Cymru am byth?

Over the next four issues we will be looking at the history of the British Isles by examining its former and present constituent parts – Wales, Scotland, Ireland and, finally, England. This month Hywel Williams writes about Wales.

Three miners just up from the pits. South Wales, February 1950. Getty Images/Time Life/W.Eugene SmithAre the historians of Wales the last of the Whigs? Genial assumptions concerning a purposeful progress, buttressed by banality about consensual national psychology, have largely disappeared from the narrative histories of England, Ireland and Scotland. Emphasis on the four distinctive nations, first witnessed a generation ago in revisionist accounts of the origins of the Civil Wars, liberated Scotland’s history and that of Ireland from subservience to the business of Britain. A new self-confidence meant that historians could question the canonical significance of, for example, the Highland Clearances and the potato famine.

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