Assembly delegation marks 150th anniversary of arrival of first Welsh settlers in Patagonia
The National Assembly for Wales' Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, is leading a delegation of Assembly Members to Patagonia to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Welsh settlers.
The delegation, which includes Assembly Commissioners Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM and Sandy Mewies AM, has attended a range of cultural events including performances by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the National Youth Choir of Wales.
The party has also visited Ysgol yr Hendre, the first official Welsh-Spanish bilingual school in Patagonia. The Presiding Officer met pupils from the school when they visited the Senedd in May this year.
"It is a privilege to be invited to Patagonia to mark the 150th anniversary of the first Welsh settlers arriving in Argentina," said Dame Rosemary.
"Wales and Patagonia are bound by tradition and history, and share a unique relationship which has strengthened significantly since the centenary was celebrated in 1965.
"The focus of our visit is cultural and the shared bond of the Welsh language, one that we are celebrating with a series of cultural events culminating in a gala performance by the National Orchestra of Wales.
"Personally, it has been wonderful to meet up with young people from Ysgol yr Hendre once again, following their visit to the Senedd earlier this year.
"I hope this will be the start of an even closer relationship between Wales and the Welsh communities in Patagonia."
This year (2015) marks the 150th anniversary of Welsh settlers arriving in Patagonia.
The permanent settlement of the Chubut Valley and surrounding areas began on 27 July 1865 when 153 Welsh settlers arrived aboard the converted tea-clipper, Mimosa.
Now there are around 50,000 Patagonians of Welsh descent, including the pupils of Ysgol yr Hendre.
"In May and June of this year, a delegation from Ysgol yr Hendre visited Wales to take part in events commemorating the 150th anniversary of Y Wladfa – the Welsh settlement in Patagonia," said Ysgol yr Hendre teacher, Catrin Morris.
"The schoolchildren were fortunate enough to visit the Senedd and to meet the Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler, to chat to her and to sing for her.
"It is therefore with the greatest pleasure that we at Ysgol yr Hendre, Trelew, extended the same welcome in return to her and to the National Assembly delegation."
The Presiding Officer
and Assembly delegation with pupils at Ysgol yr Hendre school