Emigration of Welsh-speaking people to Argentina in the 19th century

The founding of the Patagonian Welsh Colony, 1865

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Welsh Dragon

At a time when many Welsh men and women longed to escape the anglicization of their country, a yearning emerged to start life again in one or other of the countries of the New World. In a era of great migratory movements from Europe to the Americas, Africa and Australasia, the Welsh founded colonies in a number of countries, including the U.S.A., Brazil and Argentina. They hoped to live in communities independent of the host nation, and in comparative isolation speak their mother tongue, and maintain their religious practices and customs. Parents longed to bring up their children, untouched by worldly ways, to learn and put into practice the values that they held dear.

After a frustrating attempt to establish such communities in the U.S.A., Welsh patriots focussed on a remote part of the Americas to try again, Patagonia.

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Careful preparations were made; the proposed location was visited and approved. Would-be emigrants were sought and found. The background planning was worked through and put into effect. The sailing ship 'Mimosa' was hastily fitted out for the voyage. The passengers assembled in Liverpool for their departure. They sailed on 28 May 1865 while one their leaders sang these brave words:

Creator of the Earth, Ruler of the Universe and our Mighty Lord,
Guard us always; be the protecting strength
of the Welsh across the world, on land or sea.
We have found a better land in a distant southern place, Patagonia.
We shall live there, in peace and with no fear of betrayal or the sword,
And there the Welshman shall be king. God be praised.

Welsh Dragon

Over 150 colonists were crowded on board the 'Mimosa', and the voyage took exactly two months. They reached New Bay, Patagonia without touching land. By then, five young children had died and two had been born, and a couple had been married. The following were the passengers at the moment of departure from Liverpool, a list put together from several sources.

Thomas (17) and William(11) AWSTIN from Mountain Ash.

Richard Jones BERWYN(27) from New York.
Came out as a member of the crew of the Mimosa.

Evan(25) and Ann(24) DAVIES from Aberdare and their daughter Margaret Ann(1).

James DAVIES (Iago Dafydd)(18) from Brynmawr.

John DAVIES (Ioan Dafydd)(18) from Mountain Ash.

Lewis(24) and Rachel(28) DAVIES from Aberystwyth and their son Thomas G.(3).

Robert(40) and Catherine(38) DAVIES from Llandrillo and their children William(8), Henry(7) and John(1).

John E.(30) and Selia(26) DAVIES from Mountain Ash and their son John(infant).

Thomas(40) and Eleanor(38) DAVIES from Aberdare and the children from his first marriage David(18), Hannah(16), Elizabeth(11) and Ann(7) DAVIES and the children by her first marriage Evan(19), Thomas(15), David(13) and Elizabeth (12) JONES.

William DAVIES(36) from Liverpool.

John(38) and Thomas(36) ELLIS from Liverpool.

Richard(27) and Frances(27) ELLIS from Llanfechan, Maldwyn.

Daniel(27) and Mary(23) EVANS from Mountain Ash and their children Elizabeth(5) and John Daniel(3).

Thomas Pennant EVANS(29) (Twmi Dimol) from Manchester. Came out as a member of the crew of the Mimosa.

Dr Thomas GREENE(22) from Liverpool. Came out as a member of the crew of the Mimosa.

Thomas(31) and Sarah(31) HARRIS from Mountain Ash and their children William(11), John(6), Thomas(5) and Daniel(infant).

Catherine HUGHES(24) from Birkenhead.

Griffith(36) and Mary(36) HUGHES from Rhosllanerchrugog, G.C. and their children Jane(11), Griffith(9) and David(6).

John(30) and Elizabeth(39) HUGHES from Rhosllanerchrugog, G.C. and their children William John(10), Myfanwy Mary(4), John Samuel(2), and Henry(1).

Hugh J.(41) and Elizabeth(40) HUGHES (Cadfan) from Liverpool and their children Jane(20), David(6) and Llewelyn(4).

Rhydderch(33) and Sarah(37) HUWS from Manchester and their children Jane(17) and Meurig(4).

Richard HUGHES(20) of Caernarfon.

William(32) and Jane(32) HUGHES from Anglesea and their daughter Jane(infant).

William HUGHES(33) from Abergynolwyn.

Maurice(27) and Elizabeth Harriet(21) HUMPHREYS from Ganllwyd, Dolgellau.

Lewis HUMPHREYS(27) from Ganllwyd, Dolgellau.

John HUMPHREYS(22) from Ganllwyd, Dolgellau.

Aaron(35) and Rachel(32) JENKINS from Mountain Ash and their children James(2) and Richard(1).

Thomas(23) and William(18) JENKINS from Mountain Ash.

David JOHN(31) from Mountain Ash.

Mary Ann JOHN(24) of Aberdare.

Elizabeth JONES from Mountain Ash.

Anne JONES(23) from Bethesda.

George JONES(16) from Liverpool.

David JONES(18) from Liverpool.

James(27) and Sarah(24) JONES from Mountain Ash and their children Mary Anne(3) and James(1).

John(61) and Elizabeth(53) JONES from Mountain Ash and their children Richard(21), Ann(18), Margaret(14).

John(28) (junior) and Mary(27) JONES from Mountain Ash.

Thomas Harries JONES(16) from Mountain Ash.

Joseph Seth JONES(20) from Denbigh.

Joshua JONES(22) from Cwmaman, Aberdare.

Lewis(28) and Ellen(25) JONES from Liverpool (they were members of the advance party of three).

Mary JONES(22) from Mountain Ash.

Stephen JONES(18) from Caernarvon.

William R.(31) and Catherine(31) JONES (Bedol) from Bala and their children Mary Ann(4) and Jane(1).

Anne LEWIS(35) from Abergynolwyn.

Mary LEWIS from Mountain Ash.

Abraham(32) and Gwenllian(23) MATTHEWS from Aberdare and their daughter Mary Annie(1).

John MORGAN(29) from Pen-y-Garn, near Aberystwyth.

Robert NAGLE(22) from Birkenhead, the captain of the Mimosa.

Ann OWEN from Liverpool.

Edward(41) and Martha(38) PRICE from Liverpool and their children Edward(16) and Martha(2).

Griffith PRICE(27) from Ffestiniog.

Elizabeth PRITCHARD(20) from Gaergybi.

James Berry RHYS(23) from Ffestiniog.

William Thomas RHYS(25) from Tregethin.

William RICHARDS(19) from Mountain Ash.

Edwyn Cynrig ROBERTS(27) from Nannerch and Wigan (he was a member of the advance party of three).

Elizabeth ROBERTS(19) from Bangor.

Grace ROBERTS(25) from Bethesda.

John Moelwyn ROBERTS(20) from Ffestiniog.

John(27) and Mary(27) ROBERTS from Ffestiniog and their children Mary, Thomas(2) and John(infant).

William ROBERTS(17) from Seecombe.

Griffith(23) and Elizabeth(30) SOLOMON from Ffestiniog and their daughter Elizabeth(1).

John Murray THOMAS(17) of Bridgend.

Robert(29) and Mary(30) THOMAS from Bangor and their daughters Mary(5) and Catherine Jane(2).

Thomas THOMAS(26) from Mountain Ash.

Amos(25) and Eleanor(24) WILLIAMS from Bangor and their daughter Elizabeth. He came out as a member of the crew of the Mimosa.

Dafydd WILLIAMS(36 or 21) from Aberystwyth.

Jane WILLIAMS(24) from Liverpool.

John(36) and Elizabeth(31) WILLIAMS from Birkenhead and their children John(4) and Elizabeth(2).

Watkin William Pritchard WILLIAMS(33) from Birkenhead.

Elizabeth Louisa WILLIAMS(30) from Birkenhead.

Watkin Wesley WILLIAMS(27) from Birkenhead.

Catherine WILLIAMS from Birkenhead.

Robert Meirion WILLIAMS(51) from Llanfair Fechan, and his son Richard Howell WILLIAMS(18).

Thomas WILLIAMS(60) from Mountain Ash.

Mary WILLIAMS(55) from Mountain Ash.

William WILLIAMS(20) from Liverpool.

Elizabeth WOOD(11) from Liverpool.

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1: The ages stated cannot be established beyond doubt. Different versions of the passengers' list give different ages for some individuals.

2: Many of the passengers had previously migrated from their villages and farms in search of work, some to the coalfields of South and North East Wales, whilst others to English cities such as Liverpool and Manchester. It is these towns and cities where the emigrants were living (some of them for some years) that were listed by the Revd Abraham Matthews. They are not necessarily the places of origin of the various families.

3: It is difficult to square up the precise number of emigrants who sailed out to Patagonia on the 'Mimosa', but the best authorities have concluded that it was 164. The advance party added a further three to the original contingent.

4: This is a summary of more complete notes. Contact Jeremy Howat for more details of what happened to each family.

Notes and presentation © Jeremy Howat, September 1999