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  1. Welsh Americans
  2. About the author
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  4. Ronald L. Lewis
  5. Welsh Americans - Wikipedia

Welsh Americans

The book's readability also makes it accessible to general audiences, particularly those of Welsh ancestry seeking a better understanding of their ethnic roots. Opens fresh perspectives on the elements of socioeconomic change in Appalachia that can truly be qualified as specifically Appalachian. It is one of the rare books in ethnic history that deserves the appellation classic. Welsh scholars and comparative immigration historians will find the book to be a valuable asset in their collections.

A comprehensive, multidimensional exposition. Extensive knowledge and keen insights [are] conveyed in this monumental research effort. Permissions Information.

About the author

Subsidiary Rights Information. Media Inquiries. An understanding of the Welsh assimilation experience is enhanced by an awareness of the similarities and differences with other immigrant groups. Although the Welsh had an easier and faster assimilation process, even they did not obtain immediate and unconditional acceptance.

Other immigrant groups of the era, such as the Chinese, Irish, and Mexicans, faced a much longer and difficult path to assimilation.

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When England industrialized Wales, extracting its abundant coal and iron ore, it divided the inhabitants into a rural group in which Welsh was spoken and an urban group in which English was the primary language. Late in the nineteenth century, battles over Welsh culture moved into the field of education as England prohibited Welsh public schools from teaching in Welsh.


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  6. The Welsh maintained their culture, though, through their traditional Sunday schools and through nationalism. Although the Welsh fought and won from the British the legal right to use their own language in courts and schools, the use of the Welsh language declined. Welsh traditional beliefs, attitudes, and customs stem largely from the strength and nonconformity of Welsh churches. In seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Wales, religious nonconformity preserved Welsh identity when it "arrested the inroads of Anglicanization and the complete absorption of Wales into England" Hartman, p.

    Although this resurgent nationalism was crucial for Welsh identity, it was less important to Welsh American identity. At Sunday Schools, Welsh churches campaigned to perpetuate the Welsh language by teaching men, women, girls, and boys to read their Bible in Welsh. Because of the Sunday School movement, many Welsh Americans became literate in their own language. Welsh culture has struggled not only against the English church, but also against the English language. The Welsh flag itself displays a red dragon who legendarily champions the ancient Welsh language.

    The dragon, called Y Ddraig Goch, which is said to keep the faith that "three things, yea four, will endure forever, the earth, the sea, the sky and the speech of the Cymry, " leads the Welsh people "in an unending war for the perpetuation of [their] language" Thomas, p. Welsh American communities waxed and waned with their churches.

    At first, as new territories opened in North America, Welsh missionary work expanded to fill the opportunities to convert new souls. In eighteenth-century Pennsylvania, Quaker, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches anchored communities in which Sunday Schools helped shaped Welsh American identities; nevertheless, these early Welsh Americans eventually became Americanized in their habits and English in their speech. During the nineteenth century, however, an increasingly Welsh-minded clergy led Welsh American congregations.

    Their work, coupled with frequent exchanges of visitors from Wales and between Welsh American communities, drew together a Welsh American identity which better resisted acculturation. Toward the turn of the twentieth century, in Scranton and elsewhere, Welsh Americans acculturated. More immigrants joined occupations outside their traditional industries. The contexts of their ethnic identities also changed as Eastern European and Italian immigrants entered the coal mines: to the newcomers, Welsh immigrants and Welsh Americans seemed more similar than ever to Anglo, Yankee, or established "mainstream" Americans.

    Churches, organizations, and festivals sustain Welsh American culture. Welsh American places include not only Scranton, but small towns such as Emporia, Kansas, and Cambria, Wisconsin, population , "a stronghold of Welshness" near Madison, which bears Welsh street signs Greenslade, pp. Welsh American culture still blooms in singing festivals, which stem from the traditional Welsh eisteddfod, which calls for Welsh writing and oratory. The eisteddfod arose in , when Queen Elizabeth commissioned a qualifying competition to license some of "the multitude of persons calling themselves minstrels, rhymers and bards" Thomas, p.

    At the end of the eighteenth century, Romanticism revived Welsh cultural promotion and the eisteddfod. Today, the United States usually sends the largest delegation of "Welshmen in Exile" to the annual eisteddfod in Wales. The revived eisteddfod, popular in Wales since , features reconstructed Druidic rites, in "an atmosphere of mysticism always associated with the Celtic spirit" Hartman, p. Since the s, Welsh Americans also compete in their own eisteddfod. Especially in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, and Utah, strong traditions of eisteddfod have inspired expert choirs in their performances of Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, and other classical composers of sacred music.


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    Utica sponsors the oldest continuously eisteddfod in the United States. However, because few Welsh Americans speak or write in Welsh, Welsh Americans focused on singing and mostly replaced the eisteddfod with the Gymanfa Ganu or Welsh singing festival. The Gymanfa Ganu started in Wales in and spread through America by the s.

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    Ronald L. Lewis

    Unlike in Wales, where each church denomination sponsors its own Gymanfa Ganu, Welsh American ones include all denominations. The National Gymanfa Ganu Association of the United States and Canada, founded by Welsh Americans, represents the only successful attempt at forming an all-over national association of Welsh Americans. Welsh Americans and meets at key American centers each year on Labor Day. Welsh cuisine uses the basic ingredients of dairy products, eggs, seafood, lamb or beef, and simple vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and leeks. A national symbol, leeks are waved at rugby football matches by Welsh fans.

    The leek is Wales' most popular vegetable, being featured in soups and stews. One favorite dish, Anglesey Eggs, includes leeks, cheese, and potatoes. Welsh Rabbit often called Rarebit by the English combines eggs, cheese, milk, Worcestershire sauce, and beer. The rich melted mixture is poured over toast. The Welsh dress much as Europeans and North Americans do, though perhaps a bit more formally than the latter. Among young people, however, jeans, a t-shirt, and running shoes are as common in Wales as everywhere else.

    Traditional costumes, commonly worn at events such as an eisteddfod, feature colorful stripes and checks, with a wide-brimmed hat for women that looks like a witch's hat with the top half of the cone removed. Cymraeg, the Welsh language, has long been a separate branch of Indo-European languages. The language looks difficult to an outsider; it also sounds strange with lilting, musical tones in which one word seems to slur into the next.

    Welsh Americans - Wikipedia

    And in a sense, it may—the first letter of a word may change depending on the word before it. This is called treiglo, and it achieves a smoothness treasured by the Welsh ear. Welsh also contains elusive sounds such as "ll" in the name Llewellyn or Lloyd, for example , which is pronounced almost like a combination of "f," "th," and "ch," though not quite. Welsh words nearly always accent their second-to-last syllable. The Welsh language's age and its supposed migratory path across Eurasia prompts some linguists to make extraordinary claims about etymologies of certain words. For example, the ancient name for the Caucasian chain of mountains forming an immense barrier between Europe on the north and Asia to the south, may come from the same words as the Welsh "Cau," which means "to shut up, to fence in, to encompass", and "Cas," which translates as "separated" or "insulated" Jenkins, p.

    The Welsh alphabet uses the letters "a, b, c, ch, d, dd, e, f, ff, g, ng, h, I, l, ll, m, n, o, p, ph, rh, r, s, t, th, u, w," and "y" to make such words such as: Cymru Wales ; Cymry Welsh people ; Ninnau We Welsh , the title of a Welsh American periodical; noson lawen an informal evening of song, recitation, and other entertainment ; te bach light refreshments, usually tea and Welsh cakes ; cymdeithas society ; cwrs Cymraeg Welsh language course ; and bore da, syr good morning, sir. Welsh spelling lacks silent letters; in different words, too, the same letter nearly always has the same sound.

    Stories of Coal - A history of mining in South Wales

    The Welsh language, which lacks the letter "k," always sounds "c" as the English "k": thus "Celt" is pronounced "Kelt. Celt, which first referred to "a wild or covert," and the people who lived there, became a loose term to refer to a grouping of disparate peoples living in certain areas of Great Britain. Welsh surnames have their own story.