CEREDIGION is a principal area of Wales, corresponding to the historic county of Cardiganshire. During the second half of the first millennium Ceredigion was a minor kingdom. It has been administered as a county since 1282.
Welsh is spoken by more than half the population. Ceredigion is considered to be a centre of Welsh culture. The county is mainly rural with over 50 miles (80km) of coastline and a mountainous hinterland. The numerous sandy beaches and the long-distance Ceredigion Coast Path provide excellent views of Cardigan Bay.
In the 18th and early 19th Centuries, Cardiganshire had more industry than it does today; Cardigan was the commercial centre of the county; lead, silver and zinc were mined and Cardigan was the principal port of south Wales prior to the silting of its harbour.
The economy became highly dependent on dairy farming and the rearing of livestock for the English market.
During the 20th Century, livestock farming became less profitable, and the county’s population declined as people moved to the more prosperous parts of Wales or emigrated.
However, there has been a population increase caused by elderly people moving to the county for retirement, and various government initiatives have encouraged tourism and other alternative sources of income.
Ceredigion’s population at the 2011 UK census was 75,900. Its largest town, Aberystwyth, is one of its two administrative centres, the other being Aberaeron, where Ceredigion County Council meets.
Aberystwyth houses Aberystwyth University, Bronglais Hospital and the National Library of Wales. Lampeter is home to part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.