Wales - a Celtic land of mountains and coal

wales castle The Celts had fled westwards under sustained invasions from Romans, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo Saxon English kings had not ruled Wales, and at the Norman invasion was a collection of small kingdoms. It took the Normans some 200 years to gain control of the whole of Wales. The 8 royal castles like Harlech (left) kept a lid on rebellion in the meantime. The last major Welsh uprising was by Owain Glyndwr between 1400 and 1408
   
union of wales and england Finally the Act of Union in 1536 "incorporated, united and annexed" Wales to England. Since then English law and government has rules in Wales. A solution that appears to have satisfied most Welsh people. Until the middle of the 18th century Wales remained a rural backwater. Population was sparse, and the topography meant that farming was not a viable proposition on any scale.Then the exploitation of coal and iron brought the Industrial revolution to Wales
   
welsh coalfields The need for labour in the south Wales coalfields brought an influx of English into this area which brought about an erosion of the Welsh language, though Welsh continued to be spoken extensively in North Wales. Today the mining of Welsh coal has all but disappeared, but the language continues to be spoken reasonably widely as a second language.
   
Wales has been governed from London via the Welsh Office, under a cabinet minister. Following the referendum on limited devolution in 1997, the Welsh were seen to be virtually equally spilt on the subject, with the more rural "Welsh" areas being for devolution, and the more industrial areas being against it.
   
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