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Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 08:41 GMT 09:41 UK
Morgan strengthens Patagonia links
First Minister Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan is set to rekindle Welsh links with Patagonia during the visit of a delegation from the South American colony.

The First Minister - recently returned from a visit to the historic Welsh outpost - will be entertained by a choir from the Argentinian province, on a trip to Cardiff.

The Gaiman Choir, which has been touring its Welsh motherland for the last three weeks, will sing at Cathays Park's Bute Building, home to Cardiff Journalism School.

Mr Morgan will also hear a presentation from two pupils of Ysgol Glan Taf, who will be outlining their class's two-week fact-finding trip to the Chubut region in April.

He said: "Having recently returned from Patagonia myself and been overwhelmed by the welcome I received, I am very pleased to be able to personally welcome the Gaiman Youth Choir to Wales and re-emphasise the close historic ties between Wales and Patagonia.

"The Government of the Assembly is already giving practical support and funding to help teach the Welsh language in Patagonia."

New Wales

Mr Morgan recently visited Patagonia as part of a high-profile week-long visit, during which he signed a declaration to help strengthen the status of the Welsh language.

He also led a trade mission to Argentina and Chile with the aim of forging new links and reviving the Welsh language in the colony.

It is almost 150 years since the Welsh settled the region, fleeing English penetration in an attempt to establish a "New Wales" with Welsh culture intact.

On 28 July, 1865, the boat Mimosa anchored in the Gulf Nuevo with 150 people setting foot on a new promised land.

The New Welsh were happy to live by Argentine law but soon moved toward the valley of the River Chubut due to a lack of drinking water.

Traditional events

Building Argentina's first irrigation system on their plains, the Welsh grew the areas and, with prosperity emerging, a railway was established from Puerto Madryn to the city of Trelew, which is named after one settler Lewis Jones.

The Welsh community in the region still celebrates The Landing Day on 28 July, and Welsh chapels put on traditional cultural events.

There are still traditional Welsh houses around the streets of Gaiman and the area's original handwritten constitution is still kept at the Museo Histórico Regional in Chubut.

See also:

11 Jun 01 | Wales
Patagonia ties renewed
10 Dec 00 | UK
Life lessons from Chile
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