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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.Two-thirds of the population live in south Wales, mainly in and around Cardiff (the capital), Swansea and Newport, and in the nearby valleys.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.Doggerland was submerged by the North Sea and, by 8,000 BP, the British Peninsula had become an island.
Historically in Britain, the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used to refer to anything that the Anglo-Saxons associated with the Britons, including other non-Germanic territories in Britain (e.g.
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.
The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.
Welsh national identity emerged among the Celtic Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations.Wales was free of glaciers by about 10,250 BP, the warmer climate allowing the area to become heavily wooded.