->''"Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,\\
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;\\
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mad,\\
Dros ryddid collasant eu gwaed."''[[note]]''The land of my fathers is dear to me, / Old land where the minstrels are honoured and free; / Its warring defenders so gallant and brave, / For freedom their life's blood they gave.'' -- but this translation isn't literal and so is actually possible to sing. The more literal version is impossible to sing to the same rhythm.[[/note]]

->''"Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad.\\
Tra mor yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,\\
O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau."''[[note]]''Home, home, true am I to my home, / While seas secure the land so pure, / O may the old language endure.''[[/note]]
-->-- '''The first verse and chorus of "Land of My Fathers", the Welsh National Anthem.'''

''Cymru'', the land of the Welsh Dragon, Music/TomJones, ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' and the rest of Creator/TheBBC Sci-fi/fantasy TV programs.

In [[AncientRome Roman times]], the whole of Great Britain was inhabited by a Celtic population. During the [[DarkAgeEurope Dark Ages]], the Germanic UsefulNotes/AngloSaxons invaded and took over most of the island, but one of the parts they didn't take over was the little corner we now call Wales.[[note]]The others were Scotland, Cornwall and Cumbria.[[/note]] Wales was conquered by the English in The Middle Ages, and became legally a part of the Kingdom of England -- which is why there's no "Welsh Bit" of the Union Jack, which was formed from the flags of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and, later, Ireland. Being conquered and repressed has given Wales both a strong sense of identity and the mother of all chips on shoulders. [[BerserkButton Do not call a Welshman English]]. It will cause immediate and lasting discomfort (The Scottish are often portrayed as having similar tendencies).

Although long treated as a separate nation to England for cultural purposes, Wales was still part of England for legal purposes until 1967. It was not until 1972 that its borders were clarified. [[AliensInCardiff Cardiff]] (''Caerdydd'') had been proclaimed the capital of Wales in 1955. This was mostly because it was Wales' largest city; there was no government based there at the time, and pre-conquest Wales never really had a fixed capital. Since 1999 Wales now has a devolved assembly based there, albeit one with less power than the [[UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}} Scottish]] Parliament. This reflects the overall state of Welsh affairs at the moment. Although Welsh is by far the healthiest modern Celtic language and Welsh identity is widespread and firm, the vast majority of Welsh are, all things considered, quite comfortable being British (not English, of course--''British''), and are certainly nowhere nearly as interested in independence as the Scots. Some have even noted a reluctance on the part of the Welsh Assembly itself to ask for more power from Westminster (in contrast to the Scottish Parliament, which even under the Scottish-Unionist Labour/Lib Dem coalition clearly wanted a bit more authority for itself).

The Welsh language is a Celtic tongue that predates the Roman conquest. It is related to Scottish Gaelic, the native language of Scotland; to Irish, the native language of Ireland; and Manx, spoken on the Isle of Man, though not so closely that speakers of Welsh and those languages can understand each other. Welsh is more closely related to Breton and Cornish (spoken in the northwestern French province of Brittany and UsefulNotes/{{Cornwall}}, respectively).

Welsh is generally regarded by English-speakers as a formidably difficult language, and a glance at the map shows such jaw-crackers as Machynlleth, Pwllheli, and the truly majestic [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch]]. As a result, Welsh speakers tend to find it absolutely hilarious when non-Welsh speakers try to pronounce Welsh words and names. That said, the pronunciation rules are consistent (unlike English) and once you know that a "u" is pronounced "ee"; "dd" is a hard "th" (as in 'there' rather than 'think') ; and a "ll" is a sort-of cross between 'l' and 'th', then it will always be so, although the actual spelling (and hence pronunciation) of a word may change depending on the word preceding it. "Cwm", that perennial favorite of crossword-puzzle enthusiasts, is pronounced "coom" (and means "a hollow in the side of a mountain"). Welsh vowels ('a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u', 'w', and 'y') have two distinct pronunciations: one long, one short. For example, 'mẁg' (with a vowel sound like the one in 'book') and mwg (vowel sound like in 'pool'). In addition there are two variations of "y", which can be heard in "yn" (like 'un-' as in 'unhealthy') and "byd" (like 'bead') (obscure and clear sounds, respectively). Welsh English often [[LikeIsLikeAComma uses "like"]] as an interjection, but [[RealityIsUnrealistic contrary to stereotypes]] [[TheCoconutEffect the word 'boyo' is practically nonexistent.]]

The Welsh language was suppressed with varying degrees of viciousness by the English from the Middle Ages right up until the 1960s, but since then it has become one of the best-subsidized minority languages in the world, and nowadays around 20% of Welsh people can speak some Welsh, with 14% claiming to use it on a daily basis. Northern and Southern versions differ in details, and 'gogs' (as North Walians are referred to in the South[[note]]Southerners are referred to as 'hwntws', that being everyone born on the 'wrong' (south) side of Cader Idris is a 'hwntw'[[/note]]) are sometimes said to sound like Russian porn stars. Welsh is accorded equal status with English within Wales, so all roadsigns and official notices have to be in both. (East of Conwy, English is given precedence. West of Conwy, Welsh comes first. Welsh language roadsignage generally begins at the border: visitors are often consternated that Welsh signage begins even before you have left Chester. (Big supermarkets in Oswestry, nominally inside England, have bilingual signage.)) The language is the butt of many jokes in England, usually along the lines of "Welsh is very difficult to speak unless you have either a lifetime's study, or a serious throat infection".[[note]]To be fair, the Dutch say the same thing about their own language.[[/note]] Welsh spellings are also the subject of English humor, sometimes being attributed either to anagrams of breakfast cereal names, some form of encrypted message used by intelligence agents, or escapees from Creator/HPLovecraft's less well-known works.

There is also a community of Welsh-speakers in Argentina, dating back to the 19th century, and Welsh is spoken in Patagonia, albeit with a Spanish accent.

Wales is notable for its sheep population -- c. 10.9 million of them against a human population of about three million. So, the [[BestialityIsDepraved usual jokes]] apply. Wales is also notable for its level of rainfall -- even more so than [[UsefulNotes/BritishWeather the UK as a whole]]. Second city Swansea (''Abertawe'') officially holds the distinction of "wettest city in Britain".

The majority of the population live in the southeastern corner, in the corridor between Swansea and Newport. The mountainous middle of Wales is quite sparsely populated. This, as well as the lack of north-to-south transport links (trains from Cardiff to North Wales go through England), mean there is a degree of cultural separation between the North and South of Wales. Historically, Wales' population was more dispersed, but South Wales (and to a lesser extent, Wrexham and the North East) boomed in the 19th century due to immense coal deposits. A lot of Welsh cultural identity stems from the 19th-century mining industry, when "the Valleys" saw religious revivals, the enthusiastic adoption of the game of Rugby, and a great tradition of choral singing.

The heavily industrial economy ensured that Welsh politics have always favoured the left. This has continued after the industry declined, as UsefulNotes/MargaretThatcher is often blamed for the post-industrial misfortunes of regions like "The Valleys" (to the north of Cardiff). In 1997 and 2001, the Conservatives failed to win a single Welsh seat, although they have since made some inroads. Wales also has its own secessionist party ''Plaid Cymru'' ("Party of Wales"), who tend to have the most support in the rural areas.

A lot of people in Wales are called Jones, Williams or Davies, due to the way the Welsh {{UsefulNotes/Patronymic}} naming system was Anglicised -- people in small villages will have to use their first names or get nicknames to distinguish each other. Traditionally these were often in the form of "Surname The Occupation", such as Jones The Steam [engine driver] from ''Ivor the Engine''. This results in SAT exams (see UsefulNotes/BritishEducationSystem) having to have candidate numbers in Wales. This is also the case with soldiers in Welsh army regiments, who even in the late 20th century were still identified by their unique Army number and not by one of a limited number of family names. Although Jones is traditionally considered ''the'' Welsh surname, current surveys show that the most common surname nowadays is Williams -- Owen, Jones and Powell then tied for the next most populous name with Davies and Hughes coming up not far behind.

There are two regiments of the British Army that require their officer candidates to be fluent, and ideally bilingual, in a language other than English. One is the Gurkha Rifles and the other is the Royal Welch Fusiliers (they were founded in 1690, [[InsistentTerminology and still insist on the archaic spelling]] of the word currently rendered as "Welsh").

See also UsefulNotes/{{Portmeirion}}.
!!There are a lot of famous Welsh people such as:
* Music/TomJones - world famous singer, with a reputation for women throwing their knickers at him.
* Music/{{Duffy}} - a UK famous singer, who hasn't had any pants or knickers thrown at her yet.
* [[Music/ShirleyBassey Dame Shirley Bassey]].
* Creator/CatherineZetaJones - world famous actress. Oh, and singer (sort of) in ''Film/{{Chicago}}''.
* Katherine Jenkins, who like Charlotte Church really CAN sing, and unlike Charlotte Church has wisely decided to stay with what she knows best.
* Aled Jones -- another Welsh singer, most famous (as a boy) for his cover version of "Walking in the Air" from ''ComicBook/TheSnowman''. He now regularly presents the God-Slot religious show on BBC Radio Two every Sunday morning and is an occassional religious presenter on BBC television.
* Creator/RussellTDavies.
* Creator/RayMilland.
* Creator/AnthonyHopkins. You know, ''AGlassOfChianti''...
* Creator/JohnRhysDavies.
* Creator/RichardBurton.
* Bertrand Russell, the philosopher and mathematician, was born at Trellech in Monmouthshire and died almost one hundred years later at Penrhyndeudraeth.
* Creator/DesmondLlewelyn. [[GadgeteerGenius Q]] in the Film/JamesBond films.
* Creator/TimothyDalton. The fourth Film/JamesBond actor, and a prolific Shakespearean.
* Creator/MarkLewisJones.
* Creator/DylanThomas, poet whose best known work is "Literature/DoNotGoGentleIntoThatGoodNight". See ''Discworld/SoulMusic'' for Creator/TerryPratchett's take on this.
* Music/JohnCale, musician and former member of The Music/VelvetUnderground.
* Creator/MiltonJones, comic.
* Creator/ChristianBale, born in Pembrokeshire but raised in Southern England from early childhood. (Incidentally, he voiced [[Anime/HowlsMovingCastle Howl]] in the film's English dub).
* Author Creator/JasperFforde was not born in Wales, but lived there for a while, and "[[BalkanizeMe The Socialist Republic of Wales]]" features prominently in several ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' books. Its background and AlternateHistory are [[http://www.jasperfforde.com/sovietreppage2.html All Here]] [[AllThereInTheManual on the Internet]].
* Creator/AlastairReynolds.
* Comedians Rob Brydon, Ruth Jones and Rhod Gilbert.
* Wrestler Mason Ryan, former Florida Heavyweight champion and now heel for Wrestling/TheNexus on WWE.
** TNA wrestling also has their own wrestling Welshman, Rob Terry.
* Actor Creator/MichaelSheen, from Newport and Port Talbot. Cinema's very own UsefulNotes/TonyBlair.
* Creator/RhysIfans, a first language Welsh-speaker and main example of a 'Gog' accent (from North Wales).
* ''Hornblower'' actor Creator/IoanGruffudd, also a Cymro [[note]]"Cymraeg" only means "Welsh" in the sense that it's the name of the language. An individual Welshmen is a "Cymro", a Welshwoman is a "Cymraes", collectively or plurally they are "Cymry" and their country is "Cymru". Anything else that's Welsh is "Cymreig". [[/note]] -- but a Welsh speaker from South Wales (Glamorgan).
* Music/CharlotteChurch, from Cardiff.
* Gavin Henson, rugby player and noted sun-bed user, sometimes referred to as 'Tango Man' for this reason.
* Gareth Bale, footballer who was formerly a winger for [[UsefulNotes/EnglishPremierLeague Tottenham Hotspur]] before being sold for a record-breaking transfer fee to Real Madrid.
* Creator/TerryJones of Creator/MontyPython.
* Creator/ArthurMachen, an author whose ''Literature/TheGreatGodPan'' and other stories were a major influence on Creator/HPLovecraft.
* Ruth Madoc, comic actress.
* Creator/IwanRheon, singer and actor (Best known as Simon in ''Series/{{Misfits}}'' and Ramsay Bolton from ''Series/GameOfThrones''), from Cardiff.
* Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, was born in Wales, except she was naturalised in Australia as a youngster - first-generation Australians are recognised by the law as Australians but some Australian citizens whose ancestry goes back further tend to disagree.
* Creator/HarrySecombe, ''Series/GoonShow'' straight man as Harry Seagoon, comedian, singer and presenter of religious shows.
* Myfanwy Talog, Welsh-language actress, wife of English comic actor Creator/DavidJason. Now deceased but a mainstay of soap opera ''Pobol Y Cwm'' for many years. Also voiced Welsh characters in English-language animations such as ''WesternAnimation/CountDuckula'' and ''Supermouse''.
* Green Gartside, frontman of Music/ScrittiPolitti.
* Music/BonnieTyler.
* Singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis of Music/MarinaAndTheDiamonds.
* WebVideo/{{Welshy}}, Channel Awesome video producer.
* Bryn Terfel, world famous operatic bass-baritone.
* UsefulNotes/DavidLloydGeorge, [[UsefulNotes/TheMenOfDowningStreet Prime Minister]] 1916-22. The only Welsh PM of the United Kingdom thus far (all the others have been English or Scottish, or in [[UsefulNotes/BonarLaw one case]], Canadian). Born in Manchester to Welsh parents, and raised a Welsh-speaker in Caernarfonshire--and thus also the only PM so far not to have English as his native language. The custom of holding the investiture of the Prince of Wales in Wales (specifically at Castle Caernarfon) came about at his insistence when [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor Prince Edward]] (later Edward VIII) came of age in 1911 (Lloyd George was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time), and he taught the Prince a few words of Welsh for the occasion.
** UsefulNotes/JamesCallaghan, though he didn't come from Wales, held a seat in Cardiff.
* Creator/EveMyles

!!Welsh TV shows:
* ''[[Series/CmonMidffild C'Mon Midffîld]]'': north Welsh {{Sitcom}}, the most successful Welsh comedy.
* ''Series/PobolYCwm'': south Wales SoapOpera.
* ''Series/DimByd'': a sketch show.
* ''[[Series/YGwyll Y Gwyll/Hinterland]]'': a bilingual Mid-Wales detective drama in the vein of NordicNoir like ''Series/{{Wallander}}'', ''Series/BronBroen'', or ''Series/{{Forbrydelsen}}''.
* ''WesternAnimation/FiremanSam'' was originally broadcast in Welsh and takes place in Pontypandy, a portmandeau of Pontypyrid and Tonypandy, two towns in Rhonda Cynon Taf.

!!Famous Welsh Bands:
* {{Badfinger}}.
* Budgie.
* BulletForMyValentine.
* {{Catatonia}}.
* {{Feeder}}.
* Music/FuneralForAFriend.
* Goldie Lookin Chain.
* Hybrid.
* Music/{{Lostprophets}}.
* Music/ManicStreetPreachers.
* Music/{{Stereophonics}}.
* Music/SuperFurryAnimals.
** This band, which usually records most of their music in English, often includes at least a few Welsh language songs on their albums, culminating in 2000's ''Mwng'', [[OverlyNarrowSuperlative the best selling Welsh-language album in rock history]].
* Gorky's Zygotic Mynci.
* The Automatic.
* The Oppressed.
* Music/LosCampesinos.
** All the members of this band are actually English, but they all met at university in Cardiff and have adopted the city as their home
* Mclusky.
** and its SpiritualSuccessor, Future of the Left.
* People in Planes.
* Music/TheAlarm.

!!Famous Fictional Welsh People:
* Pixie from the ''Comicbook/XMen'' comics.
* Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones and Rhys Williams, ''Series/{{Torchwood}}''.
* Fluellen, ''[[Creator/WilliamShakespeare Henry V]]''.
* Wizard Howl, of ''[[Literature/HowlsMovingCastle Moving Castle]]'' fame.
* Literature/BrotherCadfael.
* Negi Springfield from ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' Well, he spent a good deal of his childhood there.
* The West clan of ''Series/GavinAndStacey'', plus their friends and neighbors.
** Also from Ruth Jones, ''A Child's Christmases in Wales.''
* ''Ivor the Engine''.
* Several characters from Channel 4's classic sketch show ''Absolutely'', particularly DIY 'expert' Denzil and his equally repulsive wife, Gwyneth (played by Welsh comedy actor John Sparks and Morwenna Banks).
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''[='=]s Welshy, a RedShirt replacement for ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'''s Scotty
* Able Seaman Goldstein from ''Radio/TheNavyLark'', apparently he joined the Navy to work his passage to Swansea.
* Madoc and all of his descendants in ''A Swiftly Tilting Planet.''
* ''The Owl Service'' by Creator/AlanGarner is set in Wales, based on themes from the Mabinogion.
* ''The Grey King'', part of the series ''Literature/TheDarkIsRising'', is set in Wales and has a Welsh-speaking boy as its second-most-important character.
* Jeff (the [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} crazy one]]) from ''Series/{{Coupling}}''.
* The setting of the ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain'' is based on Welsh mythology.
* The country of Llamedos on the Literature/{{Discworld}} is an extreme parody of Welsh stereotypes, best known as the original home of [[Discworld/SoulMusic Imp y Celyn]] and noted for its ''rain mines''.
** Llamedos is "Sod 'em all" backwards, a joke taken from the fictional village of Llareggub ("Bugger all") in Creator/DylanThomas's ''Theatre/UnderMilkWood''.
* The Myth/KingArthur of Welsh legend was a Celtic Briton and not necessarily considered to hail from (what is today) Wales, but as the descendants of the Britons, the Welsh always considered him as one of their heroes. Likely as a direct result, Sir Ystin from ''ComicBook/DemonKnights''.
** Percival is assimilated to the Welsh hero Peredur in some versions.
* Swansea-born Edward Kenway is the protagonist of ''Videogame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag''
* Myth/{{Merlin}}. The original Merlin was a bard called Myrddin, the founder of Carmarthen (from Caer Myrddin, "Merlin's City").
* Ddraig of ''LightNovel/HighSchoolDXD'' is a Welsh Dragon. [[ADogNamedDog And of course his name means Dragon in Welsh]]. It's implied that he looks like a realistic version of the dragon on the Welsh flag.
* Creator/{{Humon}}'s ''Webcomic/ScandinaviaAndTheWorld'' plays on all the stereotypes in the character of Brother Wales, who is in a meaningful relationship with New Zealand (portrayed as a sheep). The Welsh language, as it appears to this particular Great Dane, is explored '''[[http://satwcomic.com/welsh-smash here]]'''. [[note]]Welsh people found it pretty funny and it has even been translated into Welsh.[[/note]]


[[folder: The Welsh flag ]]

->The flag's white and green halves recall the colors of the House of Tudor, itself a Welsh family; at the center is the Welsh Dragon ("Y Ddraig Goch", or "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Red Dragon]]" in Welsh), said to have been the standard of KingArthur and other Celtic warlords.
-->"The land where history sleeps, and so does everybody else."
-->-- '''Griff Rhys Jones'''

-->"I think most of all, the Welsh were doomed by English superiority to become objects of terminal quaintness. The quaint language, the quaint songs. Those amusing choirs and chants"
-->-- '''Simon Schama's A History of Britain'''