Welsh Nationalist Party
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The Welsh Nationalist Party (Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru) was founded on 5 August 1925 at Pwllheli by a small group of supporters of the devolution movement. They were concerned that there was no political support for welsh self-governance and the welsh language and culture. At first, they concentrated on the issue of safeguarding 'the culture, language, traditions and economic life' of Wales but by 1930, they announced their intent 'to secure self government for Wales'.
Soon after the end of the Second World War, the party changed its name to Plaid Cymru (the party of Wales) but other names such as the 'Welsh Nationalist Party' or the Welsh 'Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru' still persisted for a number of years. This new name reflected the growing support for Welsh nationalism both within Wales and in parliament. Indeed, by 1946 parliament made an annual commitment to set aside one day of their time to discuss Welsh affairs. Plaid Cymru encouraged all parties to support their cause and often did not oppose their electoral candidates if they believed in Welsh home rule. Instead, the party concentrated on the publication of pamphlets, books and their party newspapers; 'Ddraig Goch' (The Red Dragon) and 'The Welsh Nation (later Welsh Nationalist).
By 1960 the party changed policy again by making a conscious effort to eradicate their exclusive Welsh-speaking image. They wanted to win support in industrial south Wales and based their new image on being a genuine socialist alternative to the Labour Party. This seems to have been successful as on 14 July 1966, Gwynfor Evans became the first ever Plaid Cymru MP in the House of Commons. Electoral success has continued up to the present day and Plaid Cymru is now one of the most influential political parties in Wales.
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Donated by Hywel Francis on 20 Apr 1982