Wales is probably the best country you’ve never heard of.  Mainly due to our larger, somewhat overpowering neighbour but also because many Welsh people are very self-effacing.  OK, well some are… 😉

Facts & History

Here’s a few facts to help you get to know us better:

  • Neanderthals lived in Cymru (Wales), at least 230,000 years ago, while Homo sapiens arrived by about 31,000 BC. Modern humans have lived here since the end of the last ice age around 9000 BC
  • Wales has more castles per square mile than any other European country, with Caerphilly being the largest in Wales. If it’s original outer walls were still intact it would be one of the largest in the world

  • The corgi dog originates from Wales. The Queen has the Pembroke version, not the Cardigan one though
  • Spillers Records, located in Cardiff, South Wales, claims to be the oldest record shop in the world

  • Although Norwegian, Roald Dahl, the world famous children’s author of so many tales including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG, was born in Cardiff in 1916
  • The Welsh village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the second longest place name in the world meaning: St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the red cave

  • Joseph ‘Job’ Daniels from Aberystwyth, West Wales, emigrated to the US in the 18th century. His grandson Jack went on to create the world renowned Jack Daniels whisky
  • Rugby is the national sport of Wales. The first international game took place in 1881 between Wales and England. Throughout 1907 and 1910, the Welsh were undefeated

  • Bill Frost was a poor Welsh inventor who flew 8 years before the Wright brothers in his ‘Flying Machine’ in Saundersfoot 1895 before crashing into a tree
  • South Wales once supplied 40% of all coal exported by the UK

  • The world’s first radio message sent by Guglielmo Marconi in 1897 took a 3 mile journey from Larvernock Point, south of Penarth, to Flat Holm in the Bristol Channel
  • Wales has produced some of the finest actors of all time – Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Sheen (all hail a stone’s throw away from Port Talbot)

  • Al Capone’s accountant Llewelyn Humphreys, aka Murray the Hump, came from a Powys family and at one point was America’s most wanted man. There is a Welsh band named after him
  • Every year an Eisteddfod, a festival of poetry, literature and music, is conducted across Wales, with the first being held in 1176

  • The first boundary between England and Wales came in 784AD with the creation of Offa’s Dyke by King Offa of Mercia (as far as history bods can tell anyway)
  • The Welsh flag of red, green and white was officially recognised from 1959. The dragon allegedly came from an Arthurian legend which told of wizard Merlin’s vision of a red dragon fighting a white one

  • St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was either Welsh or Cumbrian. Some say he was from Banwen in the Dulais Valley, and was apparently taken to Ireland by Irish slavers
  • Dylan Thomas, the world renowned poet was born in Wales in 1914

  • Wales were the first nation to win the Rugby Grand Slam when they beat Ireland in Belfast in 1908. The team had to wear trial jerseys without the Prince of Wales feathers because someone packed the wrong kit!
  • Mount Everest is named after Welshman Sir George Everest

  • A fifth of the population can speak Welsh
  • The Welsh love-spoon is an iconic symbol across the world, originally carved by men to their respective lover’s family as a sign he was capable and skilled with his hands

  • Ogof Ffynnon Dddu near Abercraf is the deepest cave in Britain at 1,010ft deep
  • The great glasshouse in the National Botanical Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire, is the largest single-span glasshouse in the world, measuring 312ft in length and 180ft in width

  • The oldest tree in Wales is the Llangernyw Yew in St Digain’s church yard, Llangernyw, near Conwy. It’s approximately 4,000 years old
  • Cardiff’s Coal Exchange (completed in 1886) used to determine the price of the world’s coal. In 1907 the world’s first £1m deal was struck there

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