The Flag of Wales — Click to enlarge

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 today’s 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 “Offa’s 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.

For more information about Welsh history, click on the links below:

Owain Glyn Dwr Sexcentenary 1400-2000
The Concatenation of Celtic Titles
Conway Castle taken (Owain Glyn Dwr Sexcentenary)
The Last of the Welsh Jacobites
The Greatest Welsh Novelist
Owain’s Victory at Bryn Glas
The Bard’s Son
The Controversial Caradoc Evans
Darwin’s Welsh Co-discoveror
Richard Trevithick 225th Anniversary 1778-2003
The Battle of Shrewsbury (Owain Glyn Dwr Sexcentenary)
Cornish Gorsedd Diamond Jubilee
Bicentennial Of Trevithick's Locomotive
The First Welsh Opera
Owain Glyn Dwr Sexcentenary 1404-2004
The Literary Policeman
The Star Of Gomer
Wales' Year of the French