“My further acquaintance with the
industry and steadfastness of the few Scotch settlers (Highlanders from
Argyleshire, the last from Glasgow), at present in the colony, induce
me again to take the liberty of drawing your Lordship’s attention to
the advantages of emigrants for these islands being selected from
similar districts. The pastoral inhabitants of the hills and dales of
the southern Scotch counties on the borders, would also be well adapted
as settlers in the Falklands. They have the general character of being
intelligent, steady, well-disposed men, and excellent shepherds; and
the hardships they might have to undergo at the commencement of their
residence would be trifling in comparison to what they constantly
experience among their native hills during the greater part of the
Lieutenant Governor to Lord Stanley, 1842.
hundred miles east of South America, the remote islands now known as
the Falklands or Las Malvinas were first discovered by European
navigators in the sixteenth century. In the eighteenth and early
nineteenth century the Falklands grew in importance as a landfall with
the commercial exploitation of the South Atlantic and the development
of shipping routes into the Pacific via Cape Horn. Diverse claims to
sovereignty were made, by Britain, France, Spain and the newly-created
Provinces of the River Plate; however, in 1833 Britain took possession,
appointing a Governor in 1841 and a colonial administration in 1845,
with a capital at Port Stanley.
Initially, the commercial value of
the Islands lay in the great herds of wild cattle on East Falkland, and
Samuel Lafone, a merchant in Montevideo, obtained a government contract
in 1846 to hunt the cattle, using gauchos. However, within a few years
the cattle had been hunted to virtual extinction, and the Falkland
Islands Company, created in 1851, with Lafone as one of its directors,
turned its attention to sheep farming.
It was as shepherds on contract that
most Scots were to live in the Falklands. For, by the 1860’s the lands
of East and West Falklands were largely in the hands of the FIC and
other major ranching enterprises which needed shepherds to tend the
huge flocks of sheep and process wool for the British textile industry.
For these Scots and other British shepherds there were few prospects
other than to renew contracts or move on. Much later, in 1891, in a
letter home to his father in Innerleithen, George Anderson wrote:
“No chance of getting any further
advanced, there is no land to be had…..so there is no chance of
becoming one’s own master here.”
Fortunately for him and other shepherds, major
opportunities were at hand on the grasslands of Southern Patagonia
and Tierra del Fuego. The suitability of these lands for sheep ranching
had become clear in the early 1880’s, with encouragement from the
authorities in Argentina and Chile for settlers to acquire large
sections of land on almost nominal leases. Writing home from Body
Creek, Falklands on the 8th. May, 1891, George says:
“I am leaving here on the 23rd
June for Patagonia.”
Emigration to Patagonia by people
from Britain was already established in the 1860s. Some entered through
the port of Carmen de Patagones on the Rio Negro, the frontier between
Buenos Aires province and Patagonia. The wide and fertile valley of the
river and its good climate were excellent for rearing animals and
growing crops. Among the settlers were the Kincaid brothers from
Scotland and Charles Morrison, the only one listed below known to have
come via the Falklands. And further south a Welsh colony had been
established by the Rio Chubut. However, the development of Southern
Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in the 1880s and 90s was separate and
George Anderson was not
the first of the Scottish Malvineros to move to Southern Patagonia, for
William Halliday and others had preceded him, settling either in Santa
Cruz territory in Argentina or entering Magallanes, Chilean Patagonia,
through the port of Punta Arenas. These Malvineros, as they were known,
faced many hardships, but frequently prospered as ranchers, achieving
their ambitions to own their own properties. William Halliday, for
example, leased land by the Rio Gallegos for twenty pesos a square
league, some thirty thousand acres, becoming one of the best known and
prosperous members of the community in Santa Cruz. Although they were
relatively few in number, they made a pioneering contribution to the
sheep industry and the community in Patagonia.
The pioneering Scots and
their families who left the Falkland Islands for Patagonia in the 1880s
were remarkable people. In the Falklands they had secure contracts,
mostly with the Falkland Islands Company, reasonable accommodation and
a familiar English-speaking community. In stark contrast, Patagonia was
vast, remote and for the most part empty of people.apart from Tehuelche
Indians. They were thrown almost entirely upon their own resources: to
build primitive houses, stock their land with sheep, ward off predators
and deal with an often hostile climate. Neighbours were far distant,
supplies were precarious, there were no schools or medical services,
they initially had to lease their properties and they had no secure
income. But, mostly importantly, they were now their own masters. For
many on this list the gamble paid off in the long term. They eventually
owned their estancias, built good homes and, as coastal settlements,
especially Punta Arenas and Rio Gallegos, grew, had access to schools,
churches, community associations, medical services and abundant
supplies of imported goods. Some became very wealthy, some returned to
Britain, but most settled in their new homeland, their children
following them. In contrast, however, there were others who by choice
or otherwise did not become landowners. William Blain, for example, was
content to work for others, was comfortably off, and eventually
returned to Dalry in Scotland to marry.
Other Scottish Malvineros are
certainly missing from the following list because they did not own
property or were not prominent in the community, shepherds working for
the companies which had huge estates on the mainland and on Tierra del
Fuego.. William Blain in his journal mentions meeting an old friend
from the Falklands in Punta Arenas and to judge solely on Scottish
surnames there were others, such as William Campbell, Kenneth John
Morrison, Enrique King McHattie, Roderick McPhee, William McDaid,
William D. Stewart, Roderick McAskill and Donald Macdonald. So, by the
turn of the century and thereafter, Scots, including some from the
Falklands, were more likely to come as shepherds on contracts, estate
managers, workers in industrial plants - frigorificos - processing
sheep or in commerce and trade. The years of the pioneering ranchers
who came in the eighties and nineties to transform the empty plains of
Southern Patagonia were past.
In compiling the following list, I am
particularly indebted to Duncan Campbell, whose excellent website at
< Patbrit. Org > contains listings and other information on
British subjects who emigrated to Southern Patagonia and Tierra del
Fuego, among them the list of Malvineros compiled by Professor Mateo
Martinic, names on the plaque in the British Club in Rio Gallegos,
ranchers and their estancias, consular records, notes on families and a
map of the territories of Santa Cruz and Magellanes, identifying the
locations of estancias. Other sources are listed below.
The Scottish Malvineros.
Born in Innerleithen, Scotland and
went to work as shepherd in the Falklands for the Falkland Islands
Company. In 1891 left the Falklands with William Reid from
Stirlingshire and settled in San Julian, Santa Cruz where he became a
rancher. At Mata Grande in 1893 and in 1898 settled at Cape Watchtower.
Born c.1852 in Galloway in Scotland
and became a shepherd. In 1878 he went to work for the Falkland Islands
Company, then moved in 1884 to work for Mr. Greenshields at Monte
Dinero, Patagonia. From 1889 to 1898 he established and managed a sheep
station on Tierra del Fuego, working for Mr. Wales of the Tierra del
Fuego Sheep Farming Company. He returned in 1898 to Dalry in Scotland,
where he married in 1899 a Jane Riddle. He died in Dalry in 1924. Blain
wrote a fascinating journal of his time as a pioneering sub- manager on
one of the great estates on Tierra del Fuego.
Cameron, Mary Ann.
Born in 1875 at Black Rock in the Falklands. Married, c.1894, John Maclean, born
1863 in Scotland, who went to Monte Video in 1883 before bring sheep
from the Falklands to San Julian and Rio Gallegos. Between 1887 and
1904 bought various properties in Chile and Argentina. Died in Puerto
Natales in 1940. Thirteen children.
Born in 1888 in the Falkland Islands,
son of William Coutts and Ann Fell, from Banffshire, Scotland.
Emigrated to Punta Arenas c.1918. Settled at Morro Chico Married 1919
Theodora Gladys Williams, three children.
Born 1861 in Old Meldrum,
Aberdeenshire. Arrived in the Falklands on contract to Falkland Islands
Company in 1885, he and his wife, Elizabeth Murray, had four
children. Moved to Patagonia, where he founded with George Drew the
Estancia Bon Accord, Largo Argentino. His wife died in 1899, he in 1923.
Born 1846, Scotland. Emigrated c.1880 to the Falklands with his wife, Ann Tennant,
born 1850, and son Thomas. Moved to Punta Arenas in 1885. Children,
Thomas, William, Margaret, Walter, Jessie, Mary Annm John, Annie and
James Magellan. His wife is thought to have been the first qualified
nurse to practise in Magallanes.
Arrived from the Falklands at Punta Arenas in 1883. In 1885 settled at Morros Grande, near Rio Gallegos. Married Jane Greenshields, born in the Falklands, and had a son and daughter.
Born in 1852 in Ardersier,
Inverness-shire, Scotland, son of William Fell and Ann Fraser.Taken
with family as a child to the Falklands, where he worked for the
Falkland Islands Company, then emigrated to Patagonia in 1901. Married
to Agnes McCall, a Scot, and had children, William, Anne,
James, John and Agnes. He leased 16,000 hectares at North Arm Station,
named after his father’s birthplace in the Falklands. His
father-in-law, William McCall died in 1901 and James himself a short
time later. His son, William, then worked the farm, in 1910 marrying
his cousin, Agnes Rudd, a grand-daughter of William McCall.
Born in 1886 in the Falklands, then
moved to San Julian c. 1905, Landowner. Married Betsy Ann Fraser
McLeod, issue. Recorded on the Rio Gallegos.
Born in the Falklands, brother of
Alexander Finlayson. Landowner. Moved to San Julian c. 1905. Married
Mary Patterson, issue. Recorded on the Rio Gallegos Memorial Plaque.
Died in 1963 and buried in San Julian cemetery.
Born in Dundee c.1883. Went to the
Falklands in 1904 before moving on to Patagonia in 1909. Employed by
the Sociedad Explotadora del Tierra del Fuego until his death in 1915.
Buried in Punta Arenas.
Born in Scotland, an Inverness schoolmaster, married to Annie Herald. Four
children, the first born in Scotland. Emigrated to Port Darwin,
Falklands in 1879, then moved to Port Julian, Santa Cruz, where he
became a highly successful wool trader. Bought the Estancia Colmena and
Frazer, John MacLean
Born in Ross-shire in 1864, he
emigrated to the Falkland Islands. Then in 1883, aged 19, he went to
Punta Arenas, and in 1887, in association with Merrick MacLean, he
obtained land in Santa Cruz, Argentina. He joined the famous arreo of
Saunders and others, then fixing his attention on land in central
Magallanes he obtained 10,000 hectares in Punta del Monte, following
that with lands at El Zurdo in Argentina. In 1894 he married Mary Ann
Cameron McCall. At the turn of the century he decided to add
another farm to what he had already, obtaining land in the district of
Ultima Esperanza in partnership with his brother, Murdo. However, legal
and other problems lead to the loss of properties and he finally
settled on the Estancia San Juan. There, again, he was threatened with
dispossession, but had his claim confirmed by the government. He
continued there until his death in 1940, when his sons followed him for
Member of a Scottish family which
owned 42,000 acres in the Falklands. He arrived in Patagonia in 1884,
where he had a ranch at Monte Dinero on the south-east tip of Santa
Cruz. He married Ann McMunn in 1889 but he died a few months
later aged 29, leaving no children. He was buried in Punta Arenas
Public Cemetery, leaving a will bequeathing William Douglas half of
Useful Hill, the other half to his brother George Greeshields and a
share in Douglas Station in the Falklands to his brother James.
Born in 1845 at Durisdeer,
Dumfriesshire in Scotland. Emigrated to the Falkland Islands in 1862 to
work as a shepherd for the Falkland Islands Company. In 1869 second
manager to Mr. Armstrong, Hillside House. Moved to the Rio Gallegos,
Santa Cruz, Patagonia, in 1885 where he leased and later bought 30,000
acres of land. Married Mary McCall in 1874, seven children.
Father-in-Law of William McCall. Lived at Hill Station, Rio Gallegos,
Argentina. Died 1917 and buried in British cemetery, Buenos Aires.
Born 1860, Wick, Scotland. Arrived in
the Falklands c.1880,.then moved on with his partner, Thomas Saunders,
to Magallanes, Chile, in 1885 then in 1887 to a rented property at Pale
Aike, Santa Cruz, Argentina. Member of the famous 1886-8 1000 miles
“arreo”, sheep drive, with Henry Jamieson, Thomas Saunders and John
Maclean. Married Oliva Heap in 1904, two children, Oliva and
Penelope. Lived at Estancia Loyola until 1940, and died in Buenos Aires
in 1945. In their partnership, Hamilton and Saunders had estancias at
Otway Station, Morro Deslinde and La Portada, a total of 40,000
Born 1860. Married to Ann Kyle.
Property on the Rio Negro then San Julian. Recorded on the Rio Gallegos
Memorial Plaque. Died in 1923 and buried in San Julian cemetery.
Left Cobb’s farm. Lafonia, East
Falklands, in 1891, together with Morrison and the Pattersons. Settled
in San Julian, Santa Cruz.
Kyle, James William
Born in Stirling(?), c. 1858, Went to the Falklands in 1885, then in 1890 moved to San Juan.
Born in 1824 at Durisdeer,
Dumfriesshire, Scotland and emigrated as widower in 1873 to the
Falklands with his daughters Agnes, Ann, Mary and Jane. After a long
residence in the Falklands working for the Falkland Islands Company he
emigrated to Punta Arenas in 1901. His wife was Bridget Rae,
born in Dalton, Dumfriesshire. Daughters: Agnes married James Fell, Ann
with John Rudd, Mary with William Halliday and Jane with John Cameron.
McDaid, William Charles
Born Scotland and emigrated to the Falklands. Arrived in Punta Arenas in 1914.
Born in Scotland and went to the
Falkland Islands, leaving there in 1889 to settle on the Estancia La
Vanguardia, Rio Gallegos. Married Fernanda Garcia from Spain. Had issue.
Born in Scotland in 1856. Arrived in
the Falklands in 1875. In 1885 moved to Patagonia, acquiring lands on
Rio Gallegos, also on Rio Coig. Estancia Guakenken Aike. In 1898 he
married the eldest daughter of William Halliday, having three children. Donated the plaque in the British Club in Rio Gallegos, listing the British pioneers.
Born on the Isle of Harris,Scotland,
c.1880. His parents took a contract win the Falkland Islands c.1893,
and sometime after that Donald moved to Patagonia. He died at Dore
Aike, south west of Puerto Santa Cruz, Argentina, in 1913, aged 33
years. Subsequently, his death reported in the Falkland’s Church Times.
He came from Scotland via the
Falklands and arrived in the territory to work as a shepherd. He
obtained the modest concession of Penitente Farm in 1893, developing
from that until he eventually had large estates in Scotland and other
interests in Magallanes, Argentina and the Falklands. He died in 1929.
Born in 1825 in the Gorbals, Glasgow.
Arrived in the Falklands c.1850. Moved before 1856 to Carmen de
Patagones on the Rio Negro on the northern boundary of Patagonia.
Settled on land in the northern district of Patagones with his wife,
Emma Hutchins, governess, married 1852, Falklands and their
their children, Luca, said to be born Falklands c.1851 but not
confirmed, and John,1854 and Margarita, 1856, both born in Patagones.
He died c.1868. Luca married Elisea Sosa in 1881, but he died childless
a year later. Margarita married Francisco Abel, ship owner, in
Patagones in 1875, having three children: Alicia, Antonia and
Francisco. In the 1895 census she is a widow with property.
Born 1866, Kirkmichael, Scotland, his
parents and children moved to the Falklands, then in 1891 Robert moved
to Patagonia. Had the Estancia Mata Grande, San Julian, with William
Patterson, Mulak Aike with J. Frazer and Lai Aike with C. Witters.
Robert died in 1927, worth £300,000.
Born in Scotland. Like Robert, his
brother, he left Cobb’s farm in Lafonia, East Falklands, in 1891. They
shared an estancia at San Julian, Santa Cruz.
Saunders, Thomas Alexander
Born Scotland, he left Fife aged 18
and landed in the Falklands in 1877. In 1883 he left the Falklands for
Magallanes. With John Hamilton he founded the Estancia Otway, the basis
of his prosperity. Well known for his part in the famous arreo of
1886-88, driving several thousand sheep and horses from Buenos Aires
province down to Magallanes. Kept a diary of the journey. Married Annie
Scott c. 1893 and had five children. Prominent figure in Punta
Arenas, where he was a benefactor to the Anglican church and school,
and a founder member of the fire brigade and the British Association.
He died in England in 1928, but his body was brought back to Punta
Arenas and he was buried at Estancia Otway, his first ranch.
Brother of Thomas Saunders. From Falklands. Married Margery Duncan Macdonald, eight children
Born in 1863 in Closeburn,
Dumfriesshire, he moved to the Falklands in 1882 to work as a shepherd
for the Falkland Islands Company. In 1889 he formed a partnership with
Herman Eberhart at Chymen Aike , but in 1894 he moved to Bella Vista,
Rio Gallegos area. In 1902, after disastrous losses in the winter, he
sold the property and took remaining 3,000 sheep to Los Machos near San
Julian where he eventually prospered. Died in Dumfries in 1948.
Stewart, Lucy Mary
Born in the Falklands and emigrated to Magallanes c. 1907 to work as a lady’s companion. Married Amador Vallina Lorenzo, a Spaniard, and had several children.
Born in 1853. Married in Port
Stanley, Falklands, in 1880, to Janet Carmichael, b. 1857 in Lochmaben.
They had seven children. He was a shepherd in San Julian. he died by
drwoning in Tierra del Fuego in 1898. Janet died in 1916 and is buried
in San Julian cemetery. John had a brother, William, born 1859 in
Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire. Landowner at Laogo Tar. He died in 1899 and
was buried in San Julian cemetery.
Anderson, George, Letters
of George Anderson in the Falkland Islands and Patagonia to his Family
in Innerleithen, 1884-1902, National Library of Scotland, Acc. No. 9002.
Campbell, D. and Grace, G. The British Presence in Southern Patagonia. A website: Patbrit.org
Canque, Manuel Fernandez, Scots in
Latin America: A Survey. In Gage, Robert (Ed.), The Scots Abroad:
Enterprise, Capital, Labour 1750-1914. Croom Helm, 1984.
Dean, William, Papers of William Dean, Royal Commonwealth Society Library, University of Cambridge Library, RCMS 277.
Dooley, Elizabeth, Streams in the Wasteland: A Portrait of the British in Patagonia, Punta Arenas, 1993.
Mackenzie, Greta. Why Patagonia? The Stornoway Gazette, 1995.
Mainwaring, Michael, From the Falklands to Patagonia, Allison and Busby, 1983.
Martinic, Mateo, Inmigrantes
Malvineros en Magallanes, Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia, Serie
Ciencias Humanas, Vol.24, Punta Arenas, 1994.
Martinic, Mateo, Falkland Islands Immigrants to the Magellanic Region, Falkland Islands Journal, 1996, pp. 76-109.
Mulhall, M.G. and E.T.,Handbook of the River Plate Republics, The Standard Office, Buenos Aires, 1875.