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Numerous smaller rivers cover the south, including the Usk, Wye, Teifi, and Towy.
The temperate climate, mild and moist, has ensured the development of an abundance of plant and animal life.
Welsh, or Cymraeg, is a Celtic language belonging to the Brythonic group consisting of Breton, Welsh, and the extinct Cornish.
Western Celtic tribes first settled in the area during the Iron Age, bringing with them their language which survived both Roman and Anglo-Saxon occupation and influence, although some features of Latin were introduced into the language and have survived in modern Welsh.
During the eighteenth century a literary and cultural rebirth of the language occurred which further helped to solidify national identity and create ethnic pride among the Welsh.
Central to Welsh culture is the centuries-old folk tradition of poetry and music which has helped keep the Welsh language alive.
The pine marten, a small animal similar to a mink, and the polecat, a member of the weasel family, are found only in Wales and nowhere else in Great Britain. The latest surveys place the population of Wales at 2,921,000 with a density of approximately 364 people per square mile (141 per square kilometers).
The words "Wales" and "Welsh" are Saxon in origin and were used by the invading Germanic tribe to denote people who spoke a different language.Wales covers an area of 8,020 square miles (20,760 square kilometers) and extends 137 miles (220 kilometers) from its most distant points and varies between 36 and 96 miles (58 and 154 kilometers) in width.The capital, Cardiff, is located in the southeast on the Severn Estuary and is also the most important seaport and shipbuilding center.Tales that had traditionally been handed down orally were recorded, both in Welsh and English, and a new generation of Welsh writers emerged. Wales is a part of the United Kingdom and is located in a wide peninsula in the western portion of the island of Great Britain.The island of Anglesey is also considered a part of Wales and is separated from the mainland by the Menai Strait.
The popularity of Wales as a vacation destination and weekend retreat, especially near the border with England, has created a new, nonpermanent population. There are approximately 500,000 Welsh speakers today and, due to a renewed interest in the language and culture, this number may increase.