1. Prelude to the Emigration The Welsh colony in Patagonia is often viewed as one of the numerous attempts to induce emigration from Wales, whereas to the organizers of the movement it was perceived as an attempt to come to terms with the already existing flow of population out of Wales.3 Slight as the difference may be, it is important in under- standing the relationship between the ideological and the socio- cultural basis of the colony. The conditions which prompted large- scale Welsh emigration in the nineteenth century are sufficiently well documented not to need extensive repetition.4 The peasantry had been drawn into a dual-sector economy which left them at the mercy of fluctuations in the external market. Existing as it did within a relatively static population-resource ratio, any excess population had to be accommodated by an adaptive response that increasingly involved geographic mobility. During the first half of the nineteenth century, much of this movement of population focused upon industrializing centres in south and north-east Wales which at mid- century were predominantly Welsh-speaking.5 Subsequently, the demand for labour greatly increased and immigration from outside Wales grew. As a result, many Welsh people were obliged to join the already extensive emigration out of Wales. The founding father of the Welsh colony in Patagonia was Michael Daniel Jones, a figure largely ignored by Welsh historians, despite his having ideas about community and cultural conservation that were years before their time. Having spent some time in the United States, which, with England, was the main focus of Welsh emigration, he recognized the rapid deculturation of the Welsh in America even where economically viable cultural enclaves had been established. He and others therefore sought a solution in terms of a location where a degree of administrative autonomy was possible, where spatial separation served to limit the threat of assimilation and where economic security was possible. It was in effect an exercise in applied anthropology aimed at cultural conservation. "According to a manuscript written by R. J. Berwyn, one of the early supporters of the venture and one of the pioneers who sailed aboard the Mimosa, Michael D. Jones had been impressed by the information that 10,000 Welshmen emigrated annually to north America and wished to channel as many as possible of this number to an integrated Welsh settlement. This manuscript is in the possession of Sr. F. Green, Trefelin, Chubut. See also University College of North Wales, Bangor, Library Manuscript No. (in future referred to as BMS) 438. See e.g. J. Saville, Rural Depopulation in England and Wales, 1851-1951 (London, 1957); Brinley Thomas, 'The Migration of Labour into the Glamorganshire Coalfield, 1861-1920', Economica, X, no. 30 (1930). See the population figures in A. E. Trueman, 'Population Changes in the Eastern Half of the South Wales Coalfield', Geographical Journal, Vol. 52, No. 6 (June 1919), p. 417.