First Minister Carwyn Jones and Director of British Council Wales Jenny Scott will today [Thursday 29 January] host a reception to start a programme of celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary since the establishment of the Welsh settlement ‘Y Wladfa’ in Patagonia.
In 1865, a group of around 153 people from across Wales set off from Liverpool on board the tea clipper Mimosa to start a new life in Patagonia.
With support from the Welsh Government, the British Council has set up an advisory group consisting of various organisations which are planning a series of activities to mark the milestone. The collaboration includes the development of the British Council Wales Patagonia 150 website, a social media campaign and the launch of the Welsh Government funded online package of curriculum material.
The trilingual education resource is aimed at Key Stages 2-5, including the Welsh Baccalaureate and presents information on the establishment of ‘Y Wladfa’, its culture, sports, food and wildlife. It provides opportunities for learners to make comparisons with Wales and extend their knowledge about the country’s links with Patagonia.
The First Minister said: “As a nation, we are extremely proud and supportive of the strong links we have with ‘Y Wladfa’. It is now 150 years since 153 settlers boarded the Mimosa to settle along the coast of Chubut Province in Patagonia - a significant milestone. There are now around 50,000 Patagonians of Welsh descent.”
“That is why we have been supporting the British Council to co-ordinate and promote a range of events to mark the occasion and our links with Patagonia. I am delighted that so many people and organisations in both Wales and Patagonia have been preparing to celebrate the anniversary with events taking place all over Wales, in Liverpool, London, Patagonia and Buenos Aires. I also look forward to taking part in the events during the course of the year.
“Educating our children about the history of ‘Y Wladfa’ shows them that it is a vital part of our identity and heritage. I hope that the Welsh Government funded trilingual interactive education resource will help raise awareness in Wales of this important episode in our history.”
Director of British Council Wales, Jenny Scott, said: “The link between Wales and Patagonia is a very important one to many people in Wales and we are looking forward to bringing the story of the Welsh Patagonia community to a wider audience. In Patagonia the interest in the Welsh language is stronger than ever, with record numbers registered to learn Welsh through our Welsh Language Project. There is also a growing interest from schools in Wales and Patagonia in working together under our Connecting Classrooms initiative. Six schools are now ‘twinned’ and we expect more to join the programme over the coming year. Additionally, we have upcoming literature and music projects, which we hope will continue to strengthen the cultural links between Wales and Patagonia.”