History of Trelew

Trelew's foundation is linked with Welsh settlement in Argentina, the leaders of which were Captain Sir Love Jones-Parry of Madryn and Lewis (Luis) Jones, who acted as spokesmen to deal with the Argentine government in the beginning of the 1860s. The town was named Trelew in honour of Jones, tre meaning "town" in Welsh and Lew being an apocope for Lewis.

Trelew was established on 20 October 1886 as the starting point for the Central Chubut Railway line that would link the lowerChubut River Valley to Puerto Madryn. Railway building equipment and 400 settlers arrived on July 28 of that same year on the steamer Vesta. The line was opened in 1888 and later extended from Trelew to Gaiman, Dolavon and finally to Las Plumas. In 1961 the line was closed.

1972 massacre

Trelew was the scene of a massacre in 1972. A breakout of political prisoners at the federal penitentiary resulted in the death of one guard and the attempted flight of about 100 individuals who opposed the military dictatorship which followed the overthrow of President Arturo Illia. A small group of prisoners succeeded in commandeering a plane and flying to safety in Chile. The rest submitted to the authorities and were returned to a military prison, where 19 were shot (three survived). The town of Trelew was searched by the military and locals were seized and taken to the Villa Devoto Prison in Buenos Aires. Virtually the entire town went on strike and succeeded in securing the release of the prisoners at Villa Devoto. These incidents were documented in the book La Pasión según Trelew, by Tomás Eloy Martínez, which was originally published in 1973, but was then suppressed by the dictatorship of the Proceso, and reissued in