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Culture

[Image of Dylan Thomas at the White Horse Tavern New York]

There are too many links between Wales and the USA to list on one page. We have therefore listed information about The Welsh in North America, business links and educational links on our related pages. Here we provide just a few examples of the cultural connections between Wales and the USA over the years:

  • Some believe Welsh Prince Madog ab Owain Gwynedd discovered America in 1170;
  • According to the 2011 UK Census, which is conducted every 10 years, there were 3,715  USA-born residents in Wales.
  • In 2018, the prestigious  Volvo Ocean Race joined up our two nations, as leg 9 was raced from Newport, USA, to Cardiff, Wales;
  • There have been eight American Presidents with Welsh ancestry;
  • Wales Arts international has regular projects in America to collaborate and support art and relationships between the two Nations;
  • A Stained Glass Window at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was designed by Welsh artist John Petts, and replaced by the people of Wales who made a pledge to support to support the community in America after the church was blown up in a racial attack in 1963.
  • There is an inscription on the steps of the Washington Monument which reads Fy iaith, fy ngwlad, fy nghenedl Cymru - Cymru am byth! Which in English means, My language, my land, my nation of Wales - Wales forever!
  • The Anthracite Male Chorus of Cranton travelled from Pennsylvania and picked up the 1928 coveted male voice choir prize at the Welsh National Eisteddfod;
  • The North American Welsh choir still exists today and consists of Americans and Canadians;
  • St David’s Day, Wales’s National Day is celebrated across America every year on 1st March;
  • When President Bill Clinton attended the world renowned Hay Festival he called it the "Woodstock of the mind";
  • The National Slate Museum in Llanberis is twinned with the Slate Valley Museum in Granville, New York and has long established links in the area;
  • Around 6,000 Welsh-Americans fought for the Union during the American Civil War;
  • Ian Woosnam, the golfer, from Wales won the US Masters in 1991 and also became the PGA tour champion. The 2010 Ryder Cup was also held at the Celtic Manor resort Wales;
  • George Washington once said that "good Welshman make good Americans";
  • There was at one time around 200,000 Welsh speaking people in Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin, Ohio and other states;
  • Sir Karl Jenkins’ music is sung by choirs throughout North America and Jenkins appears at Carnegie Hall every year for a special celebration of his work on Martin Luther King Junior Day. Opera star Bryn Terfel regularly appears in leading roles at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House;
  • Joe Calzaghe, went undefeated in boxing at 46 wins and is well known in the USA for fights with boxing legends, Roy Jones Junior, Bernard Hopkins and for also beating the then undefeated Jeff Lacy;
  • Welsh actors Matthew Rhys, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Sheen, Alexandra Roach, Rhys Ifans and Luke Evans have regularly been seen in major TV series and movies in the USA;
  • The National Museum Wales has an existing relationship with the American Federation of Arts.  Items from Amgueddfa Cymru’s collections were displayed at 4 locations in the USA between December 2014 and April 2016 as part of a touring exhibition Pastures Green and Dark Satanic Mills in collaboration with the American Federation of Arts;
  • President Obama was the first serving U.S President to visit Wales in 2014
  • The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition for international opera and art singers, has been won 3 times by Americans since its foundation in 1983, David Malis, Nicole Cabekk and Jamie Barton.
  • Wales’ Artes Mundi international prize for contemporary visual art was won by an American in 2014, Theaster Gates, a Social Practice Installation artist who lives and works in Chicago. 
  • Welsh descendant Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence;
  • Thomas M Rees addressed the House of Representatives in 1971 "Mr Speaker, very little has been written of what the Welsh have contributed in all walks of life in the shaping of American history,"
  • Y Drych (The Mirror), is a Welsh-American newspaper published in the United States;
  • Wales Arts International has supported Wrexham-based festival Focus Wales to present a Welsh showcase event at iconic global event in Austin, Texas, the SXSW this year (March 2018);
  • In May 2016, NoFit State Circus made its debut in the USA performing Bianco at St Ann’s Warehouse. This was supported by the Welsh Government and funding from Wales Arts International and The City of Cardiff Council;
  • Wales has become a location hotspot for USA film-makers due to its wide variety of beautiful scenery, the opening of World class studios such as Pinewood and the brand Wolf Studios. Take a look at some of the American blockbusters shot in Wales;
  • As part of the Dylan Thomas 100 celebrations, a number of the projects within the programme delivered activity in the USA including events in New York and Los Angeles. Dylan, one of our most famous writers toured America 4 times and always visited New York, where he died in 1953;
  • The Dylan Thomas International Prize for Young Writers, an annual literary prize launched in Wales in 2006, has been won four times by American writers;

 

Welsh Societies in America

Many Welsh North Americans still treasure their Welsh heritage and actively help to preserve the rich traditions through joining Welsh societies and organisations, by celebrating St David’s Day, organising events, festivals and eisteddfodau, and hosting choirs and entertainers that visit from Wales. The North American Festival of Wales is held annually over Labor Day and attended by numerous delegates from the USA and Canada. Ninnau and Y Drych is a monthly newspaper servicing the Welsh-American community with news and articles about Wales and North America. 

You can find a list of societies on www.Madog.org