Soon, on October 11th we will commemorate the "Día de la Patagonia" (Patagonia Day).
The date was chosen because on that same day, in 1878, the Argentine Congress passed the law N° 954 that created the "Gobernación de la Patagonia", a National Territory that covered all Patagonia, from the Negro and Neuquén rivers to Cape Horn, with the Andes to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
It marked the formal inclusion of this vast territory as part of Argentina.
After the military campaigns against the Mapuche groups in La Pampa (Ranqueles and Neuquén (Pehuenches, Picunches, Manzaneros the northern parts of Patagonia were occupied between 1879 and 1881) and cities sprung up along the coast and further inland. In 1884 another law was approved which split up the Patagonian Territory into its current provinces (in those days they were National Territories as they lacked population and resources to be autonomous provinces): Río Negro, Neuquén, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego.
Welsh in Patagonia
Further south, since 1865, there was a Welsh colony authorized by the Argentine government located at the mouth of the Chubut River, and in Santa Cruz, a small settlement had been established by Luis Piedrabuena at the mouth of the Santa Cruz River.
The Welsh had arrived looking for tolerance and the Argentine authorities granted them the land they needed. They are an estimated 25,000 members in the Welsh-Argentine community in Patagonia of which between 1,500 and 5,000 still speak Welsh.
The flag adopted by the Welsh community in Chubut is shown below, it blends the Welsh red dragon (Y Ddraig Goch)with the Argentine flag. So, here we have a new "Dragon" for our list of Patagonian creatures, one which came from Wales.
So on October 11th, as my fellow countrymen of Welsh origin may say: "Welcome to Patagonia" (in Welsh: croeso i Patagonia).
Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia2010 International Year of Biodiversity Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall ©