Our language: it’s one of the oldest in Europe, spoken fluently by about one in five of the population.
Although we all speak English as well, Welsh is a thriving mainstay of our way of life.
The landscape. The facts and figures might lead you to believe that Wales is small
– it covers an area of around 8,000 square miles
(or 20,800 square kilometres). But if you could roll it out flat, we bet it would be bigger than Texas.
We’ve got 3 National Parks and
5 Areas of Outstanding Natural
Beauty, all part of a landscape that offers opportunities for all kinds of activities. Walking, cycling, climbing, golf, mountain biking and paragliding are just the beginning of the list.
Our population currently stands at around 3 million people, so there’s plenty of room.
Famous sons and daughters of Wales you will have heard of include Richard Burton,
Sir Tom Jones, Sir Anthony
Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-
Jones. And lots of other people have been tracing their Welsh ancestry recently - including Donny
Osmond, Tom Cruise, Susan
Sarandon, Russell Crowe and Kylie Minogue.
We’ve also got lots and lots of castles (over 400 at the last count), the Welsh
National Opera (one of the world’s premier Opera
Companies), the largest single-span glasshouse in the world (at the National
Botanic Garden of Wales), and a cool flag with a Red
Dragon on it.
Our capital city is Cardiff. The
Romans had a fortress here in the first Century AD, but
Cardiff’s a lively youngster really. It was officially designated as capital in 1955, and it’s home to a large concentration of media and creative types, turning out award- winning productions like the current incarnation of the legendary Dr Who series.
Welsh people have travelled to, and settled in every corner of the globe, and today Welsh
Societies can be found in many countries around the world.
It is believed that the first Welsh emigrants to the New World were Madog ab Owain Gwynedd (Prince Madog) and a band of settlers back in the 12th century.Throughout history people have emigrated from Wales for a variety of reasons including religious persecution, poverty and to escape conflict.
Emigration was especially prevalent in the more agricultural areas of Wales.
Poor harvests and increases in land rent made life very difficult. There was little chance of alternative employment so people began to emigrate overseas to
North America and Australia in search of a better life.
Emigration continued throughout the
18th and 19th centuries, with the development of copper mining in
Australia, and industrialisation of the iron and coal industry in the USA.