It’s 150 years since the Welsh set sail across the Atlantic on board the Mimosa, in search of a new life in South America.
To mark the anniversary, Huw Edwards embarks on a 7000-mile journey to Patagonia for the first time.
In the programme Patagonia Huw Edwards on S4C, Huw meets some of the descendants of the first settlers who were part of one of the greatest adventures in Welsh history.
The founding fathers dreamed of building a new Wales across the ocean as a safe haven for the Welsh language, but by the early years of the last century, there were more communities from other countries there and the Welsh were outnumbered.
Huw, who first heard about the history of Patagonia 40 years ago when at primary school in Llangennech said: “I’ve travelled the world in my capacity as a journalist and broadcaster, but this is the first time I’ve experienced the Welsh life in Chubut Province in southern Argentina.
“The communities of Chubut and the Andes were both warm and sincere in their welcome, proud of their Welsh ancestry, and keen to lay firm foundations for the future.”
The programme on Sunday evening, May 31, explores the prospects for the Welsh language in the colony and asks what the future holds for the culture the pioneers strived to protect? We see Huw Edwards playing a hymn on the organ – an instrument brought over to Patagonia in 1865 with the pioneers.
Dafydd Rhys, S4C Director of Content, said, “We are all set at S4C to celebrate the fascinating history of the Welsh people and those of Welsh heritage in Patagonia with a range of exciting new programmes and a rich archive. This authoritative documentary by Huw Edwards, one of the leading Welsh broadcasters of our generation, will be the best possible taster for the season that is scheduled to mark the 150th anniversary of the landing in July. We are delighted to be working closely with the BBC and many other organisations to make this national celebration truly memorable.”
Celebrations will be held in Wales and Patagonia to mark the anniversary and in addition to Patagonia Huw Edwards on S4C, Patagonia with Huw Edwards will be broadcast on BBC1 Wales on Monday evening, 1 June 1.
Patagonia Huw Edwards
Sunday evening, May 31, at 8pm, S4C. Also Monday, June 1, 3pm and Wednesday, June 3, 10pm, on S4C with English subtitles