I’ve always been fascinated by Welsh history but have yet had an opportunity to really go into depth into the subject due to school curriculums being ‘British-centric’ with only scarce details related to Wales. I’m always amazed when I come across any reference to Wales when I’m abroad as no one ever seems to know about it. For example, at a Museum at Cape Point in South Africa, there were details of ships (and shipwrecks) that had come all the way from Cardiff round the coast. It made me wonder what on earth they were doing so far from home. But now I realise that there are many transnational links between Wales and the wider world.
After reading Arndrade’s ‘A Chinese Farmer, Two African Boys, and a Warlord’ article, I feel there would be a lot of promise in applying a ‘micro-transnational approach’ for my larger project to a Welsh individual. This article really opened my eyes to the ways in which how useful using a micro historical approach can be used to tell stories that demonstrate the interconnectedness of the world even at the scale of the individual. Hence, the perspective of the individual can reveal lots to us about how they viewed the world and their place within a global context.
There is no shortage of Welsh individuals that could be followed: Orientalists such as Sir William Jones; Missionaries such as Dr Griffith Griffith and Thomas Jones; Michael Jones, the leader of the movement which set up a Welsh speaking colony in Patagonia; and Captain John Jones who was one of the celebrated ‘Cape Horners’ who sailed from Swansea around the tip of south America to Chile, as well as taking part in the Californian gold rush, skirmishes with native Americans and close encounters with grizzly bears.
Hence, there are ample ways in which I can use a ‘micro-transnational’ approach using the perspective of a Welsh person. It could also be interesting to see how this perspective fits into the wider perspective of the British empire and imperialism.