Trevelin, Patagonia - site of a Welsh Colony in Argentina

Welsh Mill in Trevelin Patagonia

After leaving the Chilean town of Futaleufu, we crossed the border into Argentina without difficulty (it was a mainish road, and the border guards were used to foreigners) and were soon in Trevelin. Known as one of the original settlements by the Welsh in Patagonia in the 1870s. These were people escaping poverty and the Anglicization of their culture. Their language today has all but disappeared, although we did see small ads in shop windows offering lessons in the Welsh language.

Trevelin is a town in the Patagonian province of Chubut in Argentina. It is just south of Esquel, and had about 6,400 inhabitants in the 2001 census

It was named Trevelin (from Trefelin, the Welsh for "mill town") after the first mill, known as "Los Andes", was established there by John Evans in 1889 (photograph below, the building is a museum today). One of the tourist attractions of Trevelín is the grave of Malacara, John Evans's horse, who a few years earlier in 1884 had saved his master's life by an enormous leap over a canyon to evade his pursuers (photo below of me riding the wooden hobby horse in the grounds).

In 1902, there was a territorial dispute between Argentina and Chile, the inhabitants of the area were given the chance to vote as to which country they wished to belong. The Welsh were grateful for the Argentine government's help in their settling the area, and voted to remain in Argentina.

There are "Welsh Tea Shops", we found 3, in the town. These serve cracking good teas, with more home made cakes than one could eat. The only drawback was that they opened on Argentinean hours, so were closed for a long siesta in the middle of the day. Still having to wait for opening time made one even hungrier when they did open their doors.

Oddly I did find a distant Welsh relation here. I started off in the museums seeing if the John Evans of horse fame above was related, but he was not. A few days later in the middle of nowhere we stopped for another Welsh Tea, and the owners mother had been born "Pugh" and the family had originally come from Llanfachreth, a small village Merionethshire, where my Pughs originated

Welsh Tea Shop in Trevelin, Argentina Welsh Mill in Trevelin Patagonia
Welsh Tea Shop in Trevelin The original Welsh Mill in Trevelin
Around Trevelin, mountains and lupins Around Trevelin, mountains and waterfalls
Around Trevelin, mountains and lupins and waterfalls
Around Trevelin, mountains and waterfalls
Around Trevelin, mountains and waterfalls
and waterfalls and waterfalls
Not John Evans original horse  
Not John Evans original horse, but in the grounds of his museum  

 

Patagonia Journey