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Wales (Listeni/ˈweɪlz/; Welsh: Cymru [ˈkəm.rɨ] ( listen)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,200 km (750 mi) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its highest peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), its highest summit. 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. Llywelyn ap Gruffydd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence to what was to become modern 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. 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. Welsh national feeling grew over the century; Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925 and the Welsh Language Society in 1962. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters.
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. Now that the country's traditional extractive and heavy industries have either 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 per cent of the average for the UK total, the lowest GVA per head in Britain.
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