Wales and the Welsh around the World


Wales and the Welsh around the World



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.


Throughout history

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.


Wherever they are, welsh people retain their welshness and love of their country and language, even into second, third and fourth generations.


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.