One of the reasons Michael D Jones set up a Welsh colony in Patagonia was to preserve the Welsh lannguage and culture.
The controversial ‘Blue Books’ report of 1847 stated that the moral and material condition of the Welsh people would only improve with the introduction of the English language. This meant that Welsh speaking children were being forced to speak English in schools and, if they did lapse into their mother-tongue, they were punished.
The immigrants aboard the Mimosa believed that a new life in Patagonia would not only be a way out of a life of poverty, but also a way to preserve their identity and language.
As the Welsh population grew and prospered in Patagonia, the area attracted more immigrants from other countries and the colony’s Welsh identity began to be eroded. Many of the institutions which had been established in the early days of the colony, such as the Co-Operative Society, were split into factions by arguments. Fifty years on, the community had began to crumble.
But despite these problems the community still survives. It has recently been the subject of a coordinated attempt by the Argentine government and the National Assembly of Wales to promote and maintain its Welsh identity.
And today, wherever you are in Wales it is compulsory for children between the ages of 5–16 to learn Welsh, at least as a second language.