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Argentina: Blogging in Welsh from Patagonia

This post is part of a special Global Voices series on Welsh language and digital media in collaboration with Hacio'r Iaith.

Argentina received large flows of immigrants in the late 1700s and during the 1800s, including immigrants from Wales who settled mostly in the Argentine Patagonia. Today, people from Wales and their descendants living in Argentina keep their culture and language alive through blogs and social networks.

In 2015 it will be 150 years since the founding of the Welsh colony in Patagonia. The Wales-Argentina Society [es] retells the history of this colony and how Welsh migrants settled in Argentina:

La Colonia Galesa se fundó en 1865, cuando viajaron cerca de 150 personas desde distintos sitios de Gales en un barco llamado Mimosa, para instalarse en el valle del río Chubut, en el sur de la Argentina.

Durante el medio siglo que siguió a la migración de los galeses, se fundaron las bases de las que hoy son las ciudades de Puerto Madryn en la Bahía Nueva, Rawson, Gaiman, Trelew a Dolavon en el Valle del Chubut y Trevelin en el Valle Hermoso (Cwm Hyfryd) en los Andes. Muchos de los descendientes galeses también viven en Esquel, al pie de los Andes; en Comodoro Rivadavia, la ciudad más grande de la provincia; en Colonia Sarmiento y también a lo largo y ancho de la República.

The Welsh Colony in Patagonia was established in 1865, when over 150 people from various parts of Wales sailed on the Mimosa to settle in the Chubut Valley, in Southern Argentina.

During the half century following the migration of the Welsh, the foundation was laid for what today are the cities of Puerto Madryn on Bahía Nueva, Rawson, Gaiman, Trelew to Dolavon in the Chubut Valley and Trevelin in Valle Hermoso (Cwm Hyfryd) in the Andes. Many Welsh descendants also live in Esquel, in the foothills of the Andes; in Comodoro Rivadavia, the largest city of the province; in Colonia Sarmiento and also throughout the Republic.

Train Station in Esquel – Photo: Laura Schneider

Regarding the language and education, the site writes [es]:

Hoy, existe ya una escuela bilingüe, galés-castellana, fundada en Trelew, un jardín de infantes a través del galés en Gaiman y otro en Esquel. El Eisteddfod del Chubut, festival cultural tradicional, que se celebra anualmente en octubre y el Eisteddfod yr Ifanc, festival cultural tradicional de los jóvenes, a celebrarse cada mes de septiembre, son dos de las actividades que se mantienen en plena vigencia. Se celebran también pequeños festivales (eisteddfodau llai) en el Valle del Chubut, en Puerto Madryn y en los Andes.

A Welsh-Spanish bilingual school was established recently in Trelew and there are Welsh nursery schools in Gaiman and Esquel. The Eisteddfod of Chubut, a traditional cultural festival which is held every October, and the Eisteddfod yr Ifanc, a traditional cultural festival for youth held every September, are stronger than ever. Also small festivals (eisteddfodau llai) are held in the Chubut Valley, Puerto Madryn and the Andes.

Blogging in Welsh from Argentina

Lois Dafydd [cy], from Wales, is currently teaching Welsh in Argentina. In a personal blog [cy], Lois writes about the experiences and activities of the Welsh community. The latest post, for example, is entitled “Annibyniaeth, Buddugoliaeth, Cyngerdd a Chymanfa…” [cy] (“Independence, victory and a song festival”). Lois also writes about a “Birthday weekend in Patagonia” in the post “Penwythnos Pen Blwydd Patagonaidd” [cy].

In Welsh, there is also Ellbaines's Blog [cy], who shares experiences in Patagonia. Ellbaines is also teaching Welsh in the Argentine Patagonia.

On Facebook, the Welsh community has several groups in Spanish, like “Galeses en Argentina” [es] (Welsh People in Argentina) and “Galeses por 150 años” [es] (Welsh People for 150 Years), this last one referring to the 150 year celebration of the Welsh community in Argentina.

However, Menter Patagonia [cy], an organization that promotes the Welsh language in the Argentine Welsh community and Patagonia, has a Facebook group [cy] where they write in Welsh. They also update the Twitter account @MenterPatagonia [cy]. One of their latest tweets refers to Friendship Day, which is celebrated in Argentina every July 20:

@MenterPatagonia: Diwrnod y Ffrind Llawen! Feliz Día del Amigo!

@MenterPatagonia: Diwrnod y Ffrind Llawen! Happy Friends’ Day!

Finally, a video on the blog Variete [es] shows how Welsh descendants celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of the first Welsh immigrants to Argentina.

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