Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 15:54 UK

Patagonia twinning charter signed

Esquel in Patagonia
Esquel stages an eisteddfod each year and Welsh is spoken

A town in Argentina where Welsh immigrants set up home 100 years ago has officially twinned with a seaside community in mid Wales.

A delegation from Aberystwyth visited the town of Esquel, which is in the region of Patagonia, to sign a charter recognising the link.

In February, British Ambassador to Argentina, Shan Morgan, opened an Aberystwyth Square in the town.

Esquel is 1,200 miles (2,000kms) south of the country's capital Buenos Aires.

Aberystwyth's mayor Sue Jones-Davies and several other members of a twinning association made the trip to Argentina.

In 1865 the first settlers travelled more than 8,000 miles (12,872km) from Wales to South America looking for a brighter future.

But it was not until later that the descendants of the early settlers set up home in and around Esquel.

The green and fertile land around Esquel attracted them after they had initially settled in a dry and arid area unsuitable for farming.

More than a century on and the town still has a thriving Welsh community.

It stages an annual eisteddfod, it has choirs and a Welsh-speaking community, although Spanish is now the main language.

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