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The Celtic Realm

Flag of Alba Flag of Eire Flag of Cyrmu Flag of Briotain Flag of  Kernow


The Celtic Nations

By definition, the modern Celtic Nations have ancestral, cultural and historic links to the Celtic peoples, and also an active Celtic language still spoken there. The only nations currently meeting that criteria are Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia, the Isle of Man, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Click on an item below for more information:

Celtic Nation

Coat of Arms

National Flag


Coat of Arms of Brittany Flag of Brittany


Cornish Crest Flag of Cornwall


Crest of Galicia Flag of Galicia

Isle of Man

Isle of Man Coat of Arms Flag of the Isle of Man


Coat of Arms of Ireland

Flag of the Republic of Ireland


Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland Flag of Scotland


Royal Badge of Wales Flag of Wales
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Click on an item below for more information:

Other Lands of Celtic Significance


Coat of Arms of Asturias Flag of Asturias


Coat of Arms of England Flag of England


Seal of FranceEmblem of Italy

Flag of France

Flag of Italy


Coat of Arms of GermanyCoat of Arms of Austria

Flag of Germany

Flag of Austria


Coat of Arms of SpainCoat of Arms of Portugal

Flag of Spain

Flag of Portugal

Hungary and Slovakia

Coat of Arms of Hungary Coat of Arms of Slovakia

Flag of Hungary

Flag of Slovakia


Coat of Arms of Canada Flag of Canada

United States of America

Great Seal of the United States Flag of the United States

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Map of Celtic Europe
Modern Celtic Realm  2006 Map by the National Geographic Society

Celtic Nations is a term used to describe territories in northwest Europe in which that area's own Celtic languages and cultural traits have largely survived. The six territories recognised by the Celtic League and Celtic Congress as Celtic Nations are Ireland (Éire), Scotland (Alba), Isle of Man (Mannin), Wales (Cymru), Cornwall (Kernow), and Brittany (Breizh). Limitation to these six is sometimes disputed by people from England, Galicia [which is included here] and Asturias – territories which have also retained some Celtic cultural traits. Until the expansions of the Roman Republic and Germanic tribes, much of Europe was predominantly Celtic. These areas of Europe are sometimes referred to as the "Celt belt" or "Celtic fringe" because of their location generally on the western edges of the continent, and of the nations they inhabit (e.g. Brittany is in the northwest of France, Wales and Cornwall lie to the west of England, and the Gaelic-speaking parts of Ireland and Scotland are in the west of those countries). Additionally, this region is known as the "Celtic Crescent" because of the near crescent shaped position of the nations in Europe. [1]

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Unofficial "Celtic Nations" Flags

Celtic Collage Flag Berthelier's Inter-Celtic Flag

Celtic Collage Flag

This flag is a collage of the flags of the six Celtic nations (clockwise from upper left): Brittany, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Ireland. A triskele at its center. a very ancient Celtic design, and one of the most frequently found symbols at ancient sites inhabited by the Celtic peoples. This flag would be a flag of those areas with not only Celtic culture, but also Celtic language remaining intact. Design attributed to Blas Delgado Ortiz.

Inter-Celtic Flag

This flag has a green field charged with two yellow interlaced triskells, the first symbolizing the Gaelic countries (Scotland, Man, Ireland) and the second symbolizing the Britonic countries (Wales, Cornwall, Brittany). Each of the Six Nations is therefore symbolized by a branch of the triskeles, which are inscribed within a yellow Celtic circle which has been used by the Celts as a rallying sign since the beginning of the 20th Century. Green symbolizes both freedom and the sea which links the Celtic countries. Green and yellow have been used as the Celtic colors since the birth of the Celtic movements. Flag created by Robert Berthelier.

Inter-Celtic Flag Pan-Celtic Flag

Inter-Celtic Flag

The interlaced six-rayed triskele seems to represent the six Celtic nations of Brittany, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Ireland, within a unifying circle. Green symbolizes both fredoom and the sea which links the Celtic countries. Green and yellow have been used as the Celtic colours since the birth of the Celtic movements. Design attributed to Robert Berthelier.

Pan-Celtic Flag

Based on Celtic symbolism, the knotwork in each corner represents Celtic culture. The cross represents the separate Christianities of the six Celtic nations: Anglican (Ireland, Scotland & Wales), Catholic (Ireland, & Brittany), Methodist (Cornwall, & Wales), and Presbyterian (Scotland) and also Celtic Christianity. The six 6-pointed stars represent the six Celtic nations. The triquetra in the center represents the Trinity. The colors have several meanings: white for purity and justice and dark blue for the sea which separates all of the nations. The red star represents the Isle of Man, the dark green star Ireland, the blue star Scotland, the white star Cornwall, the light green star Wales and the black star Brittany. Created by Uilleam Stiùbhar.

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The Seven Celtic Nations

BrittanyBrittany is a former independent Celtic kingdom and duchy, now incorporated into France. It is also, more generally, the name of the cultural area whose limits correspond to the historic province and independent duchy. It was at one time called Less, Lesser or Little Britain (in opposition to Great Britain). Brittany occupies a large peninsula in the north-west of France, lying between the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south. Its land area is 34,023 km² (13,136 sq mi). The historical province of Brittany is divided into five departments: Finistère in the west, Côtes-d'Armor in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine in the north-east, Loire-Atlantique in the south-east and Morbihan in the south, on the Bay of Biscay. During World War II, the government of Vichy France detached the Loire-Atlantique Département (around the city of Nantes) from Brittany, and placed it within a region based around the city of Angers. Today, 80% of historic Brittany has become the administrative région of Bretagne, while the remaining area, the Loire-Atlantique département around Nantes (formerly one of the historic capitals of Brittany), forms part of the Pays de la Loire région. For the current debate regarding reunification, see the Bretagne article. In January 2007 the population of Brittany was estimated to be 4,365,500. Of these, 71% lived in the Bretagne région, while 29% lived in the Pays-de-la-Loire région. At the 1999 census, the largest metropolitan areas were Nantes (711,120 inhabitants) Rennes (521,188 inhabitants), and Brest (303,484 inhabitants).

History of Brittany:

Brittany's traditional and popular history is equally intertwined with the Matter of Britain and Matter of France, for the Breton- and Gallo-speaking regions respectively. Although much is remarked of Brittany's ancient Celtic links with Great Britain, Brittany's modern or political history is stereotyped as merely a French, or "Gallo-Romance" matter. This is a misconception, since the Gallo section (part of Latin Europe) of Brittany reforged links with Great Britain, albeit as Normandy's "sidekick". The Hundred Years' War has obscured these facts, as well as the Romano-British nature of the Breton people (both Celtic and Romance).

While the 1066 conquest of England gave considerable wealth to Normans (see the Domesday Book), certain nobles of Brittany were granted lesser titles in England such as Earl of Richmond in Northern England. As the Normans encroached upon Wales, Bretons simultaneously exerted influence in Scotland. Important Breton figures in Scottish history were Conan IV, Duke of Brittany, John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray (FitzRandolph of Middleham), Brian Fitzalan, Lord Fitzalan of Bedale. The pro-Bruce Randolph and pro-Balliol Alan families were illegitimate lines of the counts and dukes of Penthièvre, with permanent lodgings and responsibilities at Richmond Castle. The hereditary title of High Steward of Scotland was held by Breton Walter Fitzalan whose descendents changed their name to Stewart. In 1315, Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland married Marjorie, daughter of the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce, thus establishing the Royal House of Stewart as the ruling dynasty in Scotland for 343 years. Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond (future King Henry VII) spent quite some time living in Brittany (1471-1485). As a result of the Valois Crown incorporating Brittany within France, the Tudors made Brittany's Richmond estate into a permanent appanage of the Royal Family, with Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset being the first illegitimate heir upon whom it was conferred.

Following the successful example of the Cornish-Viking alliance in 722 at the Battle of Hehil (modern day Padstow) which helped stop for a time the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Cornwall, the Bretons made friendly overtures to the Danish Vikings to help contain Frankish expansionist ideas. In 865 AD the Vikings and Bretons united as one to defeat a Frankish army at the Battle of Brissarthe, near modern day Le Mans. Two Frankish kings, Robert the Strong and Ranulf, were killed by the Vikings and the Franks were forced to acknowledge Brittany's independence from the Frankish kingdoms. As with Cornwall in 722, the Vikings tactically helped their Breton allies by making devastating pillaging raids on the Frankish kingdoms. [1]

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CornwallCornwall is a county of England, United Kingdom, located at the tip of the south-western peninsula of Great Britain. It is bordered to the north by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Taken with the Isles of Scilly Cornwall has a population of 531,600, covering an area of 3,563 sq km (1,376 sq mi). The administrative centre and only city is Truro. The area now known as Cornwall was first inhabited by Neolithic and then Bronze Age peoples, and later (in the Iron Age) by Celts. Cornwall is part of the Brythonic (Celtic) area of Britain, separated from Wales after the Battle of Deorham, often coming into conflict with the expanding English kingdom of Wessex before King Athelstan in 936 A.D. set the boundary between English and Cornish people at the Tamar. Today, Cornwall's economy struggles after the decline of the mining and fishing industries, and has become more dependent on tourism. The area is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its extensive and varied coastline and its mild climate. Cornwall is the homeland of the Cornish people and diaspora, and is recognised as one of the "Celtic nations" by many residents and organisations. It continues to retain its distinct identity, with its own history, language and culture. Some inhabitants question the present constitutional status of Cornwall, and a self-government movement seeks greater autonomy within the UK.

History of Cornwall:

The present human history of Cornwall begins with the reoccupation of Britain after the last Ice Age. The pre-Roman inhabitants included speakers of a Celtic language that would develop into the Brythonic language Cornish. After a period of Roman rule, Cornwall reverted to independent Celtic chieftains. The first account of Cornwall comes from the Sicilian Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (c.90 BC–c.30 BC), supposedly quoting or paraphrasing the fourth-century BC geographer Pytheas, who had sailed to Britain:

The inhabitants of that part of Britain called Belerion (or Land's End) from their intercourse with foreign merchants, are civilised in their manner of life. They prepare the tin, working very carefully the earth in which it is produced ... Here then the merchants buy the tin from the natives and carry it over to Gaul, and after travelling overland for about thirty days, they finally bring their loads on horses to the mouth of the Rhône.

The identity of these merchants is unknown. There has been a theory that they were Phoenicians, however there is no evidence for this. There is a theory that once silver was extracted from the copper ores of Cornwall in pre-Roman times, as silver is easily converted to its chloride (AgCl) by surface waters containing chlorine.

In the early Middle Ages Cornwall came into conflict with the expanding kingdom of Wessex. The Annales Cambriae report that in 722 AD the Britons of Cornwall won a battle at Hehil. Annales Cambriae However, it is not stated whether the Cornish fought the West Saxons or some other enemy. In 814 King Egbert laid waste to West Wealas from East to West. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles tells us that in 825 (adjusted date) a battle was fought between the "Welsh," presumably those of Cornwall, and the Anglo-Saxons. In 838, the Cornish and their Danish allies were defeated by Egbert at Hengestesdune (Anglo-Saxon Chronicles): an unknown location (various places have been suggested over the years from Hengistbury Head in Dorset, Hingston Down, Devon to Hingston Down in Cornwall). Around the 880s Anglo-Saxons from Wessex had established modest land holdings in the Eastern part of Cornwall, notably Alfred the Great had acquired estates. William of Malmesbury, writing around 1120, says that King Athelstan of England (924–939) fixed the boundary between English and Cornish people at the Tamar, their having until then lived as equals.

One interpretation of the Domesday Book is that by this time the native Cornish landowning class had been almost completely dispossessed and replaced by English landowners, the largest of whom was Harold Godwinson himself. However, this is highly questionable: The Bodmin manumissions show that two leading Cornish figures, nominally had Saxon names, but these were both glossed with native Cornish names. This suggests that Saxon names in Cornwall indicate not ethnicity, but preferences in naming, perhaps as means to establish membership of a pro-Saxon ruling class. However, after the Norman conquest most of the land was seized and transferred into the hands of a new Breton-Norman aristocracy, with the lion's share going to Robert, Count of Mortain, half-brother of King William and the largest landholder in England after the king.[26] Ultimately this aristocracy eventually became a Cornu-Norman ruling class, a phenomenon closely resembling the situation in Ireland. Subsequently however, Norman absentee landlords became replaced by a new Cornu-Norman elite. These families eventually became the new Cornish aristocracy (typically speaking Norman French, Cornish, Latin and eventually English), many becoming involved in the operation of the Stannary Parliament system, Earldom and eventually the Duchy. The Cornish language continued to be spoken and it acquired a number of characteristics establishing its identity as a separate language from Breton. Cornwall showed a very different type of settlement pattern from that of Saxon Wessex and places continued, even after 1066, to be named in the Celtic Cornish tradition with Saxon architecture being uncommon. The earliest record for any Anglo-Saxon place-names west of the Tamar is around 1040.

Many place names in Cornwall are associated with Christian missionaries described as coming from Ireland and Wales in the fifth century AD and usually called saints. The historicity of some of these missionaries is problematic and it has been pointed out by Canon Doble that it was customary in the Middle Ages to ascribe such geographic origins to saints. Some of these saints are not included in the early lists of saints. It is notable that in Cornwall most of the parish churches in existence in Norman times were generally not in the larger settlements and that the medieval towns which developed thereafter usually had only a chapel of ease with the right of burial remaining at the ancient parish church. Over a hundred holy wells exist in Cornwall, each associated with a particular saint, though not always the same one as the dedication of the church. Various kinds of religious houses existed in medieval Cornwall though none of them were nunneries; the benefices of the parishes were in many cases appropriated to religious houses within Cornwall or elsewhere in England or France. St Piran, after whom Perranporth is named, is generally regarded as the patron saint of Cornwall. However in earlier times it is likely that St Michael the Archangel was recognized as the patron saint and the title has also been claimed for St Petroc.

The church in Cornwall until the time of Athelstan of Wessex observed more or less orthodox practices, being completely separate from the Anglo-Saxon church until then (and perhaps later). The See of Cornwall continued until much later: Bishop Conan apparently in place previously, but (re-?)consecrated in 931 AD by Athelstan. However, it is unclear whether he was the sole Bishop for Cornwall or the leading Bishop in the area. The situation in Cornwall may have been somewhat similar to Wales where each major religious house equated to a kevrang (cf. Welsh cantref), each under the control of a Bishop. In the sixteenth century there was some violent resistance to the replacement of Catholicism with Protestantism in the 1549 uprising. From the late eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century Methodism was the leading form of Christianity in Cornwall but is now in decline. The Church of England was in the majority from the reign of Queen Elizabeth until the Methodist revival of the 19th century: before the Wesleyan missions dissenters were very few in Cornwall. The county remained within the Diocese of Exeter until 1876 when the Anglican Diocese of Truro was created (the first Bishop was appointed in 1877). Roman Catholicism was virtually extinct in Cornwall after the 17th century except for a few families such as the Arundells of Lanherne. From the mid-19th century the church reestablished episcopal sees in England, one of these being at Plymouth. Since then immigration to Cornwall has brought more Roman Catholics into the population. Religious houses have been established at several locations including Bodmin, and Roman Catholic churches have been built where the need for them is greatest. [1]

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GaliciaGalicia (occasionally Galiza) is a historical autonomous community in northwest Spain, and was one of the first kingdoms of Europe (Kingdom of Galicia). Its component provinces are A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra. It borders Portugal to the south, the Spanish regions of Castile and León and Asturias to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west.

History of Galicia:

The name Galicia comes from the Latin name Gallaecia, associated with the name of the ancient Celtic tribe that resided above the Douro river, the Gallaeci or Callaeci in Latin, and Kallaikoi in Greek (these tribes were mentioned by Herodotus). Before the Roman invasion, a series of tribes lived in the region, and according to Strabo, Pliny, Herodotus and others, they shared similar Celtic customs. The Milesians, who in Irish legendary history were the final wave of invaders to settle Ireland, were Celts from Galicia. This area was first entered by the Roman legions under Decimus Junius Brutus in 137–136 BC. (Livy lv., lvi., Epitome); but the province was only superficially Romanized by the time of Augustus.

In the 5th century AD invasions, Galicia fell to the Suevi in 411, who formed the first medieval kingdom to be created in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. In 584, the Visigothic King Leovigild invaded the Suebic kingdom of Galicia and defeated it, bringing it under Visigoth control. During these period a British colony-bishopric was established in Northern Galicia (Britonia) populated by Briton immigrants escaping the Anglo-Saxon invasion. During the Moorish invasion of Spain (711-718), the Moors did not garrison Galicia (besides a small part) until they were driven out in 739 by Alfonso I of Asturias. The Moors had more success in northeast of Spain, meanwhile Galicia launched a successful defense campaign from the very beginning of the attempted Moorish invasion. During the 9th and 10th centuries, the counts of Galicia gave fluctuating obedience to their nominal sovereign, and Normans/Vikings occasionally raided the coasts. The Towers of Catoira (Pontevedra) were built as a system of fortifications to stop the Viking raids on Santiago de Compostela. In 1063, Ferdinand I of Castile divided his kingdom among his sons. Galicia was allotted to Garcia II of Galicia. In 1072, it was forcibly reannexed by Garcia's brother Alfonso VI of Castile, and from that time Galicia remained part of the Kingdom of Castile and Leon, although under varying degrees of self-government.

The final episode of Galician independence was the dynastic conflict between Isabella I of Castile and Joanna La Beltraneja ("Daughter of Beltrán", and not to be confused with Joanna the Mad). It was believed that Joanna was the bastard daughter of Beltrán and the former queen (hence the name Beltraneja). A political struggle ensued, and the Joanna-supporting nobles (most of the Galician aristocracy) lost. This gave Isabella free reign to initiate the process she called "Doma y Castración del Reino de Galicia", that is, the "Taming and Castration of the Kingdom of Galicia" (sic)(Court Historian, Zurita). Galician regionalist and federalist movements arose in the nineteenth century. From 1916 through the 1920s these developed into a full nationalist movement. After the second Spanish Republic was declared in 1931, Galicia became an autonomous region following a referendum. During the 1936–75 dictatorship of General Francisco Franco — himself a Galician from Ferrol — Galicia's statute of autonomy was annulled (as were those of Catalonia and the Basque provinces). Franco's regime also suppressed any official promotion of the Galician language, although its everyday use was never proscribed. During the last decade of Franco's rule, there was a renewal of nationalist feeling in Galicia.

Following the transition to democracy upon the death of Gen. Franco in 1975, Galicia regained its status as an autonomous region within Spain with the Statute of Autonomy of 1981, which starts: "Galicia, historical nationality, is constituted as an Autonomous Community to access to its self-government, in agreement with the Spanish Constitution and with the present Statute (...)". Varying degrees of nationalist or separatist sentiment are evident at the political level. The only nationalist party of any electoral significance, the Bloque Nacionalista Galego or BNG, is a conglomerate of left-wing parties and individuals that claims the Galician political status as a nation. From 1990 to 2005, the region's government and parliament, the Xunta de Galicia, was presided over by the Partido Popular ('People's Party', Spain's main national conservative party) under Manuel Fraga, a former minister and ambassador in the Franco regime. In 2002, when the oil tanker Prestige sank and covered the Galician coast in oil, Fraga was accused by the socialist-nationalist movement 'Nunca Mais' to have been unwilling to react. In the 2005 Galician elections, the 'People's Party' lost its absolute majority, while just remaining the largest party in the parliament with 43% of the total votes. As a result, power passed to a coalition of the Partido dos Socialistas de Galicia (PSdeG) ('Galician Socialists' Party'), a regional sister-party of Spain's main social-democratic party, the Partido Socialista Obrero Español ('Spanish Socialist Workers Party') and the nationalist Bloque Nacionalista Galego (BNG). As the senior partner in the new coalition, the PSdeG nominated its leader, Emilio Perez Touriño, to serve as Galicia's new president, with Anxo Quintana, the leader of BNG, as its vice-president. In 2009, after several supposed corruption cases were revealed within the socialist-nationalist government--in a controversial campaign orchestrasted by right-wing media--the coalition lost the elections, and the government went back to the 'People's party' which will enjoy a comfortable majority until 2013. Alberto Núñez Feijoo (PP) will be Galicia's next president. [1]

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Isle of ManThe Isle of Man is a self-governing Crown dependency, located in the Irish Sea at the geographical centre of the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Crown is represented by a Lieutenant Governor. The island is not part of the United Kingdom but foreign relations, defence, and ultimate good-governance of the Isle of Man are the responsibility of the government of the United Kingdom. Inhabited for millennia, the island gradually became a Celtic-Norse community as the Norse settled there, starting about AD 850. This has left a legacy ranging from the Tynwald parliament to many local place names. After a period of alternating rule by the kings of England and Scotland, the Manx came under the feudal over-lordship of the English Crown. The lordship revested into the British Crown in 1764 but the island never became part of the United Kingdom and retained its status as an internally self-governing jurisdiction. The Isle of Man is not a part of the European Union, but has a limited relationship concerning the free movement of goods.

History of the Isle of Man:

The earliest traces of people on the Isle of Man can be found as far back as the Mesolithic Period, also known as the Middle Stone Age. The first residents lived in small natural shelters, hunting, fishing and gathering for their food. They used small tools made of flint or bone, which have been found near the coast. Representatives of these artifacts are kept at the Manx Museum. The Neolithic Period marked the coming of knowledge of farming, better stone tools and pottery. It was during this period that Megalithic Monuments began to appear around the island. Examples from this period can be found at Cashtal yn Ard near Maughold, King Orry's Grave in Laxey, Meayll Circle near Cregneash, and Ballaharra Stones in St. John's. The Megaliths were not the only culture during this time, there were also the local Ronaldsway and Bann cultures. During the Bronze Age, the large communal tombs of the Megaliths were replaced with smaller burial mounds. Bodies were put in stone lined graves along with ornamental containers. The Bronze Age burial mounds created long lasting markers about the countryside. The Iron Age marked the beginning of Celtic cultural influence. Large hill forts appeared on hill summits, and smaller promontory forts along the coastal cliffs, while large timber-framed roundhouses were built. It is likely that the first Celtic tribes to inhabit the Island were of the Brythonic variety. Around AD 700 it is assumed that Irish invasion or immigration formed the basis of the early Manx population. This is evident in the change in language used in Ogham inscriptions. Manx Gaelic remains closely related to Irish and Scots Gaelic.

Viking settlement of the Isle of Man began at the end of the 8th century. The Vikings established Tynwald and introduced many land divisions that still exist. They also left the Manx Runestones. Although the Manx language does contain Norse influences, they are few. The Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles was created by Godred Crovan in 1079 after the Battle of Skyhill. During Viking times, the islands of this kingdom were called the Súðreyjar or Sudreys ("southern isles") in contrast to the Norðreyjar ("northern isles") of Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides. This later became Anglicised as Sodor. The Church of England diocese is still called the Diocese of Sodor and Man although it only covers Mann. When the Rev. W.V. Awdry wrote The Railway Series, he invented the island of Sodor as an imaginary island located between the Isle of Man and the Cumbrian coast. In 1266, as dictated in the Treaty of Perth, Norway's King Magnus VI ceded the isles to Scotland. The Isle of Man came under English control in the 14th century. During this period the Isle was dominated by the Stanley family, who also held the title of Earl of Derby, who had been given possession of Man by King Henry IV.

In 1703 the Act of Settlement secured peasant rights and marked the beginning of a move away from feudal government. In 1765, however, the British Crown secured a greater control over the island, without incorporating it into Great Britain, laying the grounds for the island's status as a Crown dependency. In 1866 greater autonomy was restored to the island's parliament and a full transition to democracy began. The Isle quickly developed as a finance centre and tourist destination, becoming increasingly prosperous during the 20th century. During both the First and Second World Wars the island was used as a location for internment camps for Axis citizens and suspected sympathisers. [1]

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lrelandOverview: Ireland (Irish: Éire, Ulster Scots: Airlann, Latin: Hibernia) is the thirdlargest island in Europe, and the twentieth-largest island in the world. It lies to the north-west of continental Europe and is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets. To the east of Ireland, separated by the Irish Sea, is the island of Great Britain. Politically, the sovereign country of Ireland (described as the Republic of Ireland) covers five-sixths of the island, with Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, covering the remainder in the north-east. The first settlements in Ireland date from 8,000 BC. By 200 BC Celtic migration and influence had come to dominate the island. Relatively small scale settlements of both the Vikings and Normans in the Middle Ages gave way to complete English domination by the 1600s. Protestant English rule resulted in the marginalisation of the Catholic majority, although in the north-east, Protestants were in the majority due to the Plantation of Ulster. Ireland became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. A famine in the mid-1800s caused deaths and emigration. The Anglo-Irish War ended in 1921 with a stalemate and the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, creating the Irish Free State, a Dominion within the British Empire, with effective internal independence but still constitutionally linked with the British Crown. Northern Ireland, consisting of six of the 32 Irish counties which had been established as a devolved region under the 1920 Government of Ireland Act, immediately exercised its option under the treaty to retain its existing status within the United Kingdom. The Free State left the Commonwealth to become a republic in 1949. In 1973 both parts of Ireland joined the European Community. Conflict in Northern Ireland led to much unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s, which subsided following a peace deal in 1998. The population of the island is slightly under 6 million (2006), with 4.2 million in the Republic and an estimated almost 1.75 million in Northern Ireland. This is a significant increase from a modern historical low in the 1960s, but still much lower than the peak population of over 8 million in the early 19th century, prior to the Great Famine. The name Ireland derives from the name of the Celtic goddess Ériu (in modern Irish, Éire) with the addition of the word land. Most other western European names for Ireland, such as French Irlande, derive from the same source.

History of Ireland:

A long cold climatic spell prevailed until the end of the last glacial period about 9,000 years ago, and most of Ireland was covered with ice. Sea-levels were lower then, and Ireland, as with its neighbour Britain, rather than being islands, were part of a greater continental Europe. Mesolithic stone age inhabitants arrived some time after 8000 BCE. Agriculture arrived with the Neolithic circa 4500 to 4000 BCE, when sheep, goats, cattle and cereals were imported from southwest continental Europe. At the Céide Fields in County Mayo, an extensive Neolithic field system – arguably the oldest in the world – has been preserved beneath a blanket of peat. Consisting of small fields separated from one another by dry-stone walls, the Céide Fields were farmed for several centuries between 3500 and 3000 BCE. Wheat and barley were the principal crops. The Bronze Age, which began around 2500 BCE, saw the production of elaborate gold as well as bronze ornaments, weapons and tools. The Iron Age in Ireland was supposedly associated with people known as Celts. They are traditionally thought to have colonised Ireland in a series of waves between the 8th and 1st centuries BCE, with the Gaels, the last wave of Celts, conquering the island and dividing it into five or more kingdoms. Many scientists and academic scholars now favour a view that emphasises cultural diffusion from overseas over significant colonisation such as what Clonycavan Man was reported to be. The Romans referred to Ireland as Hibernia and/or Scotia. Ptolemy in AD 100 recorded Ireland's geography and tribes. Native accounts are confined to Irish poetry, myth, and archaeology. The exact relationship between Rome and the tribes of Hibernia is unclear; the only references are a few Roman writings. In early medieval times, a monarch (also known as the High King) presided over the (then five: the fifth being Meath) provinces of Ireland. These provinces too had their own kings, who were at least nominally subject to the monarch, who resided at Tara. The written judicial system was the Brehon Law, and it was administered by professional learned jurists who were known as the Brehons.

According to early medieval chronicles, in 431, Bishop Palladius arrived in Ireland on a mission from Pope Celestine I to minister to the Irish "already believing in Christ." The same chronicles record that Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, arrived in 432. There is continued debate over the missions of Palladius and Patrick, but the general consensus is that they both existed. The Druid tradition collapsed in the face of the spread of the new religion. Irish Christian scholars excelled in the study of Latin and Greek learning and Christian theology in the monasteries that flourished, preserving Latin and Greek learning during the Early Middle Ages. The arts of manuscript illumination, metalworking, and sculpture flourished and produced such treasures as the Book of Kells, ornate jewellery, and the many carved stone crosses that dot the island. From the 9th century, waves of Viking raiders plundered monasteries and towns, adding to a pattern of endemic raiding and warfare. Eventually Vikings settled in Ireland, and established many towns, including the modern day cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford.

From 1169, Ireland was entered by Cambro-Norman warlords, led by Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (Strongbow), on an invitation from the then King of Leinster. In 1171, King Henry II of England came to Ireland, using the 1155 Bull Laudabiliter issued to him by then Pope Adrian IV, to claim sovereignty over the island, and forced the Cambro-Norman warlords and some of the Gaelic Irish kings to accept him as their overlord. From the 13th century, English law began to be introduced. By the late 13th century the Norman-Irish had established the feudal system throughout most of lowland Ireland. Their settlement was characterised by the establishment of baronies, manors, towns and large land-owning monastic communities, and the county system. The towns of Dublin, Cork, Wexford, Waterford, Limerick, Galway, New Ross, Kilkenny, Carlingford, Drogheda, Sligo, Athenry, Arklow, Buttevant, Carlow, Carrick-on-Suir, Cashel, Clonmel, Dundalk, Enniscorthy, Kildare, Kinsale, Mullingar, Naas, Navan, Nenagh, Thurles, Wicklow, Trim and Youghal were all under Norman-Irish control.

In the 14th century the English settlement went into a period of decline and large areas, for example Sligo, were re-occupied by Gaelic septs. The medieval English presence in Ireland (The Pale) was deeply shaken by the Black Death, which arrived in Ireland in 1348. From the late 15th century English rule was once again expanded, first through the efforts of the Earls of Kildare and Ormond then through the activities of the Tudor State under Henry VIII and Mary and Elizabeth. This resulted in the complete conquest of Ireland by 1603 and the final collapse of the Gaelic social and political superstructure at the end of the 17th century, as a result of English and Scottish Protestant colonisation in the Plantations of Ireland, and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the Williamite War in Ireland. Approximately 600,000 people, nearly half the Irish population, died during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. After the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Irish Catholics and nonconforming Protestants were barred from voting or attending the Irish Parliament. Under the penal laws (introduced from 1691) no Irish Catholic could sit in the Parliament of Ireland, even though some 90% of Ireland's population was native Irish Catholic. This ban was followed by others in 1703 and 1709 as part of a comprehensive system disadvantaging the Catholic community, and to a lesser extent, Protestant dissenters. The new English Protestant ruling class was known as the Protestant Ascendancy. Towards the end of the 18th century the (entirely Protestant) Irish Parliament attained a greater degree of independence from the British Parliament than it had previously held.

In 1798, many members of the Protestant dissenter tradition made common cause with Catholics in a rebellion inspired and led by the Society of United Irishmen. It was staged with the aim of creating a fully independent Ireland as a state with a republican constitution. Despite assistance from France the Irish Rebellion of 1798 was put down by British forces. In 1800, the British and subsequently the Irish Parliament passed the Act of Union which, in 1801, merged the Kingdom of Ireland and the Kingdom of Great Britain to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The passage of the Act in the Irish Parliament was achieved with substantial majorities, in part (according to contemporary documents) through bribery, namely the awarding of peerages and honours to critics to get their votes. Thus, Ireland became part of an extended United Kingdom, ruled directly by the UK Parliament in London. The Great Famine, which began in the 1840s, caused the deaths of one million Irish people, and caused over a million to emigrate. By the late 1840s, as a result of the famine, half of all immigrants to the United States originated from Ireland. A total of 35 million Americans (12% of total population) reported Irish ancestry in the 2005 American Community Survey. Mass emigration became entrenched as a result of the famine and the population continued to decline until late in the 20th century. The pre-famine peak was over 8 million recorded in the 1841 census. The population has never returned to this level.

The 19th and early 20th century saw the rise of Irish nationalism among the Roman Catholic population. Daniel O'Connell led a successful campaign for Catholic Emancipation, which was passed by the United Kingdom parliament. A subsequent campaign for repeal of the Act of Union failed. Later in the century Charles Stewart Parnell and others campaigned for self-government within the Union or "Home Rule". Unionists, especially those located in the Northern part of the island, who considered themselves to be British as well as Irish, were strongly opposed to Home Rule, under which they felt they would be dominated by Catholic and Southern Irish interests. To prevent Home Rule the Ulster Volunteers were formed in 1913 under the leadership of Lord Carson. This was followed by the Irish Volunteers, formed in 1914 to support the enactment of the Home Rule Act, which was suspended on the outbreak of World War I. Under John Redmond the National Volunteers broke away from the Irish Volunteers to serve with the Irish regiments of the New British Army. Armed rebellions, such as the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence of 1919, occurred in this period. In 1921, a treaty was concluded between the British Government and the leaders of the Irish Republic. The Anglo-Irish Treaty recognised the two-state solution created in the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Northern Ireland was presumed to form a home rule state within the new Irish Free State unless it opted out. Northern Ireland had a majority Protestant population and opted out as expected, choosing to rejoin the United Kingdom, incorporating, however, within its border a significant Catholic and nationalist minority. A Boundary Commission was set up to decide on the boundaries between the two Irish states, though it was subsequently abandoned after it recommended only minor adjustments to the border. Disagreements over some provisions of the treaty led to a split in the nationalist movement and subsequently to the Irish Civil War. The Civil War ended in 1923 with the defeat of the anti-treaty forces. [1]

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ScotlandScotland (Gaelic: Alba) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, Scotland consists of over 790 islands including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides. Edinburgh, the country's capital and second largest city, is one of Europe's largest financial centres. Edinburgh was the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, which transformed Scotland into one of the commercial, intellectual and industrial powerhouses of Europe. Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, was once one of the world's leading industrial cities and now lies at the centre of the Greater Glasgow conurbation. Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union.

The Kingdom of Scotland was an independent sovereign state prior to 1 May 1707, upon which date she entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England to create the united Kingdom of Great Britain. This union resulted from the Treaty of Union agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union passed by the Parliaments of both countries, despite widespread protest across Scotland. Scotland's legal system continues to be separate from those of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and Scotland still constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in public and in private law. The continued independence of Scots law, the Scottish education system, and the Church of Scotland have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and Scottish national identity since the Union. Although Scotland is no longer a separate sovereign state, the constitutional future of Scotland continues to give rise to debate.

History of Scotland:

Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land-mass of modern Scotland, have destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period. It is believed that the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation. Groups of settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, and the first villages around 6,000 years ago. The well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the Mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation, burial and ritual sites are particularly common and well-preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone.

The written protohistory of Scotland began with the arrival of the Roman Empire in southern and central Great Britain, when the Romans occupied what is now England and Wales, administering it as a province called Britannia. Roman invasions and occupations of southern Scotland were a series of brief interludes. In AD 83–84 the general Gnaeus Julius Agricola defeated the Caledonians at the Battle of Mons Graupius, and Roman forts were briefly set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line (none are known to have been constructed beyond that line). Three years after the battle the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands. They erected Hadrian's Wall to control tribes on both sides of the wall, and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the empire, although the army held the Antonine Wall in the Central Lowlands for two short periods—the last of these during the time of Emperor Septimius Severus from 208 until 210. The extent of Roman military occupation of any significant part of Scotland was limited to a total of about 40 years, although their influence on the southern section of the country occupied by Brythonic tribes such as the Votadini and Damnonii would still have been considerable.

The Kingdom of the Picts (based in Fortriu by the 6th century) was the state which eventually became known as "Alba" or "Scotland". The development of "Pictland", according to the historical model developed by Peter Heather, was a natural response to Roman imperialism. Another view places emphasis on the Battle of Dunnichen, and the reign of Bridei m. Beli (671–693), with another period of consolidation in the reign of Óengus mac Fergusa (732–761). The Kingdom of the Picts as it was in the early 8th century, when Bede was writing, was largely the same as the kingdom of the Scots in the reign of Alexander (1107–1124). However, by the tenth century, the Pictish kingdom was dominated by what we can recognise as Gaelic culture, and had developed an Irish conquest myth around the ancestor of the contemporary royal dynasty, Cináed mac Ailpín (Kenneth MacAlpin). From a base of territory in eastern Scotland north of the River Forth and south of the River Oykel, the kingdom acquired control of the lands lying to the north and south. By the 12th century, the kings of Alba had added to their territories the English-speaking land in the south-east and attained overlordship of Gaelic-speaking Galloway and Norse-speaking Caithness; by the end of the 13th century, the kingdom had assumed approximately its modern borders. However, processes of cultural and economic change beginning in the 12th century ensured Scotland looked very different in the later Middle Ages. The stimulus for this was the reign of King David I and the Davidian Revolution. Feudalism, government reorganisation and the first legally defined towns (called burghs) began in this period. These institutions and the immigration of French and Anglo-French knights and churchmen facilitated a process of cultural osmosis, whereby the culture and language of the low-lying and coastal parts of the kingdom's original territory in the east became, like the newly acquired south-east, English-speaking, while the rest of the country retained the Gaelic language, apart from the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland, which remained under Norse rule until 1468.

The death of Alexander III in March 1286, followed by the death of his granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway, broke the succession line of Scotland's kings. This led to the intervention of Edward I of England, who manipulated this period of confusion to have himself recognised as feudal overlord of Scotland. Edward organised a process to identify the person with the best claim to the vacant crown, which became known as the Great Cause, and this resulted in the enthronement of John Balliol as king. The Scots were resentful of Edward's meddling in their affairs and this relationship quickly broke down. War ensued and King John was deposed by his overlord, who took personal control of Scotland. Andrew Moray and William Wallace initially emerged as the principal leaders of the resistance to English rule in what became known as the Wars of Scottish Independence. The nature of the struggle changed dramatically when Robert de Brus, Earl of Carrick, killed rival John Comyn on 10th February 1306 at Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries. He was crowned king (as Robert I) less than seven weeks after the killing. Robert I battled to win Scottish Independence as King for over 20 years, beginning by winning Scotland back from the English invaders piece by piece. Victory at The Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 proved that the Scots had won their kingdom, but it took 14 more years and the production of the world's first documented declaration of independence the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 to finally win legal recognition by the English. However war with England was to continue for several decades after the death of Bruce, and a civil war between the Bruce dynasty and their long-term Comyn-Balliol rivals lasted until the middle of the 14th century. Although the Bruce dynasty was successful, David II's lack of an heir allowed his nephew Robert II to come to the throne and establish the Stewart Dynasty. The Stewarts ruled Scotland for the remainder of the Middle Ages. The country they ruled experienced greater prosperity from the end of the 14th century through the Scottish Renaissance to the Reformation. This was despite continual warfare with England, the increasing division between Highlands and Lowlands, and a large number of royal minorities.

In 1603, James VI King of Scots inherited the throne of the Kingdom of England, and became King James I of England, and left Edinburgh for London. With the exception of a short period under the Protectorate, Scotland remained a separate state, but there was considerable conflict between the crown and the Covenanters over the form of church government. After the Glorious Revolution, the abolition of episcopacy and the overthrow of the Roman Catholic James VII by William and Mary, Scotland briefly threatened to select a different Protestant monarch from England. On 22 July 1706 the Treaty of Union was agreed between representatives of the Scots Parliament and the Parliament of England and the following year twin Acts of Union were passed by both parliaments to create the united Kingdom of Great Britain with effect from 1 May 1707. The deposed Jacobite Stuart claimants had remained popular in the Highlands and north-east, particularly amongst non-Presbyterians. However, two major Jacobite risings launched in 1715 and 1745 failed to remove the House of Hanover from the British throne. The threat of the Jacobite movement to the United Kingdom and its monarchs effectively ended at the Battle of Culloden, Great Britain's last pitched battle. This defeat paved the way for large-scale removals of the indigenous populations of the Highlands and Islands, known as the Highland Clearances.

The Scottish Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution made Scotland into an intellectual, commercial and industrial powerhouse. After World War II, Scotland experienced an industrial decline which was particularly severe. Only in recent decades has the country enjoyed something of a cultural and economic renaissance. Economic factors which have contributed to this recovery include a resurgent financial services industry, electronics manufacturing and the North Sea oil and gas industry. Following a referendum on devolution proposals in 1997, the Scotland Act 1998 was passed by the United Kingdom Parliament to establish a devolved Scottish Parliament. [1]

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Wales Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, bordered by England to its east, and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It is also an elective region of the European Union. 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 Llewelyn 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 live 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 tradition. Actors, singers and other artists are celebrated in Wales today, often achieving international success. Cardiff is the largest media centre in the UK outside of London. Llywelyn the Great founded the Principality of Wales in 1216. Just over a hundred years after the Edwardian Conquest, Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence in the early 15th century, to what was to become modern Wales. Traditionally the British Royal Family have 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.

History of Wales:

Wales (Welsh: Cymru) has been inhabited by modern humans for at least 29,000 years. Although continuous human habitation dates from the end of the last ice age (between 12,000 and 10,000 Before Present (BP)), when mesolithic hunter-gatherers from Central Europe began to migrate to Great Britain. Wales was free of glaciers by about 10,250 BP and people would have been able to walk between Continental Europe and Great Britain until between about 7,000 and 6,000 BP, before the post glacial rise in sea level led to Great Britain becoming an island, and the Irish Sea forming to separate Wales and Ireland. John Davies has theorised that the story of Cantre'r Gwaelod's drowning and tales in the Mabinogion, of the waters between Wales and Ireland being narrower and shallower, may be distant folk memories of this time. The area became heavily wooded, restricting movement, and people also came to Great Britain by boat, from the Iberian Peninsula. These Neolithic colonists integrated with the indigenous people, gradually changing their lifestyles from a nomadic life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers—the Neolithic Revolution. They cleared the forests to establish pasture and to cultivate the land, developed new technologies such as ceramics and textile production, and they built cromlechs such as Pentre Ifan, Bryn Celli Ddu and Parc Cwm long cairn between about 5500 BP and 6000 BP, about 1,000 to 1,500 years before either Stonehenge or The Egyptian Great Pyramid of Giza was completed. In common with people living all over Great Britain, over the following centuries the people living in what was to become known as Wales assimilated immigrants and exchanged ideas of the Bronze Age and Iron Age Celtic cultures. By the time of the Roman invasion of Britain the area of modern Wales had been divided among the tribes of the Deceangli, Ordovices, Cornovii, Demetae and Silures for centuries.

The first documented history of the area that would become Wales was in AD 48. Following attacks by the Silures of south-east Wales, in AD 47 and 48, the Roman historian Tacitus recorded that the governor of the new Roman province of Britannia "received the submission of the Deceangli" in north-east Wales. A string of Roman forts was established across what is now the South Wales region, as far west as Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin; Latin: Maridunum), and gold was mined at Dolaucothi in Carmarthenshire. There is evidence that the Romans progressed even farther west. They also built the Roman legionary fortress at Caerleon (Latin: Isca Silurum), of which the magnificent amphitheatre is the best preserved in Britain. The Romans were also busy in northern Wales, and the mediaeval Welsh tale Breuddwyd Macsen Wledig (dream of Macsen Wledig) claims that Magnus Maximus (Macsen Wledig), one of the last western Roman Emperors, married Elen or Helen, the daughter of a Welsh chieftain from Segontium, present-day Caernarfon. It was in the 4th century during the Roman occupation that Christianity was introduced to Wales. After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in 410, much of the lowlands were overrun by various Germanic tribes. However, Gwynedd, Powys, Dyfed and Seisyllg, Morgannwg, and Gwent emerged as independent Welsh successor states. They endured, in part because of favourable geographical features such as uplands, mountains, and rivers and a resilient society that did not collapse with the end of the Roman civitas.

The Saxons at anchor on the sea always
The Cymry venerable until doomsday shall be supreme
They will not seek books nor be covetous of poets
The presage of this isle will be no other than this.
[from The Omen of Prydein The Great, Book of Taliesin VI]

This tenacious survival by the Romano-Britons and their descendants in the western kingdoms was to become the foundation of what we now know as Wales. With the loss of the lowlands, England's kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria, and later Wessex, wrestled with Powys, Gwent, and Gwynedd to define the frontier between the two peoples. Having lost much of what is now the West Midlands to Mercia in the sixth and early seventh centuries, a resurgent late-seventh-century Powys checked Mercian advancement. Aethelbald of Mercia, looking to defend recently acquired lands, had built Wat's Dyke. According to John Davies, this endeavour may have been with Powys king Elisedd ap Gwylog's own agreement, however, for this boundary, extending north from the valley of the River Severn to the Dee estuary, gave Oswestry (Welsh: Croesoswallt) to Powys. King Offa of Mercia seems to have continued this consultative initiative when he created a larger earthwork, now known as Offa's Dyke (Welsh: Clawdd Offa). Davies wrote of Cyril Fox's study of Offa's Dyke:

In the planning of it, there was a degree of consultation with the kings of Powys and Gwent. On the Long Mountain near Trelystan, the dyke veers to the east, leaving the fertile slopes in the hands of the Welsh; near Rhiwabod, it was designed to ensure that Cadell ap Brochwel retained possession of the Fortress of Penygadden." And for Gwent Offa had the dyke built "on the eastern crest of the gorge, clearly with the intention of recognizing that the River Wye and its traffic belonged to the kingdom of Gwent.

However, Fox's interpretations of both the length and purpose of the Dyke have been questioned by more recent research. Offa's Dyke largely remained the frontier between the Welsh and English, though the Welsh would recover by the 12th century the area between the Dee and the Conwy known then as the Perfeddwlad. By the eighth century, the eastern borders with the Anglo-Saxons had broadly been set. Following the successful examples of Cornwall in 722 and Brittany in 865, the Britons of Wales made their peace with the Vikings and asked the Norsemen to help the Britons fight the Anglo-Saxons of Mercia to prevent an Anglo-Saxon conquest of Wales. In 878 AD the Britons of Wales unified with the Vikings of Denmark to destroy an Anglo-Saxon army of Mercians. Like Cornwall in 722, this decisive defeating of the Saxons gave Wales some decades of peace from Anglo-Saxon attack. In 1063, the Welsh prince Gruffydd ap Llywelyn made an alliance with Norwegian Vikings against Mercia which, as in 878 AD was successful, and the Saxons of Mercia defeated. As with Cornwall and Brittany, Viking aggression towards the Saxons/Franks ended any chance of the Anglo-Saxons/Franks conquering their Celtic neighbours.

The southern and eastern lands lost to English settlement became known in Welsh as Lloegyr (Modern Welsh: Lloegr), which may have referred to the kingdom of Mercia originally, and which came to refer to England as a whole. The Germanic tribes who now dominated these lands were invariably called Saeson, meaning "Saxons". The Anglo-Saxons called the Romano-British 'Walha', meaning 'Romanised foreigner' or 'stranger'. The Welsh continued to call themselves Brythoniaid (Brythons or Britons) well into the Middle Ages, though the first use of Cymru and y Cymry is found as early as 633 in the Gododdin of Aneirin. In Armes Prydain, written in about 930, the words Cymry and Cymro are used as often as 15 times. It was not until about the 12th century however, that Cymry began to overtake Brythoniaid in their writings. From the year 800 onwards, a series of dynastic marriages led to Rhodri Mawr's (r. 844-877) inheritance of Gwynedd and Powys. His sons in turn would found three principal dynasties (Aberffraw for Gwynedd, Dinefwr for Deheubarth, and Mathrafal for Powys), each competing for hegemony over the others. Rhodri's grandson Hywel Dda (r.900-950) founded Deheubarth out of his maternal and paternal inheritances of Dyfed and Seisyllwg, ousted the Aberffraw dynasty from Gwynedd and Powys, and codified Welsh law in 930, finally going on a pilgrimage to Rome (and allegedly having the Law Codes blessed by the Pope). Maredudd ab Owain (r.986-999) of Deheubarth (Hywel's grandson) would, (again) temporarily oust the Aberffraw line from control of Gwynedd and Powys. Maredudd's great-grandson (through his daughter Princess Angharad) Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (r.1039-1063) would conquer his cousins' realms from his base in Powys, and even extend his authority into England. Historian John Davies states that Gruffydd was "the only Welsh king ever to rule over the entire territory of Wales... Thus, from about 1057 until his death in 1063, the whole of Wales recognised the kingship of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. For about seven brief years, Wales was one, under one ruler, a feat with neither precedent nor successor." Owain Gwynedd (1100-1170) of the Aberffraw line was the first Welsh ruler to use the title princeps Wallensium (prince of the Welsh), a title of substance given his victory on the Berwyn Mountains, according to John Davies. The Aberffraw dynasty would surge to pre-eminence with Owain Gwynedd's grandson Llywelyn Fawr (the Great) (b.1173-1240), wrestling concessions out of the Magna Carta in 1215 and receiving the fealty of other Welsh lords in 1216 at the council at Aberdyfi, becoming the first Prince of Wales. His grandson Llywelyn II also secured the recognition of the title Prince of Wales from Henry III with the Treaty of Montgomery in 1267. Later however, a succession of disputes, including the imprisonment of Llywelyn's wife Eleanor, daughter of Simon de Montfort, culminated in the first invasion by Edward I. As a result of military defeat, the Treaty of Aberconwy exacted Llywelyn's fealty to England in 1277. Peace was short lived and with the 1282 Edwardian conquest the rule of the Welsh princes permanently ended. With Llywelyn's death and his brother prince Dafydd's execution, the few remaining Welsh lords did homage for their lands to Edward I. Llywelyn's head was then carried through London on a spear; his baby daughter Gwenllian was locked in the priory at Sempringham, where she remained until her death fifty four years later.

To help maintain his dominance, Edward constructed a series of great stone castles. Beaumaris, Caernarfon, and Conwy Castles were built mainly to overshadow the Welsh royal home and headquarters Garth Celyn, Aber Garth Celyn, on the north coast of Gwynedd. After the failed revolt in 1294-5 of Madog ap Llywelyn - who styled himself prince of Wales in the so-called Penmachno Document - there was no major uprising until that led by Owain Glyndŵr a century later, against Henry IV of England. In 1404 Owain was reputedly crowned Prince of Wales in the presence of emissaries from France, Spain and Scotland; he went on to hold parliamentary assemblies at several Welsh towns, including Machynlleth. The rebellion was ultimately to founder, however, and Owain went into hiding in 1412, with peace being more or less restored in Wales by 1415. Although the English conquest of Wales took place under the 1284 Statute of Rhuddlan, a formal Union did not occur until 1536, shortly after which Welsh law, which continued to be used in Wales after the conquest, was fully replaced by English law under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542.

In the 20th century, Wales saw a revival in its national status. Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925, seeking greater autonomy or independence from the rest of the UK. In 1955, the term England and Wales became common for describing the area to which English law applied, and Cardiff was proclaimed as capital city. In 1962 the Welsh Language Society (Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg) was formed in response to fears that the language might soon die out. Nationalism grew, particularly following the flooding of the Tryweryn valley in 1965 to create a reservoir supplying water to the English city of Liverpool. Despite 35 of the 36 Welsh Members of Parliament (MPs) voting against the bill, with the other abstaining, Parliament still passed the bill and the village of Capel Celyn was drowned, highlighting Wales's powerlessness in her own affairs in the face of the numerical superiority of English MPs in the London Parliament. In 1966 the Carmarthen Parliamentary seat was won by Gwynfor Evans at a by-election, Plaid Cymru's first Parliamentary seat. Both the Free Wales Army and Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC) (English: Welsh Defence Movement) were formed as a direct result of the Tryweryn destruction, conducting campaigns from 1963. In the years leading up to the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969, these groups were responsible for a number of bomb blasts—destroying water pipes, tax and other offices, and part of a dam being built for a new English backed project in Clywedog, Montgomeryshire. In 1967, the Wales and Berwick Act 1746 was repealed for Wales, and a legal definition of Wales, and of the boundary with England was stated.

A referendum on the creation of an assembly for Wales in 1979 led to a large majority for the "no" vote. However, in 1997 a referendum on the same issue secured a "yes", although by a very narrow majority. The National Assembly for Wales (Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) was set up in 1999 (as a consequence of the Government of Wales Act 1998) and possesses the power to determine how the central government budget for Wales is spent and administered (although the UK parliament reserves the right to set limits on the powers of the Welsh Assembly). The 1998 Act was amended by the Government of Wales Act 2006 which enhanced the Assembly's powers, giving it legislative powers akin to the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly. Following the 2007 Assembly election, the One Wales Government was formed under a coalition agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Labour Party, under that agreement, a convention is due to be established to discuss further enhancing Wales's legislative and financial autonomy. A referendum on giving the Welsh assembly full law-making powers is promised "as soon as practicable, at or before the end of the assembly term (in 2011)" and both parties have agreed "in good faith to campaign for a successful outcome to such a referendum." [1]

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Other Lands of Celtic Significance

AsturiasThe Principality of Asturias (Spanish: Principado de Asturias) is an autonomous community within the kingdom of Spain, former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages. It is situated on the Spanish north coast facing the Cantabrian Sea (Mar Cantábrico, the Spanish name for the Bay of Biscay). The most important cities are the provincial capital, Oviedo, the seaport and largest city Gijón, and the industrial town of Avilés. Other towns include Mieres, Langreo (with La Felguera and Sama), Pola de Siero, Luarca, Cangas de Onís, Cangas del Narcea, Grado, Lena, Laviana, El Entrego, Villaviciosa, Vegadeo, and Llanes. See also List of municipalities in Asturias, Comarcas of Asturias. Asturias is bordered on the east by Cantabria, on the south by Castilla y León, on the west by Galicia (Lugo), and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.

The only official language in Asturias is Spanish. The Asturian language (Bable) is also spoken, and is protected by Ley 1/1998, de 23 de marzo, de uso y promoción del bable/asturiano ('Law 1/1998, of March 23, of Use and Promotion of Bable/Asturian'). It is used sometimes by the Asturian civil service. In the western part of Asturias, Eonavian is also spoken, and its promotion also falls under the responsibility of Law 1/1998. Whether Eonavian is a dialect continuum or a variety of Galician language, however, is a subject of debate, and its use in the Asturian Administration is minor compared to the use of the Asturian language. There is an ongoing process to change all place names in Asturias into traditional Asturian and Eonavian ones.

History of Asturias:

Asturias has been occupied by humans since the Lower Paleolithic era, and during the Upper Paleolithic was characterized by cave paintings in the eastern part of the area. In the Mesolithic period, a native culture developed, that of the Asturiense, and later, with the introduction of the Bronze Age, megaliths and tumuli were constructed. In the Iron Age, the territory came under the cultural influence of the Celts; the local Celtic peoples, known as the Astures, were composed of tribes such as the Luggones, the Pesicos, and others, who populated the entire area with castros (fortified hill-towns). Today the Astur Celtic influence persists in place names, such as those of rivers and mountains. With the conquest of Asturias by the Romans under Augustus (29-19 BC), the region entered into the annals of history. After several centuries without foreign presence, the Suebi and Visigoths occupied the land from the 6th century AD to the beginning of the 8th century, ending with the Moorish invasion of Spain. However, as it had been for the Romans and Visigoths, the Moors did not find mountainous territory easy to conquer, and the lands along Spain's northern coast never fully became part of Islamic Spain. Rather, with the beginning of the Moorish conquest in the 8th century, this region became a refuge for Christian nobles, and in 722, a de facto independent kingdom was established, the Regnum Asturorum, which was to became the cradle of the incipient Reconquista (Reconquest). In the 10th century, the Kingdom of Asturias gave way to the Kingdom of León, and during the Middle Ages the geographic isolation of the territory made historical references scarce. Through the rebellion of Henry II of Castile in the 14th century, the Principality of Asturias was established. The most famous proponents of independence were Gonzalo Peláez and Queen Urraca, who while achieving significant victories were ultimately defeated by Castilian troops. After its integration into the Kingdom of Spain, Asturias provided the Spanish court with high-ranking aristocrats and played an important role in the colonization of the Americas. Since 1388, the heir to the Castilian (later Spanish) throne has been styled Prince of Asturias. In the 16th century, the population reached 100,000 for the first time, and within another century that number would double due to the arrival of American corn. During the 18th century, Asturias was one of the centres of the Spanish Enlightenment. The renowned thinker Benito de Feijoo settled in the Benedictine Monastery of San Vicente de Oviedo. Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, a polymath and prominent reformer and politician of the late 18th century, was born in the seaside town of Gijón. The Industrial Revolution came to Asturias after 1830 with the discovery and systematic exploitation of coal and iron resources. At the same time, there was significant migration to the Americas (especially Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba and Mexico); those who succeeded overseas often returned to their native land much wealthier. These entrepreneurs were known collectively as 'Indianos', for having visited and made their fortunes in the West Indies and beyond. The heritage of these wealthy families can still be seen in Asturias today: many large 'modernista' villas are dotted across the region, as well as cultural institutions such as free schools and public libraries.

Like all Spain, Asturias played its part in the events that led up to and including the Spanish Civil War. In 1934, the Marxist workers' movement fought the right-wing government of the Second Spanish Republic in the Revolution of Asturias. For a month, a socialist republic was formed in Asturias, with a total Marxist administration. Troops under the command of Francisco Franco were brought from the North African colonies to put down the rebellion and a ferocious oppression followed. As a result, Asturias remained loyal to the democratic republican government during the Spanish Civil War, and was the scene of an extraordinary defence in extreme terrain, the Battle of El Mazuco. With Franco eventually gaining control of all Spain, Asturias—traditionally linked to the Spanish crown—was known merely as the "Province of Oviedo" from 1936 until Franco's death in 1975. The province's name was restored fully after the return of democracy to Spain, in 1977. In 1982, Asturias became an Autonomous Community within the decentralized territorial structure established by the Constitution of 1978. The Asturian regional government holds comprehensive competencies in important areas such as health, education and protection of the environment. Since 1999, the President of the Government of Asturias has been Vicente Álvarez Areces, of the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party (PSOE). [1]

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England In Celtic languages, England is usually referred to as "Saxon-land" (Sasana, Pow Saws, Bro-Saoz etc), and in Welsh as Lloegr (though the Welsh translation of English also refers to the Saxon route: Saesneg, with the English being referred to as "Saeson", or "Saes" in the singular). This is because the Celtic peoples of what is now England succumbed to the invading Saxons and were either driven out of their lands or took on the culture and language of the Anglo-Saxons, although spoken Cumbric survived until the 12th Century, Cornish until the 18th century, and Welsh in parts of Herefordshire until at least the same time. Remnants of Brythonic and Cumbric are often seen in place names throughout England but are more common in the West than the East. Elements such as caer 'fort' as in Carlisle, pen 'hill' as in Penrith and craig 'crag, rock' as in High Crag. The name 'Cumbria' is derived from the same root as Cymru, the Welsh name for Wales, meaning 'the land of comrades'. There is a current attempt to revive Cumbric and about 50 words of a reconstructed, hypothetical "Cumbric" exist. English Celtic revivalism has tended to relate to the identity of Britain and its role in the world. Henry Purcell's opera King Arthur for example refers back to Celtic legends. Victorian revivalism concentrated again on King Arthur, fairy and folklore and also Boudica, whose statue stands outside the Palace of Westminster. The inscription on the base is a direct reference to Empire: "Regions Caesar never knew, Thy posterity shall sway" and was commissioned by Prince Albert. Modern revivalism has focused more on music, mythology, rituals such as the Druids and a better understanding of Celtic festivals that have been observed in England since the Celtic period, and dialect or language. It sometimes includes new age elements associated with ancient sites such as Avebury and Stonehenge.

History of England:

Bones and flint tools found in Norfolk and Suffolk show that Homoerectus lived in what is now England about 700,000 years ago. At this time, Great Britain was joined to mainland Europe by a large land bridge. The current position of the English Channel was a large river flowing westwards and fed by tributaries that would later become the Thames and the Seine. This area was greatly depopulated during the period of the last major ice age, as were other regions of the British Isles. In the subsequent recolonisation, after the thawing of the ice, genetic research shows that present-day England was the last area of the British Isles to be repopulated, about 13,000 years ago. The migrants arriving during this period contrast with the other of the inhabitants of the British Isles, coming across lands from the south east of Europe, whereas earlier arriving inhabitants came north along a coastal route from Iberia. These migrants would later adopt the Celtic culture that came to dominate much of western Europe. By AD 43, the time of the main Roman invasion, Britain had already been the target of frequent invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. It was first invaded by the Roman dictator Julius Caesar in 55 BC, but it was conquered more fully by the Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. Like other regions on the edge of the empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans, and their economic and cultural influence was a significant part of the British late pre-Roman Iron Age, especially in the south. With the fall of the Roman Empire 400 years later, the Romans left the Province of Britannia, much of which later came to be known as England.

The History of Anglo-Saxon England covers the history of early mediæval England from the end of Roman Britain and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th century until the Conquest by the Normans in 1066. Fragmentary knowledge of Anglo-Saxon England in the 5th and 6th centuries comes from the British writer Gildas (6th century) the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (a history of the English people begun in the 9th century), saints' lives, poetry, archaeological findings, and place-name studies. The dominant themes of the seventh to tenth centuries were the spread of Christianity and the political unification of England. Christianity is thought to have come from three directions—from Rome to the south, and Scotland and Ireland to the north and west, respectively. From about 500 AD, it is believed England was divided into seven petty kingdoms, known as the Heptarchy: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex. The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms tended to coalesce by means of warfare. As early as the time of Ethelbert of Kent, one king could be recognised as Bretwalda ("Lord of Britain"). Generally speaking, the title fell in the 7th century to the kings of Northumbria; in the 8th to those of Mercia; and in the 9th to Egbert of Wessex, who in 825 defeated the Mercians at the Battle of Ellendun. In the next century, his family came to rule England. The "Great Heathen Army" of Danish Vikings pillaged and conquered much of England in the late 9th century. Originally, England was a geographical term to describe the part of Britain occupied by the Anglo-Saxons, rather than a name of an individual nation-state. It became politically united through the expansion of the kingdom of Wessex, whose king Athelstan brought the whole of England under one ruler for the first time in 927, although unification did not become permanent until 954, when Edred defeated Eric Bloodaxe and became King of England. In 1016, England was conquered by the Danish king Canute the Great and became the centre of government for his short-lived empire. With the accession of Edward the Confessor, heir of the native English dynasty, in 1042, England once again became a separate kingdom. Its ties and nature, however, were forever changed following the Norman Conquest in 1066. The next few hundred years saw England as a major part of expanding and dwindling empires based in France with the "Kings of England" using England as a source of troops to enlarge their personal holdings in France for years (Hundred Years' War) starting with Edward III; in fact, the English crown did not relinquish its last foothold on mainland France until Calais was lost in 1558, during the reign of Mary Tudor (the Channel Islands are still crown dependencies, though not part of the UK).

In the 13th century Wales (the remaining Romano-Celts) was brought under the control of English monarchs through conquest. This was formalised in the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 and Wales was legally annexed to the Kingdom of England by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542. Wales shared a legal identity with England as the joint entity originally called England and later England and Wales. An epidemic of catastrophic proportions, the Black Death first reached England in the summer of 1348. The Black Death is estimated to have killed between a third and two-thirds of Europe's population. England alone lost as much as 70% of its population, which passed from seven million to two million in 1400. The plague repeatedly returned to haunt England throughout the 14th to 17th centuries. The Great Plague of London in 1665–1666 was the last plague outbreak.

During the English Reformation in the 16th century, the external authority of the Roman Catholic Church in England was abolished and replaced with Acts of Royal Supremacy and the establishment of the Church of England ("Anglican Church") under the Supreme Governance of the English monarch. This occurred during the reign of Henry VIII. The English Reformation differed from its European counterparts in that its roots were more political than theological. The English Reformation paved the way for the spread of Anglicanism in the church and other institutions. The period known as the English Civil War (1642–1651) saw political machinations and armed conflicts between supporters of the Long Parliament (Roundheads) and of King Charles I (Royalists) in 1642 to 1645 and 1648 to 1649, followed by conflict between supporters of the Rump Parliament and of King Charles II in 1649 to 1651. The War ended with the Parliamentary victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651. It had led to the trial and execution of Charles I, the exile of his son Charles II, the replacement of the English monarchy with the Commonwealth of England (1649–1653) and personal rule by Oliver Cromwell during The Protectorate (1653–1659). After Cromwell's death in 1659, a brief return, lead by Cromwell's weak son, to Commonwealth rule was attempted before Parliament invited Charles II to return to England in 1660 and restore the monarchy. During the interregnum, the Church of England's monopoly on Christian worship in England came to an end and the Protestant Ascendancy consolidated in Ireland. Constitutionally, the wars established a precedent that British monarchs could not govern without parliamentary consent, although this would not be cemented until the Glorious Revolution later in the century.

Although embattled for centuries, the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland had been drawing increasingly together since the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and in 1603, with the Scottish king James VI accession to the English crown, the two countries became linked by a personal union, being ruled by the same Stuart dynasty. Following a number of attempts to unite the Kingdoms, a Treaty of Union was agreed on 22 July 1706 by representatives of the English and Scottish parliaments, and put into effect by the Acts of Union which resulted in political union between the states with the creation of the united Kingdom of Great Britain on 1 May 1707. (Ireland joining in 1801 with all of Ireland except Northern Ireland leaving in 1922 has resulted in the current name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). After the Union, England and Wales retained their separate legal identity since the continuance of the separate Scottish legal system was enshrined in the Articles of the Treaty of Union. Wales was already part of the Kingdom of England but the Wales and Berwick Act 1746 made it explicit that laws passed for England were automatically applicable to Wales. The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 also referred to the formerly Scottish burgh of Berwick-upon-Tweed. The border town changed hands several times and was finally conquered by England in 1482 but was not officially incorporated into England. Contention about whether Berwick was in England or Scotland was ended by the union of the two in 1707. Berwick remains within the English legal system and so is regarded today as part of England (though there has been suggestion in Scotland that Berwick should be invited to 'return to the fold'). The county of Monmouthshire has long been an ambiguous area with its legal identity passing between England and Wales at various periods. In the Local Government Act 1972, it was made part of Wales. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are crown dependencies and are not part of England. [1]

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France Many of the French people themselves identify actively with the Gauls. The French- and Arpitan-speaking Aosta Valley region in Italy also presents a casual claim of Celtic heritage. The Northern League autonomist party often exalts what it claims are the Celtic roots of the entire Northern Italy, or Padania. Reportedly, Friuli also has an ephemeral claim to celticity. Walloons are sometimes characterised as "Celts", mainly opposed to "Teutonic" Flemish and "Latin" French identities; the ethnonym "Walloon" derives from a Germanic word meaning "foreign", cognate with the words "Welsh" and "Vlach." [1]


France, officially the French Republic (French: République française), is located in Western Europe. France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is often referred to as L’Hexagone ("The Hexagon") because of the geometric shape of its territory. Its bordered (clockwise from the north) by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Andorra, and Spain. The borders of modern France are approximately the same as those of ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Celtic Gauls. Gaul was conquered for Rome by Julius Caesar in the 1st century BCE, and the Gauls eventually adopted Roman speech (Latin, from which the French language evolved) and Roman culture. Christianity first appeared in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, and became so firmly established by the fourth and fifth centuries that St. Jerome wrote that Gaul was the only region “free from heresy.” In the 4th century AD, Gaul’s eastern frontier along the Rhine was overrun by Germanic tribes, principally the Franks, from whom the ancient name of “Francie” was derived. The modern name “France” derives from the name of the feudal domain of the Capetian Kings of France around Paris. [6]


Italy (Italian: Italia), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana), is a country located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe and on the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. Italy shares its northern, Alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. [7] By far the larger portion of Northern Italy is occupied by the basin of the Po river, which comprises the whole of the broad plain extending from the foot of the Apennines to that of the Alps, together with the valleys and slopes on both sides of it. Throughout its whole course indeed, from its source in Monte Viso to its outflow into the Adriatic Sea — a distance of more than 5 degrees of longitude, or 220 miles in a direct line — the Po receives all the waters that flow from the Apennines northwards, and all those that descend from the Alps towards the south, till one comes to the Adige, which, after pursuing a parallel course with the Po for a considerable distance, enters the Adriatic by a separate mouth. Northern Italy was inhabited by Celts and Proto-Celtic tribes in the "Lombard Valley", while Etrurian people settled in Tuscany that, as the recent studies show, have to be identified with the "People of the Sea", a German wave in the Mediterranean Sea before the start of the Classic Age. After the Roman invasion, the Lombardy (as the northern regions and Tuscany have been called as a whole entity until the born of Italy) became a strategic region of the Empire when the German incursions started in late 2 AD. In this period important Celtic cities like Turin and Milan were transformed into military settlements in order to provide with the best defense Rome and the regions of Italy. Lombardy, Austria, Bavaria and Hungary became the target of the oriental German people's invasions (Ostroghots, Avars, Lombards) and since this people used to adopt the language of the conquered people as well of the conquerors they mixed their language with that of the Magyars, the western Germans and the Romans. The Kingdom of the Lombards lasted for two centuries. [8]

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GermanyCeltic tribes inhabited land in what is now southern Germany and Austria. Many scholars have associated the earliest Celtic peoples with the Hallstatt culture. Boii, Scordisci and the Vindelici are some of the tribes that inhabited Central Europe, including what is now Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Poland and the Czech Republic as well as Germany and Austria. The Boii gave their name to Bohemia. Celts also founded Singidunum present-day Belgrade, leaving many words in Serbian language (over 5000). The La Tène culture also covered much of central Europe. The name of the culture is from the location in Switzerland. [1]


Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic; to the south by Austria and Switzerland; and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. A region named Germania inhabited by several Germanic peoples has been known and documented before AD 100. The English word "Germany" derives from Latin name Germania. The name "Germania" came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it from a Gallic term for the peoples east of the Rhine that probably meant "neighbour." The ethnogenesis of the Germanic tribes is assumed to have occurred during the Nordic Bronze Age, or at the latest, during the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, the tribes began expanding south, east and west in the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well as Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes in Eastern Europe. Little is known about early Germanic history, except through their recorded interactions with the Roman Empire, etymological research and archaeological finds. Under Augustus, the Roman General Publius Quinctilius Varus began to invade Germania (a term used by the Romans to define a territory running roughly from the Rhine to the Ural Mountains), and it was in this period that the Germanic tribes became familiar with Roman tactics of warfare while maintaining their tribal identity. In AD 9, three Roman legions led by Varus were defeated by the Cheruscan leader Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Modern Germany, as far as the Rhine and the Danube, thus remained outside the Roman Empire. By AD 100, the time of Tacitus' Germania, Germanic tribes settled along the Rhine and the Danube (the Limes Germanicus) , occupying most of the area of modern Germany. The 3rd century saw the emergence of a number of large West Germanic tribes: Alamanni, Franks, Chatti, Saxons, Frisians, Sicambri, and Thuringii. Around 260, the Germanic peoples broke through the Limes and the Danube frontier into Roman-controlled lands. [9]



Austria (German: Österreich), officially the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It borders both Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The capital is the city of Vienna on the Danube River. The origins of Austria date back to the ninth century, when the territory later known as Upper and Lower Austria became increasingly populated. The name Ostarrîchi is first documented in an official document from 996 C.E. Since then, this word has developed into Österreich. Settled in ancient times, the central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was later claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area was invaded by Bavarians, Slavs and Avars. The Slavic tribe of the Carantanians migrated into the Alps, and established the realm of Carantania, which covered much of eastern and central Austrian territory. Charlemagne conquered the area in 788, encouraged colonization, and introduced Christianity. [10]

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Spain The north-western part of the Iberian Peninsula is an area influenced by Celtic culture. In particular this includes the regions of Spain, Galicia, Asturias, central and northern Portugal, Cantabria and León. In none of these regions has a Celtic language survived (although some place names are of Celtic origin), which means that the most common criterion for Celticity, that of having a Celtic language, does not apply. [1]

Early in the first millennium BCE, several waves of Pre-Celts and Celts migrated from central Europe, thus partially changing the ethnic landscape of Iberia into Indo-European space in its northern and western regions. By the Iron Age, starting in the 7th century BC, the global panorama in Iberia was one of complex agrarian and urban civilizations, either Pre-Celtic or Celtic (such as the Lusitanians, the Celtiberians, the Gallaeci, the Astur, or the Celtici, amongst others), the cultures of the Iberians in the eastern and southern zones of Iberia and the cultures of the Aquitanian in the western portion of the Pyrenees. In 219 BC, the first Roman troops invaded the Iberian Peninsula, during the Second Punic war against the Carthaginians, and annexed it under Augustus after two centuries of war with the Celtic and Iberian tribes and the Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian colonies, resulting in the creation of the province of Hispania. It was divided into Hispania Ulterior and Hispania Citerior during the late Roman Republic, and during the Roman Empire, it was divided into Hispania Taraconensis in the northeast, Hispania Baetica in the south and Lusitania in the southwest. Hispania supplied the Roman Empire with food, olive oil, wine and metal. The emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Theodosius I, the philosopher Seneca and the poets Martial and Lucan were born from families living in Iberia. In the early 5th century, Germanic tribes invaded the peninsula, namely the Suevi, the Vandals (Silingi and Hasdingi) and their allies, the Sarmatian Alans. Only the kingdom of the Suevi (Quadi and Marcomanni) would endure after the arrival of another wave of Germanic invaders, the Visigoths, who conquered all of the Iberian peninsula and expelled or partially integrated the Vandals and the Alans. The Visigoths eventually conquered the Suevi kingdom and its capital city Bracara (modern day Braga) in 584-585. They would also conquer the province of the Byzantine Empire (552-624) of Spania in the south of the peninsula and the Balearic Islands. In 711 CE, a North African Moorish Umayyad army invaded Visigothic Christian Hispania. Under their leader Tariq ibn-Ziyad, they landed at Gibraltar and brought most of the Iberian Peninsula under Islamic rule in an eight-year campaign. Al-Andalūs (Arabic الإندلس : Land of the Vandals) is the Arabic name given the Iberian Peninsula by its Muslim conquerors and its subsesquent inhabitants. From the 8th to the 15th centuries, parts of the Iberian peninsula were ruled by the Moors (mainly Berber and Arab) who had crossed over from North Africa. [11]

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Hungary and Slovakia


Hungary (Hungarian: Magyarország), officially the Republic of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság "Hungarian Republic"), is a landlocked country in the Carpathian Basin of Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Its capital is Budapest, and its official language is Hungarian, which is part of the Finno-Ugric family. It is one of the 23 official languages of the European Union and one of four that is not of Indo-European origin. Following a Celtic (after c. 450 BCE) and a Roman (9 BC – c. 5th century) period, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late Ninth Century by the Magyar chieftain Árpád, whose great grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne with a crown sent from Rome in 1000. The Kingdom of Hungary existed with interruptions for 946 years, and was at times regarded as one of the cultural centers of the Western world (particularly during Stephen I, Béla IV, Louis I, Matthias I, and the regency of Lajos Kossuth). A significant power until its defeat in World War I, Hungary lost over two-thirds of its territory (along with 3.3 million ethnic Hungarians) in the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, the terms of which have been considered harsh, and even humiliating by Hungarians. Following a disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany during World War II, the kingdom was occupied by the Soviet Union which imposed a Communist government from 1947 to 1989. During this era, Hungary gained widespread international recognition by mounting the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal move of opening its border with Austria in 1989, thus accelerating the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. The present form of government is parliamentary republic (since 1989). Today, Hungary is a high-income economy, and a regional leader regarding certain markers.

History of Hungary:

After the Western Roman Empire collapsed under the stress of the migration of Germanic tribes and Carpian pressure, the Migration Period continued bringing many invaders to Europe. Among the first to arrive were the Huns, who built up a powerful empire under Attila. Attila the Hun was erroneously regarded as an ancestral ruler of the Hungarians, an opinion rejected today by the majority of scholars. It is believed that the origin of the name "Hungary" does not come from the Central Asian nomadic invaders called the Huns, but rather originated from 7th century, when Magyar tribes were part of a Bulgar alliance called On-Ogour, which in Bulgar Turkic meant "(the) Ten Arrows". After Hunnish rule faded, the Germanic Ostrogoths then the Lombards came to Pannonia, and the Gepids had a presence in the eastern part of the Carpathian Basin for about 100 years. In the 560s the Avars founded the Avar Khaganate, a state which maintained supremacy in the region for more than two centuries and had the military power to launch attacks against all its neighbours. The Avar Khaganate was weakened by constant wars and outside pressure. The Avars' 250 year rule ended when the Khaganate was conquered by the Franks under Charlemagne in the West and the Bulgarians under Krum in the East. Neither of these two nor others were able to create a lasting state in the region until the freshly unified Hungarians led by Árpád settled in the Carpathian Basin starting in 895.

Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe, settled in 896, before France and Germany became separate entities, and before the unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Medieval Hungary, the third largest of any country in Europe, controlled more territory than medieval France. Árpád was the Magyar leader who, unifying the Magyar tribes via the Covenant of Blood (Hungarian: Vérszerződés), forged one nation, thereafter known as the Hungarian nation and led the new nation to the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century. After the Carpathian Basin was secured from the Bulgarians and Moravians, the threat from the western Christian nations still persisted. In order to prevent a united force from being mounted against them, the Hungarians quickly engaged in preemptive warfare, that lead them as far as the Iberian Peninsula. The Hungarian tactics of warfare, which relied heavily on light horsemen with mastery of the reflex bow, was something not seen since the days of Attila, and had just as devastating an effect. Finally, in 955, at the Battle of Lechfeld, the Hungarians suffered a significant defeat at the hands of a united German and Bohemian force, a part of which was equipped as then revolutionary heavy knight. Taking the events into carefull consideration, the ruling prince (fejedelem) Géza of the Árpád dynasty, the ruler of only some of the united territory, but the nominal overlord of all seven Magyar tribes, determined to integrate Hungary into Christian Western Europe, rebuilding the state according to the Western political and social model. He named his son Vajk, later King Stephen I of Hungary, as his successor. This was contrary to the Magyar tradition of the succession of the eldest surviving member of the ruling family. By ancestral right prince Koppány, -as the oldest member of the dynasty- should have claimed the throne, but Géza chose his eldest son as his successor. A fight in the chief prince's family started after Géza's death in 997. Duke Koppány took up arms, and many people in Transdanubia joined him. The rebels represented the old faith and order, ancient human rights, tribal independence and pagan belief, but Stephen won a decisive victory over his uncle Koppány, and had him executed.

In the year 1000, by the authority of the Pope, Hungary was established as a Catholic Apostolic Kingdom under Saint Stephen I of Hungary. Applying to Pope Sylvester II, Stephen received insignia of royalty (including the still existent Holy Crown of Hungary). He was crowned in December, 1000 AD in the capital, Esztergom. The papacy conferred on him the right to have the cross carried before him, with full administrative authority over bishoprics and churches. The son of Géza, he was a descendant of Árpád, founder of Hungary. By 1006, Stephen had solidified his power, eliminating all rivals who either wanted to follow pagan traditions or wanted an alliance with the Eastern Christian Byzantine Empire. He instituted sweeping reforms to convert Hungary into a western feudal state, complete with forced Christianisation. Stephen established a network of 10 episcopal and 2 archiepiscopal sees,and ordered the buildup of monasteries, churches, and cathedrals. Formerly, the Hungarian language was written in a runic-like script. The country switched to the Latin alphabet under Stephen. From 1000 to 1844, Latin was the official language of the country. He followed the Frankish administrative model: The whole of the land was divided into counties (megyék), each under a royal official called an ispán count (Latin: comes)—later főispán (Latin: supremus comes). This official represented the king’s authority, administered its population, and collected the taxes that formed the national revenue. Each ispán maintained at his fortified headquarters (castrum or vár) an armed force of freemen. What emerged was a strong state that withstood attacks from German kings and Emperors, as well as nomadic tribes following the Hungarians from the East, integrating some of the latter into the population (along with Germans invited to Transylvania and the northern part of the kingdom, especially after the Battle of Mohi), and conquering Croatia in 1091. [2]



The Slovak Republic or Slovakia (Slovak: Slovensko, long form Slovenská Republika) is a landlocked country in Central Europe with a population of over five million and an area of about 49,000 square kilometres (almost 19,000 square miles). It borders the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south. The largest city is its capital, Bratislava. The Slavs arrived in the territory of present day Slovakia between the fifth and sixth centuries AD during the Migration Period. In the course of history, various parts of Slovakia belonged to Samo's Empire (the first known political unit of Slavs), Great Moravia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Habsburg Empire, and Czechoslovakia. An independent Slovak state was created for a brief period during World War II, then in 1945 it once again became a part of Czechoslovakia. The present-day Slovakia became an independent state in 1993 after the dissolution of its federation with the Czech Republic.

History of Slovakia:

From around 500 BC, the territory of modern-day Slovakia was settled by Celts, who built powerful oppida on the sites of modern-day Bratislava and Havránok. Biatecs, silver coins with the names of Celtic Kings, represent the first known use of writing in Slovakia. From 2 AD, the expanding Roman Empire established and maintained a series of outposts around and just north of the Danube, the largest of which were known as Carnuntum (whose remains are on the main road halfway between Vienna and Bratislava) and Brigetio (present-day Szöny at the Slovak-Hungarian border). Near the northernmost line of the Roman hinterlands, the Limes Romanus, there existed the winter camp of Laugaricio (modern-day Trenčín) where the Auxiliary of Legion II fought and prevailed in a decisive battle over the Germanic Quadi tribe in 179 AD during the Marcomannic Wars. The Kingdom of Vannius, a barbarian kingdom founded by the Germanic Suebian tribes of Quadi and Marcomanni, as well as several small Germanic and Celtic tribes, including the Osi and Cotini, existed in Western and Central Slovakia from 8–6 BCE to 179 AD. The Bronze Age in Slovakia went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to 800 BCE. Major cultural, economic, and political development can be attributed to the significant growth in production of copper, especially in central Slovakia (for example in Špania Dolina) and north-west Slovakia. Copper became a stable source of prosperity for the local population. After the disappearance of the Čakany and Velatice cultures, the Lusatian people expanded building of strong and complex fortifications, with the large permanent buildings and administrative centers. Excavations of Lusatian hill-forts document the substantial development of trade and agriculture at that period. The richness and the diversity of tombs increased considerably. The inhabitants of the area manufactured arms, shields, jewelry, dishes, and statues. The arrival of tribes from Thrace disrupted the people of the Calenderberg culture, who lived in the hamlets located on the plain (Sereď), and also in the hill forts located on the summits (Smolenice, Molpí]). The local power of the "Princes" of the Hallstatt culture disappeared in Slovakia during the last period of the Iron Age after strife between the Scytho-Thracian people and the Celtic tribes, who advanced from the south towards the north, following the Slovak rivers. [3]

There is evidence of Celtic-era mining in Banksa Stiavnica (Slovakia), and Celtic ruins lie next to Roman remains on the Buda side of Budapest (Hungary). [4] In the 4th century BC, Celtic tribes immigrated to the territories around the river Rába and defeated the Illyrian peoples who had been living there, but the latter managed to assimilate the Celts who adopted their language. In the 290s and 280s BCE, the Celtic peoples who were migrating towards the Balkan Peninsula passed through Transdanubia but some of the tribes settled on the territory. Following 279 BCE, the Scordisci (a Celtic tribe), who had been defeated at Delphi, settled at the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube and they extended their rule over the southern parts of Transdanubia. Around that time, the northern parts of Transdanubia were ruled by the Taurisci (also a Celtic tribe) and by 230 BCE, Celtic peoples (the peoples of the La Tène culture) had occupied gradually the whole territory of the Great Hungarian Plain. Between 150 and 100 BC, a new Celtic tribe, the Boii moved to the Carpathian Basin and they occupied the northern and northeastern parts of the territory (mainly the territory of present Slovakia). The Romans commenced their military raids against the Carpathian Basin in 156 BC when they attacked the Scordisci living in the Transdanubian region. In 119 BCE, they marched against Siscia (today Sisak in Croatia) and strengthened their rule over the future Illyricum province south of the Carpathian Basin. In 88 BCE, the Romans defeated the Scordisci whose rule was driven back to the eastern parts of Syrmia, while the Pannonians moved to the northern parts of Transdanubia. When King Mithridates VI of Pontus made plans to attack the Romans by way of the Balkan Peninsula, he referred to the Pannonic tribes, and not to the Scordisci, as masters of the region on his path; it appears, therefore, that around 70–60 BCE, the Pannonic tribes were no longer subjugated. Around 50 BC, the mainly Celtic tribes living on the territory were confronted by Burebista, king of the Dacians (82-44 BCE), who began suddenly to expand his domain centered in Transylvania. The sources do not indicate clearly whether Burebista was the original unifier of the Dacian tribes, or whether his efforts at unification built upon the work of his predecessors. Burebista subjugated the Taurisci and the Anarti; in the process, he confronted the Celtic tribal alliance lead by the Boii. Burebista’s victory over the Celts led not only to the breakup of their tribal alliance, but also to the establishment of Dacian settlements in the southern parts of today's Slovakia. [5]

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CanadaCeltic traditions and languages are significant components of local culture. These include the Permanent North American Gaeltacht in Tamworth, Ontario, Canada which is the only Irish Gaelic Gaeltacht outside of Ireland, Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, with Gaelic-speaking Canadians and southeast Newfoundland with Irish-speaking Canadians. Also at one point in 1900's there were well over 12,000 Gaelic Scots from the Isle of Lewis living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada, with place names that still exist today recalling those inhabitants. [1]

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United States of AmericaLarge swaths of the United States of America were subject to migrations by Celtic peoples, or people from Celtic nations. Gaelic-speaking Irish Catholics congregated particularly in the East Coast cities of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, while Scots and Ulster-Scots were particularly prominent in the southern United States, including the southern Appalachian Mountains. An area of Pennsylvania known as the Welsh Tract was settled by Welsh Quakers, where the names of several towns still bear Welsh names, such as Bryn Mawr and Bala Cynwyd. [1] In recent years, a renewed interest in things Celtic (especially Scottish and Irish) has arisin, with numerous festivals happening across the country throughout the year.

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[1] Information obtained from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

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