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l)The story of the Welsh people is one of determined resistance to invaders — the Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans and finally the English.

2) After the fall of the Roman Empire in 410 AD, the barbarian Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain. Legendary kings and princes, like King Arthur, won important victories against the Saxons, but gradually these original ‘Britons’ were pushed west, into the hills and mountains of Wales.

3) Welsh princes fought hard against the English, but Wales was finally conquered. In 1301 Edward I gave his son the title of Prince of Wales and in 1536 Wales was united with England.

4) Despite the conquest, Wales has maintained its unique culture and strong national identity, particularly through its language. Welsh, a Celtic language, very different from English, is one of the oldest languages in Europe.

5) However, in the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century, the Welsh language declined. The British government made English the official language and English was the only language allowed in schools. The number of Welsh speakers went down from 80% to under 20% of the population.

6) Since the 1960s, though, there has been a revival of the Welsh language. Welsh is also an official language, it is taught in schools and there is a Welsh language TV channel.

7) A tradition of storytelling, poetry and singing began in the castles of the Welsh princes in the Middle Ages and continues today. Every year ‘eisteddfods’ are held around the country. An «eisteddfod» is a meeting of poets and singers who take part in competitions.

8 ) As well as literature in the Welsh language, Wales has produced important poets in English such as Dylan Thomas and R.S. Thomas. Famous actors include Richard Burton, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Wales is a musical nation and choirs are important. Nowadays, when the national rugby team plays in Cardiff, 80,000 voices can be heard singing the Welsh hymn ‘Bread of Heaven’.

9) The flag of Wales, with its red dragon, is one of the oldest in the world. It was brought to Britain by the Romans. The patron saint of Wales is St. David. St David converted Wales to Christianity and established the Welsh church.

10) The leek is another symbol of Wales. According to legend, St David ordered his soldiers to wear them on their helmets before the Welsh fought a victorious battle over the Saxons.

#1. (…) Where were the native people of the British Isles made to go by the invading forces?

#2. (:.’.) Which original language is considered to be one of the oldest in the world?

#3. (…) What prominent people can Wales take pride in? .

#4. (…) When did the traditions of «eisteddfod» start to develop?

#5. (…) Since the middle of the twentieth century Welsh has been confined to home use, hasn’t it?

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