A Welsh Identity Essay

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“For Wales, see England” - this oft-quoted entry in the index to the original edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica elegantly sums up the centuries of suppression of the Welsh identity by the English parliament. Llywr James, a worker at the National History Museum of Wales, told me with passion in his voice how he dreams of the day when the Embassy of Wales will be opened in Washington D.C. “And it will happen during my lifetime,” he emphatically added. “Independence is simply not in the interests of Wales. We do not have enough money without the subsidy from Westminster,” said Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales when I asked him his personal opinion on the independence of Wales from the UK. Contrast the two radically opposing views and …show more content…
As Andrews (1991) points out, as a result of “over seven hundred years of English oppression and exploitation the Welsh nation has consistently displayed an inhibiting lack of political or economic autonomy” (Andrews 1991, 335). There has not been a single large uprising after the revolt by Owain Glyndŵr in the early 1400s (The revolt of Owain Glyndwr 2012). In spite of the rise of nationalist politics in the 19th century, the Welsh devolution referendum of 1979 was rejected by a huge majority of over seventy nine percent people (Welsh Devolution Referendum, 2012). The Welsh were clearly not ready to govern themselves. The success of the next referendum, held in 1998, which led to the formation of the National Assembly, was looked upon as an important step towards self-governance, if not total independence. The latest referendum held in 2011, saw an unprecedented demand for more powers in the hands of the Welsh people and the day was rightly described by First Minister Carwyn Jones as a day when “an old nation comes of age” (Bodden 2011). The people of Wales have made it very clear that they no longer wish to be governed by the laws of England. As a nation that has its own distinct history, language, culture and folklore, Wales is now adamant on having its own laws. Between the departure of the Romans in 483 AD and the Acts of Union of 1536, the Welsh had their own set of

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