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Y Llyfr yng Nghymru

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Rhif 2 1999

'A gafodd Cymru chwareu teg? ' : Cyfrifiad 1891 a'r iaith Gymraeg /

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ABSTRACT
This is a study of the bitter controversy over the manner in which the
1891 census the first census in the nineteenth century to seek to assemble
data on the Welsh language was administered. Welsh patriots, led by
Beriah Gwynfe Evans, David Lloyd George and Thomas Gee, were
convinced that the dearth of Welsh household schedules, administrative
errors and the hostility of some enumerators towards the Welsh language
meant that the returns were highly suspect. Others, including the Registrar
General and the editor of the Western Mail, believed that large numbers
of Welsh people had deliberately falsified the returns in order to inflate
the number of monoglot Welsh speakers. 'Did Wales get fair play?' was
the headline in Yr Herald Cymraeg. The most balanced assessment of the
correctness of the figures was provided by Thomas Darlington who, in a
series of articles, argued that the returns were 'substantially correct'.
Whatever the truth may be, it remains indisputable that the 1891 census
was the first and last census to declare that Welsh speakers (54.5 per cent)
constituted a majority in Wales.
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