Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, September 1, 1998 Published at 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK


Patagonia - Wales comes to South America

Patagonia's railway cuts through a plain

A group of French invaders have claimed the little-known Minquiers uninhabited rocks near the Channel Islands.

The "invasion" was made in the name of the so-called kingdom of Patagonia - an historic region of South America - famous not for conquering mercenaries but for its diverse wildlife and Welsh heritage.

[ image:  ]

  • Patagonia is a region covering southern parts of Chile and Argentina. It is about 900,000 square kilometres in size, stretching down to Tierra del Fuego.

  • It was named by the Spanish. Patagonia means Big Feet.

  • It is famous for the diversity of its landscape. It includes the mountains of the Andes, miles of spectacular coastline and the world's largest area of steppes, inhospitable plateaux with sparse vegetation.

  • The civilisation of Patagonia dates back to before 600BC, when an ancient culture developed complex myths and rites. It was discovered by Magellen in 1520. However, the population remained sparse, with still only 8,000 inhabitants by pre-colonial times.

  • Many nationalities have since colonised parts of Patagonia, including the French and the Welsh. In the last century a French adventurer decreed the area the "Kingdom of Patagonia", but his claim was short-lived.

  • The region's biggest economic activity is sheep-herding, established by the Welsh after their arrival in the 19th Century.

    Advanced options | Search tips

    Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

  • UK Contents

    Northern Ireland
    Relevant Stories

    01 Sep 98 | UK
    French 'invade' British island

    Internet Links

    La Patagonia

    The Living Edens: Patagonia

    Patagonia Wilderness

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

    In this section

    Next steps for peace

    Blairs' surprise over baby

    Bowled over by Lord's

    Beef row 'compromise' under fire

    Hamilton 'would sell mother'

    Industry misses new trains target

    From Sport
    Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

    From Business
    Vodafone takeover battle heats up

    IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

    Thousands celebrate Asian culture

    From Sport
    Christie could get two-year ban

    From Entertainment
    Colleagues remember Compo

    Mother pleads for baby's return

    Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

    From Health
    Nurses role set to expand

    Israeli PM's plane in accident

    More lottery cash for grassroots

    Pro-lifers plan shock launch

    Double killer gets life

    From Health
    Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

    From UK Politics
    Straw on trial over jury reform

    Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

    Ex-spy stays out in the cold

    From UK Politics
    Blair warns Livingstone

    From Health
    Smear equipment `misses cancers'

    From Entertainment
    Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

    Fake bubbly warning

    Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

    From UK Politics
    Germ warfare fiasco revealed

    Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

    Tourists shot by mistake

    A new look for News Online