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This report is taken from PN Review 228, Volume 42 Number 4, March - April 2016.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
I seem to be remarking significant anniversaries of writers and events with increasing frequency: no doubt a consequence of growing older. The year 2015 saw two that were highly significant in the annals of Wales. They are instantly recognisable to anyone with a superficial knowledge of modern Welsh history by the identifying names: ‘Y Wladfa’ and ‘Tryweryn’.

Y Wladfa (The Colony) is the name given to the one hundred square miles of Patagonia granted to Welsh settlers by the Argentine government. We have been celebrating the 150th anniversary of the their landfall at what is now Puerto Madryn on 28th July 1865. ‘A cold coming [they] had of it’, the depths of the southern hemisphere winter, and a barren shore. It is even now a remote territory eight thousand miles from home, nine hundred south of Buenos Aires. They found it sparsely populated by Tehuelche hunter-gatherers who, after initial suspicion, decided to be friendly and helped to sustain them in the first terrible years. Certainly, it was nothing like the land promised in the glowing report brought back by Lewis Jones and Capt. T. Love Jones-Parry, sent out to reconnoitre and assess in 1862.

The name of Michael D. Jones (1822-98), a Congregational minister and fervent nationalist, born near Bala, north Wales, is the most prominent connected with the venture. Ordained at the Welsh church in Cincinnati in 1847, he hoped life in America, beyond the influence of England, would allow the many immigrants from Wales to hold firm to their language ...
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