Welsh History

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A little Welsh History

Wales has had a very long and difficult history. The nation has suffered through many invasions. The Ancient Romans invaded Wales in AD 48 and ruled over the area into the 4th century. After the Romans left many regional tribes and king fought for control of tiny principalities.

By the 11th century Norman forces from Britain began a series of brutal invasions. British kings like Edward the First exploited the bickering of Welsh leaders to take control of vast swatches of Wales. Sometimes the Welsh could launch their own attacks, pushing back British forces, leading to centuries of armed conflict. For this reason Wales has the most castles per square mile in the world as generations upon generations of new factions built bigger and better fortresses in order to remain in control.

By the 15th century Wales could no longer hold out from the power of Britain. Wales was completely under the control Britain. At first the British were relatively lax, but when the Tudor family took the throne at the end of the War of the Roses King Henry VII passed a series of strict laws in Wales. The Welsh legal system was abolished, the Welsh language was stripped of any official use, and the Welsh were no longer legally their own people.

For the centuries to come the Welsh struggled to maintain their identity and keep their language alive. Repressive British laws kept the Welsh poor and the only way people could make money was to leave their Welsh names and heritages behind them. By the opening of the 20th century Welsh was a minority language and by World War II it was in danger of disappearing all together.

Fortunately, in the last half of the 20th century there was a Welsh cultural revival. The British government began to recognize the Welsh as a people and gave them far more freedom, after considerable struggle. The Welsh government now encourages Welsh culture and language and hopes to preserve it well into the future. Wales also has started to prosper financially, becoming one of the richest areas on the globe.

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Online Welsh lessons for kids: dinolingo.com

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