Wales (Cymru in Welsh) is a mountainous country on the western side of Great Britain.


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    It is known for its great actors - Richard Burton, and today Sir Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta Jones, its Celtic traditions and the Red Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) on its flag.

    Wales is about the size of Massachusetts.

    England is about the size of Alabama.

    Scotland is about the size of South Carolina.

    These three countries together make up Great Britain.

    With the addition of Northern Ireland, about the size of Connecticut, they make up the United Kingdom.

    Since 1999 Wales has had its own National Assembly- headed by a First Minister with a Cabinet of other ministers- which has powers to make secondary legislation to meet the specific needs of the Welsh people.

    Wales is represented in the US by the Wales International Center.

    Around one-quarter of the land in Wales is above 1,000 ft (305 m) and in the north its highest peak, Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), rises to 3,560 ft (1,085 m). The Welsh coastline stretches for 732 miles (1,180 km) and consists of many bays, beaches, peninsulas and cliffs.

    About two-thirds of the population of Wales live in the south-eastern part of the country. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Industrial Revolution had a major impact in south Wales, where the iron and steel factories and coal mines were concentrated. The capital, Cardiff, grew in the 19th century as a coal exporting port.

    In the 20th century these traditional industries fell into decline, to be replaced by those involving cutting edge technologies in electronics and IT, manufacturing, engineering and telecommunications.

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