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The Welsh Heartland

Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri; Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd, Tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed.

The land of my fathers, the land of my choice, The land in which poets and minstrels rejoice; The land whose stern warriors were true to the core, While bleeding for freedom of yore.

-- Welsh National Anthem

After six centuries of English domination, a group of stern Welsh miners yearning for the freedom of yore left their homeland and headed for Argentine Patagonia. After two months of journeying, four deaths, two births and one wedding, over 160 passengers on the Mimosa landed on these desolate shores on July 28, 1865, in search of cultural and economic freedom. They migrated down to the Chubut River Valley, where fresh water was available. Soon Rawson, Gaiman, Trelew, Dolavon and other villages were established. Welsh from the U.S. brought much-needed agricultural skills. Within several decades, Welsh villages stretched from Puerto Madryn and Rawson along the Atlantic seaboard to Esquel and TrevelĂ­n in the Andes. A railroad took international award-winning wheat to ports around the world. The Welsh succeeded where the Spaniards and Argentines had failed: they formed the first permanent towns in the Patagonian wilds.

The Welsh community in Argentina’s Patagonia continues with many of their customs to this day, including hand-carved love spoons, the bardic traditions of the Eisteddfod competitions in each community and, in Gaiman, afternoon tea. Welsh chapels throughout the region celebrate the first settlers’ arrival every July 28 with a traditional tea.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

06 Oct 2010

Things to do in The Welsh Heartland

Parque PaleontolĂłgico Bryn Gwyn

Located eight kilometers south of Gaiman, Parque PaleontolĂłgico Bryn Gwyn is an excellent place to see Patagonian fossils still in their excavation sites. Though the beds are too young to yield ...
Other Activity
Gaiman, Argentina

Parque El DesafĂ­o

Visiting a park constructed entirely out of garbage may at first not sound like a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. But Parque El Desafio, filled with mazes, whimsical sculptures and fanciful ...
Other Activity
Gaiman, Argentina

Museo PaleontolĂłgico Egidio Feruglio

Arguably one of the best museums in Argentina, Museo PaleontolĂłgico Egidio Feruglio is a must-see for paleontology enthusiasts. The museum, which contains roughly 1,700 fossils, takes visitors on a ...
Trelew, Argentina

Museo Regional Pueblo de Luis

Located in the old railway station, Museo Regional Pueblo de Luis is a good place to while away an afternoon. The small museum features interesting displays on a variety of subjects, including the ...
Trelew, Argentina

Penguin colony at Punta Tumbo

The Magellan Penguin colony at Punta Tumbo is a wonderful place to see penguins in their natural habitat. This is the largest Magellan Penguin colony outside of Antarctica, and half a million of ...
Other Activity
Trelew, Argentina

Walking Tour Of Gaiman

137604Spend a few leisurely hours wandering around Gaiman, checking out the architecture and sights of this quaint Celtic village. Start with a visit to the Museo HistĂłrico Regional in the former train ...
City Walk
Gaiman, Argentina

Trelew Thespians And Other Players

Welsh poets and musicians aren’t the only ones to hit the boards in Trelew. The town has scads of places where you can catch a concert, movie or play by national and international artists. The main ...
Movie & Theater
Trelew, Argentina

Capilla Moriah

137913Capilla Moriah is the oldest surviving Welsh church in the Chubut Valley. Built of brick in 1880 under the guidance of the Gael colony’s religious leader, Reverend Abraham Matthews, it is a simple ...
Historical Building
Trelew, Argentina
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