Culture

As Britain was busy assimilating Romans, Anglos, Saxons, Normans and Danes, the Celts (the native residents of Britain) fled to Wales. It is here that the last remnants of authentic Celtic lore remain. Due to its divergent and unique history, Wales (a principality of Britain) has a distinctly different feel than England.

Many historical centers have impressive collections of pre-Christian archeo-mythological artifacts such as bronze jewelry and ritual wear. Ancient and sacred stone circles dot the countryside. The wizard Merlin is said to have been born somewhere in north Wales. Legend varies in regard to the exact location.

Internationally known as the land of song, Welsh culture is infused with poetry, music and a deep spirituality. A strong literary history with roots in bardic tradition is intertwined with a sense of national pride. Noteworthy authors such as Dafydd ap Gwilyn (1320 – 1370), Dylan Thomas (1915-1953), Llywelyn Goch (1350 – 1390), John Ceiriog Hughes (1832 – 1887), Geoffrey of Monmouth, Edmond Prys (1543 – 1623), and Evan Evans (to name but a few) extolled the praises of their homeland through their art.

Wales has it’s own language which is spoken by about one fifth of the population. Wales boasts more castles per square mile than anywhere else in Europe, due to Norman invaders who built them throughout the nation in order to subdue the unruly population. Rebels and nationalists are the national heroes of Wales.

Wales has a strong working class culture due to the coalmines and factories, which were the economic backbone of the nation from the industrial revolution to just after WWI. Many museums pay testament to the bleak and treacherous history of these coal mines and those who worked and died there.

Although ruled by England, Wales has held on to its cultural independence and continues to struggle for self-rule.