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Wales and Patagonia

Welsh settlers in Patagonia (image provided by the National Library of Wales)

2015 marked the 150th anniversary since Welsh settlers arrived in Patagonia.  On 28th May 1865 the a ship called the Mimosa' set sail from the United Kingdom carrying around 150 Welsh emigrants .

The passengers paid Paying £12 per adult, a huge amount in those days, seeking a new life and the establishment of a Welsh colony in the Chubut area.  Some previous Welsh settlers such as Edwyn Cynrig Roberts met the new arrivals and called their landing site Porth Madryn.  The first town was named Rawson and other settlements such as Gaiman and Trelew were also created. The government of Argentina gave their consent for the Welsh to own the land in 1875, which led to hundreds of new arrivals form Wales.

The Welsh-Argentine colony, which became known as Y Wladfa, started a number of well known traditions such as the creation fo the "Torta Galesa" (literally Welsh cake) which is enjoyed throughout Argentina. Since 1965, the Eisteddfod del Chubut, a poetry and song competition in Spanish and Welsh has become a key annual event in the provincial calendar. Eisteddfodau are long standing Welsh festivals that have been held since 1172.

Today the province of Chubut, where most Welsh immigrants settled, has a population of 550,000 people. Of these, some 50,000 can claim Welsh ancestry and 5,000 speak the Welsh language. The relationship between Wales and Chubut is supported by the commitments of the Welsh Government. A memorandum of understanding was first signed in 2001 and re-affirmed in 2007. website was established in 2005 to document the history of the Welsh community in Patagonia in Welsh, Spanish and English. It includes digitised material of the history of the Welsh community in Patagonia.

For more information on the links between Wales and Chubut and trade and investment opportunities with Wales for Argentine companies and businesses visit the British Embassy Buenos Aires’ website.

Welsh Language Project

The Welsh Language Project promotes and develops the Welsh language in Chubut. Each year three Language Development Officers from Wales develop the language in the Welsh speaking communities in Patagonia. This is through both formal teaching and informal social activities.

There is a permanent Teaching Co-ordinator from Wales based in Patagonia, who is responsible for the quality of teaching and a network of Patagonian Welsh language tutors in the region.

The achievements of the project include:

  • 1174 learners registered for Welsh language classes 
  • 2 bilateral school partnerships established
  • An increase in the number of classes from 83 in 2013 to 90 in 2014

The connections don't stop there! The Patagonia Instrument project in Wales sends musical instruments to the Welsh Association and education ministry in Chubut, which gives children in the region more opportunities to unlock their musical talents.

Further links

About Wales

Everything you need to know about our language, sport, history, culture…….

Visiting Wales

Official tourism site for Wales with travel information, accommodation and holiday packages

Business Wales

Business pages for international trade and investment activities.

National Eisteddfod of Wales
The Eisteddfod is a cultural, artistic festival; one of the largest festivals in Europe alternating between south and north Wales, attracting over 170,000 visitors, and 7,000 competitors.

The Wales-Argentina Society

People's Collection Wales

People’s Collection Wales is asking people to share their photographs, letters and other documents about Y Wladfa.

Patagonia 150
2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the settlement. Numerous celebrations took place during 2015. It also created a lasting legacy for years to come.