WALES (CYMRU): The words Wales and Welsh are not Celtic at all, but stem from the Anglo-Saxon word for foreigner applied to the redoubtable Celtic fighters that the conquering Saxons were unable to dislodge from the mountainous terrrain that became todays Wales. The word the Welsh use for themselves, Cymru, is distantly related to the word comrades.
The traditional border of Wales was defined in the early Middle Ages when a frustrated Saxon ruler caused a boundary ditch to be dug between the Welsh and the Saxon lands. The border between Wales and England still mostly follows Offas Dike, as it is known today.
Though Wales independence was beset by Norman incursions into the south of Wales, Wales held out until 1282, when Llywelyn, the last true native Prince of Wales was killed by the English. A massive national uprising in 1400 under Owain Glyn Dwr briefly re-established an independent Wales, but that too fell to an English reconquest by 1415. Since then the Welsh language and identity have survived and reasserted themselves through a variety of cultural and political movements, notably the great national Welsh-language musical and literary festival known as the Eisteddfod, held every August. Though a devolution referendum was voted down in 1979, a proposal to set up a Welsh Assembly with limited powers was approved by referendum in 1998.
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