The fascinating story of how a Welsh plaque ended up on the famous Washington Monument
A plaque honoring the people of Wales sits over 200 feet in the air in the famous Washington Monument.
One of the most recognizable buildings in the United States, the memorial was built in honor of US President George Washington and stands 555 feet tall.
Hidden inside the thick marble walls of the tower is a tribute to the people of Wales, but how did it get there?
READ MORE: The 19th-century Snowdonia mansion was once home to the Iranian royal family
During the construction of the tower, which lasted four decades for lack of funds, the The Washington National Monument Society (WNMS) has invited states, cities and other groups to provide memorial stones for display at the monument.
Considered to be among the first settlers in the United States, Welsh citizens have played a vital role in American history.
It is believed that at least five of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence were Welsh, or of recent Welsh origin.
There have also been at least eight US Presidents of Welsh ancestry, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, and John Quincy Adams.
A Welsh community living in New York at the time decided to donate their own stone to the site, marking Wales’ role in American history.
According to The Cambrian magazine, it was Welshman, Daniel Jones, who originally came up with the idea.
The Cambrian wrote in 1834: “It was through Mr. Jones that the government allowed a stone to be placed in the Washington monument to represent the small principality.
“Mr. Daniel L. Jones was a loyal, consistent and patriotic Welshman. “
Memorial commissioners had stipulated that all donated stones must be durable, a “product of state soil,” and be four feet long, two feet high and 18 inches thick.
In a fitting gesture, the Welsh citizens imported a beautiful piece of slate from a quarry in Swansea and donated it to the memorial, but not before choosing an appropriate and timeless inscription.
Take a look at Annie Owen’s latest stories here:
The plaque reads: “Fy Iaith, Fy Ngwlad, Fy Nghenedl, Cymry am byth” which translates into English as “Our language, our country, our birthplace, Wales forever”.
One of 194 stones donated to the memorial, the plaque sits 240 feet in the air as a permanent reminder of the bond between the two countries.
The monument, which was the tallest structure in the world at the time of its construction, is often presumed solid but is in fact hollow.
The Egyptian-style obelisk contains iron spiral staircases, an elevator, and a series of hallways and landings.
It is along these landings that we can see the commemorative stones, celebrating the contribution of the different communities of America during the period.
Let us know what you think of this story in the comments section below.