Capital: Cardiff (pop. 306,600)
Population: 2,946,200 (1993 est.)
Area: 8000sq miles
Languages: English - Official
Welsh - Official (18.5%)
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Status: Part of the United Kingdom
Wales is located on the island of Great Britain, just to the west of England, and to the east, across the Irish Sea, from Ireland. BBC Wales describes its geography thusly:
Wales has a varied geography with strong contrasts. In the south, flat coastal plain gives way to valleys, then to ranges of hills and mountains in mid and north Wales. There are three national parks and five areas of outstanding natural beauty, which cover a quarter of the land mass of Wales. 80% of the land is dedicated to agriculture, ranging from crops to livestock. The largest mountains in the north are part of the Snowdonia range, with the largest mountain being Snowdon at 1,085 metres. There are over 1300 kilometres of coastline ranging from long flat sandy beaches to towering cliffs.
-- From BBC Wales - About Wales - FAQs. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/about/geographyfaq.shtml. Jan 30, 2003.
Wales' economy has never been incredible. A primarily agrarian economy was supplanted by an Industrial Revolution fueled mining jag (though mining has been documented in Wales from as early as 1000 BC). The agrarian economy continues (some 79% of the land in Wales is still used for farming),and though the mining has waned (the easiest to mine deposits of coal and other minerals have been played, and the wounds to the landscape have been repaired), it still continues to be the centerpiece to the Welsh economy.
More recently, through initiatives such as Cymru Al-Rein (see: http://www.cymruarlein.wales.gov.uk/), Wales has been trying to move towards a digital economy. Though the Welsh landscape has been resistant to transportation enhancements such as trains, roads, and tunnels, it is not very much harder to wire than any other place on earth (and substantially easier than, say, India, since you can reasonably run wires to London, which has substantial uplink capability). A digital revolution is much likelier in Wales than an industrial one.
Wales has a long history of human habitation, extending back at least ten thousand years. For most of this time, the Welsh have been fighting against occupation by, or been occupied by, one group of invaders or another. Ironically, the Welsh call themselves Cymry - the name "Welsh" was used to refer to foreigners and was applied to them by their invaders.
http://www.data-wales.co.uk/. Data Wales index and search page. Jan 28, 2003.
© 2002 Family Education Network.
28 Jan. 2003 http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0777807.html.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/europe/wales/. Lonely Planet World Guide. Jan 28, 2003.
http://www.cymruarlein.wales.gov.uk/ictimportant/summary.htm. Cymru Ar-lein: The National Assembly's Information Age Strategic Framework For Wales. Feb 7, 2003.
http://18.104.22.168/ewsoe/english/summary.htm A Working Environment For Wales - Executive Summary. Feb 7, 2003.
http://www.britannia.com/history/ British History. Feb 7, 2003.
Short disclaimer: I am no Welshman, nor have I spent much time in England. Therefor I make no commentary on these facts. If you notice an inaccuracy or misrepresentation, please drop s_alanet a /msg. Thanks.