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Contemporary Wales
Contemporary Wales

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6.2 Welsh language and nationalism

Important as the Welsh language has been as a source of inspiration for nationalists, this is far from being the only contribution the language has made to the nationalist movement. Although the percentage of Welsh speakers declined through most of the twentieth century, the language became an ever more important basis for the movement. The actions of the British state, as it expanded and consolidated its hold over its territory, resulted in Wales entering the modern period with no institutional distinctiveness from England. All administrative, legal, educational and other differences between Wales and England had been eliminated. Welsh identity was based virtually entirely on cultural differences, most obviously the Welsh language.