Carreg Cennen Castle, Brecon Beacons, Wales

Wales, The Land of Castles, in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 27th May 2015
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Where Does the Word Wales Come From?

  • The name Wales comes from the Cymraeg word Gwalia, meaning 'Homeland' in English, or the Anglo-Saxon word for Britons - Wēalas, which  evolved into the name for their territory, Wales. Take your pick. The Welsh name for Wales is ‘Cymru’, and this translates to ‘friend’. The latinized version of this is Cambria, so anything Welsh is Cambrian.

Is Wales a Country?

  • Wales is one of the four parts of the United Kingdom (along with England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland)
  • More accurately, Wales is a principality, traditionally ruled by the Prince of Wales, the eldest son of the English monarch.
  • Wales emerged as a Celtic speaking nation after the Romans withdrew from Britain in the fifth century.
  • Wales came under English rule when it was conquered by King Edward I (completed in 1282). Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence to Wales in the early fifteenth century, but Wales was formally annexed by England in 1542.
  • Wales was ruled directly from London; but in 1997 the Welsh voted for devolved rule and in 2006, the Senedd, the home of the Welsh National Assembly, was created.

Wales - Facts and Factoids

  • Wales is the only part of the UK not to be represented on the Union flag. The Welsh flag of red, green and white was officially recognised from 1959. The red dragon represents the native Britons.
  • The Welsh people are friendly, sing beautifully and lilt the Welsh language, Cymraeg. About 29% can speak some Welsh, although maybe half this figure is fluent.
  • The national symbols of Wales are the leek and the daffodil (the people happily wear both).
  • Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country, with Caerphilly being the largest in Wales and the second largest in Europe, behind Windsor.
  • There are also a lot of sheep. (Today, Wales has a population of approximately three million people and 12 million sheep, but still that's way fewer than New Zealand on 25 million sheep and five million people.)
  • The Welsh are fanatical about rugby. It's their national sport.

What To Do in Wales?

  • Wales; is famous for its rugged coastline, and mountainous National Parks. It's great for trekking and outdoor activities. There are also beautiful beaches and a lot of castles (see above). See Wales Merlin and Magic to find out what I did.

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