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Chubut's history See map

The Welsh settlement, paving the way

The Welsh cultural imprint is shown in most cities in Chubut. Moreover, any other province in the country have formed colonies as large as this. Before the Spanish and Italian settlers came to the country, Wales opened the field to "civilization" in this part of the map of Argentina, back in 1865, seeking new fields to work.

Of course they were not the first inhabitants of Chubut. The Tehuelche Indians walked hunting these lands for centuries to live, long before the arrival of the European. They were reduced almost to extinction during the Desert Campaign of the nineteenth century, yet today are one of the largest indigenous groups in Argentina. You can see them preserving their customs, and their descendants living in Patagonia.

Welsh history in these lands to the south

On July 28, 1865 landed in Golfo Nuevo, Puerto Madryn currently, 153 Welsh immigrants. The contingent was composed of men, women and children who came from different counties of Wales.

They arrived aboard the ship "Mimosa", bringing the necessary elements to make a home in the new land and some items for farm work.

The climate and geography were unknown to most of the group. Later it was necessary to obtain fresh water. So they came to the mouth of the river they sought, the Chubut, then Chupat. They settled in the northern edge of it and founded a town, which later became the provincial capital Rawson, whom they named in honor of Dr. Guillermo Rawson, interior minister of President B. Mitre, and who had helped them settle in Patagonia.

The Welsh were looking for an opportunity and a place to practice their faith, speak their language, maintaining their traditions and fully exercise their political rights. Here in Patagonia they found this opportunity. For its part, the settlers contributed to strengthen its presence in the argentinian sovereignty in these lands that were then beginning to be palatable and claimed.

The Welsh settlers had leaders such as Michael D. Jones, Captain Love Jones Parry, Lewis Jones, printer of Liverpool and Abraham Matthews. We can say then that during the presidency of Bartolomé Mitre starts the final settlement of the region, specifically the lower Chubut River valley. Subsequently, between 1874 and 1876 came new contingent of Welsh colonists who settled in the colony.

To solve the problem of irrigation they built canals, one of the first artificial irrigation networks in the country and the area began to grow wheat on a larger scale.

To encourage the marketing of the products of the valley to the north, especially to Buenos Aires, he thought of building a railway that would unite the lower valley with Puerto Madryn, shipping point. Thus, in the second half of 1886 begins the laying of the tracks. As a result, emerges Trelew as top rail and Puerto Madryn on the other end. From this point begins a new stage in the region, with the first settled around these railway stations. Welsh colony then had a school, the first in Rawson, a newspaper, good housing, warehouses, barns, windmills, cheese and butter were manufactured for consumption in the region, and Gaiman was the center of most economic activity of the region.

In 1884 the National Government appoints Rawson as the capital of the territory and Colonel Luis Jorge Fontana, first governor of Chubut. The expansion of small groups of farmers to the west encourages the emergence of Dolavon and 28 de Julio.

With the same conviction and the same force was made in the 1880s the colonization of Chubut mountains, from the settlement in the area known as "Valle 16 de Octubre", within which lies the picturesque currently Trevelin. In 1902 there were already cultivated cereals, raised livestock, had its own chapel and school, number 18 of Corintos River conducted by teacher Owen Williams.

And on April 30th of that year, on school premises, the thankful spirit of Welsh had the chance to manifest. The valley that inhabited was claimed by the Chilean government. Then was conducted a plebiscite to ascertain the opinion of residents about the nationality they wanted. The Welsh said they had lived under the sovereignty and protection of the Argentine flag. The unanimous answer was that "there was no affection of children preferences but loyalty to the country of adoption for some, native to others." Then, the referee (English) took into account the plebiscite and recognized the legitimacy of the rights in Argentina. Teacher Owen Williams raised the "flag of Argentina" in the neck of the school and sang the national anthem. There ended the dispute over the territory.

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