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Jubilee address to Queen Victoria from the inhabitants of the Chubut Welsh Colony, Argentina (catalogue reference: PP 1/650)

12 January

While South America may not be instantly associated with Wales, documents at The National Archives in Kew reveal an unusual story of Welsh settlers in Patagonia.

In 1865 a group of Welsh emigrants left Liverpool on the tea clipper Mimosa, bound for the New World to establish a Welsh speaking colony in the valley of the Chubut River in Patagonia, Argentina. Overcoming initial hardships, including lack of vegetation and food, they successfully established a colony, literally called Y Wladfa or 'The Colony', which is still a thriving community today.

Special event

To tie in with the Archive Awareness Campaign theme Take Flight, The National Archives is hosting a special talk, free of charge, on Thursday 14 January, 14:00-15:00, on the migration of the Welsh to Patagonia. Bruno Derrick, The National Archives' Records Specialist in Maritime and Transport, is giving the talk, and will focus on issues associated with this mass migration, using sources such as the census, passenger lists, and colonial records.

'Hardship and heroism'

'Archives are breathtaking in their power to speak across the centuries,' Records Specialist Bruno Derrick said.  'This is a story of hardship and heroism and these documents, some not seen by the public until today, will enable visitors to explore the remarkable hidden history of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia during the second half of the 19th century.'

The Archive Awareness Campaign celebrates and promotes local and national archives, with events across the country highlighting archival treasures.

For all talks and events at The National Archives, see What's on?.