Ceredigion (Welsh pronunciation: [k?r?'d?gj?n] ( listen)) is a county in Mid Wales. In the Middle Ages, it was a minor kingdom also known for a time as Seisyllwg. Following its Norman conquest, the name was anglicised to Cardigan and then Cardiganshire (Welsh: Sir Aberteifi) and it began to be administered as a county in 1282. The county had a population of 75,900 at the 2011 UK census. Its largest town, Aberystwyth, is one of the two administrative centres; the other being Aberaeron. Aberystwyth houses Aberystwyth University, Bronglais Hospital and the National Library of Wales. The inland town of Lampeter houses part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Ceredigion is considered to be a centre of Welsh culture and more than half the population speaks Welsh.
The county is mainly rural with over 50 miles (80 km) of coastline and a mountainous hinterland. The numerous sandy beaches, together with the long-distance Ceredigion Coast Path provide excellent views of Cardigan Bay.
In the 18th and early 19th century, Ceredigion 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 last century, livestock farming has become less profitable, and the population of Cardiganshire has been in decline as people moved to the more prosperous parts of Wales or emigrated to other countries. More recently, the population has started rising again as elderly people move into the county for retirement, and various government and European Union initiatives have encouraged tourism and other alternative sources of income.
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