Category Archives: History

Finding the Voice of the Victims: An Interview with Emma Wilby

I recently read Emma Wilby’s most recent book, Invoking the Akelarre, which I found fascinating. She examines the records from the Basque witch trials of the 1600s, searching for evidence of what the victims who were accused of witchcraft really thought and believed and what was essentially placed in their mouths by their accusers and […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Blas de Lezo, Pegleg and Half-Man

Basques played enormous and outsized roles in the centuries of military activity of both France and Spain. Both countries had colonies across the world, held together through military might. Basques were a large part of that history. Perhaps one of the most distinguished military commanders in all of Spanish history is Blas de Lezo y […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Ikastolas, the Basque Schools

Basque is an ancient language, predating the Indo-European languages of Europe that surround it. Despite this long history, it is only recently that Basque has become a literary language, with a healthy, if small, corpus of written works. Perhaps even more surprising is that the formal teaching of subjects in the Basque language is not […]

Invoking the Akelarre by Emma Wilby

The Basque Witch Trials epitomized a time of hysteria and violence. Inspired to some degree by the neighboring trials in France, almost 7,000 people were investigated by the Spanish Inquisition on suspicions of being witches or dealing in witchcraft. While not so many were executed, by European standards, the wealth and breadth of records associated […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Diego de Gardoqui, the Basque Friend of the American Revolution

The American Revolutionary War was successful in great part due to the aid of many other nations. We are all familiar with the role that France, particularly Lafayette, played in the war, providing both support and, in Lafayette’s particular case, leading troops into battle. However, other countries also provided critical support, including Spain. And one […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Catalina de Erauso, the Lieutenant Nun

Back in the 16th century, there weren’t many options for the children of Basque families. Those that weren’t destined to take over the family baserri were often left with little choice but to join the military or a religious order. The situation was even starker for women. Catalina Erauso y Pérez de Galarraga was born […]