According to legend Madog was a Welsh prince who “discovered” America in the 12th century and settled there. It was rumoured even that there existed a Welsh speaking Native American community on the banks of the Missouri river.
The Madog legend gained great interest during the Elizabethan age after Christopher Columbus claimed “discovery” of the America in the name of Spain, England’s arch nemesis at the time.
In the late 18th century the legend of Madog’s own journey “discovery” gained new credence with the Romantic movement – especially writers like Samuel Coleridge and Robert Southey who were championing the idea of Pantisocracy – a utopian and egalitarian community which they wanted to establish in the newly independent United States.
The new Romantic interest in Madog was fueled in no small part by the writings (and perhaps imagination) of Iolo Morganwg. He had even planned an expedition to explore the Missouri river but withdrew at the last minute. In his place went John Evans, a young farm worker from North Wales who had become enthralled with Iolo’s tales of Madog. His odyssey was told in words and music by the Welsh artist Gruff Rhys in in 2014 project, American Interior.