Swansea (Welsh Abertawe), a seaport of Glamorganshire, on the banks and at the mouth of the river Tawe, 45 miles WNW. of Cardiff and 216 W. of London. A municipal, parliamentary, and also (since 1888) county borough, it is the most important town in South Wales. Its rapid progress depends on the manufacture of tin-plate here and in the neighbourhood; on its harbour and docks; and on its position on a bay affording a spacious, sheltered, and safe anchorage. The Harbour Trust of Swansea, with a capital of £1,500,000 and an income of upwards of £100,000 per annum, possesses docks, constructed since 1847, covering an area of over 60 acres. There is annually manufactured in Swansea and the immediate neighbourhood upwards of two-thirds of the tin-plates manufactured in Britain, representing a value of over £5,000,000. The imports include copper, silver, lead., tin, nickel, iron and steel. The chief exports are tin, terne and black plates, coal and coke, copper, zinc, iron and steel, alkali, superphosphate, arsenic, etc. Pop. of municipal borough (1851) 31,461; (1881) 65,597; (1901) 94,514. Since 1885 Swansea, which has now a bishop-suffragan under St Davids, returns two members, one for the town and one for the district division (Aberavon, Kenfig, Loughor, and Neath). The charter dates from the days of King John and Henry III. The castle, of which a tower still remains, was founded in 1099 by the Earl of Warwick; in Edward IV.'s reign it passed by marriage from the Herberts to the Somerset family, and is still the property of the Dukes of Beaufort. The grammar-school dates from 1682.
See works by L. W. Dillwyn (1848), G. G. Francis (1849-67), P. Rogers (1878), L. C. Martin (1879), and F. Grant (1881).