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Industrial Decline in South Wales - Essay Example

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In addition to the economic patterns faced by Wales in the 20th century and continuing to present, there has been a strong tradition, as well, on Wales' favourite pastime, Rugby. The author became keenly interesting in determining if there was, perhaps, a connection between the socio-economic times of post World War II and the performance of Rugby during the same era…
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Industrial Decline in South Wales
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Industrial Decline in South Wales

Download file to see previous pages... Wales has a long and noble past dating back to its origination in 400 AD. According to 2000 estimates the population of Wales is approximately 2,946,200 with a population density of almost 141.8 people living per square kilometre. Its total land mass consists of 20,799 square kilometres ("Wales general 2006, screen 1). South Wales itself contains the capital, Cardiff and several other Welsh cities including Newport and Swansea. South Wales also contains the 'valley' region of Wales long noted for its mining regions of past.
As Wales entered the 20th Century the industrial revolution was at its height. However, the time period also saw widespread strikes throughout the region of South Wales. "The century opened with one of the longest disputes in British history - the three-year strike at the Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda " ("Welsh timeline: industrial" 2006, screen 1). Although this was an often bloody period of time, the militancy of the era led to a minimum wage for workers being established. The coal fields of South Wales were an economic boom for the region. Coal was being exported at an ever increasing rate. "The over-reliance of the Welsh economy on coal production, already apparent in 1913, was worsened by the huge coal boom of 1919-21, precipitating the depression of the interwar years" ("Welsh timeline: Wales" 2006, screen 1).
As Britain entered World War I much of the unemployment disappeared as many of the Welsh men available fought during the war. The demand for coal was waning and South Wales fell into a deep depression leading to rampant unemployment and a great deal of political unrest in this portion of the UK. "The post-war boom collapsed in 1921, a foretaste of the depression which would haunt the following years. Despite a prolonged strike in 1921, many of the advances made by the coalminers during the war were lost" ("Welsh timeline: the interwar" 2006, screen 1). During this time period unemployment spiralled upward at an alarming rate. In 1924 the unemployment rate jumped from 2% to 12.5% by the end of 1925. By 1926 the unemployment rate had more than double to 28.5%. ("Welsh timeline: the interwar" 2006, screen 1). This period was fraught with civil unrest and extreme poverty. Much of the extreme economic downturn was due to Wales's almost exclusive dependence of coal mining as its economic base. By 1932, when unemployment among Welsh insured males reached 42.8 per cent, Wales was among the world's most depressed countries. While unemployment was at its most extreme in coalmining, depression also hit steel, tinplate, slate and transport workers. Agriculture experienced great hardships, with many fully employed smallholders and farm labourers earning less than those on unemployment benefit" ("Welsh timeline: the interwar" 2006, screen 1).
By 1937 the British government began to intervene and began offering assistance in the form of job creation in the area. Steel production started to make ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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