Wales, United Kingdom History

According to oxfordastronomy, Wales (Middle Latin Cambria) was settled in Roman times by Celtic (British) tribes (e.g. the Silures in the southeast and the Demetae in the southwest), who in the 1st century AD came from Agricola were subjected. From then on, the country, which was barely romanized, served as a western military zone to protect the Roman administrative area in Britain. After the departure of the Romans at the beginning of the 5th century, Celtic small kingdoms (including Gwynedd, Powys) were formed, and with the advance of the Angles and Saxons the name Wales came up, since the Germanic conquerors called the Celtic residents “Welsche” (from Old English wealh “Stranger”); these called themselves Kymren (Cymry “compatriots”). The area south of the Bristol Channel (Cornwall) was gradually Anglicized, while the mountainous woodland became the center of resistance and refuge for many British Celts from the eastern areas.

The following period was marked by internal feuds and border disputes with the Anglo-Saxon kings in the east. After the Norman conquest, William I, the conqueror, furnished Norman and English followers with fiefs in the border areas (“Marken”) with Wales. These “Lords in the Marches” (Marcher lords) built castles and attracted settlers. Despite the settlement of Henry II of England with Wales, they lived in constant conflict with their Welsh neighbors. Their main opponent was the north Welsh principality of Gwynedd, whose rulers gained a certain suzerainty over Wales. 1244/45 wore Dafydd ap Llywelyn from Iorwerth († 1247) for the first time the title of Prince of Wales (princeps Wallie), after him his nephew took Llywelyn ap Gruffydd († 1282) to the title and gained the recognition of Henry III in 1267 . from England. When he refused his son and successor Edward I oath of allegiance and tribute payments, the latter ended Welsh independence in two campaigns (1276/77 and 1282). He divided Gwynedd according to the English model into counties, which he placed directly under the Crown. In 1301 he gave the title of Prince of Wales to his son, who later became Edward II. The last attempt to achieve Welsh independence was made around 1400 by Owain Glyn Dŵr (by Shakespeare Glendower called), who – at times in alliance with the English aristocratic family Percy and France – offered armed resistance against King Henry IV until the uprising finally collapsed in 1410.

The English royal family Tudor, which gained the English crown in 1485, came from Wales. Under Henry VIII Tudor, the Acts of Union of 1536 and 1542 extended the unrestricted validity of English laws and administrative reforms to Wales, which was thus on an equal footing with English rule and was allowed to send 24 representatives to the House of Commons. 13 new counties were formed, of which Monmouthshire was added to England from the reign of Charles II (1660–85). The Church of Wales broke away from Rome with the recognition of the 1534 Supreme Act. As in England, the Anglican Church became a State Church (Established Church of Wales) in Wales.

The Welsh upper class was Anglicized, while the lower classes retained their language and awareness of national idiosyncrasies. Welsh national awareness gained new impetus when, in the 18th century, numerous Protestant sects emerged alongside the Church of Wales, who preached in the vernacular (nonconformists).

Separatist tendencies only gained a foothold in the course of the 19th century, when the structurally weak peripheral area was particularly hard hit by the social consequences of the industrial revolution. A number of local uprisings were put down by military action. The British government was reluctant to make cultural concessions in response to the Welsh nationalists’ demands for autonomy. The 1912 Welsh Disestablishment Bill released the Welsh nonconformists from the sovereignty of the Anglican Church. In the 1920s, the drive for autonomy began to be revitalized. The Plaid Cymru (English Welsh National Party, founded 1925), which has been represented in the British House of Commons since 1966, seeks constitutionally to achieve a certain political independence for Wales (own parliament); more radical movements (e.g. Welsh Language Society) take hold of v. a. to methods of civil disobedience. Against the background of a return to one’s own culture, the discussion about decentralization (“devolution”) reached a climax in Wales from the 1960s onwards. However, a law on partial autonomy introduced by the Labor government in 1977 and passed in the House of Commons did not find a legal majority in a referendum in March 1979. In a new referendum on September 18, 1997, a narrow majority (50.3% with a turnout of around 50% of those entitled to vote) voted for a separate parliament; on May 6, 1999 the Welsh Assembly was elected for the first time. In the so far last regional elections on May 5th In 2016, the Labor Party received 31.5% of the vote and 29 of the 60 seats in parliament. As the second strongest force, the Plaid Cymru won 12 seats and 20.8% of the vote.

Wales, United Kingdom History