Altitude: 385 meters/1,263 feet, Populaiton: 4,856, Telephone Code: 02945
In the 1860s, 150 Welsh immigrants arrived to develop Patagonia after receiving encouragement from the Argentine government. Many of the immigrants were seeking better economic opportunities, as well as religious and educational freedom (at that time it was illegal in Great Britain to teach Welsh to children). By 1888, the pioneers had discovered the fertile lands where TrevelĂn lies and where many of them decided to settle. Initially, the Welsh pioneers relied on the native Tehuelche and Mapuche peoples, who taught them how to hunt and farm successfully in Patagonia. TrevelĂn means â€śmill townâ€ť in the Welsh language, and was aptly named as mills were built in the area to process all of the grains the settlers had learned to harvest.
In 1902, Chile attempted to claim much of the land in Patagonia, including TrevelĂn, but on April 30th of that year, representatives from both countries met with a British arbiter to resolve the situation. TrevelĂn held a vote, and the inhabitants voted unanimously to remain a part of Argentina, which helped secure 360,000 hectares of Patagonia as Argentine land. Perhaps more importantly though, both indigenous people and women were allowed to participate in the vote, marking it the first time in recorded history that members of either group were allowed to vote in all of the Americas.
TrevelĂn continued to produce large amounts of flour and wheat until 1949, when President Juan Peron declared that Chubut province was unfit to produce those grains. After that, the mills stopped processing grains and the local cattle ranching and logging industries grew immensely. Those are still the town's largest industries today, but a few farmers grow tulips, raspberries, plums and cherries. The region's climate restricts the growing season to very short cycles of production. To this day, there are an estimated 1,500-5,000 Patagonian residents who speak the Welsh language.
These days, this small town is a nice place to relax and get away from the crowds, but some visitors may find it too quiet. Two history museums, a national park, fishing and other outdoor activities, and Welsh-Argentine architecture and food are the town's biggest attractions. Dining and lodging options are limited, but there are plenty of low-cost campgrounds in the area.