THE CULTURAL CONTEXT
The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales is much more than just an industrial site. The slate-quarryman is an iconic figure for many people in Wales and beyond. Characterised in literature and folklore for his progressive politics, loyalty to the Welsh language and cheery nature despite the difficulties his labour inflicted upon his health.
THE SOCIAL CONTEXT
At least 65% of the inhabitants of the UNESCO World Heritage Site speak Welsh (with higher proportions within certain communities) and participate in a thriving Welsh language literature, arts and craft and music scene.
The communities of The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales form the heartland for the Welsh language, which is an important attribute of the World Heritage Site. Welsh is identified as an indigenous language by UNESCO and formed part of the UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages celebrations in 2019.
THE INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT
The technologies developed in the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales were fundamental to the development of the Slate industries of continental Europe and the USA, as well as quarrying more generally.
By the late nineteenth century the area represented about a third of Slate production worldwide, making possible the rapid urbanisation and architectural development of Africa, Australia, Eurasia and North and South America.
Snowdonia’s railways comprise of a specific technological system which was adopted in mountainous regions worldwide – including the Darjeeing Himalayan Railway, part of the Mountain Railways of India UNESCO World Heritage Site.