Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Glen, Feb 22, 2010.
De nada - thanks for lending your name to the cause!
Glad you approve!
The Old Tudor Flag, often adopted by Welsh NationalistsThe nationalism of the 19th century took many different forms on many different scales. Some of the more eccentric movements focused on race or language or some other shared cultural feature as the base for their movement. One of these movements was founded by the charismatic Welsh language nationalist, Gwion Jones, in the mid 19th century. Dr. Jones was a widely travelled man, who had become convinced that the Welsh language was destined for extinction in Wales, and all his travels to the parts of the Empire showed him more spectres of assimilation. Gwion Jones became convinced that a new land for the Cymry was needed, one that would not be filled with Anglophones. He consided sites in Australia, New Zealand, even South Africa, but decided upon isolated British Patagonia as the most promising site. The first substantial wave of Welsh settlers arrived in the 1850s.
Thanks for finally adopting the name!
Welsh Patagonia... cooool
Oh, it was always in the plan - Gwion Jones? Just too good not to use...
Glad you think so - seemed a bit hackneyed but when I looked around for another place to put them, still seemed to make the most sense.
The Welsh settlements of Patagonia fascinate me I must say. IT certainly was an interesting attempt to fight off assimilation by English, even if ultimately doomed to a similar fate by Spanish.
I do accept that the Welsh were particulary vulnerable to assimilation by English speaking colonies or nations, especially the US, but I do think that that if they had tried a lesser populated, isolated area, they might have had some sucess. For example, Southland province of NZ, or the West Coast of the same. Even 5-10,000 settlers would be enough to form a strong minority that is unlikely to be swamped anytime soon, outside of what happened IOTL
True, but here the British only hold the Northern Island in New Zealand, so their migration is a bit more concentrated. This Patagonia is not in danger from Spanish as it is a separate colony of Britain, with only limited English settlement to this time, and in fact the majority languages are native to the region at this point in the timeline, thus why Gwion Jones likes it - still in the Empire, but linguistically undominated by English. In fact, at the time, it's about the only place that fits that description ITTL. True, I could have had them do as was done IOTL and look beyond the Empire, but I am positing here that this nationalist is only interested in lands of the Empire - just to make life different.
I thought it was already established that the Scots settle in large amounts in Patagonia however?
Cymru Am Byth
Large by percent, not by actual numbers - and they are somewhat offset by Welsh as well - this was an earlier settlement trend, but these initial settlers were not particularly Celtocentric. Jones' lot are....
Oh, maybe a wee bit....
Fair points, all, I think I was expressing more an opinion on OTL and I must admit that I had forgotten some of the essential divergence you point out. Perhaps it is time I re-read the timeline!
Feel free - I've needed a refresher from time to time myself....
One thing you do need to remember is that welsh emigration will never be a particularly huge thing, Wales had only half a million people at the beginning of the 18th century and a massively booming employment market in coal extraction. So much so that there was actually significant internal migration to Wales from England and Ireland. Getting enough Welsh together so that they won't be swamped by English, Irish and Scottish as soon as the colony becomes prosperous will be really really difficult.
I brought up a similar point much earlier in the thread, when we were discussing if Arkansas might attract Welsh settlement (for reasons of similar geography, etc).
The Welsh settlement in Patagonia might be a bit larger than IOTL, but on the whole, I'd expect it's highly likely Scottish Gaelic will have more speakers overall (the highlands will empty out as IOTL, but they'll be moving to Patagonia instead of mainly to Canada.
I think swamping is certainly a big risk, especially, as you say, the source population is rather small.
However, I still would think that if a sufficiently determined settlement was created, with a strong focus on schooling (as many did), then it might possible. There were various planned settlements implanted by various Scots, English or British groups in NZ in OTL, none of which (iirc) had a language focus, but who've managed to retain strong parts of the foundation character. I'm thinking Dunedin and Christchurch in particular.
The early governance of the NZ colonies was by provincial arrangement, later abolished as part of a centralisation measure in the 1870s. With an early enough settlement, say in the mid 1850s, with initial settlement by as little as a the OTL Patagonian numbers of Welsh speakers (low hundreds?), they could easily dominate the Province. They would need to have a steady stream of new migrants to bolster the numbers, but even by the 1870, the numbers of people living in Southland, OTL was (iirc) in the low tens of thousands (10-15k). They would need to be pretty determined to build and fund Welsh language schools and churches
Now, the Maori, of NZ again, has sort of managed to revive their language from a base as low as 30-40k in the early 20th century. So it is possible.
Duly noted - don't worry, I am not planning an Uber-Wales in South America.
A fair amount of them are going to the DSA or USA, actually.
Yes, something more like that, but with language as an additional glue to hold the community together.
They are, but they won't dominate all of Patagonia, though they will have a major area within it.
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