Some quick facts and figures about Wales ...Geography - Tourism - Agriculture and Industry - Emblems - St. David - History - Culture - Statistics
LanguageEnglish is the day to day language for most Welsh people. Due to the efforts of many dedicated people the Welsh language still flourishes (and there is a Welsh language TV channel). The 1991 census gave a figure of 18.5 per cent Welsh speakers.
CurrencyThe currency is that of Britain in general i.e. the pound sterling, sometimes referred to on the Net as the GBP.
ClimateWales has the sort of climate often described as "temperate". This means that it never gets very hot or very cold. May, June, July and August are the sunniest and driest months, but even in the winter a raincoat and sweater will usually cope with the worst that the weather has to offer. For more weather information check the statistics at the foot of this page and our Travel Notes. Maps Page for a selection of small maps of Wales. Sheep farming is predominant in the mountains and moorlands, dairy and mixed farming around the coast. The old heavy industries which once made the port of Cardiff (the capital city) the busiest in the world have declined to such an extent that even coal mining has almost ceased in Wales. British governments have attracted English and multi-national companies to Wales with generous incentives but unemployment is still higher than the average for Britain. Recent years have seen a strong growth in the science and technology sectors, however, so this may change.
The Welsh flag has two equal horizontal stripes, white above green, and a large red dragon passant. We have a drawing and some historical background here.
The daffodil and the leek are also famous emblems of Wales.St. David was an early crusader for Christianity in Wales and is supposed to have died on March 1st, 589. His remains were buried at what is now the Cathedral of St. David's in Pembrokeshire, west Wales. Caerleon in South Wales. Archeological excavation still takes place in nearby Caerwent (Venta Silurum) where the beautifully constructed core of the Roman town wall still fascinates, despite the fact that much of its facing stone has been re-used in local houses and farms. Following the Romans came the Saxons, Picts, Vikings and Normans. The history of the medieval period is dominated by the exploits of the rebellious Welsh princes such as Owain Glyndwr. Acts of parliament between 1536 and 1543 unified Wales with England.
This history of struggle against invaders from within and without mainland Britain has left Wales with more castles per square mile than any other country in Western Europe. It's a nice irony that previous centuries of oppression have left Wales with a priceless national asset, the great castles in now peaceful rural settings that contribute so much to the beauty of the Welsh landscape.
"....The present form of the eisteddfod is a nineteenth century creation. Wales at that time was a country where the national language and culture lacked patronage because the property owning gentry had become Anglicised. The medieval meeting of the bards called an eisteddfod was revived as a means of attracting patronage for Welsh cultural activity. At first competitions were confined to poetry composition and harp playing but today choir singing, bands, acting, recitation, fiction writing, painting and much more is judged at an eisteddfod."
"There are two important annual eisteddfodau in Wales. The first
is the National Eisteddfod which is held in North and South Wales in alternate
years at the beginning of August. The ceremonies of this Eisteddfod are
carried out by the Gorsedd of Bards which is an association of people interested
in Welsh literature and music... The International Eisteddfod takes place
in Llangollen where dancers, singers and choirs from every part of the
world converge to take part in this global festival of music. The Llangollen
Eisteddfod usually takes place in July."
The InfoBase Cymru website is a great resource for those researching modern Wales and its people. "The statistics cover a range of themes including people, economy, education, health, housing and crime."