Although Wales closely shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, and a majority of the population speaks English, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is officially bilingual.Over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, and the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west.Neolithic colonists integrated with the indigenous people, gradually changing their lifestyles from a nomadic life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers about 6,000 BP – the Neolithic Revolution.
Cornwall) and places in Anglo-Saxon territory associated with Celtic Britons (e.g.
Walworth in County Durham and Walton in West Yorkshire), The use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the location in the post-Roman Era (after the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons) of the Welsh (Brythonic-speaking) people in modern Wales as well as in northern England and southern Scotland ("Yr Hen Ogledd") (English: In particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage, culture, and language to the Welsh.
Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century.
The whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542.
The Latinised forms of these names, Cambrian, Cambric and Cambria, survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales, Welsh and the Welsh people.
Examples include the Cambrian Mountains (which cover much of Wales and gave their name to the Cambrian geological period), the newspaper Cambrian News, and the organisations Cambrian Airways, Cambrian Railways, Cambrian Archaeological Association and the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art.
Now that the country's traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, Wales' economy depends on the public sector, light and service industries and tourism.
Wales' 2010 gross value added (GVA) was £45.5 billion (£15,145 per head, 74.0% of the average for the UK, and the lowest GVA per head in Britain).
Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century.
Welsh Liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party.
At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation; the South Wales Coalfield's exploitation caused a rapid expansion of Wales' population.