WalesCategory: Land + People
Wales— principality forming wide peninsula on W of island of Great Britain; part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; 7469 sq.m.; bounded on N by Irish Sea, on E by England, on S by Bristol Channel, on W by St. George’s Channel.
Almost entirely an upland region; highest mountains Snowdon massif in NW 3560 ft, highest point in England and Wales.
Its chief streams are the Dee in N, upper course of Severn in E, and Conway in N; numerous small lakes. Coast line irregular, indented by wide bays, esp. Cardigan Bay on W. Only large island is Anglesey off NW coast, separated from mainland by narrow Menai Strait. Chief cities Cardiff, Swansea, Rhondda and Merthyr Tydfil.
History: Inhabited in prehistoric times by the Celts, the Cymric, or Brythonic, people, conquered by Romans in their occupation of Britain; remained Celtic during Anglo-Saxon invasions; in 12th cent. Normans established marches on Welsh border and S Wales; N Wales conquered by Edward I 1277-84 and Wales made an English principality by Statute of Wales 1284; since 1301 the heir to the English throne has been Prince of Wales.
From Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, 1959.