Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. Wales has over 1,200 km of coastline, and is largely mountainous, with its highest 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 Celtic Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffydd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence to what was to become modern 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 1535–1542. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh Liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party. Welsh national feeling grew over the century; Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925 and the Welsh Language Society in 1962. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation; the south Wales coalfield's exploitation causing a rapid expansion of Wales' population. Two-thirds of the population now live in south Wales, mainly in and around Cardiff (the capital), Swansea and Newport, and in the nearby valleys. Today, with the country's traditional extractive and heavy industries either gone or in decline, Wales' economy depends on the public sector, light and service industries, and tourism. Although Wales shares a close political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, and almost everyone speaks English, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is officially bilingual. Over 580,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, where it is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west. From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song", attributable in part to the eisteddfod tradition. At international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, Wales is represented by national teams, though at the Olympic Games, Welsh athletes compete as part of a Great Britain team. Rugby union is seen as a symbol of Welsh identity and an expression of national consciousness.
The Welsh Dragon – Welsh: Y Ddraig Goch ("the red dragon") appears on the national flag of Wales. The flag is also called Y Ddraig Goch. The oldest recorded use of the dragon to symbolise Wales is from the Historia Brittonum, written around 829 AD, but it is popularly supposed to have been the battle standard of King Arthur and other ancient Celtic leaders. Its association with these leaders along with other evidences from archaeology, literature, and documentary history lead many to suppose that it evolved from an earlier Romano-British national symbol. During the reigns of the Tudor monarchs, the red dragon was used as a supporter in the English crown's coat of arms (one of two supporters, along with the traditional English lion). The red dragon is often seen as a shorthand for all things Welsh, being used by many indigenous public and private institutions and sports bodies.
photo by lucky
edited by mobydick74
Added by Lucky