About Wales: Fast Facts

Area: 20,779 sq km (7987 sq miles).

Population: 2,937,300 (1999).

Population Density: 141.3 per sq km.

Capital: Cardiff. Population: 324,400 (1999).

Geography: Wales is a country of great geographical variation with many long stretches of attractive and often rugged coastline. South Wales is mainly known for its industrial heritage but the western part of the coast between Carmarthen Bay and St David's is similar to that of the more pastoral west country of England, and backed by some equally beautiful countryside. The scenery of mid-Wales includes rich farming valleys, the broad sandy sweep of Cardigan Bay and rolling hill country. North Wales is one of the most popular tourist areas in the British Isles, with many lively coastal resorts. Inland, the region of Snowdonia has long been popular with walkers and climbers. Much of the central inland area of the country is mountainous, with some breathtaking scenery.

Government: Following a referendum in May 1999, Wales was granted its own assembly with a considerable degree of autonomy. The Welsh Assembly does not have a similar level of power and responsibility as that enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament. Head of State: HM Queen Elizabeth II. Head of Government: First Secretary Rhodri Morgan since 2000.

Language: English and Welsh are the official languages. Welsh is taught in all schools, and at least a fifth of the population speak it as their native language.

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