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Geraldine Lublin

“Lighting up in distant regions the sacred fire of the Nation” : the Centenary celebrations (1910) and the Welsh community in Patagonia

“Lighting up in distant regions the sacred fire of the Nation” : the Argentine Centenary (1910) and the Welsh community in Chubut, Patagonia
[14/12/2012]

Résumés

Given the pride of place accorded to Welsh descendants in the recent Bicentennial of the May Revolution in Chubut, it may be assumed that Welsh settlers would have received similar recognition when the Centenary was marked in 1910. However, Welsh Patagonians were then regarded very differently by the central authorities, who used the 1910 festivities as part of a campaign to “Argentinise” Chubut populations. Though a crucial snapshot of the process of inclusion of what was perceived as a reticent ethnic group into the nation’s “imagined community”, the marking of the Argentine Centenary in Chubut remains mostly unexplored. Based on the view that key aspects of social memory are conveyed and sustained by ritual performance and commemoration, this article discusses how the invented tradition of the Fiestas Mayas was reenacted in the Centenario in Welsh-populated areas in Chubut according to reports by contemporary sources.

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Notes de l’auteur

My gratitude goes to Chubut’s Archivo Histórico Provincial, Museo Regional de Gaiman, Dirección de Cultura de Trevelin, Biblioteca Nacional de Maestros and Archivo General de la Nación for access to their wonderful collections. A very early version of this article was published as “La comunidad galesa del Chubut y el ‘magnífico y grandioso concierto nacional’ de los festejos del Centenario de la Revolución de Mayo”, in Los Galeses en la Patagonia V, Puerto Madryn: CEHYS, 2012, 17793.

Texte intégral

  • 1 For a discussion of the role of the Welsh community in Patagonia in the Bicentennial festivities, s (...)
  • 2 Benedict R. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism, Lo (...)
  • 3 Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember, Cambridge: CUP, 1989.
  • 4 Eric Hobsbawm & Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge: CUP, 1983.

1Given the pride of place accorded to Welsh descendants in the Bicentennial of the May Revolution in Chubut as one of the two main pillars of Chubut’s identity1, it may be assumed that Welsh settlers would have received similar recognition when the Centenary was marked in 1910. However, Welsh Patagonians were then regarded very differently by the central authorities, who used the 1910 festivities as part of a campaign to “Argentinise” Chubut populations. Though a crucial snapshot of the process of inclusion of what was perceived as a reticent ethnic group into the nation’s “imagined community”2, the marking of the Argentine Centenary in Chubut remains mostly unexplored. Based on the view that key aspects of social memory are conveyed and sustained by ritual performance and commemoration3, this article discusses how the invented tradition4 of the Fiestas Mayas was reenacted in the Centenario in Welsh-populated areas in Chubut according to reports by contemporary local sources.

  • 5 Tulio Halperín Donghi, “Argentine Counterpoint: Rise of the Nation, Rise of the State”, in John Cha (...)
  • 6 Juan B. Alberdi, Bases y puntos de partida para la organización política de la República Argentina, (...)

2When self-government in what would later become Argentina was initiated in 1810, it was less the result of a patriotic feeling of belonging than of “the discovery, not exactly of the nation […] but of its availability as a credible substitute for monarchy as a font of political legitimacy”.5 As with other budding governments, the 19th century saw the Argentinean state—or, rather, the creole elite in Buenos Aires—face the challenge of building a nation and inventing an identity for it. The local intelligentsia agreed that to govern was to populate, but they were willing to favour Anglo-Saxon immigration over anything else.6

  • 7 H. Hughes ‘Cadfan’, Llawlyfr y Wladychfa Gymreig, Llynlleifiad: Lewis Jones & Co., 1862, 43.
  • 8 Some 100 acres of land were offered to any family settling anywhere in the Argentine territory.
  • 9 Though similar attempts in the US had failed to retain idiosyncratic features like the Welsh langua (...)

3Welsh settlers arrived in Argentina following an appeal for European immigrants by the national government, though their request for special conditions was refused by the Argentine Congress due to the potential dangers of promoting a British colony so close to the British-occupied Falklands. Though they viewed the venture as an attempt to achieve full control over their own affairs without interference from any other nation7, the leaders of the emigration accepted the universal conditions of settlement granted by the government8 in the hope that the sheer number of migrants would eventually allow for the emergence of a (perhaps partly autonomous) Welsh province within the Argentine Republic.9

  • 10 For an excellent analysis of this ‘re-invention of Patagonia’, see Gabriela Nouzeilles, “Patagonia (...)
  • 11 Susana B. Torres, “La Patagonia en el proceso de construcción de la nación argentina”, in Esteban V (...)

4Though the first Welsh contingent arrived in Patagonia twelve years after the adoption of the National Constitution in 1853, Argentinean institutions were far from consolidated. Moreover, the presence of the Welsh in Chubut under the auspices of the Argentine government was vital in pushing the internal frontier southward (hitherto at Carmen de Patagones), as Patagonia became key for the nation under construction and the state simultaneously promoted it as a promised land vulnerable to foreign seizing and an embodiment of the idea of the national state.10 With Santiago and Buenos Aires competing for land possession whilst disregarding the rights of the indigenous Tehuelche and Mapuche, Roca’s infamous “Conquest of the Desert” (1879–1884) prepared the ground for the “National Territories Act” (which created nine “frontier” territories, five of them in Patagonia) and various exploratory, civilizing missions by military, scientific and religious figures. The region’s original imaging as wretched desert was superseded as much-coveted “pure territoriality”, a landscape needing to be humanized and modernized and whose control and occupation were crucial both for the economic future and sovereignty of Argentina.11

  • 12 Lilia Ana Bertoni, Patriotas, cosmopolitas y nacionalistas: La construcción de la nacionalidad arge (...)
  • 13 Indalecio Gómez, Proyecto de Ley relativo a la enseñanza del idioma nacional, 1894, 314, quoted in (...)
  • 14 Walter A. Brooks, “Polisïau Addysg, Iaith a Hunaniaeth yn y Wladfa (1900–1946)”, Y Traethodydd, 200 (...)

5The protracted political consolidation allowed Welsh settlements in Patagonia (mostly concentrated in the Chubut Valley and the Andean Colonia 16 de Octubre as shown in Figure 1University of Wales Swansea2012-12-12T16:42:00) to operate with some autonomy despite their theoretical allegiance to Buenos Aires, but national authorities besieged that self-reliance by 1880, deeming diversity a threat to national unity.12 Though successful in other immigrant settlements in northern Argentina, the appointment of bilingual teachers only brought moderate success in Chubut, where Welsh settlers emerge in reports as a notorious case: “[In Chubut] the state of affairs is much more serious, since it is rampant inside and outside schools […] Everything is Welsh there, and the Argentine authorities [are] like guests in the territory”.13 Patriotic education was instrumental in undermining Welsh power in Patagonia.14 In the pursuit of national integration, schools became a vehicle for homogenizing the cultural and ethnic heterogeneity of the country by teaching students not only Spanish but also the whole paraphernalia of the civil religion: the national anthem and other patriotic songs, the symbols and values of the country, the worshipping of the founding fathers and the importance of public holidays.

Towards 1910

  • 15 Bertoni, op.cit., 315.
  • 16 A. B. Martínez, Tercer censo nacional… de 1914, Bs. As.: L.J. Rosso y cía, 1916–19.
  • 17 Tulio Halperín Donghi, “¿Para qué la inmigración? Ideología y política inmigratoria en la Argentina (...)
  • 18 Raúl B. Díaz, “Inspección de Territorios”, El Monitor de la Educación Común, n°434 (28 Feb. 1909), (...)
  • 19 “Visitante”, “Oficina de ilustración y decorado escolar del Consejo Nacional de Educación”, El Moni (...)

6By 1910, a defensive cultural essentialist view of the nation had overpowered broader versions to advocate a sense of national identity based on a set of unequivocal cultural and historical features specific to the country.15 Alberdi and Sarmiento’s universal positivism was seen as too optimistic for an Argentina with about 30 percent of immigrant population.16 Faced with disturbing social changes derived from opening the doors to “all men of good will who wished to reside on Argentine soil” as stated in the National Constitution, the government redoubled its resolve to battle the perceived social disintegration with measures aimed at reinforcing Argentineness. This civic religion of sorts—which in state schools involved “a civic liturgy of an almost Japanese intensity”17—reached its apotheosis by the Centenary, when every aspect of teaching (contents and commemorations) was regulated with little scope for divergence.18 The Education Council had even created an “Office of school decoration and illustrations” to provide schools with resources to celebrate the prescribed patriotic liturgy.19

  • 20 Fernando Devoto, Historia de la inmigración en la Argentina, Bs. As.: Sudamericana, 2002, 274.
  • 21 Ibid., 293.

7The “problem of immigration” was omnipresent, and policies aimed at incorporating foreign populations into the Argentine nation gradually prevailed over more inclusive options in the attempt to elicit the desired Nation out of rife cosmopolitanism and heterogeneity. The erstwhile spirit of fraternity towards immigrant communities turned into strong-arm coercion in the 20th century. The failure of immigrants to gain enfranchisement and the exclusionary Laws of Residence (1902) and Social Defence (1910) signalled a striking change in the perception of immigrants, from laborious to potentially dangerous classes.20 Meanwhile, Argentina continued to receive increasing settler contingents, as immigration would not reach its peak until 1912, with an annual total of 323,000 heads.21

  • 22 The rural (60% of the total) and urban (40%) population is divided into four districts: Rawson (36% (...)
  • 23 Devoto, op.cit., 298.
  • 24 The reform was rejected by the National Congress in 1910. Ibid., 274–75.
  • 25 Censo... 1912, op.cit.
  • 26 R. Bryn Williams, Y Wladfa, Caerdydd: UWP, 1962, 297.

8Immigrant arrivals specific to Chubut are difficult to trace due to its peripheral status, but the 1912 National Territories Census states it accommodated 23,316 inhabitants22 (up from 11,265 in 1905), which still gave a population density of 0.096 inhabitants per square kilometre across its 242,039 square kilometres. Out of those, almost 42 percent (9,781) are described as “foreigners”, placing Chubut amongst other Argentine areas where “successive waves of overseas migrations, or a relative demographic vacuum preceding them, have completely transformed the social landscape”.23 Moreover, 42 percent of foreigners accounted for more than 52 percent of real estate ownership (2,650 foreign in opposition to 1,384 Argentine owners) according to the Census, which explains the adamancy of the National Congress in its refusal to enfranchise non-nationalized proprietors.24 The largest foreign communities in Chubut were Spaniards (2,822) and Chileans (2,456), followed by the so-called “English” (presumably British) (1,560) and Italians (1,247), well above Uruguayans (367) and Germans (243).25 There are no official figures as to how many of those “English” settlers were in fact Welsh; an unofficial estimate claims a mere 2,000, a very far cry from the 20,000 expected to realize the dream of a Welsh province.26 In any case, Welsh migration to Patagonia was not yet over, with the last organized contingent arriving in 1911.

  • 27 Carlos M. Urien & Ezio Colombo, La República Argentina en 1910, Bs. As.: Maucci, 1910, 616 & 620–21 (...)
  • 28 Bertoni, op.cit., 316.

9The crusade to incorporate Welsh populations in Chubut to the Argentine imagined community had by 1910 achieved some success but the image of Welsh Patagonians was still rather negative, as seen in a volume commissioned for the Centenary. Though the Welsh are first highly praised for their progress and agricultural success as a product of their “strong will and perseverance, which are Anglo-Saxon characteristics”, they are then fiercely criticized for an alleged neglect of agriculture and even inbreeding or resentment-motivated degeneration.27 The slight contradiction in praising the civilised qualities which made European immigrants attractive only to then condemn them for their sectarianism is less a reflection of the community than of the need of Argentine nationalists to use “old and already resolved issues […] in order to construct the enemy, a necessary component of the new discourse.”28

10An ideal ally in 1865 turned formidable foe by 1910, Welsh cultural distinctness was targeted by adding a further prong to the educational approach already in place; the reinforcement of a paradigmatic commemorative ritual would complement the intellectual battle by getting Welsh Patagonians to embrace the nation through performance.

The Fiestas Mayas and the Centenary

  • 29 Juan C. Garavaglia, “A la nación por la fiesta: las Fiestas Mayas en el origen de la nación en el P (...)
  • 30 Eric Hobsbawm, “Introduction: Inventing Tradition”, in Hobsbawm & Ranger, eds., op.cit., 1.
  • 31 Garavaglia, op.cit., 77–78.
  • 32 A categorization drawn from Ricardo Salvatore, “Fiestas Federales: Representaciones de la República (...)
  • 33 Garavaglia, op.cit., 78–79.

11First celebrated in 1811, Fiestas Mayas were part of the repertoire of traditions devised by the fledgling United Provinces when constructing the nation and an accompanying imaginary for it.29 As with other invented traditions, the construction of the May Revolution as a major memory milestone was an attempt to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition whilst inventing a legacy for the then barely existent nation, in turn a basis for the projection of a national future.30 Colonial festivities featured so-called “recreational invariants” such as dancing, masks, theatrical representations, poem reciting, carrozas triunfales, bullfights, horse racing and popular games31, and so did the Fiestas Mayas, whose structure also encompassed both “Rabelaisian” and “Republican” activities.32 Whilst Republican activities instilled patriotism and exalted the state through official rites, Rabelaisian ones were instrumental not only in providing entertainment but most importantly in offering a cathartic outlet for social tensions, thus ensuring stable relations of production and, ultimately, civic order.33

  • 34 For an excellent analysis of the commemoration of Fiestas Mayas between 1811 and 2010, see Amati, o (...)
  • 35 Connerton, op.cit., 71.
  • 36 Ibid., 45.

12The Fiestas experienced a number of changes between 1810 and 1910 following their historical circumstances34, but the significance and sense of continuity of the commemoration remained and so did their fundamental performativity35, which led to its ritualization. As one instance of backward-looking, calendrical and ritualized national commemorations which “do not simply imply continuity with the past but explicitly claim such continuity [….] by ritually re-enacting a narrative of events […] in a manner sufficiently elaborate to contain the performance of more or less invariant sequences of formal acts and utterances”, Fiestas Mayas were a means to convey and sustain specific images and recollected knowledge of the past to contribute to the shaping of a master narrative, or communal memory.36

  • 37 Bertoni, op.cit., 316.
  • 38 Amati, op.cit., 48.
  • 39 Bertoni, op.cit., 81.

13Two competing images of the Centenary, “the moment of emergence of the national”37, have persisted from the contested reinterpretations of collective identity, in the context of upheaval and conflict about projects and models for the State and the Society.38 On the one hand, grandeur and extravagance characterised events in Buenos Aires (the focus of celebrations), where various exhibitions and events with prominent guests were organized during the whole of 1910. Dozens of statues and commemorative monuments of national heroes were unveiled, and various schools, hospitals and public buildings were inaugurated. The 25 May functions in Buenos Aires reenacted features of previous civic fiestas, though fewer “Rabelaisian” items were to be found in the sequence of formal acts and utterances: the requisite Te Deum, the honouring of the authorities and the official delegation, the military parades and various instances of exaltation of the patriotic liturgy. Gone were the days when clowns or rascals were the heroes of the celebration39, thus depriving the masses of much-needed comic relief from the acute social tension of the time.

  • 40 J.M. Ramos Mejía, “Proyectos relativos a la conmemoración de la revolución de Mayo”, El Monitor de (...)
  • 41 Ibid., 257.
  • 42 “Centenario de la Revolución de Mayo”, El Monitor de la Educación Común, n°450 (30 June 1910), 1101

14National schools played a pivotal role in the orchestration of events across the country. The instrumental responsibility of the school, “the germ of the national soul”, was envisaged in a project approved by the Education Council on October 7, 1909: “The school, link between the home and the State, is called upon […] to make the effort to have all energies converge towards the greatness of the country, and it is precisely great historical dates which emanate the healthy flow that vivifies the environment, clears the horizon and encourages a country down the path of justice, glory and freedom”.40 All school districts were obliged to hold certain acts (“schoolchildren demonstration in honour of the creators of the national rosette, homage to the Argentine flag and school parades, theatrical function of patriotic nature, schoolchildren tattoo”), and “the Anthem was to be sung at 9 AM across the whole of Argentina, with no exceptions”, intensifying its effectiveness as a cohesive device.41 This certainly worked well in Buenos Aires, where schoolchildren battalions executed a programme combining Rabelaisian numbers with the sublime exaltation of the Republic.42

  • 43 For an account of political struggles around the Centenary, see Fernando Devoto, “Imágenes del Cent (...)

15However, the other side of the Centenary coin revealed increasing social turmoil and discontent, which the government’s desperate attempts barely managed to control with a state-of-siege allowing the closure and censorship of workers’, socialist and anarchist newspapers as well as mobbing opposing trade union and political parties’ premises and jailing or deporting inconvenient activists.43 If the main visible result of the widespread unrest was the successful boycotting of the lighting system especially designed for the occasion, government actions emerge as relatively effective.

  • 44 Ibid., 183.

16Events around the Centenary placed immigrant communities in Argentina in an uncomfortable position, as shown by the mobbing of Jews in Buenos Aires. Given their close link in the public imaginary with anarchist elements, various ethnic associations decided to make their patriotic support visible through participation in the organized civic processions.44

  • 45 Y Drafod included reports on local celebrations of 25 May in Rawson and Bryn Gwyn as early as 1896 (...)
  • 46 Garavaglia, op.cit., 91.

17Though 25 May had been commemorated in Chubut before 191045, the Centenary was one of a kind, and it is little wonder that the national authorities should have decided to use the Celebrations to drill a further dose of Argentineness into “frontier” populations in Patagonia. Since the construction of the nation implied a “doubly concentric” movement, state policies had to reach not only the groups it already controlled but also remote areas of the territory, whose inclusion in the map expressed the intended sovereign limits of the imagined community.46 Within this centrifugal impetus from Buenos Aires, “nationalizing” Patagonia was a key step, especially in view of the always menacing Chilean neighbour.

  • 47 Rawson Act, 13 November 1909.
  • 48 Devoto, Historia de la inmigración, op.cit., 284.
  • 49 Urien & Colombo, op.cit., 615.
  • 50 Brígida Baeza, Fronteras e identidad en Patagonia Central (18852007), Rosario: Prohistoria, 2009, (...)

18Sixteen committees were created across the scarcely populated Chubut to organize and collect funds for the Celebrations: in Rawson, Trelew, Gaiman, Puerto Madryn, Camarones, Cabo Raso, Comodoro Rivadavia, Puerto Pirámides, Colonia 16 de Octubre, Colonia San Martín, Ñorquinco, Cholila, Paso de Indios, Colonia Escalante, Colonia Sarmiento and Telsen (see Figure 2University of Wales Swansea2012-12-12T16:42:00), though membership of these committees ranged from Rawson with 34 members to only one in Colonia Escalante.47 If the Centenary in Buenos Aires was characterized “its plural dimensions”48, this is not apparent in Patagonia. The imperative was to spread the patriotic sentiment to every corner of Chubut, populated by “mostly foreigners and indigenous peoples”.49 Brígida Baeza’s observation that incorporating Welsh settlers to the Andean centenary committee constituted an instance of inclusion of hitherto outsiders into the imagined community of the nation50 can be applied to other regions where prominent Welsh settlers were appointed to these designated committees. The strategy of investing prominent Welsh Patagonians with leadership in celebrating the Argentine nation reverses their construing as enemies to honour them within the collective of neighbours steering the festivities, a privilege denied to other groups such as original peoples.

19The following sections will discuss the Centenary commemorations in the most representative Welsh-populated areas in Chubut as reported by local newspapers and other contemporary sources.

Rawson

  • 51 Devoto, “Imágenes del Centenario”, op.cit., 177.

20As capital of Chubut, the main celebrations were held in Rawson, which—though originally Welsh-founded—had few descendants living there by the 1900s. The main newspaper there was La Cruz del Sur, a weekly published by the local Salesian order. It is not surprising to see little reference in the paper to the unrest in Buenos Aires in May 1910—but then neither is this reflected in other local newspapers of different ideological subscriptions. If signs of everyday latent hostility were everywhere51, they were not apparent in reports in the media; even mainstream national newspapers were careful not to tread on dangerous ground which could result in censorship.

  • 52 La Cruz del Sur, 25 May 1910, 1121.
  • 53 Ibid., 1122.
  • 54 La Cruz del Sur, 29 May 1910, 1126.
  • 55 Ibid., 1128.

21The edition of 25 May 1910 salutes on its front page “our beloved Patria in its great day”.52 Only a brief mention of the declaration of the state-of-siege is made, on its second page under “Telegrams of the Week”, in a fourth place following items on the “imposing and majestic” welcome given to the Infanta Isabel (“without the slightest incident [sic]”), the arrival of the Italian ambassador and the passing away of the President of the National Senate, though above the news about the arrival of the Chilean president and his delegation.53 The same approach is adopted in the following number, where La Cruz del Sur reports that patriotic festivities in Buenos Aires were “imposing”, with an “immense, incalculable crowd”, the lighting system was “wonderful and unprecedented” (no mention of a boycott at all), daily civil and military celebrations were held “without the slightest disagreement” and “Everything proceeded with admirable order, with no incidents to regret”.54 No hint of public disorder is found either in the detailed report of the visit of the much-praised Infanta two pages later.55

  • 56 Ibid., 1125.
  • 57 Garavaglia, op.cit., 81.
  • 58 Connerton, op.cit., 61.

22A comprehensive account of the local Fiestas Mayas is published in the Salesian weekly on its front page on 29 May 1910, where the “patriotic” nature of the festivities is duly highlighted. The celebrations started with a “musico-literary function” organized by the religious order of the Sisters of Mary Help of Christians at their school, which included the performance of a melodrama entitled La República Argentina and closed with a speech by the Governor of Chubut “where he demonstrated his patriotism and the noble feelings of a noble soul”.56 Despite the dominance of the religious context, it is worth noting the continuity of the element of melodrama—already present in the first commemoration in 181157—a ritualized re-enactment of prior, prototypical actions by prototypical persons regarded “of cardinal importance in the shaping of communal memory”.58

  • 59 Garavaglia, op.cit., 83.
  • 60 La Cruz del Sur, 29 May 1910, 1125.
  • 61 Ibid.
  • 62 Garavaglia, op.cit., 86.
  • 63 Bertoni, op.cit., 83.
  • 64 Connerton, op.cit., 59.

23Mirroring the centrality of the “Plaza de Mayo” in the case of the celebrations in Buenos Aires—hailed as the quintessential expression of the physical presence of the pueblo59–, many of the commemorations across Argentina were organized in the main square of towns or villages, as in the case of Rawson. The equivalent of the Buenos Aires Te Deum was a “very well attended” open-air mass in the main square of Rawson where the epic of the May Revolution and its makers was narrated and the audience was encouraged to express their love for the patria as love towards their fellow inhabitants.60 The report especially commends the presence of the local branches of the Navy and the Army (unarmed), “in military formation around the mass altar and performing official honours”61, with the armed forces staged as protectors of the nation through their guarding of the Catholic Church. Although military presence had featured in Fiestas Mayas from at least 181362, their contribution to the official rites increased from the early 1880s onwards, following their positive image in the eyes of the nation after the “Campaign of the Desert”, the victory of the Confederation over Buenos Aires and “their important role in the laborious affirmation of the national state”.63 Apart from evidencing the positive image of soldierly traits in the Rawson context, the parading in civic procession to a military march once the mass ended with the National Anthem encoded performatives whereby bodies move unequivocally through the prescribed ritual actions, imprinting the master narrative on the body and establishing a potent mnemonic structure.64

  • 65 La Cruz del Sur, 29 May 1910, 1125.
  • 66 Ibid.
  • 67 This conflation would reach extreme proportions the following year, with the front page of La Cruz (...)

24After devoting two paragraphs to the musico-literary function and five to the open-air mass, the report briefly mentions patriotic speeches by schoolchildren “from all schools” by the local House of Government and a well-attended “gala performance of the Drama Society and the National girls’ school” with a “varied programme, with the allegorical pieces standing out”.65 The article then proceeds to comment on an “unfortunate” event occurred on 26 May, when the local Centenary committee offered to the public barbecued meat. The local music band playing at the event is criticized for their lack of “civility, education and urbanity” in following the performance of the Salesian School band with the execution of the Anthem to Garibaldi: “a despicable blow to the religious feelings of its victims and of all those Argentineans present at the event, since it implied a preference of the anthem to a figure completely unrelated to Argentine independence, over the national anthem”.66 Beyond the petty power struggles between the Salesians and their detractors, the figure of the anticlerical and foreign Garibaldi is automatically interpreted as an antipatriotic affront and the execution of his hymn is regarded as antithetical to the Argentine Anthem. A clear image emerges of how La Cruz del Sur blends Church and Nation into a single unit zealously guarded from anticlericals/foreigners by the (subordinate) military.67

  • 68 “Nadolig”, “Rawson” , Y Drafod, 17 June 1910, 1.
  • 69 Ibid.

25Subsumed among other events, the report published in Y Drafod (the main Welsh-language newspaper published by the Welsh community in Chubut) by its Rawson correspondent is less enthusiastic than that in La Cruz del Sur. Moreover, it is preceded by an item on two special visitors to the local Chapel for the Sunday service and a second item mentioning the “25 de Mayo” not because of the celebrations but rather in connection to the releasing of four inmates from the local prison due to a special amnesty for the grand occasion. This rather negative and even threatening side of the commemoration is followed by the denunciation of a fake piece of news about a horse throwing a well-known local lawyer out to sea. It is only in the fourth place that a report of the actual events is offered, commenting that “The holiday of the 25 de Mayo was remarkably quiet, everyone kept within limits so that there were no mishaps as far as I know. Succulent delicacies were feasted upon day and night, and children from the Ty Gwyn school were kept under control by their teacher, giving an excellent performance.”68 After observing that it was the first time a Welsh school paraded before the House of Government, the author states his hope that it shall not be the last one and that better organization in the future will allow the school to “show their best, and not a partial attempt as this time”.69

26Notwithstanding the huge differences between the Welsh publishers of the Drafod and the Salesian clergy responsible for La Cruz del Sur, both reports suggest an incipient feeling of Argentine fraternity beginning to span across the ethnic and religious divide –despite the squabble between two music bands embodying differing paradigms of the nation. These differences in patriotic tone will also emerge in other areas under analysis.

Trelew

  • 70 “Y Fran Ddu”, “Trelew”, Y Drafod, 3 June 1910, 3.
  • 71 Ibid.

27The Centenary celebrations were very prominent in Trelew, where events also took place in the main square, which was then little more than a bare plot of land. The Drafod describes the “honourable” local celebrations, highlighting the “unforgettable exhibition” at the very well-attended inauguration of the “fine” Band Stand in the main square, and the about 300 schoolchildren who participated in the service and the “excellent rendition” of the National Anthem following successive speeches by local public figures.70 There are other equally complimentary accounts of events such as the football match between Puerto Madryn and Trelew on the afternoon of 25 May (won by the latter), the highly praised concert by the national school students, the setting of the cornerstone of a statue to commemorate the Independence of Argentina on 26 May (a sign of “the progress of Trelew”), the sports and recreational activities that “everybody enjoyed” and the “fireworks of all kinds”.71

  • 72 El Avisador Comercial, 4 June 1910, 1.
  • 73 Ibid.

28Nevertheless, the Drafod’s report looks lukewarm when compared to that in Trelew’s El Avisador Comercial, which uses the word “patriotismo”, or its variants, seven times in the first four short paragraphs. The article highlights the Centenary celebrations as the first massive Fiestas Mayas of their kind, describing the unprecedented demonstration with “in the same patriotic column […] the main ladies and young ladies of the area fraternizing with the working classes” crowned by schoolchildren carrying Argentine flags and rosettes and singing the National Anthem.72 Not only are festivities important enough to achieve the infrequent fraternizing of two ends of the social hierarchy, but they also show the working classes in Trelew not boycotting events as in Buenos Aires but supporting the collective of the nation and definitely a part of it. Though no mention is made as to whether these labourers would be Argentine-born or foreigners, the report describes the Centenary in Trelew as unsurpassed in “good will and patriotism” : “aquí hemos visto ese patriotismo desbordarse en la masa popular, y argentinos y extranjeros de todas nacionalidades ir a depositar en el altar de las glorias inmarcesibles el sentimiento de su admiración y de su cariño hacia esta nación que es por siempre cuna de la libertad de medio continente americano”.73 The report reinforces the notion of civic religion as superior to the Church—one of the aims of patriotic liturgy—in its description of class or nationality divisions as sidelined by the overwhelmed masses in their fervour to worship at the altar of Argentina’s national heroes, in this case not guarded by the armed forces.

29After proclaiming the impossibility of reporting the celebrations in full due to an alleged lack of space, the article transcribes an impassioned speech by a Spaniard after the end of the civic procession on 24 May, where he urges Argentineans and foreigners to become united and regard Argentina as their motherland and sets himself as an example:

  • 74 Ibid.

Puedo decir de mí, que no sé si en este momento soy español o soy argentino, tal es el entusiasmo patriótico que ha despertado en mi alma la grandiosidad del acto que acaba de realizarse pero creo que fácilmente podría disiparse la esencia de mi ser, si pudieran fundirse en uno solo los colores de la bandera azul y blanca y de la bandera roja y gualda y si de la resultante de esa fusión pudiera determinarse la esencia del individuo.74

  • 75 Connerton, op.cit., 53–61.

30The appeal to merge national sentiments is hard to overestimate in the context of immigrant-filled Trelew. As a persuasive reenactment of prototypical persons and events from the past which makes them present, the civic procession has aroused in the speaker’s soul a passion that touches upon his “essence”, engaging him with the collective symbolic text which constitutes the nation’s master narrative.75 If foreignness (in the form of Garibaldi) was a threat and an affront for the reporter in La Cruz del Sur, the speech transcribed in El Avisador Comercial sees foreignness as blurred in the face of patriotic fervour until it is ultimately merged with Argentineness.

Gaiman

  • 76 No mention of the Gaiman celebrations is made in numbers dated 20 May 1910, 27 May 1910, 3 June 191 (...)
  • 77 They are described as most successful, organized and peaceful, and with unprecedented attendance (Y (...)
  • 78 “Syllydd”, Y Drafod, 2 June 1911, 3.

31The Centenary was also celebrated in the main square of the strongly Welsh village of Gaiman, a very different setting from the markedly cosmopolitan Trelew. No reports of the local celebrations are to be found in the weekly numbers of the Drafod around the relevant date76—a silence which could be speaking volumes—, even though the festivities in Buenos Aires are commented upon with approval.77 The omission is even more striking in view of the Drafod report in 1911 that 25 May was “celebrated again with great pomp among us [in Gaiman]”.78

  • 79 The number compiles reports of all school Centenary celebrations across Argentina (El Monitor de la (...)
  • 80 Marcelino B. Martínez, “La escuela en el Centenario”, Ibid., 1945.
  • 81 Ibid., 1946.
  • 82 Ibid.
  • 83 Ibid., 1946–47.
  • 84 Ibid., 1947.

32The Drafod’s apparent silence is compensated for by a very detailed report entitled “La escuela en el Centenario” featured in El Monitor de la Educación Común.79 Signed by the Superintendent of the Patagonian region, the piece praises the enthusiasm shown by chubutenses at the “multiple ceremonies […] held in schools and replicated with greater participation and enthusiasm in chapels, streets and public squares”.80 It started on 23 May at the inauguration of a workshop in the Bryn Gwyn rural school, with the singing of the National Anthem, swearing of allegiance to the national flag by a group of 30 children, patriotic singing, recitations and speeches.81 The evening function took place in the local chapel, with a rerun of the singing and recitations enhanced with “lectures and speeches by Welsh orators”.82 A similar programme was held in the rural Treorki: workshop inauguration, singing of the National Anthem, swearing of allegiance to the national flag, more singing, recitations and speeches, all followed by “a good lunch”.83 By 24 May in the afternoon, Martínez is pleased to see that all towns from Rawson to the Upper Valley joined in the excitement, with flags everywhere in towns and farms “which made a wonderful impression in those who observed with patriotic spirit”.84

  • 85 Ibid.
  • 86 Ibid. 1948–49.
  • 87 Ibid, 1949.
  • 88 Ibid.
  • 89 Ibid.

33For the central function on 25 May, schoolchildren congregated in the main square in Gaiman to sing the National Anthem at dawn, followed by more patriotic singing and recitations to the national flag and a hot chocolate served in a local school before the inauguration of a girls’ school with “a patriotic and varied programme, causing a beautiful effect”.85 After a typical Argentine barbecue with its hide was served at midday and with an “unprecedented crowd in the streets of Gaiman”, there was a civic procession with more patriotic speeches and singing with “indescribable enthusiasm” and “beautiful flags” fluttering in the wind and the setting of the cornerstone for the new Hospital Centenario, with further speeches and singing of the National Anthem.86 The patriotic singing, speeches, oaths and parades continued on 26-27 May, with various forms of entertainment and contests and a four-hour “general tea party”.87 The day ended with an evening concert organized by the Welsh community, an event which joined the “magnificent and grandiose national concert which was then held everywhere across the Argentine nation and which was joined by all cultured nations on Earth and maybe even the guardian spirits of our young nation”.88 The concert provided a balanced combination of Rabelaisian and Republican recreational invariants: after the National Anthem was sung by a large Welsh choir, there was a display of “magnificent choirs and solos by cultivated and harmonious Welsh voices alternating with enthusiastic speeches” before the Anthem was sung again by the adult school choir.89

  • 90 Ibid., 1950.
  • 91 Ibid.
  • 92 Ibid., my emphasis.

34Local festivities came to an end with a school inauguration in the nearby Bryn Crwn on 27 May, where the Governor addressed a speech amidst “carriages decorated with flags, unfurling in the wind the magnificent colours of our sacred emblem” and “children assembled in formation, waving numerous flags, saluting with enthusiastic vivas the Argentine Nation and the major authority of the territory”.90 More patriotic speeches were followed by an odd combination of Argentine and Welsh favourites for lunch: barbecued meat with its hide and tea.91 An equally hybrid mix was to be seen on a musical level that evening: a concert in the local chapel “with more attendance and enthusiasm”, where the Argentine National Anthem was sung “by almost all those present, followed by choral singing […] alternating with speeches and patriotic addresses in Welsh and in the national language”.92

  • 93 Ibid.
  • 94 Connerton, op.cit., 58–59.
  • 95 Ibid., 41.

35A footnote by the end of the piece draws attention to the significance of opening workshops and schools during the Centenary Week, “an honourable way of glorifying the efforts personified by the heroes of Liberty”, when transcribing the congratulations received by the Superintendent from his superior for “seconding the work of his predecessors and lighting up in distant regions the sacred fire of the Nation”.93 Indeed, the report is rife with the stereotypical commemorative ritual features that Connerton describes when positing ritual as liturgical language; these performative canonical utterances include the recurrent utterance of blessings, oaths and various verbs of veneration, submission and gratitude which “effectively bring those attitudes into existence by virtue of the illocutionary act” as well as the corporate personality denoted by the special use of “us” to amalgamate the members of the liturgical community.94 The insertion in the festivities of another ritual in the shape of the swearing of allegiance to the flag—described by Connerton as a rite of passage analogous with the confession of belief in Christ at confirmation95—gave added power to the commemoration. Apart from the coupling of Rabelaisian and Republican recreational invariants, the embedding in the ritual commemoration of stereotypical activities of Welsh Patagonians such as tea partying, chapel-going and singing—though with a powerful Argentinean whitewash—would have furthered its effectiveness.

Colonia 16 de Octubre

  • 96 Número Especial del Diario Esquel en sus Bodas de Plata, Rawson: Gob. Chubut, 2006 [1950], 147.
  • 97 The granting of ownership had been previously petitioned by the neighborhood association (Ibid. 147 (...)
  • 98 Ibid., 187.

36None of the consulted contemporary media contained any reference to the festivities in the Colony (comprising Esquel and Trevelin), but a few reports were included in a commemorative number of Diario Esquel published to mark its 25th anniversary. The Centenary is first mentioned with reference to the relocation of the local school, where the celebrations took place96, as well as to the advent of the telegraph just before midnight on 24 May 1910, granting fifty settlers ownership of the land they occupied—a measure attaching a most positive association with the Centenary for the new landowners and their families.97 Apart from the latter and the reproduction of a photograph of the celebrations in the local chapel98, the volume makes little reference to the local festivities.

  • 99 Memoria de la Comisión de Festejos de la Colonia 16 de Octubre, quoted in Jorge Fiori & Gustavo De (...)
  • 100 Ibid., 141–44.
  • 101 Ibid., 143–44.
  • 102 Ibid., 144.
  • 103 Ibid.
  • 104 Ibid.

37According to an extended report by the local Committee, the celebrations took place in Esquel, with the incipient streets, boulevards and public buildings decked with Argentine flags to host various activities such as popular games, “comida campestre” and bicycle races.99 The local committee had cashed in on the attention of the government in Buenos Aires (and Rawson) to ask for the naming of the streets of the town and the building of a library, a community hall, parks and squares in the area.100 Thus 24 May witnessed the setting of the library and the community hall cornerstones and a “Venetian lights” event in the evening.101 The programme for 25 May again provided a range of Rabelaisian and Republican recreational invariants: volley of gunfire at dawn, fireworks, various popular contests like soapy pole, sack and obstacle races, and the indispensable roast with hide and Argentinean empanadas for lunch.102 An official function was organized by the two local schools in the afternoon, followed by more food, sports contests and popular games.103 The Celebrations continued along the same lines on 26-27 May, in addition to the official naming of the streets in Esquel and a most intriguing “indigenous parade under the direction of cacique Sr. Nahuel Pan” on 26 May about which no further information is provided.104

  • 105 Connerton, op.cit., 58–59.

38The Centenary in the Andes appears to resemble celebrations in the Chubut Valley in featuring performative canonical utterances such as the blessings, pronouns of solidarity and expressions of veneration, submission and gratitude105 contained in the delivered patriotic speeches. Although there is no mention of civic processions or marching, the plentiful Rabelaisian recreational invariants are counterbalanced by various official events like the opening of the local telegraph service, the launching of the new street nomenclature and the setting of cornerstones of public buildings, all transpiring an inchoate sense which was appropriate for the budding population.

By way of conclusion

39In her analysis of the region in the early 20th century, Susana Bandieri claims that

  • 106 Susana Bandieri, “Cuando crear una identidad nacional en los territorios patagónicos fue prioritari (...)

Even if the state liturgy tried to penetrate, and indeed succeeded in doing so, especially in the celebration of national holidays […], the effectiveness of these efforts to reproduce the national Argentinising model must necessarily be put in relative terms, given that other national commemorations were also held at the same time, such as Chilean Independence Day (18 September) or the arrival of the Welsh in Chubut (28 July).106

  • 107 Geraldine Lublin, “Historia del 28 de Julio”, in Los Galeses en la Patagonia VI, Puerto Madryn, for (...)
  • 108 Bertoni, op.cit., 86.

40Though Bandieri’s view is accurate with regard to Patagonian transandean links, this article begs to differ about the case of 28 July, arguing that—as discussed elsewhere107—the arrival of the Welsh in Chubut (Gŵyl y Glaniad in Welsh) is more of a Patagonian and, since the early 20th century, Argentinean commemoration than a Welsh one. Argentine celebrations did undermine competitor community ones not by having them disappear but rather by gradually bringing them under the umbrella of the Nation; if the lessening of patriotic fervour in the 1880s was associated with a threatening upsurge in ethnic celebrations by immigrant groups108, the Centenary seems to have defused the threat by engulfing other festivities. The marking of one hundred years of Argentinean autonomy served as a vehicle to inculcate the oneness of the national spirit in a most heterogeneous social context, and Chubut was no exception in that one grand narrative of the nation has prevailed in the Chubut media.

41The marking of the Centenary reflects a critical juncture in the state penetration strategy in Patagonia, which eventually trickled through to the Welsh community. In the most basic way, the festivities constitute a historic landmark because 1910 was the most important patriotic commemoration ever theretofore. The appointment of Welsh Patagonians to the prestigious Centenary committees may have been a defining factor in the success of the celebrations, which included a fair mix of Rabelaisian and Republican recreational invariants intertwined with stereotypical Welsh Patagonian favourites. Moreover, the directive that this civic communion of sorts should be enacted simultaneously across the whole of Argentina heightened its effectiveness as a device for constructing an official collective memory and a common sense of national belonging.

  • 109 Connerton, op.cit., 70.

42More profoundly, the addition of national commemorative ritual as a further prong to complement the patriotic education system and liturgy in place since the end of the 19th century succeeded in engaging community members in performing the nation at the most quintessential of Argentine civic festivals. If commemorative ceremonies serve to remind a community of its identity as represented by and told in a master narrative conveyed and sustained by ritual performances109, the Centenary was arguably key in building this particular symbolic text into Welsh Patagonian communal memory. Whether in a markedly Catholic context guarded by the Armed Forces as in La Cruz del Sur, in a frenzy of inclusive patriotism as in El Avisador Comercial or with less enthusiastic overtones as in the Drafod, media reports describe the celebrations as successful, with massive participation activating their powerful mnemonic appeal.

  • 110 Ibid., 44.
  • 111 From description of 1883 festivities (“La fiesta del patriotismo”, La Prensa, 25 May 1883, quoted i (...)
  • 112 Connerton, op.cit., 44–45.

43If rites are never merely formal110, participants in the festivities would have engaged with the master narrative displayed even when not wholeheartedly supporting it. Be it as leading figures in the ritualized re-enactment of prototypical actions by prototypical persons or as audience to the representations, the nature of the acts made everyone a protagonist. Schoolchildren were also a powerful tool in the attempt to sow the seeds of future festivities as well as to get families to join in the commemoration, with their “innocent and patriotic singing awakening the soul with the most tender shivers of inner joy”.111 Also, if rites permeate non-ritual behaviour and mentality, the performativity of ritual re-enactment reinforces this porousness, which in turn enhances its effectiveness by means of habituation.112 Though patriotic performative utterances were not new for Chubut schoolchildren, their profusion during the Centenary naturalized them in the collective memory of even the most reticent of community members.

  • 113 See, for example, recognition by the National Senate of the so-called 1902 Plebiscite (Senado de la (...)
  • 114 Y Drafod, 2 June 1911, 3.

44Less a recognition of past achievements than a vector towards what Argentina wanted to become, the Centenary appears to have infected Welsh descendants with the “centennial fever”, inculcating the naturalness of patriotic ritual commemoration and re-enactment that would eventually turn the patriotic performative utterances into self-fulfilling prophecies. Indeed, the government’s patriot-making campaign would increasingly erode the perceived saliency of the Welsh community in Chubut to turn them into wholehearted members of the nation and, eventually, putative saviours of Patagonia for the Argentine state113, hence their prominent role in the Bicentennial celebrations. The fact that a largely contrary organ like the Drafod should have described 25 May the following year as “the biggest” of all national holidays, providing the most “satisfaction to the spirit”114, suggests that, despite its controversies, the Centenary did succeed in “lighting up in distant regions the sacred fire of the Nation”, certainly in Welsh Patagonia.

Appendix

Figure 1: Location of main Welsh-populated areas in Chubut.

Figure 1: Location of main Welsh-populated areas in Chubut.

*Original map reproduced by kind permission of Secretaría de Turismo y Áreas Protegidas de la Provincia del Chubut, Argentina. Appendix 2

Figure 2: Location of the 16 Centenary Committees created in Chubut in 1909.

Figure 2: Location of the 16 Centenary Committees created in Chubut in 1909.

*Original map reproduced by kind permission of Secretaría de Turismo y Áreas Protegidas de la Provincia del Chubut, Argentina.

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Notes

1 For a discussion of the role of the Welsh community in Patagonia in the Bicentennial festivities, see Geraldine Lublin, “Identity at the crossroads: The Centenary and Bicentenary celebrations of Argentine Independence (1810) and the Welsh community in Patagonia”, IDENTIDADES - Revista del Instituto de Estudios Sociales y Políticos de la Patagonia (UNPSJB), forthcoming.

2 Benedict R. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism, London: Verso, 1991.

3 Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember, Cambridge: CUP, 1989.

4 Eric Hobsbawm & Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge: CUP, 1983.

5 Tulio Halperín Donghi, “Argentine Counterpoint: Rise of the Nation, Rise of the State”, in John Charles Chasteen & Sara Castro-Klarén, eds., Beyond Imagined Communities: Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 2003, 35.

6 Juan B. Alberdi, Bases y puntos de partida para la organización política de la República Argentina, Buenos Aires: Francisco Cruz, 1915 [1852], 216.

7 H. Hughes ‘Cadfan’, Llawlyfr y Wladychfa Gymreig, Llynlleifiad: Lewis Jones & Co., 1862, 43.

8 Some 100 acres of land were offered to any family settling anywhere in the Argentine territory.

9 Though similar attempts in the US had failed to retain idiosyncratic features like the Welsh language, Patagonia had been chosen by the promoters of the settlement due to the scarcer population and the greater dissimilarity with the presumably Catholic, Spanish-speaking Argentine ethos—even if individual emigrants joined the venture because of various reasons. For a comprehensive account of Welsh migration to Patagonia, see Glyn Williams, The Desert and the Dream, Cardiff: UWP, 1975.

10 For an excellent analysis of this ‘re-invention of Patagonia’, see Gabriela Nouzeilles, “Patagonia as borderland: nature, culture, and the idea of the State”, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 1999 (vol.8), n°1, 35–48.

11 Susana B. Torres, “La Patagonia en el proceso de construcción de la nación argentina”, in Esteban Vernik, ed., Qué es una nación. La pregunta de Renán revisitada, Bs. As.: Prometeo, 2004, 86.

12 Lilia Ana Bertoni, Patriotas, cosmopolitas y nacionalistas: La construcción de la nacionalidad argentina a fines del siglo XIX, Bs. As.: FCE, 2001, 189.

13 Indalecio Gómez, Proyecto de Ley relativo a la enseñanza del idioma nacional, 1894, 314, quoted in Bertoni, op.cit., 190.

14 Walter A. Brooks, “Polisïau Addysg, Iaith a Hunaniaeth yn y Wladfa (1900–1946)”, Y Traethodydd, 2008 (vol. CLXIV), n°687, 232–50.

15 Bertoni, op.cit., 315.

16 A. B. Martínez, Tercer censo nacional… de 1914, Bs. As.: L.J. Rosso y cía, 1916–19.

17 Tulio Halperín Donghi, “¿Para qué la inmigración? Ideología y política inmigratoria en la Argentina (1810–1914)”, in El espejo de la historia: Problemas argentinos y perspectivas hispanoamericanas, Bs. As.: Sudamericana, 1987, 226.

18 Raúl B. Díaz, “Inspección de Territorios”, El Monitor de la Educación Común, n°434 (28 Feb. 1909), 341.

19 “Visitante”, “Oficina de ilustración y decorado escolar del Consejo Nacional de Educación”, El Monitor de la Educación Común, n°436 (30 Apr. 1909), 51–70.

20 Fernando Devoto, Historia de la inmigración en la Argentina, Bs. As.: Sudamericana, 2002, 274.

21 Ibid., 293.

22 The rural (60% of the total) and urban (40%) population is divided into four districts: Rawson (36% of total population), 16 de Octubre (27%), Sarmiento (21%) and Gaiman (16%). Dirección General de Territorios Nacionales – Argentina, Censo de población de los territorios nacionales: República Argentina, 1912, Bs. As.: Kraft, 1914.

23 Devoto, op.cit., 298.

24 The reform was rejected by the National Congress in 1910. Ibid., 274–75.

25 Censo... 1912, op.cit.

26 R. Bryn Williams, Y Wladfa, Caerdydd: UWP, 1962, 297.

27 Carlos M. Urien & Ezio Colombo, La República Argentina en 1910, Bs. As.: Maucci, 1910, 616 & 620–21 in order of quotation.

28 Bertoni, op.cit., 316.

29 Juan C. Garavaglia, “A la nación por la fiesta: las Fiestas Mayas en el origen de la nación en el Plata”, Boletín N°22, Inst. Argentino Americano Dr. E. Ravignani, Bs. As., 2000.

30 Eric Hobsbawm, “Introduction: Inventing Tradition”, in Hobsbawm & Ranger, eds., op.cit., 1.

31 Garavaglia, op.cit., 77–78.

32 A categorization drawn from Ricardo Salvatore, “Fiestas Federales: Representaciones de la República en el Buenos Aires rosista”, Entrepasados, 1996 (vol. 6), n°11, 50–51, cited in Mirta A. Amati, Rito y nación: Continuidades y cambios del 25 de mayo en Argentina, PhD diss., UBA, 2011, 42.

33 Garavaglia, op.cit., 78–79.

34 For an excellent analysis of the commemoration of Fiestas Mayas between 1811 and 2010, see Amati, op.cit.

35 Connerton, op.cit., 71.

36 Ibid., 45.

37 Bertoni, op.cit., 316.

38 Amati, op.cit., 48.

39 Bertoni, op.cit., 81.

40 J.M. Ramos Mejía, “Proyectos relativos a la conmemoración de la revolución de Mayo”, El Monitor de la Educación Común, n°442 (31 Oct. 1909), 238–39.

41 Ibid., 257.

42 “Centenario de la Revolución de Mayo”, El Monitor de la Educación Común, n°450 (30 June 1910), 1101.

43 For an account of political struggles around the Centenary, see Fernando Devoto, “Imágenes del Centenario de 1910: nacionalismo y república”, in José Nun, ed., Debates de mayo. Nación, cultura y política, Bs. As.: Gedisa, 2005.

44 Ibid., 183.

45 Y Drafod included reports on local celebrations of 25 May in Rawson and Bryn Gwyn as early as 1896 (Y Drafod, 29 May 1896, 2; 2 June 1896, 3).

46 Garavaglia, op.cit., 91.

47 Rawson Act, 13 November 1909.

48 Devoto, Historia de la inmigración, op.cit., 284.

49 Urien & Colombo, op.cit., 615.

50 Brígida Baeza, Fronteras e identidad en Patagonia Central (18852007), Rosario: Prohistoria, 2009, 97.

51 Devoto, “Imágenes del Centenario”, op.cit., 177.

52 La Cruz del Sur, 25 May 1910, 1121.

53 Ibid., 1122.

54 La Cruz del Sur, 29 May 1910, 1126.

55 Ibid., 1128.

56 Ibid., 1125.

57 Garavaglia, op.cit., 81.

58 Connerton, op.cit., 61.

59 Garavaglia, op.cit., 83.

60 La Cruz del Sur, 29 May 1910, 1125.

61 Ibid.

62 Garavaglia, op.cit., 86.

63 Bertoni, op.cit., 83.

64 Connerton, op.cit., 59.

65 La Cruz del Sur, 29 May 1910, 1125.

66 Ibid.

67 This conflation would reach extreme proportions the following year, with the front page of La Cruz del Sur lumping together the feast of Mary Help of Christians (24 May) and 25 May under the headline: ‘Fiestas Religiosas y Fiestas Patrias’ (La Cruz del Sur, 28 May 1911, 1331).

68 “Nadolig”, “Rawson” , Y Drafod, 17 June 1910, 1.

69 Ibid.

70 “Y Fran Ddu”, “Trelew”, Y Drafod, 3 June 1910, 3.

71 Ibid.

72 El Avisador Comercial, 4 June 1910, 1.

73 Ibid.

74 Ibid.

75 Connerton, op.cit., 53–61.

76 No mention of the Gaiman celebrations is made in numbers dated 20 May 1910, 27 May 1910, 3 June 1910, 17 June 1910 and 24 June 1910, and it is unlikely that a local report could have taken so long to be published.

77 They are described as most successful, organized and peaceful, and with unprecedented attendance (Y Drafod, 24 June 1910, 3).

78 “Syllydd”, Y Drafod, 2 June 1911, 3.

79 The number compiles reports of all school Centenary celebrations across Argentina (El Monitor de la Educación Común, n°450 (30 June 1910), 1040–950).

80 Marcelino B. Martínez, “La escuela en el Centenario”, Ibid., 1945.

81 Ibid., 1946.

82 Ibid.

83 Ibid., 1946–47.

84 Ibid., 1947.

85 Ibid.

86 Ibid. 1948–49.

87 Ibid, 1949.

88 Ibid.

89 Ibid.

90 Ibid., 1950.

91 Ibid.

92 Ibid., my emphasis.

93 Ibid.

94 Connerton, op.cit., 58–59.

95 Ibid., 41.

96 Número Especial del Diario Esquel en sus Bodas de Plata, Rawson: Gob. Chubut, 2006 [1950], 147.

97 The granting of ownership had been previously petitioned by the neighborhood association (Ibid. 147 & 150–51).

98 Ibid., 187.

99 Memoria de la Comisión de Festejos de la Colonia 16 de Octubre, quoted in Jorge Fiori & Gustavo De Vera, Trevelin: un pueblo en los tiempos del molino, Trevelin: Municipalidad de Trevelin, 2002, 143.

100 Ibid., 141–44.

101 Ibid., 143–44.

102 Ibid., 144.

103 Ibid.

104 Ibid.

105 Connerton, op.cit., 58–59.

106 Susana Bandieri, “Cuando crear una identidad nacional en los territorios patagónicos fue prioritario”, Revista Pilquen, 2009 (vol. XI), n°11, 3.

107 Geraldine Lublin, “Historia del 28 de Julio”, in Los Galeses en la Patagonia VI, Puerto Madryn, forthcoming.

108 Bertoni, op.cit., 86.

109 Connerton, op.cit., 70.

110 Ibid., 44.

111 From description of 1883 festivities (“La fiesta del patriotismo”, La Prensa, 25 May 1883, quoted in Bertoni, op.cit., 84).

112 Connerton, op.cit., 44–45.

113 See, for example, recognition by the National Senate of the so-called 1902 Plebiscite (Senado de la Nación, Ref. S-1064/07, available online: http://www.senado.gov.ar/web/proyectos/verExpe.php?origen=S&tipo=PD&numexp=1064/07&nro_comision=&tConsulta=3) and the subsequent request that 30 April is added to the national commemorative calendar as “Día de Pertenencia a la Nación Argentina”.

114 Y Drafod, 2 June 1911, 3.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: Location of main Welsh-populated areas in Chubut.
Crédits *Original map reproduced by kind permission of Secretaría de Turismo y Áreas Protegidas de la Provincia del Chubut, Argentina. Appendix 2
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/64600/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 64k
Titre Figure 2: Location of the 16 Centenary Committees created in Chubut in 1909.
Crédits *Original map reproduced by kind permission of Secretaría de Turismo y Áreas Protegidas de la Provincia del Chubut, Argentina.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/64600/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
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Référence électronique

Geraldine Lublin, « “Lighting up in distant regions the sacred fire of the Nation” : the Centenary celebrations (1910) and the Welsh community in Patagonia », Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos [En ligne], Débats, mis en ligne le 14 décembre 2012, consulté le 25 août 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/64600 ; DOI : 10.4000/nuevomundo.64600

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