officially known as the City and County of Swansea, is a coastal city and county in Wales. It is Wales's second largest city and the UK's twenty-sixth largest city. Swansea lies within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands. The City and County of Swansea had a population of 239,000 in 2011, making it the second most populous local authority area in Wales after Cardiff. During its 19th-century industrial heyday, Swansea was a key centre of the copper industry, earning the nickname 'Copperopolis'.
City and County of Swansea
A view of the Swansea coastline, near the city centre.
Archaeological finds are mostly confined to the Gower Peninsula, and include items from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. The Romans reached the area, as did the Vikings..Swansea is thought to have developed as a Viking trading post. Its name may be derived from Sveinn's island (Old Norse: Sveinsey) – the reference to an island may refer to a bank at the mouth of the river Tawe, or an area of raised ground in marshes. An alternative explanation is that the name derives from the Norse name 'Sweyn' and 'ey', which can mean inlet. The name is pronounced Swans-y /ˈswɒnzi/), not Swan-sea. The Welsh name first appears in Welsh poems at the beginning of the 13th century, as "Aber Tawy".
The "City and County of Swansea" local authority area is bordered by unitary authorities of Carmarthenshire to the north, and Neath Port Talbot to the east. Swansea is bounded by Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel to the south.
The local government area is 378 square kilometres (146 sq mi) in size, about 2% of the area of Wales. It includes a large amount of open countryside and a central urban and suburban belt.
Swansea can be roughly divided into four physical areas. To the north are the Lliw uplands which are mainly open moorland, reaching the foothills of the Black Mountain. To the west is the Gower Peninsula with its rural landscape dotted with small villages. To the east is the coastal strip around Swansea Bay. Cutting though the middle from the south-east to the north-west is the urban and suburban zone stretching from the Swansea city centre to the towns of Gorseinon and Pontarddulais..
Swansea originally developed as centre for metals and mining, especially the copper industry, from the beginning of the 18th century. The industry reached its apogee in the 1880s, when 60% of the copper ores imported to Britain were smelted in the Lower Swansea valley. However, by the end of the Second World War these heavy industries were in decline, and over the post-war decades Swansea shared in the general trend towards a post-industrial, service sector economy.
SOURCE : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swansea