Collection of manuscripts relating to Patagonia

Migrating to Patagonia

During the 19th century a large number of Welsh people emigrated in the hope of a better life – there was no work, and many live in poverty. The attraction of new life and a brighter future was strong. Many flocked to the industrial areas of America, where Michael D. Jones established societies to help them maintain their identity, but they were under pressure to learn English and to adopt American culture. Michael D. Jones felt that the only way to safeguard the Welsh language and culture was to established a colony and he turned his attention to Patagonia. He realized that Patagonia was an ideal location to build a Welsh settlement as the isolation would protected them from outside influences. He worked diligently in Wales to try to recruit potential migrants and sent Lewis Jones and Captain Love Jones-Parry to Buenos Aires in 1862 to negotiate with the government of Argentina. They succeeded in securing 25 cuadra (about 100 acres) of land for each family. On May 28, 1865, 153 Welshmen sailed on the Mimosa, but on landing on the wasteland on 28 July 28 1865 they quickly realized that the country was not as ideal as had been suggested, with no water, almost no food or shelter. The situation gradually improved as the settlers worked hard to build the foundations of society. They constructed simple homes, learnt to hunt like the natives, planted crops and built canals to bring water from the river Camwy to irrigate and fertilize the land. A railway was later built to connect the town of Gaiman, Chubut and Puerto Madryn.

The Welsh population increased to around 700 and by 1883 the Welsh turned their attention to the Andes in search of farmland. They discovered Cwm Hyfryd in 1885 and established a new colony there in 1891.

By the late 19th century there were around 4,000 people of Welsh descent living in Chubut and the last major migration from Wales took place just before the First World War. The Welsh language declined gradually as the settlers increasingly assimilated with Argentine life, through mixed marriages and as they move to find work. Spanish became the main language of the younger generation. Nevertheless, the language and the relationship between Wales and Patagonia strengthened again with the founding of the Wales-Argentina Society in 1939 and following the centenary celebrations of the first landing in 1965.

The manuscripts

This is a selection of the 25 most important manuscripts relating to Patagonia housed at the National Library. There are of course many more manuscripts in the collection and we hope to digitized more items to add this page in the future. A complete list of materials can be found here:

The Library's collection of material relating to Patagonia is varied and reflects virtually every aspect of life in the colony through correspondence, diaries and travel books, newspaper cuttings and council, church and business records.

This selection offers an insight into the plans to create a colony, the migration and the establishment of the Welsh settlements:

• Planning – the diaries of Lewis Jones recording his exploratory visit (NLW MS 12198-9A); propaganda correspondence from the founders of the colony (NLW MS 18206C); correspondence recording the response of one family who were about to emigrate (NLW MS 18197B); accounts of ' Y Wladychfa Gymreig ' (NLW MS 7254D); ' Welsh Colonial and General Trading Co. Limited' (NLW MS 4616B - NLW MS 4617E) and L[iver]pool Welsh Patagonian Emigration Committee (NLW MS 12204E).

• Migration – the diary of Joseph Seth Jones recording his journey on the Mimosa (NLW MS 18176B); list containing the names of the 274 emigrants (NLW MS 7255E).

• Settling – biography of Joshua Jones, one of the first settlers (NLW MS 20549E); Gaiman Council records (NLW MS 18184C); irrigation schemes (NLW MS 18183C and NLW MS 18427C); migrants correspondence (NLW MS 18427C and NLW MS 17525A) and chapel records (NLW MS 19101E).

• Correspondence and diaries of visitors in the early years: Rev. William Phillips, 1891 (NLW MS 18953B); David Richards, 1891-4 (NLW MS 21199D) and W. J. Parry, 1893-4 (NLW MS 8783-4C).

• Records of business and industry - record books and prospectus of the Welsh Patagonian Gold Field Syndicate (8783-4C and NLW MS 16956E) and papers of the Camwy Irrigation Company (NLW MS 18183C).

Manuscripts arranged by reference number

NLW MS 4616B Llythyrau a phapurau, 1871-1911

NLW MS 4617E Welsh Colonising Company shareholders register, 1871-1873

NLW MS 7254D Papurau'n ymwneud â'r Wladfa Gymreig, 1861-1881

NLW MS 7255E Papurau'n ymwneud â'r Wladfa Gymreig

NLW MS 7257A Llwyd ap Iwan: 'Ymchwildaith i'r Andes'

NLW MS 8783C The Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate, 1893-1894

NLW MS 8784C The Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate, 1893-1894

NLW MS 10816E Welsh settlers in Patagonia, 1902

NLW MS 12198A Dyddlyfrau Lewis Jones, 1862-1863

NLW MS 12199A Dyddlyfr Lewis Jones, 1863

NLW MS 12204E Lewis Jones correspondence, 1862-1892

NLW MS 16956E Records of the Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate Ltd., 1891-1892

NLW MS 17525A Copïau o lythyrau oddi wrth Eluned Morgan, Y Wladfa, Patagonia at 'John'

NLW MS 18176B Dyddiadur Joseph Seth Jones, 1865-1866

NLW MS 18177C Llythyrau Joseph Seth Jones, c.1866-1868

NLW MS 18181B Llythyr Michael D. Jones, 1877

NLW MS 18183C Hanes y dyfrhau yn y Wladfa, 1960

NLW MS 18184C Llyfrau cofnodion Cyngor Gaiman, 1885-1891

NLW MS 18197B Llythyrau Joseph Seth Jones, 1865

NLW MS 18206C Llythyrau sefydlwyr y Wladfa, 1866

NLW MS 18427C Letters addressed to H. Tobit Evans, 1879-1900

NLW MS 18953B Llawysgrifau'r Parchedig William Phillips, Gwalchmai (1861-1944)

NLW MS 19101E Llyfr cofnodion y Parchedig Tudur Evans

NLW MS 20549E Erthyglau, yn ymwneud â Phatagonia gan W. Casnodyn Rhys

NLW MS 21199D Letters from David Richards in Patagonia to his wife in Harlech

Manuscripts in chronological order

1861-1881         NLW MS 7254D      Papers relating to the Welsh Settlement

1862-1863         NLW MS 12198A    Lewis Jones' diaries

1862-1892         NLW MS 12204E    Lewis Jones correspondence

1863                   NLW MS 12199A    Lewis Jones' diaries

1865                   NLW MS 18197B    Joseph Seth Jones' letters

1865-1866          NLW MS 18176B    Joseph Seth Jones' diary

1865-1889          NLW MS 7255E      Papers relating to the Welsh Settlement

1866                   NLW MS 18206C    Letters from the founders of the Welsh colony

c.1866-1868       NLW MS 18177C   Joseph Seth Jones' letters

1871-1873          NLW MS 4617E     Welsh Colonising Company shareholders register

1871-1911          NLW MS 4616B     Letters and papers

1877                   NLW MS 18181B   Letter from Michael D. Jones

1879-1900          NLW MS 18427C   Letters addressed to H. Tobit Evans

1885-1891          NLW MS 18184C   Minute books of the Gaiman council

1888                   NLW MS 7257A     Llwyd ap Iwan: 'Ymchwildaith i'r Andes'

1891                   NLW MS 18953B   Manuscripts of the Rev. William Phillips, Gwalchmai

1891-1892          NLW MS 16956E   Records of Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate Ltd

1891-1894          NLW MS 21199D   Letters from David Richards in Patagonia to his wife

1892-1894          NLW MS 17525A   Letters from Eluned Morgan, Patagonia

1893-1894          NLW MS 8783C     The Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate

1893-1894          NLW MS 8784C     The Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate

1902-1921          NLW MS 20549E    Articles relating to Patagonia by W. Casnodyn Rhys

1902                   NLW MS 10816E    Welsh settlers in Patagonia

1955                   NLW MS 19101E    The Rev. Tudur Evans' record book

1960                   NLW MS 18183C    An account of the irrigation in Patagonia

Manuscripts in Welsh

NLW MS 7254D Papers relating to the Welsh Settlement, 1861-1881

NLW MS 7255E Papers relating to the Welsh Settlement

NLW MS 7257A Llwyd ap Iwan: 'Ymchwildaith i'r Andes'

NLW MS 12198A Lewis Jones’s diaries, 1862-1863 

NLW MS 12199A Lewis Jones’s diaries, 1862-1863

NLW MS 12204E Lewis Jones correspondence, 1862-1892

NLW MS 17525A Letters from Eluned Morgan, Patagonia, to ‘John’

NLW MS 18176B Joseph Seth Jones’ diary, 1865-1866

NLW MS 18177C Joseph Seth Jones’s letters, c.1866-1868

NLW MS 18181B Letter from Michael D. Jones, 1877

NLW MS 18183C An account of the irrigation in Patagonia, 1960

NLW MS 18184C Minute books of the Gaiman Council, 1885-1891

NLW MS 18197B Letters addressed to Joseph Seth Jones, 1865

NLW MS 18206C Letters from the founders of the Welsh colony, 1866

NLW MS 18427C Letters addressed to H. Tobit Evans, 1879-1900

NLW MS 18953B Manuscripts of the Ref. William Phillips, Gwalchmai

NLW MS 19101E The Rev. Tudur Evans’ record book

NLW MS 20549E Articles relating to Patagonia by W. Casnodyn Rhys

NLW MS 21199D Letters from David Richards in Patagonia to his wife at Harlech

Manuscripts in English

NLW MS 8783-8784C The Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate, 1893-1894

NLW MS 10816E Welsh settlers in Patagonia, 1902

NLW MS 12198-12199A Lewis Jones’s diaries, 1862-1863

NLW MS 12204E Lewis Jones correspondence, 1862-1892

NLW MS 16956E Records of the Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate Ltd., 1891-1892

NLW MS 18197B Letters addressed to Joseph Seth Jones, 1865

NLW MS 18427C Letters addressed to H. Tobit Evans from Michael D. Jones and others, 1879-1900

NLW MS 20549E Articles relating to Patagonia by W. Casnodyn Rhys

NLW MS 21199D Letters from David Richards in Patagonia to his wife at Harlech

Preparing to migrate

NLW MS 18206C Letters from the founders of the Welsh colony, 1866

NLW MS 12198A Lewis Jones' diaries, 1862-1863

NLW MS 12199A Lewis Jones' diary, 1863

NLW MS 7254D Papers relating to the Welsh Settlement, 1861-1881

NLW MS 4616B Letters and papers, 1871-1911

NLW MS 18181B Letter from Michael D. Jones, 1877

NLW MS 4617E Welsh Colonising Company shareholders register, 1871-1873

NLW MS 12204E Lewis Jones correspondence, 1862-1892

NLW MS 18197B Letters addressed to Joseph Seth Jones, 1865

NLW MS 18176B Joseph Seth Jones' diary, 1865-1866

The voyage and setting up the settlement

NLW MS 18176B Joseph Seth Jones' diary, 1865-1866

NLW MS 7255E Papers relating to the Welsh Settlement

NLW MS 20549E Articles relating to Patagonia by W. Casnodyn Rhys

NLW MS 18177C Joseph Seth Jones' letters, c.1866-1868

NLW MS 18427C Letters addressed to H. Tobit Evans, 1879-1900

NLW MS 7257A Llwyd ap Iwan: 'Ymchwildaith i'r Andes'

Life in the settlement

NLW MS 18184C Minute books of the Gaiman council, 1885-1891

NLW MS 18953B Manuscripts of the Rev. William Phillips, Gwalchmai (1861-1944)

NLW MS 10816E Welsh settlers in Patagonia, 1902

NLW MS 18183C An account of the irrigation in Patagonia, 1960

NLW MS 4616B Letters and papers, 1871-1911

NLW MS 4617E Welsh Colonising Company shareholders register, 1871-1873

NLW MS 10816E Welsh settlers in Patagonia, 1902

Correspondence

NLW MS 4616B Letters and papers, 1871-1911

NLW MS 18181B Letter from Michael D. Jones, 1877

NLW MS 18206C Letters from the founders of the Welsh colony, 1866

NLW MS 21199D Letters from David Richards in Patagonia to his wife at Harlech

NLW MS 12204E Lewis Jones correspondence, 1862-1892

NLW MS 18177C Joseph Seth Jones' letters, c.1866-1868

NLW MS 18197B Letters addressed to Joseph Seth Jones, 1865

NLW MS 18427C Letters addressed to H. Tobit Evans, 1879-1900

NLW MS 17525A Letters from Eluned Morgan, Patagonia, to 'John'

Diaries

NLW MS 12198A Lewis Jones' diaries, 1862-1863

NLW MS 12199A Lewis Jones' diary, 1863

NLW MS 7257A Llwyd ap Iwan: 'Ymchwildaith i'r Andes'

NLW MS 18176B Joseph Seth Jones' diary, 1865-1866

Gold

NLW MS 8783C The Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate, 1893-1894

NLW MS 8784C The Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate, 1893-1894

NLW MS 16956E Records of the Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate Ltd., 1891-1892

NLW MS 21199D Letters from David Richards in Patagonia to his wife at Harlech

Records and Accounts

NLW MS 18184C Minute books of the Gaiman council, 1885-1891

NLW MS 16956E Records of the Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate Ltd., 1891-1892

NLW MS 19101E The Rev. Tudur Evans' record book

NLW MS 7254D Papers relating to the Welsh Settlement, 1861-1881

Religion

NLW MS 4616B Letters and papers, 1871-1911

NLW MS 19101E The Rev. Tudur Evans' record book

 

 

 

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