Welsh History

Discussion in 'Writers' Corner' started by SoulPunisher, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Wrote something in the controversial section last night that made me feel like doing this. I don't know why. Enjoy, I guess. Maybe you'll learn something useful.

    Here's the history of Wales for u

    if you want me to separate the text walls with pictures pls ask
  2. Part I: Independence

    After having been around since 2000 BC, covering modern-day Wales and England, the Britons came under the control of the Roman Empire in 48 AD. They were largely autonomous. By 500 AD, they were now fully Christian and had influence from both the Romans and there was also a large amount of Irish colonisation in modern day Wales. They also used both the Latin and Ogham alphabet.

    The Romans withdrew from the island in 410 AD, after suffering pressure from Eastern Germanic tribes. Two of these tribes were the Angles and the Saxons. In 616, the Battle of Chester occurred: the Brittonic Kingdoms of Powys, Gwynedd, and possibly the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia fought against the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria for control of Yr Hen Ogledd (the Old North). The Kings of all the Welsh kingdoms were killed and the Britonnic monks who watched the battle were massacred on the orders of Northumbria.

    The Anglo-Saxons had now conquered Southern and Northern England and pushed the Britons into the most far-western corner of the island, split into multiple small kingdoms: the Anglo-Saxons called them 'the Welsh' and the place in which they lived was called 'Wales'. 'Welsh', in Old English, meant 'foreigner', and 'Wales' meant 'Land of the Foreigners'.

    The Kingdom of Gwynedd allied itself with the Kingdom of Mercia against Northumbria and even managed to take control of it in 633. However, the King of Northumbria's son retook the Kingdom and Gwynedd was forced to turn on Mercia to counter its growing power (Mercia became one of the strongest nations in Europe). Powys's capital, Pengwern (meaning 'the alder hill', modern day Shrewsbury), was taken by Mercia in 778 and renamed to Shrewsbury in 800. In Modern Welsh, the town is now known as 'Amwythig', meaning 'fortified place'.

    According to Cyfraith Hywel, the system of law that Wales followed until 1283, the land was not for Kingdoms to rule absolutely. The King could choose an edling, which could be a son born legitimately or illegitimately, to rule certain parts, often annoying someone who would then cause infighting for the succession. As such, Wales was split between many tiny kingdoms, unlike the Anglo-Saxons, who had consolidated Wessex, Sussex, Essex, Mercia, and Northumbria into the giant Lloegyr (Welsh for 'The Lost Land', also known in English as England) in the year 899. They also suffered sustained Viking attacks and were unable to unite against the Norse threat, unlike the English had.

    However, in 1055, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn united the entirety of Wales under one flag. He ruled with no challenge to his Kingship, and he decided to retake the lands the Britons had lost. He extended the Welsh border into England, until 1063, when England's King, Harold Godwinsson, defeated Gruffyd in battle and Gruffy's own men killed him. Wales fell apart back into its non-united borders. As for Harold Godwinsson? He got killed in 1066 by the Norman King William, leading to the rise of the English language and identity, the Angevin Empire, and world history as we know it. The Anglo-Saxons were now being slaughtered and England was a vassal state of France.

    King William's close relative, William Fitz Osbern, and the new Norman Earl of Shrewsbury, invaded Gwent in 1070 and began to ravage Deheubarth. The King of the united Gwynedd and Powys was killed by the King of Deheubarth in 1075 plunged Wales into civil war and the Normans invaded the vulnerable areas of North Wales. The new King of Gwynedd, was invited to a friendly meeting by the Earl of Shrewsbury and the Earl of Chester: they imprisoned him and asserted control of Gwynedd. King William advanced into Dyfed and also took control of Deheubarth. The Norman conquest of Wales was complete.

    Fun fact: it was around this time that, in English law, if you murdered a Welshman with a bow and arrow, it was not actually murder and you could fatally shoot as many of them as you wanted if you were English.

    BUT WAIT! The Welsh weren't done with independence yet! They revolted against their new Norman overlords in 1094 and won large amounts of territory back, and they restored the Kingdom of Gwynedd, which became strong, even going to war with England alongside the restored Kingdom of Deheubarth in 1136 and winning back even more lost territory. King William was dead and England was plunged into a power struggle between King Stephen and Empress Matilda for the throne, and Gwynedd used this fact to advance further into England than they had since they lost it to the Anglo-Saxons 700 years before. The first ever Eisteddfod, a celebration of Welsh music, literature and culture, was hosted in 1176. Llewellyn Fawr (Llewellyn the Great) had, by 1240, reunited most of Wales into one Kingdom, with Abergwyngregyn as its capital. However, England refused to acknowledge Llewellyn's land claims despite having already signed two agreements that the claims were valid, and war broke out on 1282's Palm Sunday. Llewellyn was eventually lured into a peace meeting at an English castle and murdered along with his army - Game of Thrones Red Wedding style. His brother attempted to resist, continuing the war, but he was eventually captured and hanged at Shrewsbury in 1283. King Edward of England passed the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284, invalidating massive chunks of Cyfraith Hywel and replacing it with English Law. Wales was now the first in a very, very, very long line of English colonies.

    Edit: Should also mention that Wales does not call itself 'Wales' in its language. The Welsh word for Wales is Cymru, which means 'Land of Friends'. Teyrnas Cymru ('the Kingdom of Wales') basically means 'The Kingdom of Friends'.

    We're quite cute, aren't we?
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  3. I would love to read the whole thing as I am a history finatic who has never really gotten into welsh history, but I have to go to school so I cannot read it now :(

    Can you like my post so I get an alert when I get back lol
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  4. Part II: The Path Of Most Resistance

    To celebrate his conquering of Wales, King Edward crowned his eldest son and heir the Prince of Wales in 1301. This has become a British tradition, with every monarch's oldest child holding the title since - the current holder is Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II's oldest son and her heir. English kings, from then on, appointed a Council of Wales, which was often headed by the incumbent Prince of Wales - they sat at Ludlow, which is now an English town in Shropshire, but at the time was in the middle of a Welsh-English disputed border. Despite being pretty much oppressed by the English, Welsh language and culture flourished as it had pre-conquest. Small rebellions broke out often, however.

    In the 1390s, King Richard II moved his power base from South London to Cheshire, next to Wales, in order to protect himself from English subjects who didn't like him. He began to give Welsh land to his friends, and many of them were native Welshmen, giving many of the Welsh an upper class status - this made the English lords more untrustworthy of him. In 1399, the exiled Henry Bolingbroke returned to England to reclaim his land - Richard rushed to meet him, but was captured on the way there and Henry was crowned the King of England. Richard died in 1400, his death kept secret, and a rebellion to reclaim the throne for him was crushed. The new Welsh lords were asked to decide their loyalties and all paths for societal advancement were cut off from them - so they remained loyal to Richard. All along the border and inside the country, tension was building, ending when a border dispute between an English baron and a Welsh lord had Parliament rule in favour of the English baron, and the Last War Of Independence came bursting through the ground.

    Owain Glyndŵr, a Welsh nobleman descended from the Kings of Deheubarth and Powys and the Lord involved in the dispute, lead the uprising. His followers declared him the Prince of Wales. They made rapid progress, capturing North Wales and moving into Central Wales, where they sacked Powis Castle and Welshpool (where I live when I visit Wales <3). The Tudur brothers (who would give rise to House Tudor... more on those guys later), two Welsh noblemen trained to protect Wales from French invasion, launched a guerilla war against the English on the island of Anglesey and declared their support for Glyndŵr.

    Returning from an invasion of Scotland, King Henry moved through North Wales, being attacked with guerilla tactics, but made it to Anglesey. He burned the Welsh island to the ground and destroyed the historic burial place of House Tudur - enraged, the brothers launched an attack on the King and forced him to flee back into England. The Welsh people mobilised in support of Owain and began to attack many English towns and cities. The Tudur brothers captured Conwy Castle, the magnum opus of King Edward I. Owain was attacked by an army of 1,500 English and Flemish (people from Flanders in Belgium who speak Dutch) soldiers and settlers, but he killed 200 of them and pushed them back. The King came back down and razed an abbey to the ground and executed a monk on suspicion of being a Welsh-sympathiser. Owain attacked his supply line using hit-and-run tactics and forced him back into England. The King tried to siege a castle but failed, leading to the English people becoming dissatisfied with him. In 1402, the French and Bretons began to help the Welsh cause - with this support, Wales now extended onto the Mersey river (where I live lol) and the River Severn and Welsh students in universities fled back to Wales.

    In 1406, Owain announced a programme to create a Parliament of Wales and a Church of Wales, transforming Wales into an independent and united country. Welsh Law would be reinstated and two new universities would be founded in North Wales and South Wales. However, at this time, Owain began to suffer defeats and France lost confidence in the six-year-long revolt. The English invaded Anglesey from Ireland and took it back. Cutting of weapons supply and general economic blockade was now the primary military tactic of England, starving the Welsh. The Lordships of Wales began to surrender and Owain's castle came under siege in 1407. He fled to another castle, but this finally collapsed to the English in 1409 and Owain was forced to flee as a hunted guerilla leader and traitor - he was never captured, disappearing entirely, and legend has it he will return to lead the Welsh and protect them from the English once more and lead them to victory. He is regarded with arguably even more admiration, and is more of a central Welsh nationalist figure, than even King Arthur.

    By 1415, the rebellion was completely over and English rule was fully restored. The newly crowned King Henry V adopted a conciliatory approach to the Welsh and offered pardons to the leaders and allowed them to keep their lands, even moving King Richard II's body into Westminster Abbey. Penal laws would remain in place until the end of the War of the Roses, preventing the Welsh from holding political office, bearing arms, and living in towns with walls. The Tudurs left Anglesey and Mareudd Tudur left to London and formed House Tudor, setting his sights on another throne.
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  5. Wow! Astonishing writing, I really love this! So many dates, so many details and so many unpronounceable welsh names, I love it! Please post more, I really enjoy early middle ages history!

    P.S what's your source for this?
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  6. Gonna be honest, a big chunk of my sources is Wikipedia. My pre-War of the Roses stuff is sketchy and I only have basic knowledge, which I'm using the Wikipedia page for Wales to fill in - I've got my own 'memorised from somewhere' facts placed here and there and I'm adding my own flair to it. I've probably got like 3,000 hours on Crusader Kings 2 where a lot of the knowledge comes from too (such as England's formation, the Welsh Kings, etc.). The Welsh place names I have the translation names for are because I know Welsh relatively well and have done since I was little (probably got to conversational level the same time I was fluent in English), since it's kinda required to get by in the two towns my family live in in Wales (they're pretty remote and so English attempts at wiping the language out never took hold there).

    The next chapter will be a lot of stuff from memory that I google/use Wikipedia to confirm, but was taught in school and off random books my mum let me read (she loves the Tudor dynasty). Wales during Industrialisation I've got a few specific sources for, since my college history thesis was on the rise of socialism in the United Kingdom/the election of a socialist Prime Minister, and Wales plays a massive part in that (they even made the red flag the Soviet Union/Bolsheviks/Communists used abused!) and gets mentioned in my books a lot.

    Oh, and my college history course had a lot of Welsh stuff for the renaissance which I'll be using too. It's basically school textbook lol, but I'll get the name of it if you want.
  7. Wow, you must be very knowledgeable then.
  8. Part III: The War Of the Roses

    After the Hundred Years' War (1337 - 1453), a series of wars fought by France and England against eachother for control of each other's thrones, and the Black Death (1347 - 1351), the feudal system began to crumble. House Plantagenet, who had controlled England and the Angevin Empire (England, Wales, East Ireland, and West France) since 1154, were weak. Henry VI, of House Lancaster, a cadet branch of House Plantegenet, assumed the throne of England. His lords now had their own private armies and openly defied him, and the civilians were violent and demanded new freedoms. It didn't help that Henry was seen as mentally unstable - all of this allowed Richard of House York, another cadet branch of House Plantagenet, to begin attempting to press his claim.

    War broke out in 1455 between Henry VI and Richard. Both sides made considerable use of Welsh soldiers and many parts of Wales were aligned with Henry. Henry was captured and imprisoned by Richard the same year, with Richard assuming the role of Lord Protector. However, Queen Margaret inspired the Lancastrians to rise up against Richard in 1459.

    Richard fled the country, invading England from France and once again imprisoning Henry. He made himself Lord Protector once more and forcefully displaced Edward Lancaster, King Henry's son, as the English heir. Queen Margaret gathered the rest of her army in North England and Richard marched to meet her - both he and his son were killed in the ensuing battle. However, Edward York, Richard's son, proclaimed himself King of England and lead his army to a victory. King Edward York met with Prince Edward Lancaster in battle, and killed him. When the war was over, he executed Henry Lancaster/King Henry VI too. Edward ruled until 1483, when his son, Edward V took over - he was subsequently removed from the throne by his uncle and chosen Lord Protector, Richard, and later murdered in the Tower of London with his brother, possibly by King Richard III himself. The murder of the children hurt his reputation and his mental health was brought into question. Still, the Lancasters were dead - the wars were won and the Yorks were safe right, right?

    Except the Tudors existed. After their family was almost driven to extinction and they had their lands taken off them after the Last War of Welsh Independence, Mareudd Tudur's descendants had had children with English nobles and that's how we end up with Henry Tudor: the heir to the Lancastrian claims.

    Henry took a small force of soldiers to Wales. He quickly rallied support for his cause, being a descendent of men who had fought for Welsh independence and various Welsh kings. He gathered volunteers as he marched to London. With an army of 8,000 against King Richard's 12,000, they met at Bosworth.

    Their forces clashed, with Richard dividing his own into three groups. Henry kept his in one big group under the experienced command of John de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. Richard's soldiers suffered heavy losses and many began to flee the battle, and the support group took no action when they should have. King Richard charged across the battlefield to kill Henry himself, but Henry was helped by his own men and they killed King Richard themselves. King Henry VII was crowned soon afterwards, promising a new era for England under the Tudor dynasty, painting his victory as good triumphing over evil.
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  9. Part IV: The Tudors

    After Henry's victory at Bosworth, he married Princess Elizabeth York, the daughter of Edward IV and Richard III, uniting the two houses. The Tudor Rose is a combination of House Lancaster's and House York's emblem. Henry's reign opened the floodgates of the Renaissance Era into England and Wales, officially ending the Medieval/Dark Age, bringing about a period of stability and peace within the realm, while cracking open trade routes for British wool that benefited the economy through a feud with the Low Countries (modern day Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg). This was especially good for Wales, as the country didn't have much good land for crop and so farming relied, mostly, on the meat and wool produced by their sheep (other farm animals for meat too, of course). His reign lasted for twenty-four years, and his son, Henry VIII, succeeded him in 1509.

    In 1527, Henry VIII requested to the Pope that his marriage be annulled. The request, as most know, was denied. This was the factor that pushed the government of England over the edge and into the folds of the Protestant Reformation. The political rift between London and Rome was huge, and they had had enough of being told what to do. A series of acts were published in 1531, 1532, and 1534 that established the King of England as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. This would go on to create a series of wars and disputes between Protestants and Catholics throughout England, Wales, and Ireland for the next five-hundred years (they're still not over). Wales, like the rest of England, quickly turned Anglican, however the Catholics remained active and produced the first Welsh-printed books (a Welsh version of the Bible was published in 1588).

    Henry VIII also passed the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 - 1542. These completely integrated Wales into England, granting it constituencies for representation within the Westminster/English Parliament and officially defining the Welsh-English border; however, it completely abolished the remains of the Welsh legal system, banned the Welsh language from having any official role, and the Penal Laws that prevented the Welsh from intermarrying with the English and having equal rights were still in place. Henry died in 1547.

    After Henry's daughter, Queen Mary (a Catholic), died, his other daughter, Elizabeth (a Protestant), rose to the throne. She presided over England's Golden Age, solidifying Protestantism as dominant in England, defeating Spain in war (I guess a poor modern day analogy would be the UK going to war with the US) and beginning the First British Empire. She didn't have much to do with Wales, although she supposedly spoke Welsh, which would make her a crachach ('snob', used to describe the Welsh upper class). She died in 1603, with her relative James Stuart, the reigning King of Scotland, assuming the throne.
  10. Part V: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Interregnum, and Restoration

    James came to power in 1603, uniting England and Ireland into personal union with Scotland - England had never gotten along with Scotland before, and so the union proved to be difficult. He faced the difficult task of mediating the different sects of Protestantism, driving the extremist Puritans to leave on the Mayflower and go to the American colonies, and tolerating Catholicism. The tolerance of Catholicism was brought to a swift end after the attempted terrorist attack on parliament, that would have killed every member of parliament and King James, carried out by the Catholic Guy Fawkes, and Catholics had any hope destroyed. He also followed the theory of the divine right of kings, which King Henry VIII had conceived, which meant that the holder of the crown held absolute power and nobody could tell them what to do as God had chosen them.

    When his son, Charles I, came to the throne in 1625, he put Arminians into high positions of power (Protestants who liked Catholicism a bit more than the Puritan-controlled parliament liked) and believed in the divine right of kings so much he dissolved parliament in 1629 and only recalled it in 1640, asking for money. Parliament and the King grew even more at odds, with parliament attempting to restrict his powers - this resulted in the King attempting to arrest John Pym, a parliamentarian leader. England descended into civil war in 1642. The English and Scottish Parliaments were fighting to imprison the King and restrict his powers, and the King was fighting to restrict parliament's powers.

    Wales overwhelmingly supported King Charles in the First English Civil War, becoming an important source of manpower for the Royalist armies. However, some people like John Jones Maesygarnedd, a Welsh military leader and politician, and Morgan Llwyd, a Welsh Puritan writer, supported parliament and the idea of transforming England into a republic. No battles took place in Wales in this war. The Royalists lost, largely due to parliament forming the first ever modern army who fought with conviction and belief in their cause, with King Charles being captured and imprisoned in 1646. Multiple ideas were floated to parliament during this time, including the idea of completely abolishing the monarchy, giving every man living in England a vote to elect members of parliament, and basically implementing the United States constitution over one-hundred years before that was conceived.

    The Second English Civil War broke out in 1648. The negotiations I mentioned before broke down, with their core supporters being shot in a field by Oliver Cromwell, parliament's leader, after Charles escaped from prison. He denied every peace agreement given to him over the two years before finding the perfect opportunity to leave, after Scotland realised the English weren't going to live up to their side of their alliance's terms. In Wales, its Parliamentarian soldiers turned into Royalists after they were left unpaid from the first civil war and forced to fight another war. They were defeated by a Parliamentarian army at the Battle of St. Fagans, and the two month long Siege of Pembroke ended in Royalist defeat. The Royalists lost this war in 1649, and King Charles was executed by parliament - with John Jones Maesygarnedd signing his death warrant. Oliver Cromwell, a man of Welsh descent and a Welsh landowner, was named Charles's heir, but he refused the crown and named himself Lord Protector.

    Cromwell set up the Commission for the Propagation of the Gospel in Wales in 1650, which supported Puritans aiming to convert the Anglican Wales to their sect. A lot of Welsh poetry from this time is directed at Cromwell, criticising him and the Puritans, with the Welsh poet Henry Vaughn even describing it as 'living in the shadow of death'. Welsh bards sang in taverns, mourning the loss of Anglicanism and expressing horror and disgust at Puritanism. Cromwell was known for his brutality against the Irish (he's known as 'The Butcher of Drogheda') and being extremely dictatorial to people criticising him, so this was a dangerous thing to do. In 1651, King Charles of Scotland, King Charles I's son, attempted to invade England, but Cromwell beat him and he was forced to flee to Europe, relinquishing control of Scotland to Cromwell.

    After Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, his son inherited the title of Lord Protector. Crisis ensued, and Charles II was invited to return to England and reclaim his thrones in 1660 in a deal that made him a mere governmental figurehead, with specific powers that would likely destroy the monarchy if ever used, and turning the English political system into what we know it as today (with much less democracy, of course). John Jones Maesygarnedd was hanged by the King for executing his father. Wales would be represented by thirty upper class political families in Westminster for the next few hundred years, but they were happy to have the monarchy, and the head of their preferred religion, back.
  11. Part VI: Industrialisation

    Wales, throughout the 1700s, felt threatened by the ever-increasing amount of Anglicisation, and sought to distance itself from English culture after veering too close to it. This was probably sparked somewhat by the full, legal unification of England and Scotland (they'd been ruled by the same ruler since James I way back in 1603), and the way England had bullied Scotland into doing it and removing their parliament afterwards. Welsh writers, such as Iolo Morganwg, produced a range of literary works that touched upon historical studies, studies on Welsh literature, and Welsh radicalism inspired by the French Revolution. The people celebrated the country's achievements and excellent individuals, like their scientists and writers. The country underwent a Methodist revival, luring Wales into religious nonconformity and splitting it from the Anglican church - the Methodist churches also opened schools, which greatly helped the Welsh literacy rate.

    By 1800, Wales had a population of a meagre 500,000. However, their economy was transforming from a farming-based one into an industrial-based one, and at quite the rapid rate, due to its vast amounts of limestone, coal, and iron deposits. The coalfield in North-Western Wales was mined, and the South turned to smelting metals. Glamorgan and Monmouthshire became densely populated due to people finding work in English and Scottish ironworks there.

    A large number of immigrants arrived in Wales, largely from Italy, and the Welsh population increased to 1 million in 1850. Death-rates dropped and birth-rates increased exponentially. However, working conditions were hard; the factories and mines were extremely dangerous, the Welsh had extremely low wages, hours were long, children were forced to work in there, and families lived in overcrowded and disgusting houses. The anger at this exploded into several riots, including the Merthyr Rising, in which 10,000 workers flown a red flag (later adopted by the British Labour Party, many Communist countries and Social Democrat parties) and demanded higher wages. They were shot and mostly killed by the police and army, who noticed that they couldn't understand Welsh. In 1870, the policy of 'Welsh Not', became law. Children who spoke Welsh were given a block of wood that was hung around their neck, and they would pass it on to the next child who spoke Welsh that day - whoever had it by the end of the day was beaten and caned by the teachers. This policy worked, as in the present day, only 25% of people living in Wales can speak Welsh - they live in rural areas, where industrialisation never touched.

    In 1898, the South Wales Miners’ Federation won against the coal plant owners. The company reluctantly reduced their work day to 8 hours and increased their wage. By 1900, the population of Wales had exploded to 2 million. The Home Rule Movement, inspired by the one the Irish ran, was active from 1886 - 1896, calling for Wales to be able to govern itself - the movement collapsed. The Liberal Party began to lose their hold of Wales to the newly founded Labour Party. And then the wars came.
  12. Part VII: The Wars

    The Welsh men fighting in the Great War have largely the same story as the rest of Britain. They went to Europe, they fought, they died. They went to the Middle East, they fought, they died. Battles like the Somme, in which over one million men were killed to gain several miles of ground, are a part of the Welsh anti-war consciousness just as much as they are for the English and Scottish.

    Back at home, the Welsh were opposed to the war. 200,000 miners went on strike at the height of it to contest their low pay, a move that slowed the British war machine. Wales had more conscientious objectors than England, Scotland, and Ireland thanks to its Methodist faith. The South Wales Miners' Federation became more militant and converted to syndicalism - the notion that they, the workers and producers, held control over business, and not the businessmen running the companies. The people viewed the war as a feud between the capitalist empires and it didn't serve to benefit them in any way whatsoever. Thanks to this turn to socialism, the British Labour Party painted Wales red in the 1922 election, officially ending the Liberal Party's 63 year (technically 242 year) reign as one of the two largest parties.

    While reeling from the deaths of over 40,000 men during the war (quite a low number in WW1 terms), economic depression hit the country hard. The export market, the strongest pillar of the Welsh economy, collapsed due to the country's outdated production methods, conversion from coal to oil, the loss of the German market thanks to WW1 peace terms, a weak Pound, and the United States controlling the South American market. The agriculture market also collapsed and the farmers left in mass exodus. Unemployment was rife, reaching 28.5% of the Welsh population in 1925. The issue still wasn't fixed when the Great Depression hit in 1929. 430,000 people emigrated out of Wales to England or elsewhere. 300,000 people took to the streets to protest against their poor living conditions and lack of work, causing the Labour government of 1929-1931 to collapse. Capitalism was seen as a failure in Wales from this point onward.

    When World War II arrived in 1939, 200,000 English evacuee children were sent to Wales as the country was seen to be too far away for the Germans to reach. This belief was wrong - the Germans began to bomb Wales in 1940, hitting their capital of Cardiff hard, eventually bringing the city of Swansea into the Blitz in 1941, destroying the city centre in a three-night raid in the worst attack of the war for Wales - 30,000 bombs were dropped, killing 227 people and destroying 11,000 houses. Attacks moved inland, bombing small towns and mining communities, even areas where large amounts of child evacuees lived in often successful attempts to kill children. The war killed 15,000 Welsh soldiers and 1,000 Welsh civilians.

    During the war, the industries were modernised and production output was massively increased, largely allowing the Welsh economy to recover. This never helped the coal industry recover, as it continued to spiral the same way it had done since 1925. No matter how much help was given, the mass exodus of people continued.

    Hope was on the horizon, however. Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the 1940-1945 war coalition and the leader of the Conservative Party, called an election after victory was announced in Europe. He ran against the Labour Party leader Clement Attlee, his Deputy Prime Minister of the coalition. His campaign revolved around his wartime leadership and slinging insults at the socialist ideology of the Labour Party, comparing them to the Nazis the country had just fought against. The Labour Party, however, promised to rebuild the United Kingdom, give it universal healthcare, maintain full employment (keeping national unemployment below 2%), and improve living standards. Churchill and the Conservative Party got 197 parliament seats and 36% of the popular vote - Attlee and the Labour Party got 393 parliament seats and 47% of the popular vote. Did they succeed with their promises, especially in Wales, who was in dire need of every pillar of their economy being fixed?
  13. Part VIII: Post-War

    The biggest order of business for the Attlee ministry was the creation of the National Health Service, orchestrated by Aneurin Bevan, the son of a Welsh coal miner, and a former member of the South Wales Miners' Federation, who had been the Member of Parliament for Ebbw Vale since 1929. Initially, the opposition seemed like it would get the better of the idea. The Conservative Party, still lead by Winston Churchill, voted against the National Health Service Act twenty-one times, as did the doctors. Media outlets and many Conservative members labelled it as the first step to turning the UK into a fascist state. However, the act was finally passed in 1948, with the NHS coming into being with around £15 billion in funding in modern day value. Hugh Gaitskell, Attlee's new Chancellor, cut the budget in 1950 and stopped glasses and prescriptions being free. This caused Bevan to resign, as he believed Gaitskell was betraying a core principle of his project and the high cost of the NHS was due to years of neglected healthcare among the British people - he was right, of course, as costs soon died down and the health of the British people skyrocketed. The Conservative Party promised to look after the NHS, with Churchill eventually describing it as the epitome of British values. Today, Bevan is regarded as one of the most influential Welshmen in British history and was voted as the #1 in the BBC's list of 100 Welsh Heroes.

    While Attlee's government was voted out in 1951, despite having the largest share of the popular vote ever recorded in British history, they remained strong in Wales until 1966. Plaid Cymru, originally known as the Welsh Nationalist Party, made some small gains there, winning the parliamentary seat for Carmarthen, and gaining three more in North Wales in 1976.

    In 1983, the Conservative Party, lead by Margaret Thatcher, gained fourteen Welsh seats - the party's best Welsh result to date. This is likely because she had won the Falklands War against Argentina a year earlier, in which many Welshmen fought and died in; and also because the Labour Party's right and left wing had launched themselves into civil war, with one section of the party even forming a new party and eventually becoming the Liberal Democrats.

    However, Thatcher quickly began describing trade unions as her number one enemy and launched a crackdown on them. When she began to shut down the coal industry without providing an alternative, many Welsh people were out of work. The miners went on strike in a long and bitter dispute with her, resulting in a group of miners killing one of the ones who had decided to go to work by dropping a concrete block on a taxi. In 1987, she appointed Peter Walker, an English MP, as the Minister of Wales to much outrage. Her support for nuclear weapons, and her decision to place some in Wales, also earned her no Welsh friends; the majority of Welsh people were very much opposed to them.

    After u-turning on her promise to create a Welsh language TV channel, a Plaid Cymru leader went on hunger strike until it was created. The channel was created in 1983.

    By the time Thatcher's tenure was over, 87,000 Welsh people were out of work, a 20,000 increase on the level it was before she arrived. Had Welsh devolution been allowed in 1979, the UK could have gotten rich on the back of North Sea oil and allowed social democracy to flourish.

    John Major came to the Prime Ministerial position after she had left in 1991. In 1993, he passed a Welsh Language Act that created the Welsh Language Board, which promoted the use of the Welsh language and sought to make it equal to English in government business. However, Major soon suffered a fracture among his party and lost his job, and in 1997, Tony Blair, the controversial new Labour leader, came to power.

    Blair held a referendum on the creation of a Welsh Assembly and won it with just 50.3% of the vote. The responsibilities of public services, education, healthcare, and economic development were given to the Assembly and taken away from the Westminster government. Its first election took place in 1999, using proportional representation rather than Westminster's first past the post system. Labour won 28 of the seats, Plaid Cymru won 17, the Conservatives won 9, and the Liberal Democrats won 6.

    In 2011, the Conservative-Lib Dem Westminster coalition government granted more powers to the Assembly in a referendum, although the First Minister of the Assembly wasn't happy after Scotland was granted more devolution after the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014.

    Aaand in 2016, Wales stood with England in voting for Brexit, despite creating a plan with Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom and merge with Scotland in a Celtic Union.

    Today, Wales has a population of three million people, making it the third largest country in the UK, with 25% of that number living in poverty. Its literacy rate is poor, coming in at 88%, and is the second lowest in the UK, just behind Northern Ireland. Its GVA is extremely poor, and is on the same level as struggling Eastern European countries.

    Its economy heavily relies on agriculture and the service industry, and even with Thatcher's policies, heavy industry still lives on (albeit weakly) in the form of electronics manufacturing. Its main trading partners are the United States, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Ireland, and France, although these are all on the decline while trade with Japan rises.

    Aaaand we're done, I guess. Thanks for reading.

    Y Wladfa, meaning 'the Colony', was founded by Welsh settlers in 1865 along coastal Chubut in Argentina. These settlers, largely from rural communities, had become disillusioned with Welsh industrialisation and felt that it was on its way to graduating from a colony into a part of England. They went to Liverpool and sailed for South America, originally intending to settle on Vancouver Island in Canada, hoping to preserve their language and culture in the New World; previous attempts at this include Utica in New York and Scranton in Pennsylvania - however, those people had assimilated into American culture and were forced to learn English.

    The Argentinian government agreed to allow them to settle in the area as the immigrants were under their protection, and they would be placed into an area that was the subject of a claim dispute with Chile.

    The land was not fertile, as the settlers had been told. It had no water, no food, and no woodland to build homes with. Their first homes were holes in the cliffsides. Gradually, however, with help from the native Aónikenk people, and multiple supply missions from England by the committee in charge of the colony, they learned to survive and established the permanent settlement of Rawson in the Chubut Valley. Over the years, they used the nearby river to implement irrigation facilities and make farmland. More people began to arrive from Wales, after the coal depression, and Pennsylvania. They'd managed to turn the desert into the most fertile patch of land in all of Argentina.

    The Argentinian government eventually forced them to speak Spanish, and many migrants eventually entered the land after word got around of how fertile it was, and Welsh became a minority language by 1914.

    Today, unlike in Wales, the Welsh people here speak Welsh and Spanish and barely understand English. The settlers come to Wales every year to celebrate Eistedfodd, but must first pass through England, which proves difficult to get around without knowing the language.