Trevelin History and Legends


The history of Trevelin starts during mid XIX century when the Argentine government made an invitation to any European community who wished to settle in Patagonia, since the attempts to conquer the wilderness became harder and harder.
The answer was that on 28th July 1865, a group of 153 Welsh immigrants who performed different tasks, such as farmers, miners, carpenters, etc., arrived to the coast of Puerto Madryn on board of the ship "Mimosa".
They underwent numerous difficulties, since they came from humid lands like Wales, and had to adapt to aridity and struggle against Patagonian wind.
With Tehuelche communities they established a good relationship based on barter and mutual cooperation, and they called them "brothers from the wilderness". They exchanged their knowledge, since the Welsh built mud ovens to make bread and produced butter, and the Tehuelche were expert hunters, skillful to find water and live off the land.
A good example of this relationship was that of little John Daniel Evans and the son of cacique Wisel. This "brother" taught him so many things about the region that he soon learnt to hunt and provide food for his family.
Following the descriptions of the territory made by the Tehuelche, in 1883, John D. Evans, with Richard Davies, John Hughes and John Parry went in search for gold. During their trip they were trapped by some Araucanian from the tribe of chief Foyel who were escaping from Roca´s army, took them for spies, and killed Davies, Hughes and Parry. Evans survived and escaped with his horse Malacara, who miraculously saved its owner from death by jumping a 4 metre cliff.
The spot is known as "Valley of Martyrs", where Evans later built a monument in memory of his fallen companions.
In 1885 the first flour mill started working, but it was very small, and in 1891 the first mill of Rhys Thomas started working, and then those of John Daniel Evans, Martin Underwood, and many others.
In 1896 a mill with greater operating capacity was installed and in 1902 the area is claimed by Chile.
On 30th April that same year the Limits Commission met in school Nº 18. Sir Thomas Holdisch was the British arbiter, and the representatives of both governments were perito Francisco Pascasio Moreno from Argentina and Dr. Balmaceda from Chile.
When the British arbiter asked the inhabitants under which flag they wanted to live, the answer was unanimous. That day Argentina won 360.000 hectares.
In 1916 the first thelephone net was installed in the colony, and in 1918 a society headed by Evans bought a mill with a capacity to mill 600 kilograms of flour a day. This mill was during many years the centre of storing, processing and commercializing the grain producton of the area, and it was around it that Trevelin grew.
That same year, the Dolbrwynog agreement was signed, and the first "comisión de fomento" was
formed to found the village on the left side of the river Percey, changing the name Colonia 16 de Octubre by Trevelin (from Welsh Tre: village, and Velin: mill).
In 1918 shops and workshops are installed. The new population occupied a quarter of a league owned by Mr. Morgan, Evans and Owen.
In 1949 the government of president Perón declared the province of Chubut an area not apt for wheat, and forced farmer to devote to cattle raising, thus decaying the mill activity.
Today the mill can be visited, but it has been turned into a museum where they treasure those elements used by these pioneers during their lives and daily activities.

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