"Wales has reached the levels of wealth not seen since the nation was the world's coal capital in the early 1900s, a leading affluence expert has calculated. Professor William Rubinstein, who has studied the cash-loaded for 30 years, also believes the gap between rich and poor has narrowed in the past century. Prof Rubinstein, who co-authored the new book listing the 250 richest people in British history, said Wales was historically less wealthy than England and most money was centred on London. Despite this, more than five Welshmen, or those with strong Welsh connections, make it into his top 250. The list is detailed in The Richest of the Rich, by Prof Rubinstein and Philip Beresford - author of The Sunday Times annual Rich List. The book, to be published later this month, investigates the wealthiest people in British history, looks at how they made their fortunes, the role played by luck, contacts and violence, and how successful they were in hanging on to their gains."