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Confused Americans ask: ‘Is Wales a country?’

28 Nov 2022 8 minute read
USA fans celebrate their teams goal against Wales in the World Cup opener. Photo Mike Egerton PA Images

Wales’s World Cup exploits caused a meltdown on a Powys travel blogger’s website – with confused Americans asking if Wales is a country.

Kieren Windsor, who launched Wales Guidebook over the summer saw a 581% surge in traffic to his site after Wales kicked off their campaign against the USA.

The 30-year-old has now had to undergo a hasty upgrade to stop his website from crashing after his article, ‘Is Wales a country?’ quickly picked up traction from Yanks who took to Google for research.

Top enquiries have been What language do they speak in Wales? Is Wales England? Is Wales good at soccer? Where is Wales? How is Wales a Country?

And one US TV show went berserk following the country’s failure to beat Wales on Monday

It seems internet surfers found a lot of answers on Kieren’s blog, which provides a quirky but comprehensive guide to the Land of His Fathers and aims to turn up the gems hidden among the best-known holiday hotspots.

Kieren has now produced a list of the Top 10 links between the two countries as Wales was also the Land of their Fathers to many of America’s Founding Fathers.

At least five of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence were Welsh or of recent Welsh descent.

US Presidents

On top of that there have been at least eight US Presidents with Welsh ancestry, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

Meanwhile, the street plan for the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania was based on the town of Caerwys in Flintshire – thanks to a doctor called Thomas Wynne who sailed to America with Quaker William Penn.

Coming the other way is American actor Rob McElhenney, star of hit show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, who is now the co-owner, along with Hollywood A-lister Ryan Reynolds, of Wrexham AFC, the third oldest football club in the world.

Kieren, 30, a business and marketing graduate from Newtown in Powys, said: “Typically, the people who read my blog are those from other parts of the UK looking to plan a trip to Wales or Welsh people visiting other parts of their country.

“However, this last week has seen a surge in readers from the United States with almost 75% of those reading my ‘Is Wales a Country’ article being Americans.

“I wrote the article when I launched the website over summer but suddenly it’s the most read article on my site by a mile as people are finding it through Google search.

“Even since the match against America, traffic is continuing to rise. Even the city of Wales, in Alaska, the most westerly city in the USA, population 152, has had a huge spike in interest this week.”

Backpacking

Kieren, whose mission is to promote Wales as a travel destination, started a backpacking travel blog as a hobby but saw it morph into a full time business in the space of five years after learning about the role of influencers during his employment.

He said his write-up reached 581% more readers over the last seven days compared to the previous week as Wales competed in the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

He added: “The interest in my article has been such that I’ve had to upgrade my site to accommodate the amount of traffic it’s been getting since the start of the World Cup.

Blogger Kieren Windsor. Picture Mandy Jones

“It’s great that people are taking an interest in Wales and are going to the trouble to find out more about it.

“I really hope the interest lasts beyond the World Cup and people start to recognise Wales as a country with its own identity just like the rest of the UK.”

Kieren pointed out that since the 1-1 draw thanks to Wales captain Gareth Bale, many people from around the world have taken to Twitter admitting they’d never heard of Wales.

@AneedMoorehead wrote: “I’ve never even heard of Wales until today. Is it actually a country?!?! #FIFAWorldCup.

@timelordbetta tweeted: “I’m serious, where is Wales and is it a country? I’ve never heard of it.”

According to Google Trends, there was a huge spike in people searching ‘where is Wales’ and ‘is Wales a country’ during the match last week.

The top five countries from which people searched for the answers were Qatar, Lebanon, the USA, the UAE and Canada.

Confusion

Such confusion even prompted an article in the Washington Post pointing out that Wales is not in England.

Jim Jones, managing director of North Wales Tourism Ltd said: “It’s not surprising that the World Cup has prompted a huge interest in Wales as well as Kieren’s blog.

“Many people in America and around the world have never heard of Wales so taking part for the first time in 64 years will raise our profile a lot more.

“The interest it will generate in our country will help put us on the map internationally.”

He added: “Players and fans do an awful lot for the promotion of our country – the passion of the people in the crowd shows just how proud we are of our nation – we saw that when the Welsh national anthem was played at the stadium in Qatar.

“That passion isn’t going unnoticed.

“We need the team to go out and perform the way we know they can and it will generate interest all over the world, not just in the US.

“The Welsh will stand out a mile with their passion and pride and it will do us the world of good.”

The Wales team will next face Iran on Friday, November 25.

Kieren’s top 10 links between Wales and America

Five of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence were Welsh or of recent Welsh descent.

On top of that there have been at least eight US Presidents with Welsh ancestry, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

The street plan for the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania was based on the town of Caerwys in Flintshire – thanks to a doctor called Thomas Wynne who sailed to America with Quaker William Penn.

Modern Los Angeles owes a considerable amount to Welshman Griffith J Griffith, who was born near Bettws near Bridgend. After discovering the great parks of Europe he decided that his new home of Los Angeles would need a similar park of its own, so donated 3,000 acres of land to the city to be a public park, which to this day bears his name, Grifith Park.

American newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst made a splash in 1925 when he decided he wanted to buy St Donat’s Castle in Llantwit Major, it he then restored it in gregarious fashion. Lavish parties there hosted Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin and a young John F. Kennedy. Later, it was sold to Atlantic College, who still use it today.

Yale University is named after the hugely wealthy merchant trader. Elihu Yale, whose surname is a corruption of the Welsh word ‘ial’. His family were named after their ancestral home, Plas y Ian, in Bryneglwys, not far from Wrexham where Yale is buried in the graveyard of St Giles’ Church, one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.

Lord Dafydd Wigley, the former Leader of Plaid Cymru, is a third cousin to the legendary mafia man Llewellyn Morris Humphreys, aka Murray the Hump. According to the law-abiding Lord Wigley, Hump, who took over from Al Capone as the head of ‘the firm’, was a “bad man” who might have turned out differently had it not been for a rough childhood.

Amelia Earhart, the first woman to complete a flight across the Atlantic landed in Pwll, a small coastal village between Llanelli and Burry Port. Her plane was towed into Burry Port Harbour, and nearby on Stepney Road, where the 20 foot Amelia Earhart Obelisk commemorates the journey.

The first sitting American President to visit Wales was one with a Welsh ancestor. Barack Obama’s great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Robert Perry, was born in Anglesey. In 2014, Obama came to Wales for the 2014 NATO summit, and stayed in one the Hunters’ Lodges in the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport where he feasted on Elwy lamb from Denbighshire.

American actor Rob McElhenney, star of hit show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, who is now the co-owner, along with Hollywood A-lister Ryan Reynolds, of Wrexham AFC, the third oldest football club in the world.


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Frank
Frank
2 months ago

Thick Yanks.

Stuart Cane
Stuart Cane
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Thick answer. Try and explain it to an outsider and you’ll realise it’s not straightforward. Since the demise of the USSR and Yugoslavia, the UK is in a unique position as a multination state based on geographic nations rather than peoples. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have fewer powers and less independence than American states do and England as a nation has none at all. When it comes to sport the Welsh play football for Wales, cricket for England and Wales, compete in the Olympics for Great Britain (even though NI compete too) but never appear in a team called… Read more »

Mawkernewek
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Its not really a case of being thick, just trying to fit Wales into something in their own experience. They probably think its like a state of Britain, in some ways the US states have more devolution than Wales does.

George Bodley
George Bodley
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Thick ignorant yanks.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
2 months ago

Um.. we’re in the World Cup? End of confusion.

Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
2 months ago

Confused Welshman asks. Is Pivac a coach?

Last edited 2 months ago by Argol fawr!
Riki
Riki
2 months ago

Playing England in the World Cup kind of explains it all. Why are these Americans so Clueless? I guess this is what happens when you allow your nation to be used for centuries! By your so called Betters.

Sorgina
Sorgina
2 months ago
Reply to  Riki

Americans are generally an ignorant people.
BTW, what is it with these stupid games to identify whether blurred pictures show bicycle, NationCymru. Please stop wasting visitor time in this ridiculous way!

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
2 months ago

The fact that Wales is a Country in its own right was officially recognized by the influential  United Nations
“International Organisation for Standardisation” in December 2011. This UN Organisation was founded on 23/2/1947. Its HQ is in Geneva, Switzerland.

paul ware
paul ware
2 months ago

The same people who voted for Donald Trump lol. Who gives a monkeys what they think!!

Jef33
Jef33
2 months ago

Most USA citizens have incredibly poor knowledge of geography and history outside their own region. Even the name ‘America’ may be taken from Richard ap Meryk, anglicised to Richard Amerike (or Ameryk) (c. 1440–1503) was an Anglo-Welsh merchant, royal customs officer and, at the end of his life, sheriff of Bristol. Several claims have been made for Amerike by popular writers of the late twentieth century. One was that he was the major funder of the voyage of exploration launched from Bristol by the Venetian John Cabot in 1497, and that Amerike was the owner of Cabot’s ship, the Matthew.… Read more »

Riki
Riki
2 months ago
Reply to  Jef33

Yeah, definitely from Richard Ap Meryck. He was the main financial backer for “Englands” colonies. Lol. Seems strange to have it be named after a random Italian/Spaniard who’s both people hardly made contributions to America until the late 1800s. Welsh Contributions had been going on for atleast 150 years by that point. The Americans and English won’t have it though.

Breexchdan Williams
Breexchdan Williams
2 months ago

Wales is part of the UK and subsidised by England.

Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
2 months ago

Not by choice mate.

Riki
Riki
2 months ago

Then Have your Parliament release them from their Shackles. Problem solved!

Dic Sion Dafydd
Dic Sion Dafydd
2 months ago

No wales is not a country. It is a non independent principality of England. The non independent English principality of wales is awarded a home nations soccer team and a home nations rugby team too. The non independent English principality of wales is also granted a home nations athletic team within the commonwealth games. God save our King.

Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
2 months ago

Clearly didn’t pay much attention at school then Dick?

Riki
Riki
2 months ago

Does it Hurt When a Proud Welsh person Appears and explains the difference Between The English And British to foreigners? You know, cause your plan to replace the natives will come to nothing if the Welsh are allowed to do that. Yma O Hyd! Hahaha. This is the main reason why Wales aren’t allowed to communicate with Nations abroad without the English doing the talking for them.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
2 months ago

This sort of crap doesn’t work any more mate. We know we live in a country called Cymru and that’s all that matters. We also know our country – has always been a country.

Restless shade of the assassinated Tywysog Lloegr
Restless shade of the assassinated Tywysog Lloegr
2 months ago

I suppose we should not be surprised we are little known, given the disinformation pumped out by the Unionist organs

Riki
Riki
2 months ago

And the Thousand year attempt to replace the Actual British people with the Converted English. All the while denying our status. They can only claim Britishness while we Are imprisoned in an illegal Union.

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
2 months ago

The Americans are generally very ignorant of the outside world because their media never mentions the world at large and most of their sports are only played in, at best, the North American continent. Another problem is they use England/English as a shorthand for Britain/British (although we should be wary of a double standard, don’t say Holland when you mean Netherlands or call Stalin Russian), and they think it is a Socialist country ruled by an absolute monarchy. I saw an American attempt to wide up England fans on Twitter with a load of stuff about the Queen being dead… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Richard Thomas

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