During the first half of the 19th century, individuals in Wales were inspired by the idea of establishing a Welsh colony. They wanted to leave for numerous reasons; to escape poverty, to seek religious freedom and to establish a new country where Welsh would be the language of religion, government, trade and education. In Wales at that time, it was not possible as Wales was gradually being absorbed into England. For these reasons, on May the 28th, 1865 a group of 153 Welshmen and women set sail for a new life in Argentinian Patagonia to save and hold on to what they believed in, their religion, dying language and culture. Hiraeth unearths the fascinating history of the Welsh experience in Patagonia in time to celebrate the 150th anniversary of their voyage, and is told through passionate, honest and inspiring stories from the people who now live their lives as part of the Welsh Colony in Patagonia.
Steph Davies is from Cardigan, west Wales. As a child, she didn't learn anything about Patagonia at school. Her nan once told her that there were some Welsh people living a Welsh life in a colony in Argentina - that's all she knew. The thought lodged at the back of her mind and years later, in 2013, she decided that she would quit her job and go to Patagonia to see for herself. She spent 8 weeks there both interviewing and filming 40 different characters who shared their wonderful stories with her - both in the community in the Andes and in the Chubut Valley. Subsequently, she returned to Wales with over 40 hours of film and stories from a community, stories passed through the generations by word of mouth. In Hiraeth: Stories from Welsh Patagonia, Steph has tried in testimony and illustration to convey the fascinating story and spirit of the Wales over 7,000 miles away.