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Welsh Nationalism

Welsh nationalism, Plaid Cymru and more about Wales.

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The desire by a group of people who share the same race, culture, language etc. to form an independent country is called nationalism.

George Orwell says and I quote “Nationalism is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”(Ref. Notes on nationalism. May, 1945)

In the above written quotation George Orwell’s point of view is quite clear, he wants to say that nationalism is not always negative. It can be positive and can be build on the bases of admiration for one’s own nation or country. This admiration can be seen through great love and respect for the nation, its culture and language etc. one belongs to.




The history of Wales is primarily a story of struggle. It is a tribute to the people of Wales' determination to survive against several dominants e.g. Roman times, Saxon times, the revolts Llwelyn the great and Owain Glynder  - A struggle reflected in its castle-dominated landscape and its surviving Celtic language; Created in a time when the flood of Germanic pagan invaders from the continent threatened to destroy Christian Celtic civilization in Britain, its history continued through the acts that caused harm by the Vikings, the invasions of the Normans, the oppression of the powerful Marcher Lords, and the ever-constant, ever threatening power of the English people and the English language.


Wales was drawn  into political union with England in the 1500s. Within a 150 years the English domination of Wales was formalised. English laws and administrative systems phased out all the Welsh things. The Welsh language also faced serious inroads from English. Welsh nationalism was affected by these changes.
Wales is precisely something different, I quote, “ Something hard to understand, something strange. Wales is so different that it announces itself, and does not need to a sign to announce it.” (Ref. Cysgod y Cryman [42] by Islwyn Ffowc Elis)


This quotation shows that it is difficult to understand Welsh people, their ways of thinking and the culture they are living in. But still it is something that makes a certain position and makes others to accept it the way it is.



Welsh nationalism

Welsh nationalism has developed significantly over the last two centuries. However, the cultural and religious traits left by the Celtic kingdoms has had a lasting effect and created a regional distinctiveness. Up until the late 19th century, most of the Welsh population spoke Celtic language. This was however eroded through the education of the English language.


The promotion of the Welsh language began around 1885 with the establishment of first Welsh Language Society. As the Twentieth century progressed, schools began to teach in Welsh, especially in the Northwest of the country. By the turn of the Twentieth century, a special Welsh language TV station had been set up and Welsh had been firmly integrated into the school curriculum upto the GCSE level.



Life for ordinary Welsh people following unification remained hard until the start of industrialisation in the 18th century. The Welsh nationalist movements came into being during the late nineteenth century renaissance. Cumru Fredd (Young Wales) was set up in 1886, the main objective being self government for wales. This wasn’t a particularly successful movement. Its successor was the National Party to become known as Plaid Cymru.






- To promote the constitutional advancement of Wales with a view to attaining Full National Status for Wales within the European Union.

- To ensure economic prosperity, social justice and the health of the natural environment, based on decentralist socialism.

- To build a national community based on equal citizenship, respect for different traditions and cultures and the equal worth of all individuals, whatever their race, nationality, gender, colour, creed. Sexuality, age, ability or social background.

- To promote Wales’s contribution to the global community and to attain membership of the United Nations.

- To create a bilingual society by promoting the revival of the Welsh language.



Plaid Cymru’s History

Welsh nationalism had been kept alive up to the present by Plaid Cymru, the Welsh nationalist party which was founded on the 5th of August 1925 by Saunders Lewis.
One can clearly understand that Plaid Cymru is a nationalist party, promoting language in the first place by reading the party’s name. It’s a combination of Two Welsh words that mean The party of Welsh people.

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