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Welsh

Welsh, the inhabitants of Wales. In this nationality are merged several ethnical elements, of which the oldest appear to have been the Silurians, of unknown origin, but almost certainly non-Arians, and possibly Iberians from Spain or Aquitania. These were followed and, no doubt, largely absorbed, still in prehistoric times, by two distinct waves of Celtic migration, first the Gadhaelians, whose presence is shown by numerous geographical names, and later by the Kymry, who still form the great majority of the population. They were joined in the 5th century of the new era by many Romanized Britons, flying from the Saxon invaders; but these refugees, mostly of kindred stock, appear to have been rapidly assimilated to the dominant Kymry, who had preserved the national speech during the Roman period. Then came in the 12th century numerous Flemish artisans, settled in South Wales (Pembrokeshire), and since that time a slight but continuous infiltration of English and Irish, by whom the Welsh domain has largely encroached upon, especially along the marches (borderlands) between Flintshire and Monmouth, and all the seaports, watering-places, mining, and other industrial centres; but the Welsh national sentiment, which has at all times displayed immense vitality, is still dominant in most of the Principality, asserting itself in the church, in the schools, in the periodical literature, and in the eisteddfodau, annual music and literary gathering, which recalled the gorsedd, or open-air assemblies of pagan times. Physically the Welsh belong to the dark division of the Caucasic race (q.v.), as shown by the prevailing dark-brown and even black hair, dark eyes, small nose, often rather concave than straight, the light active frames, and somewhat short stature. In all these respects they approached the so-called Celtic type, as studied by Broca in Brittany, Auvergne, and Savoy, and in some of their mental qualities they also resembled the inhabitants of these regions, where the Gaulish (Kymric) race is supposed to be best preserved. They are impulsive, emotional, more religious than moral, fond of oratorical displayed, music and poetry, without perhaps reaching the highest excellence in any of these arts. Nevertheless, European literature is indebted to them for the Arthurian legend, and tradition preserves the memory of Taliesin and other renowned singers.

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