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South Wales
Wales
(Welsh: De Cymru) is the region of Wales
Wales
bordered by England
England
and the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales
Wales
to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the southwest of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.2 million people.[1] The region contains almost three-quarters of the population of Wales, including the capital city of Cardiff (population approximately 400,000), as well as Swansea
Swansea
and Newport, with populations approximately 250,000 and 150,000 respectively. The Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons
national park covers about a third of South Wales, containing Pen y Fan, the highest mountain south of Snowdonia. The region is loosely defined, but it is generally considered to include the historic counties of Glamorgan
Glamorgan
and Monmouthshire, sometimes extending westwards to include Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire
and Pembrokeshire. In the western extent, from Swansea
Swansea
westwards, local people would probably recognise that they lived in both south Wales and west Wales
Wales
— there is considerable overlap in these somewhat artificial boundaries. Areas to the north of the Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons
and Black Mountains are generally considered part of Mid Wales.

Contents

1 Definitions 2 Population 3 History

3.1 Industrialised areas in the 19th and 20th centuries

4 Language 5 Religion 6 Industry today 7 Railways 8 Farming 9 Local media 10 Gallery 11 See also 12 References

Definitions[edit] The expression 'south Wales' is not officially defined, and its meaning has changed over time. Between the Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284 and the Laws in Wales
Wales
Act 1535, crown land in Wales
Wales
formed the Principality of Wales. This was divided into a Principality of South Wales
Wales
and a Principality of North Wales.[2] The southern principality was made up of the counties of Ceredigion
Ceredigion
and Carmarthenshire, areas that had previously been part of the Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth
Deheubarth
('the southern land'). The legal responsibility for this area lay in the hands of the Justiciar of South Wales
Wales
based at Carmarthen. Other parts of southern Wales
Wales
were in the hands of various Marcher Lords. The Laws in Wales
Wales
Acts 1542 created the Court of Great Sessions in Wales
Wales
based on four legal circuits. The Brecon
Brecon
circuit served the counties of Brecknockshire, Radnorshire
Radnorshire
and Glamorgan
Glamorgan
while the Carmarthen
Carmarthen
circuit served Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire
and Pembrokeshire. Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
was attached to the Oxford circuit for judicial purposes. These seven southern counties were thus differentiated from the six counties of north Wales. The Court of the Great Sessions came to an end in 1830, but the counties survived until the Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972
which came into operation in 1974. The creation of the county of Powys
Powys
merged one northern county (Montgomeryshire) with two southern ones (Breconshire and Radnorshire). There are thus different concepts of south Wales. Glamorgan
Glamorgan
and Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
are generally accepted by all as being in south Wales. But the status of Breconshire or Carmarthenshire, for instance, is more debatable. In the western extent, from Swansea
Swansea
westwards, local people might feel that they live in both south Wales
Wales
and west Wales. Areas to the north of the Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons
and Black Mountains are generally considered to be in Mid Wales. A further point of uncertainty is whether the first element of the name should be capitalized: 'south Wales' or 'South Wales'. As the name is a geographical expression rather than a specific area with well-defined borders, style guides such as those of the BBC[3] and The Guardian[4] use the form 'south Wales'. Population[edit] The most densely populated region in the southwest of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.2 million people.[5] The region contains almost three-quarters of the population of Wales, including the capital city of Cardiff
Cardiff
(population approximately 400,000), as well as Swansea
Swansea
and Newport, with populations approximately 250,000 and 150,000 respectively. The Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons
national park covers about a third of South Wales, containing Pen y Fan, the highest mountain south of Snowdonia. History[edit] The South Wales
Wales
Valleys and upland mountain ridges were once a very rural area noted for its river valleys and ancient forests and lauded by romantic poets such as William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
as well as poets in the Welsh language, although the interests of the latter lay more in society and culture than in the evocation of natural scenery. This natural environment changed to a considerable extent during the early Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
when the Glamorgan
Glamorgan
and Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
valley areas were exploited for coal and iron. By the 1830s, hundreds of tons of coal were being transported by barge to ports in Cardiff
Cardiff
and Newport. In the 1870s, coal was transported by rail transport networks to Newport Docks, at the time the largest coal exporting docks in the world, and by the 1880s coal was being exported from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.

The Marquess of Bute, who owned much of the land north of Cardiff, built a steam railway system on his land that stretched from Cardiff into many of the South Wales
Wales
Valleys where the coal was being found. Lord Bute then charged fees per ton of coal that was transported out using his railways. With coal mining and iron smelting being the main trades of south Wales, many thousands of immigrants from the Midlands, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall
Cornwall
and even Italy
Italy
came and set up homes and put down roots in the region. Very many came from other coal mining areas such as Somerset, the Forest of Dean
Forest of Dean
in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
and the tin mines of Cornwall
Cornwall
such as Geevor Tin
Tin
Mine, as a large but experienced and willing workforce was required. Whilst some of the migrants left, many settled and established in the South Wales
Wales
Valleys between Swansea
Swansea
and Abergavenny
Abergavenny
as English-speaking communities with a unique identity. Industrial workers were housed in cottages and terraced houses close to the mines and foundries in which they worked. The large influx over the years caused overcrowding which led to outbreaks of Cholera, and on the social and cultural side, the near-loss of the Welsh language
Welsh language
in the area. The 1930s inter-war Great Depression in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
saw the loss of almost half of the coal pits in the South Wales
Wales
Coalfield, and their number declined further in the years following World War II. This number is now very low, following the UK miners' strike (1984–85), and the last 'traditional' deep-shaft mine, Tower Colliery, closed in January 2008. Despite the intense industrialisation of the coal mining valleys, many parts of the landscape of South Wales
Wales
such as the upper Neath
Neath
valley, the Vale of Glamorgan
Glamorgan
and the valleys of the River Usk
River Usk
and River Wye remain distinctly beautiful and unspoilt and have been designated Sites of Special
Special
Scientific Interest. In addition, many once heavily industrialised sites have reverted to wilderness, some provided with a series of cycle tracks and other outdoor amenities. Large areas of forestry and open moorland also contribute to the amenity of the landscape.

View north into Cwm Llwch from Corn Du, in the Brecon
Brecon
Beacons

Industrialised areas in the 19th and 20th centuries[edit] Merthyr Tydfil
Merthyr Tydfil
(Welsh: Merthyr Tudful) grew around the Dowlais Ironworks which was founded to exploit the locally abundant seams of iron ore, and in time it became the largest iron producing town in the world. New coal mines were sunk nearby to feed the furnaces and in time produced coal for export. By the 1831 census, the population of Merthyr was 60,000—more at that time than Cardiff, Swansea
Swansea
and Newport combined—and its industries included coal mines, iron works, cable factory, engine sheds and sidings and many others. The town was also the birthplace of Joseph Parry, composer of the song Myfanwy. The Heads of the Valleys
Heads of the Valleys
towns, including Rhymney, Tredegar
Tredegar
and Ebbw Vale, rose out of the industrial revolution, producing coal, metal ores and later steel. Aberfan: The Merthyr Vale colliery began to produce coal in 1875. Spoil from the mine workings was piled on the hills close to the village which grew nearby. Tipping went on until the 1960s. The industry was by then nationalised, but even the National Coal
Coal
Board failed to appreciate the danger they created. In October 1966, heavy rain made the giant coal tip unstable. The recent dumping of small particles of coal and ash known as 'tailings' seems to have been partly responsible. A 30-foot-high (9 m) black wave tore downhill across the Glamorganshire Canal
Glamorganshire Canal
and swept away houses on its path towards the village school. 114 children and 28 adults were killed. The Rhondda
Rhondda
Valleys ( Rhondda
Rhondda
Fach and Rhondda
Rhondda
Fawr) housed around 3,000 people in 1860 but by 1910 the population had soared to 160,000. The Rhondda
Rhondda
had become the heart of a massive South Wales
Wales
coal industry. Mining accidents below ground were common and in 1896 fifty-seven men and boys were killed in a gas explosion at the Tylorstown Colliery. An enquiry found that the pit involved had not been properly inspected over the previous 15 months. Ebbw Vale, the valley of the Ebbw River
Ebbw River
which stretches from the town of Ebbw Vale
Ebbw Vale
to Newport, includes the mining towns and villages of Newbridge, Risca, Crumlin, Abercarn
Abercarn
and Cwmcarn. The Carboniferous Black Vein coal seams in the area lay some 900 feet (275 metres) below the surface and the mining activity associated with it was responsible for many tragic subsurface explosions, roof collapses and mining accidents. Now the Valleys' heavy industrial past is overprinted with urban regeneration, tourism and multi-national investment. Large factory units, either empty or turned over to retail use, bear witness to the lack of success in replacing older industries. Language[edit]

Bilingual road markings near Cardiff
Cardiff
Airport, Vale of Glamorgan

The native language of the majority of people in South Wales
Wales
is English, but there are many who also speak Welsh. In western parts of Glamorgan, particularly the Neath
Neath
and Swansea
Swansea
Valleys, there remain significant Welsh-speaking communities such as Ystradgynlais
Ystradgynlais
and Ystalyfera, which share a heritage with other ex-anthracite mining areas in eastern Carmarthenshire, as much as with the Glamorgan valleys. The local slang, dialect and phrases of the south Wales
Wales
valleys communities have been referred to as 'Wenglish', and are often used with comic effect.[6] The dialect is found in such coastal towns as Barry, as featured in the BBC
BBC
comedy series, Gavin & Stacey. Welsh is now a compulsory language up to GCSE
GCSE
level for all students who start their education in Wales. Several secondary schools offering Welsh medium education operate in this area, for example Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari in Pontyclun, Ysgol Gyfun Y Cymmer
Ysgol Gyfun Y Cymmer
in Porth
Porth
in the Rhondda, Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun
Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun
in Penywaun
Penywaun
in the Cynon Valley, Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool, Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni
Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni
in Blackwood, Ysgol Gymraeg Plasmawr in Cardiff
Cardiff
and Ysgol Gyfun Garth Olwg
Ysgol Gyfun Garth Olwg
in Church Village. A significant number of people from ethnic minority communities speak another language as their first language, particularly in Cardiff
Cardiff
and Newport. Commonly spoken languages in some areas include Punjabi, Bengali, Arabic, Somali and Chinese, and increasingly Central European languages such as Polish. In the 19th and early 20th centuries there was a vigorous literary and musical culture centred round eisteddfodau.[7][8][9] Despite a few timid attempts to emulate this literature in English, it can be argued that few writers seem to connect with either the landscape or the literary tradition.[10] The one exception, to some extent, can be considered to be Dylan Thomas.[11] Religion[edit] The south Wales
Wales
landscape is marked by numerous chapels, places of worship (past and present) of the various Christian Nonconformist congregations. The Baptist
Baptist
congregation at Ilston, Gower, moved to Swansea, Massachusetts,[12] but after the restoration of the Anglican worship with the issue of the Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
in 1662, several "gathered" churches survived belonging to the Baptist, Independent and Presbyterian
Presbyterian
denominations. In the 18th century members of some of these congregations became dissatisfied with the theological innovations of some trained ministers, and created new congregations such as that at Hengoed
Hengoed
near Ystrad Mynach.[13] In the same century, churches were sometimes involved in the Methodist
Methodist
movement, especially at Groeswen and Watford near Caerphilly, which both received frequent visits from John Wesley[14][15] The largest denomination, however, became the Calvinist Methodists (later the Presbyterian
Presbyterian
Church of Wales), whose distinctive grey stone chapels can be seen in many parts. These were mainly Welsh-language congregations. Anglicanism in south Wales
Wales
became autonomous from the Church of England
England
with the Welsh Church Act 1914, but the immediate demise of the denomination feared at that time has not taken place in the Church in Wales.[16][17] There are a number of Brethren Assemblies in Cardiff
Cardiff
and in the Swansea
Swansea
area and Free Presbyterian
Presbyterian
Churches in Rhiwderin, near Newport and at Merthyr Tydfil. The Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
community, despite systematic persecution, survived in the 17th to 19th centuries, especially in Brecon
Brecon
and among minor gentry such as the Vaughans of Welsh Bicknor, on the Monmouthshire–Herefordshire border.[18][19] Among members of foreign origin of later urban Catholic congregations were the Bracchi, Italians in the café and catering trades often from Bardi in the Apennines[20][citation needed] Post-war diversity has brought mosques, especially in Cardiff
Cardiff
and Newport, Sikh
Sikh
gurdwaras, including one on the mountain near Abercynon and a growing number of Evangelical
Evangelical
and Pentecostal
Pentecostal
congregations. These often add a strongly international element into local life, such as the "Pont" twinning project between Pontypridd
Pontypridd
and Mbale, Uganda, and the creation of "Fairtrade" relationships with primary producers worldwide.[citation needed] Industry today[edit] The former heavy industries of coal and iron production have disappeared since the economic struggles of the 1970s, with the closures of that decade continuing sharply into the 1980s, and by July 1985 just 31 coal pits remained in the region.[21] Further closures left the region with just one deep mine by the early 1990s,[22] and this finally closed in January 2008, by which time it had transferred to private ownership after being sold off by the National Coal Board.[23] These industries have since largely been replaced by service sector industries. The cities along the M4 corridor
M4 corridor
are home to a number of high-profile blue-chip companies such as Admiral Insurance, Legal & General and the Welsh-based Principality Building Society. A large number of telephone call centres are located in the region and in particular in the Valleys area. Merthyr Tydfil
Merthyr Tydfil
is home to the principal UK call centre for German mobile telephone company, T-Mobile. Many jobs are also provided in small-scale and family businesses.[24] It is clear from anecdotal personal contacts, apart from official figures, that the new industries have so far failed to cope with the task of providing stable employment for the large number of employable people resident in the area. The television and film sectors are fast becoming a major industry in South Wales, with the development, by the BBC, of a vast dedicated production studio in Nantgarw, near Pontypridd, for the highly successful Doctor Who
Doctor Who
series. Lord Attenborough is shortly[when?] due to open the first completely new film studio in the UK in over fifty years. Dragon International Film
Film
Studios, a huge purpose-built studio complex located alongside the M4 motorway
M4 motorway
between Bridgend
Bridgend
and Llantrisant, contains a number of large soundstages which have already attracted the interest of a number of Hollywood
Hollywood
directors and producers alike, looking for suitable facilities in Europe.[citation needed] Railways[edit] Served by the South Wales
Wales
Main Line and associated branches such as the Valley Lines. The Intercity 125 High Speed Train (HST) introduced by British Rail
British Rail
is the mainstay of services between Swansea
Swansea
and London Paddington. The busiest stations are Cardiff
Cardiff
Central, Cardiff
Cardiff
Queen Street, Newport and Swansea. The line from Cardiff
Cardiff
to Paddington is being electrified. Farming[edit] There are many areas devoted to mixed farming reflecting the nature of the topography of South Wales. Dairying
Dairying
is still undertaken in the coastal areas such as the Gower
Gower
and Vale of Glamorgan
Glamorgan
where there is also some arable farming production. Inland hill farms would be devoted to sheep. Local media[edit] Radio stations in the area include:

Heart South Wales Capital 97.4 & 103.2 96.4 The Wave Swansea
Swansea
Sound Swansea
Swansea
Bay Radio 97.1 Radio Carmarthenshire 102.5 Radio Pembrokeshire 107.9 GTFM community radio Pontypridd 97.5 Scarlet FM 106.3 Bridge FM Afan FM BBC
BBC
Radio Wales BBC
BBC
Radio Cymru Nation Radio Kiss 101

The Welsh national media is based in Cardiff, with the BBC, ITV and S4C
S4C
all having their main studios and offices in the capital. Cardiff
Cardiff
also has its own television station, Capital TV, based in the Link Trade Park in Penarth Road, Cardiff. The channel broadcasts to most of Cardiff
Cardiff
on terrestrial frequency 49. The company runs alongside a local media studies centre, Media4Schools which produces small videos in co-operation with local schools (CardiffTV4School and ValeTV4Schools). Gallery[edit]

The countryside of the Vale of Glamorgan

Section of the south-eastern Cardiff
Cardiff
skyline

Western Central Cardiff
Cardiff
from the Cardiff
Cardiff
Eye (60m Wales
Wales
Wheel), Cardiff

The Big Pit National Coal
Coal
Museum at Blaenavon
Blaenavon
– exhibiting South Wales' economic past in coal mining

The view from Ebbw Vale
Ebbw Vale
in the South Wales
Wales
Valleys

South Wales
Wales
Coastline overlooking the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
at Llantwit Major

Sunny Porthcawl, showing the seafront

See also[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for South Wales.

South East Wales West Wales Mid Wales North Wales Geography of Wales                        

Subdivisions of Wales M4 Corridor South Wales
Wales
coalfield South Wales
Wales
Valleys South Wales
Wales
Metro South Wales
Wales
Police South Wales
Wales
Police and Crime Commissioner New South Wales
New South Wales
in Australia

References[edit]

^ "People", Culture, Wales, UK: The BBC . ^ Thomas Glyn Watkin (2012). The Legal History of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales
Wales
Press. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-7083-2545-2. Retrieved 27 December 2015.  ^ BBC
BBC
Academy, 'Grammar, spelling and punctuation'. Retrieved 27 December 2015. ^ The Guardian, 'Guardian and Observer style guide: C '. Retrieved 27 December 2015. ^ "People", Culture, Wales, UK: The BBC . ^ Talk
Talk
tidy . ^ Scorpion, ed. (1877), Cofiant Caledfryn, Bala . ^ Rhys, Beti (1984), Dyfed: Bywyd a Gwaith Evan Rees 1850–1923, Dinbych: Gwasg Gee  ^ Walters, Huw (1987), Canu'r Pwll a'r Pulpud: Portread o'r Diwylliant Barddol Cymraeg yn Nyffryn Aman, Barddas: Cyhoeddiadau . ^ Menai, Huw (1928), "Hills of the Rhondda
Rhondda
in Autumn", in Rees-Davies, Ieuan, Caniadau Cwm Rhondda: Detholiad o Delynegion, Sonedau a Chaneuon Cymraeg a Saesneg, London: Foyle's Welsh Depot, The rust has gathered on the plough, The tide of Autumn here is high, The hills are at their reddest now ... . ^ Davies, Aneurin Talfan (1955), Crwydro Sir Gâr, Llandybie: Llyfrau'r Dryw, pp. 104ff . ^ Vaughan-Thomas, Wynford (1983) [1976], Portrait of Gower, London: Robert Hale, pp. 84–85  ^ Jenkins, John Gwili (1931), Hanfod Duw a Pherson Crist: Athrawiaeth y Drindod a Duwdod Crist, yn bennaf yn ei pherthynas â Chymru, Liverpool: Gwasg y Brython . ^ Evans, Beriah Gwynfe (1900), Diwygwyr Cymru, Caernarfon: the author  ^ Wesley, John (1903), Journal (abridged ed.), London . ^ Diocesan Yearbook, Llandaff, c. 1977 . ^ "Complete list of parishes and clergy". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Great Smith Street, London SW1, 1999: Church House Publishing. 2000–2001. . ^ Cusack O'Keefe, Madge (1970), Four Martyrs of South Wales
Wales
and the Marches, Archdiocese of Cardiff . ^ A Mill Hill Father (1969) [1955], Remembered in Blessing: The Courtfield Story, London: Sands & Co, Until the 1890s Courtfield and Welsh Bicknor
Welsh Bicknor
parish were part of Monmouthshire, and hence in South Wales . ^ popular accounts (display)format= requires url= (help), Cardiff: St Fagans Museum . ^ "1984 strike", Events, UK: Agor . ^ Welsh coal mines, UK . ^ "Wales", News, UK: The BBC, 25 January 2008 . ^ Business analysis with the former INDIS, Mid Glamorgan
Glamorgan
industrial information unit

Coordinates: 51°41′N 3°23′W / 51.683°N 3.383°W / 51

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