Aviva Directory » Local & Global » Europe » United Kingdom » Countries » Wales

Wales is a constituent country of the United Kingdom and is situated on the island of Great Britain. It shares a land border with England to the east and the rest of the country is bounded by the Iris Sea to the north and the west and the Bristol Channel to the south. The capital and largest city of Wales is Cardiff, and the official languages are Welsh and English. The capital of Wales is Cardiff.

The imperial of Roman Britain invaded Wales in 48 AD though it took thirty years of repeated assault to conquer Wales. Furthermore, the rule of the Romans would last until the region was abandoned in 383. Roman rule in most of Wales took the form of a military occupation.

Some time before 500 AD, the region which would one day be Wales was divvied up into numerous kingdoms which were not ruled by Anglo-Saxons.

Like the Celtics in Ireland, Christianity ran deep and early in Wales, though while much is known about Ireland's patron saint, the patron of Wales, Saint David is a veritable mystery. He founded monasteries during the latter part of the 6th century.

The Welsh tribes began to meld into a cohesive nation by the middle of the 9th century, due largely to marriages between the ruling families and wars. They were a Celtic Christian people. The custom at that time was for all sons of a royal house, including illegitimate ones, to share equally in inheritance, making centralized power difficult. Like other countries in the region, Wales was the target of repeated attacks by Vikings, and things got worse when the Vikings settled in Dublin, right across the Irish Sea.

The Vikings, who were also raiding France and England throughout the 8th and 9th centuries, settled in what is currently called Normandy, France. Under the leadership of Robert of Normandy, better known as Rollo, they were officially recognized as vassals of the King of France, though in truth, they had much more independence than one would expect.

In 1066, William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded England, leading his men in the Battle of Hastings, which they won but only by a narrow margin. William became William I, King of England. Wales, which had become fairly stable as four principalities: Gwynedd, Deheubarth, Powys, and Morgannwg (or Glamorgan). The Welsh principalities were engaged in ongoing warfare most of the time.

While William didn't personally try to conquer Wales, he established semi-independent earldoms at the borer at Chester, Shrewsbury, and Hereford, which he fortified heavily and gave the responsibility of armed incursion to his feudal vassals. Gwent was colonized in 1087, and most of the rest of southeast Wales was colonized by 1100. Soon, Norman castles were built all over Wales.

In 1075, a civil war in Wales gave cover to the Normans to capture the lands in North Wales. By 1093, it seemed that the Norman conquest of Wales was completed. But in 1094. there was a Welsh uprising against Norman rule, and little by little, the Welsh took their land back.

The Statute of Rhuddlan, which restricted all Welsh laws was passed in 1284, and in 1301, England's King Edward I gave the title Prince of Wales to his son and heir to the throne. Despite the fact that the Welsh and English had entirely different languages and cultures, they were essentially one country. Throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, rebellions broke out frequently, and in 1400, Owain Glyndŵr led the Welsh Revolt against King Henry IV. They were quite successful in the beginning, but their shortage of artillery made it difficult to capture ships and fortresses, as well as leaving the coastline of Wales wide open. In 1409, the British reclaimed the last of the Welsh holdings, though Glyndŵr managed to escape. King Henry V offers him a pardon twice, both of which he ignored, In spite of the fact that there were large rewards offered for his whereabouts, no one betrayed him to the British. The last documented sighting of him was in 1412, and his death was recorded by a former follower of his in 1415.

William Shakespeare wrote about Owain Glyndŵr, calling him by the anglicized version of his name, Owen Glendower, portraying him as an exotic and adventurous man whose life is ruled by emotion and magic.

In reaction to the uprising, England passed the Penal Laws against Wales, which prohibited the Welsh from carrying arms, living in fortified towns, or holding office, and in 1535, Wales was annexed by England under the Laws in Wales Acts.

Wales became a constituent country of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 per the Acts of Union 1707 and of the United Kingdom in 1801.

In 1925, a political party which advocates for independence, Plaid Cymru, was founded, and in 1997, the Welsh devolution referendum of 1997 was held, and voters approved, and the new National Assembly for Wales met for the first time in 1999.





Places to Stay

Property Sales & Rentals

Rhondda Cynon Taf




Recommended Resources

Search for Wales on Google, Bing, or Yahoo!