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Felix Luna

Sometimes nations need to evoke (or invent) an extended pilgrimage that led them to find their place in the world, after overcoming the suffering and weaknesses inherent to such a march. The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, or the long trek of the Azteca people to find the eagle on the nopal cactus, the Barbaric migrations from the northern mist towards the land of sun and wine, are only some examples of these journeys that are usually only partly true and mostly myth, but that fill the need of people to assert identities and justify belonging.

That march of the Welsh, that took them from the shores of the Liverpool Bay to the Andes foothills, after crossing the Patagonian steppe, is of a smaller scale, but it shares much of the epic characteristics of those longer marches: the will to find a better place to live in, the courage to embark on a risky run, some tragic incident, some curious or beloved episodes, and, above all, the determination of these people in conquering the West, discover the mountains behind which the sun sets, settle there, build their homes and root their lives. In sum, a formidable collective motion with hope as its final goal.

Sergio Sepiurka and Jorge Miglioli do well to recreate the Welsh saga and their foundational journey to Esquel and Trevelin. They do well, because that Rocky Trip –ever present in the collective memory but somewhat lacking in detail– still moulds the character of those pilgrims’ descendants, defines them and lends colour to their identity. They do well, also, to recreate that saga with the help of modern technology, including music, landscapes, and memoirs that add flesh and blood to the skeleton of their story.

This book closes and enhances that long march. And this reconstruction, done more than a century later, amounts to an affectionate tribute to those men and women that crossed Patagonia following a dream.


                                                                                                                                Félix Luna

Argentine historian, writer, journalist, and poet.
Member of the National Academy of History