Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdombordered by England to its east, and the Atlantic Oceanand Irish Sea to its west. Wales has a population estimated at three million and is officially bilingual, with both Welsh and English having equal status. Originally (and traditionally) a Celtic land and one of the Celtic nations, a distinct Welsh national identity emerged in the early fifth century, after the Roman withdrawal from Britain. The 13th-century defeat of Llewellyn by Edward I completed the Anglo-Norman conquest of Wales and brought about centuries of English occupation.
Wales was subsequently incorporated into England with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, creating the legal entity known today as England and Wales. However, distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century, and in 1881 the Welsh Sunday Closing Act became the first legislation applied exclusively to Wales. In 1955 Cardiff was proclaimed as national capital and in 1999 the National Assembly for Wales was created, which holds responsibility for a range of devolved matters.
The capital Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd) is Wales's largest city with 317,500 people. For a period it was the biggest coal port in the world and, for a few years before World War One, handled a greater tonnage of cargo than either London or Liverpool. Two-thirds of the Welsh population lives in South Wales, with another concentration in eastern North Wales. Many tourists have been drawn to Wales's "wild... and picturesque" landscapes.
From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song"; attributable in part to the revival of the eisteddfod traditionActors, singers and other artists are celebrated in Wales today, often achieving international success. Traditionally the British Royal Family has bestowed the courtesy title of 'Prince of Wales' upon the heir apparent of the reigning monarch. Wales is sometimes referred to as the 'Principality of Wales', or just the 'principality', although this has no modern geographical or constitutional basis.