Believe it or not an estimated 5,000 Patagonians speak Welsh.
The Welsh Argentine settlement, 'Y Wladfa' was established in Chubut, Argentina, in 1865 and was headed by the congregationalist minister, Michael D. Jones, who, after witnessing the difficulties faced by newly emigrated Welsh communities in America, championed an independent welsh settlement free from English influence.
The first group of immigrants set sail from Liverpool on 28th May 1865 aboard the Mimosa with the hope of starting a new colony in Patagonia in which they could preserve and develop their culture and language and take refuge from cultural and economic oppression in Wales.
Today Welsh is still spoken in this area of Patagonia, and it is estimated that of a population of 150,000 people, roughly 20,000 are descended from the Welsh settlers and around 5,000 are able to speak Welsh. In recent years there have been increased efforts to promote Welsh, such as the official visit to Patagonia by the Welsh Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan in 2001, and a special section of the BBC's website, which has helped forge links between Welsh and Patagonian schools. In Oct 2010 we were delighted to have the chance to attend the premiere of the Welsh and Spanish language film, Patagonia.
You can see the review of this unique film on our blog by guest writer Chris Brown.