Swansea


Swansea
/swon"see, -zee/, n.
1. a seaport in West Glamorgan, in S Wales. 190,500.
2. a city in SE Massachusetts. 15,461.

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Welsh Abertawe

Seaport and county (pop., 2001: 223,293), southern Wales.

Lying along the Bristol Channel, it is the second largest city in Wales. It dates from the 12th century. Until the early 18th century it was a small market town and coal port; thereafter it grew steadily with industry, and by the mid-19th century it was the focus of the world copper trade. The city centre was almost totally destroyed by German bombing in 1941 but has been redeveloped, and Swansea is now the chief shopping and service hub for southwestern Wales. The poet Dylan Thomas was born there.

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Welsh  Abertawe 

      city, Swansea county, historic county of Glamorgan (Morgannwg), southwestern Wales. It lies along the Bristol Channel at the mouth of the River Tawe. Swansea is the second largest city in Wales (after Cardiff).

      In the early 12th century the Norman Henry de Newburgh built a castle there, which was later destroyed by the Welsh rebel Owen Glendower (Glendower, Owen). Up to the early 18th century Swansea was a small market town and a coal port. Thereafter it grew steadily as an industrial centre. Local outcrops of coal (mining) were used in the smelting of imported copper after 1717, and the industry prospered so much that by the mid-19th century Swansea's Metal Exchange was the centre of world trade in copper. The copper industry's subsequent collapse resulted mainly from foreign competition. Swansea also prospered as a port for the anthracite mines of the western coalfield in South Wales. A canal built along the Swansea valley in 1798 and railways constructed during the 19th century linked Swansea's port with the coalfield, and new docks built after 1852 increased the port's capacity. Swansea's coal exports reached a peak about 1913 but virtually ceased by the 1980s. Production of other nonferrous metals developed in and around Swansea, including lead, zinc, nickel, and especially tinplate production, but these sectors declined dramatically during the 20th century.

      Aluminum production and metal fabrication developed after World War II. Other late 20th-century additions to the city's industrial structure include the manufacture of automotive components, engineering products, plastics, and packaging. An oil refinery at Llandarcy on the eastern edge of Swansea processes oil that arrives through a pipeline from Milford Haven, and it supplies a petrochemical plant at Baglan, near Neath. Swansea is now the chief shopping and service centre for southwestern Wales. It has a university college with a special reputation in engineering and metallurgy. The Royal Institution of South Wales (1835) has a museum displaying the archaeology and natural history of the area. The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery was opened in 1911, and in 1934 a new guildhall was erected, notable for 16 panels painted by Frank Brangwyn and originally intended to decorate the British House of Lords. The town centre was almost totally destroyed by German bombing in 1941 but has been redeveloped, as have former industrial districts along the River Tawe. The old parish church of St. Mary was rebuilt in 1959 after being destroyed in World War II. Swansea has a tourist trade based upon the extensive beaches of Swansea Bay and the attractive Gower coast. Swansea is served by the daily South Wales Evening Post, the weekly Swansea Herald, and the monthly magazine Swansea Life, as well as by several local radio stations and by regional and national stations. The poet Dylan Thomas (Thomas, Dylan) was born there and celebrated the region in his work. Pop. (2001) 169,880.

Welsh  Abertawe 

      county, southwestern Wales, comprising the city of Swansea as well as the entire peninsula of Gower in the south and west, the lower valley of the River Loughor in the northwest, and the foothills of Black Mountain in the north. Gower is a rolling plateau noted for its sandy beaches and scenic rocky cliffs. The valleys of the Rivers Loughor and Tawe broaden in their lower reaches to form alluvial lowlands near the centre of the county, while sandstone formations underlie the hilly moors of the northern foothills. Swansea county lies entirely within the historic county of Glamorgan (Morgannwg).

      The city of Swansea is the second largest in Wales and accounts for most of the county's population. It is an important port and industrial centre and also the main commercial and service centre of southwestern Wales. The main industries are metal fabrication, automotive components, engineering, plastics, packaging, and petrochemicals. Important service activities include health care, wholesale and retail trade, transport, and financial services. The villages and towns to the north were historically coal-mining centres, but coal mining has virtually ceased in the county. Some of these towns have attracted light manufactures, such as adhesive tape production at Gorseinion. Many towns serve as bases for commuters to the city of Swansea, which is the administrative centre of the county.

       Gower is rich in prehistoric hill forts and burial chambers, as well as 13th-century castles and churches. Much of the coast is an area of outstanding beauty, attracting a significant number of tourists year-round. The Mumbles, on the peninsula's eastern coast, is the largest resort town. Inland the peninsula supports agriculture, principally dairying and some market gardening. Area 146 square miles (378 square km). Pop. (2005 est.) 226,400.

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Universalium. 2010.

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