Name of the stateless nation: Cymru
State or states this nation belongs to: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
1. Physical and human environment
Area 20,732 km2 (1)
Altimetric zones (% of total surface) No available data
Lower than 200 m
Higher than 2,000 m
Biogeographical regions (% of total surface)
Land use (% of total surface) (1)
Inner waters and wetlands -
Forests and open spaces 13%
Agricultural land 77%
Urban and artificial areas 10%
Though divided into several kingdoms during most of the Middle Ages, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, ruler of the Kingdom of Gwynedd, managed to establish a coalition of rulers from all around Wales to oppose English threat in 13th century. Llywelyn was recognised by king Henry III of England as Prince of Wales, the first time ever a Welsh ruler was admitted to have rights over the whole of Wales. This was an important milestone for the concept of Welsh territorial unity, even if at the death of Llywelyn (1282), the Welsh lands were annexed by England (but the title of Prince of Wales was retained by the English sovereign).
Later on, the Welsh revolted on several occasions against England. One of the most important revolts was Owain Glyndŵr's in the 15th century, which later on was taken by Welsh nationalism as a symbol of the will of the Welsh people not to be dissolved into England.
Welsh nationalism began to rise in late 19th century. The establishment of Cymru Fydd (an organization calling for Welsh self-government) was one of its main expressions. Others were movements in favour of the recovery of Welsh culture (the revival of the Eisteddfod) and against the fact that the Church of England was the official established church of Wales.
The influence of Welsh nationalism grew along the 20th century. This led to the establishment of the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru in 1925. The party sought self-government for Wales (an idea that was also admitted by some members of the Liberal and Labour parties) and a prominent place for the Welsh language.
A sharp rise in Plaid Cymru's vote in the 1970s led the government of the UK to prepare a limited devolution for Wales. The proposal was submitted to referendum in 1979, but suffered a heavy defeat. The idea was shelved until 1997, when a very narrow majority voted in favour of a devolved assembly. The demand for further powers rapidly grew during subsequent years, leading to another referendum in 2011 by means of which the Welsh Assembly was allowed to pass laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for.
1: Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom (2005).
Name of President / Prime Minister / Other
Carwyn Howell Jones (Prime Minister)
Political status as part of the State
Self-governing country of the United Kingdom
Competences attributed / recognized by the State (1)
Agriculture, Forestry, Animals, Plants and Rural Development; Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings; Culture; Economic Development; Education and Training; Environment; Fire and Rescue Services and Fire Safety; Food; Health and Health Services; Highways and Transport; Housing; Local Government; National Assembly for Wales; Public Administration; Social Welfare; Sport and Recreation; Tourism; Town and Country Planning; Water and Flood Defence; Welsh Language.
National Assembly for Wales (unicameral, 60 members), with legislative capacity
Judicial institutions are shared with England.
Committee of Regions, as a part of the UK delegation (3).
British-Irish Council (aimed at promoting relationships between Britain, Ireland, Man and the Channel Islands)
British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (aimed at fostering understanding between members of the legislatures of UK, Rep. of Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Man, Jersey and Guernsey)
Welsh Assembly Government EU Office
Offices of the Welsh government in China, UAE, USA, India and Japan
Memorandums of Understanding have been signed with a number of non-state territories: Catalonia, Brittany, New South Wales, Chubut (Patagonia), Baden-Wurttemberg, Silesia (Poland), Latvia, and Chongqing (China) (4).
Territorial and local organization (counties, provinces, districts, municipal bodies, etc.)
Wales is divided into 22 unitary authorities (county and county borough councils), which are responsible for the provision of a range of public services. Each one is governed by a directly elected council (4).
Main Political Parties
Political parties having (or having had in the past) representatives at the national level
Plaid Cymru (The Party of Wales). Social democracy, sovereignist
Welsh Labour, Social democracy, autonomist
Welsh Liberal Party, Liberal, autonomist
Welsh Conservative & Unionist Party, Conservative, autonomist
Nationalist organizations of civil society
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (pressure group campaigning for the Welsh language and communities in Wales, understanding that Welsh is an fundamental pillar of the Welsh nation).
Cymuned (community pressure group devoted to the strengthening of Welsh local communities and Welsh language, from a Welsh national point of view).
1: National Assembly for Wales (2013).
2: Memorandum of Understanding and Supplementary Agreements Between the United Kingdom Government, the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers, and the Northern Ireland Executive Committee (2011).
3: Commite of Regions (2013).
4: Welsh Government (2013).
Total population 3,067,500 (1)
Density 148/km2 (2)
Age structure (1)
over 65 18.4%
In the capital city 11.28% (1)
In other major cities:
Annual growth 2‰ (3)
Net migration rate 2.5‰ (5)
Life expectancy (6)
Men: 77.2 years
Women: 81.6 years
1: Office for National Statistics' Statistical Bulletin for Wales (estimate for 2011).
2: According to population estimate 2011.
3: Office for National Statistics' Statistical Bulletin for Wales (estimate for 2010).
4: Office for National Statistics' “Regional Trends” March 2010.
5: Welsh Government – StatsWales (2009-2010).
6: Office for National Statistics' Statistical Bulletin for Wales 94/2010
Language areas (whether vernacular or not)
Welsh: across the country, with higher densities in the north and west and lower in the south and east
Number and percentage of speakers of each vernacular language over the total population
Welsh: 575,730 (21%) (1)
Official languages and languages recognized by the authorities
in the territory of the nation
Vernacular languages of the nation which are official in or recognized by the state
Welsh (officially recognized by the UK under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages)
national vernacular languages official or recognized outside the state (by other states and/or by international organizations)
Welsh (recognized as “co-official language” within EU institutions since 5th July 2008 at the request of the UK Government) (2)
Use of vernacular languages
In public administration
No According to the Welsh Language Measure 2011, Welsh is an official language, something that is “given legal effect by the enactments about”, among other things, “duties on bodies to use the Welsh language, and the rights which arise from the enforceability of those duties, which enable Welsh speakers to use the language in dealings with those bodies (such as the provision of services by those bodies)” (3).
In 2012, the Welsh Language Commissioner has drafted a set of provisions in order to increase the commitment of public bodies towards the Welsh language. In general, plans by the Commissioner are guided by a principle included in the Welsh Language Measure: “Welsh language is [to be] treated no less favourably than the English language”. It is now up to Welsh ministers to enforce these provisions (4).
Section 22 of the Welsh Language Act 1993 states that “In any legal proceedings in Wales the Welsh language may be spoken by any party, witness or other person who desires to use it, subject in the case of proceedings in a court other than a magistrates' court to such prior notice as may be required by rules of court; and any necessary provision for interpretation shall be made accordingly”. This section has not been repealed by the Welsh Language Measure 2011
Welsh is the language used to teach pupils in Welsh-medium schools. In January 2012 there were 62,446 pupils in Welsh medium primary schools (23.8% of the total pupils of this level in Wales) and 41,262 pupils in Welsh medium secondary schools (20.8% of the total pupils of this level in Wales). All pupils in Wales, regardless if they attend Welsh medium schools or not, have to learn Welsh as a compulsory subject up to age 16
In place names (toponymy)
Section 25 of the Welsh Language Act 1993 states that “where a name is conferred by an Act of Parliament on any body, office or place, the appropriate Minister may by order confer on the body, office or place an alternative name in Welsh” and that “where an Act of Parliament gives power, exercisable by statutory instrument, to confer a name on anybody, office or place, the power shall include power to confer alternative names in English and Welsh”. Moreover, the Welsh government stated in 2006 that “the signs for which we are responsible (mostly motorway and trunk road signs) will be bilingual. Signs which are in English only at the moment will be made bilingual when they are replaced”
In cultural production (books, movies)
Some 600 books published in Welsh yearly (2001). IMDb film database lists 23 Welsh-language films produced since 1935, 9 of them since 2000
In the media and the internet
Audiovisual Media: Welsh medium S4C was established in 1982 and has continued to broadcast in Welsh since, including a more recent on-line platform.
Radio / Audio: “Welsh language radio seems to have stagnated in terms of development. There has not been an explosion of web-based radio in Welsh and community radio is poorly distributed and patchy in terms of the amount of Welsh language speech and songs that it plays. In this multiplatform and multichannel age there is still only one national Welsh language station -BBC Radio Cymru [...]. One shining beacon of innovation and independent spirit within this area is Radio Amgen (Alternative Radio) which has been webcasting and podcasting since 2001.”
Internet Media: “There exist Welsh language communities online across many networks, blogs and other sites with a wide range of material produced on a daily basis. There are few ‘Welsh only' networks with much of this activity taking place on worldwide US-originated platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. [...] Estimates of the number of active Welsh language blogs range from 50-100 and many can be seen through the blog aggregator Blogiadur.”
News Media “[The] publisher of Golwg weekly magazine [...] in May 2009 launched Golwg360, an online only service providing Welsh and international news.” Another service is BBC Cymru news service. “Wales has a strong tradition of creating monthly community newspapers, called Papurau Bro. On the whole, these are still communally edited and delivered by hand and although some attempts have been made to migrate material online, few have been successful.”.
Speakers of other languages
No official data for the general population; CILT Cymru assessed in 2010 that in Welsh secondary schools there were pupils speaking Czech, Roma, Bengali, Panjabi, Somali, Polish, Cantonese, Urdu and Arabic, among many others
1: Welsh Government (2001).
2: European Commission – Office in Wales (2013).
3: Welsh Language Measure (2011).
4: Welsh Language Commissioner (2013).
5: “The provision of support for community languages in secondary schools in Wales: A research report”, by CILT-Cymru (2010).
5. Transport infrastructure
Only one airport operates international flights as of 2012: Cardiff. International flights from Anglesey airport have been discussed.
Dual carriageways (1)
Toll motorways (2)
Conventional rail (3)
High speed railways (2)
178 km (4)
Density of transport infrastructure
Roads and motorways
1,673 km / 1000 km2
1,131 km / 100,000 inhabitants
53 km / 1000 km2
36 km / 100,000 inhabitants
Trans-border connections (Number of trans-border connections for each kind of transport infrastructure / kilometres of border line)
Road: 42 / 257 km = 1 every 6.11 km
Rail: 9 / 257 km = 1 every 28.5 km
Trading ports (more than 1 million tons per year) (4)
Aberdaugleddau, Port Talbot, Caergybi, Caerdydd, Casnew ydd
3 : 2008.
4 : 2010.
6. Education and culture
Educational attainment of the adult population (%; aged 25 and over) (1):
No attainment at all 12%
Lower secondary 21%
Upper secondary 20%
Culture (expenditure per person / year) No data available
Museums, libraries, etc.
Other cultural goods or services
Books published: some 600 books per year published in Welsh (2001) (2)
Musical works published:
1: Office for National Statistics' Statistical Bulletin for Wales 95/2011.
2: Rights.com “Digitisation and Electronic Publishing: developing a strategy for book publishing in Wales” (2001).
7. Armed and police forces in its territory (Number of troops and police officers)
4,590 service and civilian personnel (2011), including Army, Navy and Air Forces (2,820 service personnel and 1,760 civil personnel) (1)
1,470 territorial army (reserve force) service personnel (2012) (2)
There is a number of special police bodies having specific jurisdictions, such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the British Transport Police and others
National police 7,367 full-time equivalent (FTE) police officers in Wales (2009) (3)
Local police No local police forces
1: UK Data Service (2011).
2: Parliament of the UK Publications and Records (2012).
3: Office for National Statistics' Statistical Bulletin for Wales 10/2010.
Currency: British pound sterling (GBP).
GVA (in million €) 60,124 (2)
Annual growth GVA 3.5% (3)
GVA per capita (€) 20,006 (4)
Composition of GVA: Agriculture 0.74%, Industry 25.02%, Services 74.24%
Inflation rate No data available
Unemployment rate 8.3% (5)
Energy balance (thousands of TOE) and energy import coverage rate - No data available
Energy production (thousands of TOE) No data available
Natural gas 46% (6)
Petroleum products 0.2% (6)
Coal 20.3% (6)
Nuclear 19% (6)
Renewables 5% (6)
Energy consumption (thousands of TOE)
Natural gas 43.1%
Petroleum products 30.1%
Imports (mill €) No data available
Exports (mill €) 15,833 (only outside the UK) (7)
Trade balance (+ mill €) and import coverage rate (%) No data available
1: Gross Value Added.
2: 2008. Office for National Statistics' “Regional Trends” March 2010.
5: StatsWales Quarterly Unemployment Rate.
6: Department of Energy and Climate Change (2009).
7: Office for National Statistics' Statistical Bulletin for Wales 94/2012.
9. National symbols
Y Ddraig Goch
Coat of arms
No official coat of arms. Since 2008, Wales has an official badge, the Royal Badge of Wales
There is no official national anthem of Wales, but Welsh institutions make a de facto official use of “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” (“Old Land Of My Fathers”), which has Welsh language lyrics:
(Pennill Cyntaf - First stanza)
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.
(Cytgan - Chorus)
Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad.
Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau.
(Ail Bennill - Second stanza)
Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd,
Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i'm golwg sydd hardd;
Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si
Ei nentydd, afonydd, i mi.
(Cytgan - Chorus)
(Trydydd Pennill - Third stanza)
Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad tan ei droed,
Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed,
Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.
(Cytgan - Chorus)
An English translation can be found here: