1171 and said its sovereignty over it.
To Henry II – Angevine above all – follows his sons, Richard Lionheart and John No Country. They oppose the King of France, Philippe-August, decided to limit their influence. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, John lost Normandy, Maine and Anjou, Poitou. In 1214 a revolt broke out in England with the barons. It translates into the approval document forced by John Libertatum Magna Charta. Philippe-August and his followers on the seniors letting owners possessions in England and France to choose between the two suzerainty. This is Simon de Montfort, leader of the crusade directed against Albigenz’s son, his bid for England while another branch of the family kept the Montfort lands in France. Eventually, a conflict broke out between the barons, forced to come to England to refold, and King Henry III, the French still concerned with the problems (but must admit, in 1259, sovereignty over Guyenne King of France).
In 1264, at the forefront of the uprising, Simon de Montfort takes the king prisoner and even convened a meeting that heralds the formation of Parliament. Edward, heir to the throne, is one who will defeat and will be killed next year. Meanwhile, the situation is evolving. French as a language remains a distinction, but is becoming less of a mother tongue: even elite, largely anglicized in everyday life, and it is forced to assimilate. In terms of English (as English medium), it recurs in the writings without official character. To the British, is the only one who can resist the principality of Gwynedd: Snowdon Massif protected, he has the granary island of Anglesey. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, Prince of Gwynedd, Llywelyn the Great takes control of a large part of Wales. After his death (1240), Henry III still manages to take advantage of the rivalries between his sons to regain lost ground.
Grandson of Llywelyn the Great, who bears the same name, takes fight allying with Simon de Montfort. In 1267, he obtained from Henry III recognition of his title of Prince of Wales, but Gaul are trying to impose a rigid feudal system, so he removed many of them. This fact favors the intervention of Edward I, victorious, keep him on the head of Llywelyn, but with reduced powers. In these circumstances, the Church of England engages in a campaign against Wales’ law and custom, denounced as barbaric. Llywelyn, who rebelled, finds its end in 1283. Edward I annexed Gwynedd, North Wales surrounded by a network of fortresses and cities founded here exclusively inhabited by the British. In 1301, he awarded the title of Prince of Wales (Wales) heir to the throne of England.
Edward I knew that Scotland, too large and too remote, can not be conquered by Wales. At least, it strives to impose its sovereignty over the king of England, already affirmed by William the Conqueror. In 1290, a crisis in succession to the throne of Scotland offers the opportunity to intervene, but the issue remains in suspension. It will not be cut – in favor of Scottish – until the victory of Robert Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314.11