The only natural community of Welsh speakers outside of Wales is
a small colony in Patagonia (in the Chubut province of Argentina).
In 1865, 153 patriots emigrated there to set up a Welsh state (Y
Wladfa) under the blessing of the Argentine government, anxious
to control a vast unpopulated area in which it was in dispute with
the government of Chile.
Disillusioned with the state of Welsh religion
and society in the 19th century, Michael D Jones of Bala was the
force behind the repatriation. Highly critical of the Tory landowners
who, in his opinion, treated the Welsh people like serfs, he saw
little use in emigrating to the USA or Australia to start afresh
as the Welsh language would only be diluted. He therefore searched
for a place where Welsh people could follow their own culture without
the influence of others, and was given favourable reviews of the
Chubut Valley in Patagonia, a sparsely populated region of Argentina.
So, in 1865 the Mimosa set sail from Liverpool
with 153 on board, bound for Patagonia and some years of great hardship.
For though there were four ministers amongst the pilgrims, there
were only two farmers with the necessary experience to farm the
land and therefore sustain the colony. Despite these hardships,
the colony did flourish and kept its Welsh character until the end
of World War II, and Welsh is still spoken in the region today.
Michael Jones did not visit Patagonia himself,
but stayed in Wales to raise money for those abroad and to educate
a new generation in the merits of Welsh patriotism, including David
Today, the community in Chubut province estimates about 1,500 of
its people still speak Welsh, as well as Spanish.