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Wales (Welsh: Cymru), historic principality of Great Britain, politically united with England since 1536. It is a large, roughly rectangular peninsula projecting into the Irish Sea west of England. Covering 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km), it is dominated by the Cambrian Mountains (Mt. Snowdon, 3,500 ft/1,085 m), and its rivers include the Severn, Wye, Usk, Taff, Dee, and Teifi. The climate is mild and wet. The majority of the population lives in the south, near the rich coalfields. Less than 20% speak both Welsh and English. The largest cities are Cardiff, the capital, and Swansea. Major industries, including coal mining, steel, oil refining, manmade fibers, and electronics, are also concentrated in the south. Agriculture, mostly cattle and sheep raising, predominates elsewhere. In a referendum in 1997 a small majority (53%) voted for the introduction of a parliament for Wales. The parliament will have control of British government funds intended for Wales.

See also: England.

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