My family and I moved From Argentina to North Wales.
Having lived in South America for so many years one of the first things I did when we moved was to seek out Spanish & Latin connections in my local community here.
I was surprised at what I discovered.
I knew of the Welsh community in Patagonia – there is a pocket of Patagonia whose inhabitants are descendants of Welsh settlers and speak Welsh. What I hadn’t realized was just how intertwined the history of Patagonia is with that of Wales and how close me and my family are all the way over here on the tip of the Llyn Peninsula to my children’s home country.
In the 19th century, Welsh settlers departed from the North Wales coastline to make a new home for themselves in Patagonia. The first settlers arrived on July 27th, 1865, at what is now Puerto Madryn.
I am fortunate to have visited Patagonia many times. As a specialist travel agent in Mendoza for 10 years I was regularly invited by tour operators and hotels as their guest to experience first hand it’s magnificent beauty.
Today, the major Welsh settlement in Argentina is known as Y Wladfla. The Welsh influence in Patagonia persists to this day. Y Wladfa, the largest Welsh settlement in Argentina, counts a number of distinct settlements among its number. Rawson, the first, is still going strong. It is the capital of the Chubut province. Other settlements include Dolavon, Gaiman, Trelew, Trevelyn and Puerto Madryn.
The Welsh settlers have their own names for some of Patagonia’s key landmarks. These might just help when navigating road signs and maps.
“Argentina” itself is “Yr Ariannin”
“Puerto Madryn” becomes “Porth Madyrn”
“Rawson” is “Trerawson”
My research into the links between Wales and Patagonia continues. If you would like to receive details of this as well as other things related to how you can have a deeper understanding of Patagonian culture do please subscribe to this blog.
Have you visited Patagonia? Do you have friends or distant relatives with connections to the y Wladfa community? I’d love to hear from you.
And if you’re planning a trip to Argentina and would like to brush up on your Spanish, visit my Website for a full range of Spanish classes for adults and children. www.adventuresinspanish.co.uk