Connections with the USA
Legend has it that the first Welsh emigrants to the New World were Madog ab Owain Gwynedd (Prince Madog) and a band of settlers who sailed from Porthmadog with a fleet of 13 ships because they were disillusioned with their lives in the 12th century. According to the legend, a landing was made at what is now called Mobile Bay, Alabama, in 1169. They integrated with the local Indians - the Mandans - who apparently learned to speak Welsh eventually.
The Welsh Society of Philadelphia was begun in 1729, making it the oldest ethnic society of its kind in the US. Since its founding, it has provided many men of distinction throughout the centuries, making their influence felt in politics, agriculture, the administration of justice, as well as in industry, particularly mining and the manufacturing of iron and steel.According to the Welsh Society of Philadelphia, 16 of the men that signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 were of Welsh descent: George Clymer, Stephen Hopkins, Robert Morris, William Floyd, Francis Hopkinson, John Morton, Britton Gwinnett, Thomas Jefferson, John Penn, George Read, John Hewes, Francis Lewis, James Smith, Williams Hooper, Lewis Morris, and William Williams.
In addition to President Thomas Jefferson (whose autobiography tells that his family emigrated from a place "at the foot of Snowdon") there were many more leading citizens with Welsh ancestry who played instrumental parts in the founding of the new nation, including Presidents James Monroe and Abraham Lincoln.