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Tales that had traditionally been handed down orally were recorded, both in Welsh and English, and a new generation of Welsh writers emerged. Wales is a part of the United Kingdom and is located in a wide peninsula in the western portion of the island of Great Britain.
The island of Anglesey is also considered a part of Wales and is separated from the mainland by the Menai Strait.
Welsh epic poetry can be traced back to the sixth century reflect a literary and cultural awareness from an early point in Welsh history.
Although there were many factors affecting the Welsh language, especially contact with other language groups, the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries marked a dramatic decline in the number of Welsh speakers, as many non-Welsh people, attracted by the industry that had developed around coal mining in the south and east, moved into the area.
The popularity of Wales as a vacation destination and weekend retreat, especially near the border with England, has created a new, nonpermanent population. There are approximately 500,000 Welsh speakers today and, due to a renewed interest in the language and culture, this number may increase.
Most people in Wales, however, are English-speaking, with Welsh as a second language; in the north and west, many people are Welsh and English bilinguals.
The pine marten, a small animal similar to a mink, and the polecat, a member of the weasel family, are found only in Wales and nowhere else in Great Britain. The latest surveys place the population of Wales at 2,921,000 with a density of approximately 364 people per square mile (141 per square kilometers).
Almost three-quarters of the Welsh population reside in the mining centers of the south.
The capital, Cardiff, is located in the southeast on the Severn Estuary and is also the most important seaport and shipbuilding center.Numerous smaller rivers cover the south, including the Usk, Wye, Teifi, and Towy.The temperate climate, mild and moist, has ensured the development of an abundance of plant and animal life.Wales is surrounded by water on three sides: to the north, the Irish Sea; to the south, the Bristol Channel; and to the west, Saint George's Channel and Cardigan Bay.The English counties of Cheshire, Shropshire, Hereford, Worcester, and Gloucestershire border Wales on the east.
Welsh, or Cymraeg, is a Celtic language belonging to the Brythonic group consisting of Breton, Welsh, and the extinct Cornish.