Today marks 150 years since 153 Welsh settlers arrived in the Chubut Valley, Southern Argentina aboard the Mimosa, a converted tea-clipper, and founded Y Wladfa: The Welsh Colony.
Throughout 2015 there have been, and continue to be, events in Wales and in Argentina to strengthen the relationship between the two communities and mark the sesquicentenary. You can find out more about all of these celebrations on the Patagonia 150 website.
If you’re interested in learning more about the relationship between Wales and Patagonia, here at Seren we have both fiction and nonfiction for you to choose from.
Beyond the Pampas: In Search of Patagonia
by Imogen Rhia Herrad
Beyond the Pampas is an entrancing and highly unusual account of a journey to the ends of the earth in search of a dream. Imogen Herrad sets off in search of the descendents of the nineteenth century colony of Welsh settlers in Patagonia, in the deep south of Argentina, and discovers that Welsh-speaking communities, proud of their heritage, still exist there today. She also discovers a country and a way of life hugely different from her European experience.
Her explorations lead Herrad beyond the Welsh to discover the even more remarkable story of the Mapuche, Tehuelche and other indigenous tribes, who have suffered the all too familiar fate of colonised peoples. This unexpected direction gives Herrad a new perspective on her own life and those of others, as she ends her travels standing on a Patagonian hillside, part of an ancient Mapuche ceremony of the land.
Beyond the Pampas is an emotional, compelling, at times funny, at times painful, but always beautifully told story of a still untamed land and its people.
A Place of Meadows and Tall Trees
by Clare Dudman
Impoverished and oppressed, they’d been promised paradise on earth: a land flowing with milk and honey. But what the settlers found after a devastating sea journey was a cold South American desert where nothing could survive except tribes of nomadic Tehuelche Indians, possibly intent on massacring them.
Silas James fears he has been tricked into sacrificing everything he loves for another man’s impossible dream. But despite his hatred of the politically adept Edwyn Owen, and under the watchful eye of Indian shaman Yelue, a new culture takes root as an old one passes away.
A Place of Meadows and Tall Trees is a lyrical and insightful evocation of the trials of the first Welsh Patagonian colonists as they battle to survive hunger, loss, and each other.