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The Welsh Patagonian Settlement: a feast of viewing on YouTube

24 April 2017

In 2015 the Welsh Settlement in Patagonia celebrated a major milestone in its history, namely the 150th anniversary of its establishment in 1865. To mark this, an international conference on the history and the contemporary situation of the Settlement was held at Cardiff University on 6–7 July 2015.

Papers were delivered on a wide range of topics, including linguistic, literary, educational, geographical and sociological aspects.

One notable feature of the conference was that about half of the speakers were born and raised in Argentina. This was the first time for so many experts from Wales and Argentina to come together to discuss the Settlement, and it provided an unrivaled opportunity to view the Settlement, past, present and future, through the eyes of people from both sides of the Atlantic.

The papers delivered at the conference – 14 in all – are now available on Cardiff University’s YouTube channel.

Some were delivered in Welsh, some in English and one in Spanish. Speakers, in alphabetical order, included:

  • Eirionedd Baskerville: Richard Jones Berwyn: gŵr amryddawn, bonheddig a chymwynasgar
  • Walter Ariel Brooks: Y Drafod: prif bapur newydd Cymraeg y Wladfa, 1891–2015
  • David Leslie Davies: ‘Holl daith yr anialwch i gyd’: profiad y Gwladfãwyr cynharaf
  • E. Wyn James: Eluned Morgan a Diwygiad 1905
  • Bill Jones: Cymru, Patagonia ac ymfudo
  • Vilma Nanci Jones: Galés patagónico: estampas de una biografía casi sesquicentenaria
  • Nadine Laporte: Gamechangers: the women who made Y Wladfa possible
  • Esyllt Nest Roberts de Lewis: Cyfrolau’n siarad: dirgelion llyfrgell Coleg Camwy, Y Gaiman
  • Llŷr Gwyn Lewis: Darllen y map: ysgrifennu creadigol yn y Wladfa
  • Geraldine Lublin: ‘Wi, wi, am Ŵyl y Glaniad’: y gymuned Gymreig yn Chubut a dathliad yr 28ain o Orffennaf
  • Elvey MacDonald: ‘Ffarwél i ddociau Lerpwl’
  • David Williams: Non-Welsh immigration into the Welsh Settlement in Patagonia during the first nine years of its history (1865–74)
  • Fernando Williams: An agricultural oasis in Patagonia: cultural and political implications of the irrigation network built by the Welsh in the Chubut Valley
  • Guillermo Williams: Representations of the Welsh Settlement and its cultural heritage in Chubut’s educational and historical literature

The papers will be of special interest to those studying matters relating to Wales and Argentina, but they will also be of wider interest. The establishment of the Welsh Settlement in Patagonia was a heroic undertaking which is of international as well as national significance, and the history and development of the Settlement pose many interesting and relevant questions regarding migration and identity in general.

The conference was organised by the Cardiff Centre for Welsh American Studies (which is part of the School of Welsh at Cardiff University), in partnership with the Wales-Argentina Society and the Culture of the 18th and 19th Centuries and the Ethnology and Folk Studies Sections of the University of Wales Alumni Association. The event was also generously supported by Santander Universities.

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