Portal:Wales

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Wales (Welsh: Cymru [ˈkəm.rɨ] (listen)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century. The whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh Liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by David Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party. Welsh national feeling grew over the century; a nationalist party, Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925 and the Welsh Language Society in 1962. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the Senedd (the Welsh Parliament, formerly known as the National Assembly for Wales) is responsible for a range of devolved policy matters. (Full article...)

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The slate industry in Wales began during the Roman period when slate was used to roof the fort at Segontium. Slate is mainly used for roofing, but is also produced as thicker slab for a variety of uses including flooring, worktops and headstones.

Towards the end of the 18th century, landowners began to operate quarries on a larger scale. After the government abolished slate duty in 1831, rapid expansion was propelled by the building of narrow gauge railways to transport the slates to the ports. The most important slate producing areas were in northwest Wales, including the Penrhyn Quarry near Bethesda, the Dinorwic Quarry near Llanberis, the Nantlle Valley quarries, and Blaenau Ffestiniog, where the slate was mined rather than quarried. Penrhyn and Dinorwig were the two largest slate quarries in the world, and the Oakeley mine at Blaenau Ffestiniog was the largest slate mine in the world. The slate industry dominated the economy of north-west Wales during the second half of the 19th century. In 1898, a work force of 17,000 men produced half a million tons of slate.

A bitter industrial dispute at the Penrhyn Quarry between 1900 and 1903 marked the beginning of its decline, and the First World War saw a great reduction in the number of men employed in the industry. The Great Depression and Second World War led to the closure of many smaller quarries, and competition from other roofing materials, particularly tiles, resulted in the closure of most of the larger quarries in the 1960s and 1970s. Slate production continues, but on a much reduced scale.

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River Vyrnwy
Credit: Ian Griffiths

A view down the River Vyrnwy (Afon Efyrnwy in Welsh) in northern Powys, Wales.

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Dr. Livingstone, I presume?
Sir Henry Morton Stanley, spoken on 10 November 1871 in Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania.

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Sir Thomas Jones Woodward, OBE (born 7 June 1940), known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh pop singer. He was born in Treforest, Rhondda Cynon Taf. Tom Jones rose to fame in the mid-1960s, with an exuberant live act that included wearing tight breeches and billowing shirts, in an Edwardian style popular among his peers at the time. He was known for his overt sexuality, before this was as common as it has become in subsequent years. In 1963 he became the frontman for Tommy Scott and The Senators, a local beat group. Clad in black leather, he soon gained a reputation in South Wales, although the Senators were still unknown in London. In 1964 they laid down seven tracks with maverick Telstar producer Joe Meek, and took them to various labels in an attempt to get a record deal, with no success. The plan was to release a single, Lonely Joe / I Was A Fool, but the ever-flighty Meek refused to release the tapes. Only after It's Not Unusual became a massive hit, Meek was able to sell the tapes to Tower (USA) and Columbia (UK). The group returned to South Wales and continued to play gigs at dance halls and working men's clubs.

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1899 recording of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

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Carmarthen Bay · Clwydian Range · Glyn Daniel · List of places in Anglesey · List of places in Ceredigion · List of places in Gwynedd · List of places in Monmouthshire · List of places in Pembrokeshire · List of places in Powys · Pembroke River · River Cothi · River Dwyryd · River Ebbw · River Honddu · River Ithon · River Llynfi · River Mawddach · River Mynach · River Neath · River Ogwen · River Rheidol · River Taff · River Vyrnwy · River Ystwyth
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