Wales – Land of the Song
Wales is a beautiful land of hills, valleys, and ancient castles. It is a part of the United Kingdom. The other three parts of the United Kingdom are England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Wales is called Cymru in the Welsh language. Cardiff is the capital. English is the main language, but some people still speak Welsh. Most of the Welsh people are Protestant.
Wales borders England on the east and on the other three sides it is surrounded by water. Wales’s many mountains—including the highest one, Snowdon—were formed mostly from volcanic rock. There are fabulous cliffs and sandy beaches along the coast. The Severn, Wye, and Dee are the longest rivers. The climate is cool and wet.
Coal mining was once the most important part of the Welsh economy. Today, more people work in manufacturing, especially in the car, chemical, and electronics industries.
There are a lot of parks and castles, and many music festivals. Eisteddfod is the largest annual festival, a celebration of poetry and music that began in 1176.
The Celts lived in Wales in prehistoric times. Nearly 2,000 years ago the ancient Romans built a small fort where Cardiff now stands. Roman rule ended in about 400. Then a number of new Celtic kingdoms were formed. In the 1100s and 1200s the kings of England made several attempts to conquer Wales. King Edward I was finally successful in 1277. In 1301 he gave his son the title prince of Wales. In 1401 the Welsh revolted against the English. For a few years Wales was independent. By 1410, however, the English had regained control. In 1536 Wales was officially united with England. In 1801 Wales became part of the United Kingdom along with England, Scotland, and Ireland.
– The name Welsh comes from an Old English word meaning “foreigner.”
– Mount Everest, the highest one on the planet, is named after the Welsh explorer and geographer Sir George Everest.
– For a country with a population of only 3 million people, local land is very fertile for celebrities. Among the stars and celebrities are Catherine Zeta Jones, Richard Burton, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Tom Jones, Timothy Dalton, Charlotte Church.
– In Wales, there is a city that is a world record holder in the length of its name. The town, which name consists of 58 letters, is in North Wales. It is called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
– Wales is the place where the number of castles per square mile is higher than anywhere else in the world. In addition, Wales is the country of the legendary King Arthur.
– The number of sheep in Wales is 4 times the number of people.
– Every year in Wales, the world-famous contest World’s Biggest Liar is held. The skillful liars from all corners of the world come and tell amazingly improbable stories.
– A mathematician from Wales, Robert Recorde (1512-1558) invented equals (=) sign and introduced the plus (+) and minus (-) signs to the British algebra.
– A native of Wales, Bartholomew Roberts is considered the most successful pirate of the Golden Age of piracy – he captured about 470 ships. He also became the first who named his flag Jolly Roger in June 1721.
– The oldest tree in Wales, Llangeryw Yew, is about 4-5 thousand years old.
– The Bangor-on-Dee monastery near Wrexham is the oldest in Britain. It was founded in 560.