|Area: 378 kmē|
Swansea (Welsh: Abertawe, "mouth of the Tawe") is a city in Wales and a Welsh County. The city of Swansea is situated on the South Wales coast immediately to the east of the Gower Peninsula and is the second largest city in Wales. It grew to its present importance during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, becoming a centre of heavy industry. However, it did not enjoy the same degree of immigration as Cardiff and the eastern Welsh valleys.
The name Swansea is believed to come from "Sweyn's Ey" ("ey" being a Germanic word for "island") and to have originated in the period when the Vikings plundered the south Wales coast. Consequently it is pronounced Swan's-y [?sw?nzi]) not Swan-sea
Archaeology on the Gower Peninsula includes many remains from prehistoric times, passing through Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. Prehistoric finds in the Swansea city area proper are rare. The Romans visited the area, as did the Vikings, whose name for the settlement on the river is used in English today.
Following the Norman Conquest, a marcher lordship was created: named Gower, it included land around Swansea Bay as far as the Tawe, and the manor of Kilvey beyond the Tawe as well as the peninsula itself. Swansea was designated its chief town, and subsequently received one of the earlier borough charters in Wales.
Swansea became an important port: some coal and vast amounts of limestone (for fertiliser) were being shipped out from the town by 1550. As the Industrial Revolution reached Wales, the combination of port, local coal, and trading links with the West Country, Cornwall and Devon, meant that Swansea was the logical place to site copper smelting works. Smelters were operating by 1720 and proliferated.
Following this, more coal mines (everywhere from north-east Gower to Clyne to Llangyfelach) were opened and smelters (mostly along the Tawe valley) were opened and flourished. Over the next century and a half, works were established to process arsenic, zinc and tin and to create tinplate and pottery. The city expanded rapidly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and was termed "Copperopolis". By the mid-nineteenth century Swansea docks was the largest exporter of coal in the world.
Through the twentieth century, these industries eventually declined, leaving the Lower Swansea Valley filled with derelict works and mounds of waste products from them. The Lower Swansea Valley Scheme (which still continues) reclaimed much of the land: the present Enterprise Zone exists almost entirely a result of this scheme, and of the many original docks, only those outside the city continue to work as docks: North Dock is now Parc Tawe and South Dock became the Marina.
Little city centre evidence beyond road layout remains from medieval Swansea; its industrial importance made it the target of heavy bombing in World War II, and the centre was flattened completely.
On 27th of June 1906, one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the UK during the twentieth century struck Swansea with a strength of 5.2 on the Richter Scale. Earthquakes in the UK very rarely cause any structural damage as most occur away from heavily populated areas but with the earthquake centered on Swansea many taller buildings were damaged.