Sunday, 4 November 2007

Early Settlers in Patagonia

Patagonian settlers' story online


A website documenting the history of the Welsh settlers in the Argentine region of Patagonia has been launched.

In 1865 the first settlers travelled from Wales over 8,000 miles to South America looking for a brighter future.
The trilingual website Glaniad - which means the landing in Welsh - features more than 2,000 digital images.
The governor of the Patagonian province of Chubut, Mario Das Neves, will join Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan at the launch in Cardiff City Hall.
In the 19th Century the nonconformist minister Michael D Jones became concerned that Welsh immigrants in America were being absorbed into the American way of life.


He decided to do something about it, and on 28 July 1865 the first settlers, intent on establishing a Welsh-speaking colony, arrived on Patagonian soil.
Over the next 45 years they were followed by several hundred of their countrymen and women.
The creators of the Glaniad website - in English, Spanish and Welsh - said it had two main functions: to preserve records and documents for the future, and to help people research the history of the settlers.
It features digital images of letters, photographs and objects which have been scanned and photographed from museums and archives in both Wales and Patagonia.

National identity

Dafydd Tudur, project officer for Culturenet Cymru, said the website was the first time the artefacts and images from Patagonian and Welsh museums had been seen together in a website format.
"The Welsh settlements were established because one of the leaders of the moment, Michael D Jones, had visited the United States and seen that Welsh immigrants were being assimilated into American society and losing their national identity," he explained.
"The idea was to establish a settlement where Welsh immigrants could emigrate together."
Mr Tudur said his favourite item was a photograph which was taken within two years of the arrival of the first settlers.
"I very much like one of the earliest photographs from the settlement, one of Lewis Jones who was the first president of the settlement, among the Tehuelche, who were the nomadic tribe who lived in the region at the time," he explained.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For me the importance of Patagonia is the truth it reveals about the Welsh desire for independence at a time when it had very little expression at Westminster.