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Reference: NLW MS 10816E

Why did Welsh settlers leave Patagonia for Canada?

By 1896 over 2500 Welsh people had settled in Patagonia. They had encountered problems securing land deeds from the Argentine government, there had been disagreements about holding compulsory military training on Sundays, and the government has also set up Spanish language schools to replace the Welsh schools. On top of all this there was catastrophic flooding in 1899 and 1901 that destroyed the area - many lost all their property, and many of the canals were destroyed.

As a result, a large number of settlers were attracted to the prospect of emigrating to Canada. A committee of Welsh MPs and prominent Welshmen was formed in February 1902 to raise money to help the settlers to emigrate to Canada, and they hired a ship to sail the migrants to Liverpool and Canada. On May 15, 1902, 230 Welsh settlers sailed from Puerto Madryn to Liverpool aboard the Orissa, and from there 208 went on to Canada on board the Numidian on June 12, 1902.

The contents of this manuscript of newspaper clippings from the period provide valuable insights on the attitude of the press towards the settlers in Patagonia.