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Facts About Wales

  1. The Welsh name for Wales is Cymru. The Welsh motto is 'Cymru am byth'. It means 'Wales forever'.
  2. The name ""Wales" come from the Anglo-Saxon word, 'Walha', meaning 'foreigner' or 'stranger'. The modern "Welsh" name for the Welsh People is "Cymry", which comes from the old "Welsh" word "Combrogi", meaning fellow Countryman.
  3. The Welsh are the true pure Britons, according to the research that has produced the first genetic map of the UK. Scientists were able to trace their DNA back to the first tribes that settled in the British Isles following the last ice age around 10,000 years ago.
  4. Saint David (Welsh: Dewi Sant) was a 6th century Welsh bishop of St Davids in Pembrokeshire. St Davids was then known as Mynyw. He is the patron saint of Wales and died on the 1 March 589 – St David's Day is now celebrated annually on the 1st of March every year. St David was a renowned preacher who founded monastic settlements and churches in Wales, Brittany and southwest England.

  5. Two red flags soaked in calf's blood were flown by marchers in South Wales during the 1831 Merthyr Rising. It is claimed to be the first time that the red flag was raised as a banner of workers' power.
  6. The National Eisteddfod of Wales is considered the largest poetry and music festival in Europe. It's held annually with eight days of performances and competitions.
  7. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a large village on the island of Anglesey, Wales. The name was invented for promotional purposes in the 1860s and with 58 characters it's the second longest official one-word place name in the world.
  8. Wales is a nation in the United Kingdom. It's bordered by England to the east. It's population is just over 3 million.
  9. English and Welsh are the two official languages. Welsh (a Celtic based language) is spoken by 21% of the population.
  10. Cardiff is the capital and largest city. Swansea has the second biggest population and Newport comes in third. Wrexham has the largest urban population in North Wales.
  11. Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales at 1085 m (3560 ft). The only public rack and pinion railway in the United Kingdom travels to its summit. Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons is the highest peak in south Wales and is also the highest British peak south of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia.
  12. Wales has over 600 castles; that's more than any other country in Europe.
  13. In 1913, 434 men and boys died out of a village population of less than 5,000 in the biggest colliery disaster in British history at Senghynydd.
  14. Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde invented the 'equals' sign.
  15. The Silurian geological period was named after the Silures by British geologist Roderick Murchison. The Silures were an ancient warlike Celtic tribe which occupied what is now south east Wales. The naming was inspired by his friend Adam Sedgwick, who had named the Cambrian geological period from the Latin name for Wales.
  16. The Welsh entrepreneur Pryce Pryce-Jones set up the world's first modern mail order business in 1861 selling local Welsh flannel.
  17. The World's first steam locomotive was built by Richard Trevithick, it carried 10 tons of iron and 70 passengers at Merthyr Tydfil in 1804.
  18. The Welsh mathematician William Jones was the first to use the Greek letter pi (π) to represent the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter (in 1706).
  19. The original national emblem the Leek is called 'cenhinen' in Welsh. This often became confused with 'cehhinen bedr' which is Welsh for daffodils, hence the daffodil was adopted as a second emblem of Wales.
  20. Mount Everest is named after Colonel Sir George Everest, the Welsh Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843.
  21. The Welsh Assembly was voted for in a 1997 referendum. The result was 50.30% for, 49.70% against. It has limited law-making powers and some legislative powers. It has 60 Members and is based in Cardiff Bay. On 6 May, 2020, the Welsh Assembly underwent a rebrand - it became known as Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament), while its politicians will be called Members of the Senedd (MS).
  22. Welshman Edwin Stevens (1905–1995) designed the world's first wearable electronic hearing aid.
  23. The Welsh language (called Cymraeg in Welsh) has 28 letters.
  24. During the 19th-century, Swansea was the key centre of the copper-smelting industry and gained the nickname Copperopolis.
  25. In 1900, Britain's first Labour MP, Kier Hardie, was elected for the Welsh constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare.
  26. By 1851 Merthyr had overtaken Swansea to become the largest town in Wales with over forty-six thousand inhabitants. By 1881, Cardiff had overtaken both Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil to become Wales' largest settlement due to its role as a port for exporting coal from the South Wales Valleys.
  27. In 1955, the Minister for Welsh Affairs informally proclaimed Cardiff to be the capital of Wales - before thate date, Wales did not have a definite capital. However, in 1404 Owain Glyndwr held a parliament in Machynlleth, and as such claims to be the "ancient capital of Wales".
  28. Welshman Walter Clopton Wingfield (1833 – 1912) was the founder of Modern Lawn Tennis. A bust of Wingfield can be seen at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.
  29. The Severn Bridge Toll was the world's most costly toll road per mile until tolls were abolished in December 2018.
  30. During the early 19th century, the ironworks at Merthyr were the most productive ironworks in the world. The world's first railway steam locomotive developed by Richard Trevithick pulled 25 tons of iron with passengers here. Merthyr Tydfil is also the birthplace of fashion icons Laura Ahsley and Julien MacDonald.
  31. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis designed and built the tourist village of Portmeirion which was the location in the 1960s television show The Prisoner.
  32. Caerphilly Castle, constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century, is the second largest castle in Britain. And its south- east tower out leans the famous Tower of Pisa.
  33. Welshman Joseph Daniels from Aberystwyth emigrated to America in the 18th century - his grandson created Jack Daniels whiskey.
  34. California's Bryn Mawr, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Swansea are named after Welsh places.
  35. The Aberdare Range in Kenya, a 100-mile long mountain range, was named by Joseph Thomson in 1884 in honour of Lord Aberdare, who at the time was President of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Historical Society.
  36. One of the last Welsh princes, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, was killed a 1282 battle by Edward I, King of England. His son Edward, born in Caernarfon Castle, was invested as Prince of Wales (the first English person to claim the title). Since then, the title of Prince of Wales has been granted to the heir apparent to the English or British monarch.
  37. Owain Glyndwr (1359 – c. 1415) was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales.
  38. Wales in known as the land of song. Ivor Novello, Tessie O'Shea, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Dorothy Squires and Charlotte Church are all Welsh born.
  39. Comedian Tommy Cooper was born in Caerphilly. In 2008, a 9 foot bronze sculpture of Tommy Cooper was unveiled in the town by Sir Anthony Hopkins. Caerphilly is known for its world famous cheese.
  40. The world-famous children’s author Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff in 1916.
  41. Richard Burton was born in Pontrhydyfen, Port Talbot as Richard Jenkins. He received his early education in Port Talbot where he met teacher and mentor, Philip Burton.
  42. Comedian Bob Hopes' parents for a time lived in the town of Barry. It's also the birthplace of former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.