Portal:Cornwall

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Cornwall (Cornish: Kernow) is a county of England, United Kingdom, located at the tip of the south-western peninsula of Great Britain. It is bordered to the north by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of 545,335, covering an area of 1,369 sq mi (3,546 km2), and its administrative centre and only city is Truro.

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Cornwall during the time of the Celts was a part of the Brythonic area of Britain, separated from Wales after the Battle of Deorham. The Kingdom of Cornwall often came into conflict with the expanding Saxon kingdom of Wessex, before the boundary between English and Cornish people was set at the Tamar. The Cornish language continued to be spoken until the 18th century, although a recent revival has seen the number of Cornish speakers increasing over the past few decades.

Cornwall is the homeland of the Cornish people and diaspora, and is considered one of the six "Celtic nations" by many residents and scholars. Cornwall continues to retain its distinct identity, with its own history, language and culture. Cornwall's economy struggles after the decline of the mining and fishing industries, and has become dependent on tourism. The area is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its extensive and varied coastline, home to a variety of flora and fauna, as well as its mild climate.

Selected article

The Old 'Oss

The 'Obby 'Oss festival is a traditional festival held annually in Padstow on May Day (1 May). The festival itself starts at midnight with unaccompanied singing around the town starting at the Golden Lion Inn. By the morning, the town is dressed with greenery, flowers and flags, with the focus being the maypole.

The climax arrives when two groups of dancers progress through the town, one of each team wearing a stylised recreation of a 'horse.' The two 'osses are known as the "Old" and the "Blue Ribbon" 'osses. During the day a number of "Junior" 'osses appear, operated by children. Accompanied by drums and accordions and led by acolytes known as "Teasers", each 'oss is adorned by a gruesome mask and black frame-hung cape under which they try to catch young maidens as they pass through the town. The Blue ribbon oss is apparently of more recent origin. In the late 19th century it was supported by members of the Temperance movement who were trying to discourage the consumption of alcohol associated with the "old" 'oss followers. After the first world war the imperative of temperance was lost, and the 'oss became known as the Peace 'Oss. Each 'oss has a "stable" (in the case of the Old 'Oss, the Golden Lion Inn and the Blue Ribbon 'Oss, the Institute, from which they emerge at the start of the day's proceedings and retire at the end. Some time in the late afternoon the 'osses may meet at the maypole and dance together.

Selected biography

Richard Lemon Lander

Richard Lemon Lander (8 February 1804 – 6 February 1834) was a Cornish explorer of western Africa. In 1832 he became the first winner of the Royal Geographical Society Founder's Medal, "for important services in determining the course and termination of the Niger".

The son of a Truro innkeeper, Lander's explorations began as an assistant to the Scottish explorer Hugh Clapperton on an expedition to western Africa in 1825. After returning to Britain in 1828, he went to western Africa again in 1830, accompanied by his brother John. They landed at Badagri on 22 March 1830 and followed the lower Niger River from Bussa to the sea. After exploring about 160 kilometres of the Niger River upstream, they returned to explore the Benue River and Niger Delta. They travelled back to Britain in 1831.

In 1832, Lander returned again to Africa as leader of an expedition organized by Macgregor Laird and other Liverpudlian merchants, with the intention of founding a trading settlement at the junction of the Niger and Benue rivers. However, the expedition encountered difficulties, many personnel died from fever and it failed to reach Bussa. While journeying upstream in a canoe, Lander was attacked by African tribesmen and wounded by a musket ball in his thigh. He managed to return to the coast, but died there from his injuries.

In Truro, a monument to his memory by Cornish sculptor Neville Northey Burnard stands at the top of Lemon Street and one of the local secondary schools is named in his honour. In 1832 he became the first winner of the Royal Geographical Society Founder's Medal, "for important services in determining the course and termination of the Niger".

Selected image

Mousehole

Photo credit: Olaf Tausch

Boats in the harbour at the fishing village of Mousehole. The village is the setting for The Mousehole Cat, a children's book written by Antonia Barber, based on the legend of fisherman Tom Bawcock ending a famine in the 16th century.

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Selected quote

Polydore Vergil
The whole Countrie of Britain ...is divided into iiii partes; whereof the one is inhabited of Englishmen, the other of Scottes, the third of Wallshemen, the fowerthe of Cornishe people, which all differ emonge them selves, either in tongue, ...in manners, or ells in lawes and ordinaunces
Polydore Vergil, Italian scholar writing in the Anglica Historia in 1535

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