Category Archives: History

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 […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Legal to Kill Basques in Iceland

As part of their ever-expanding quest to find fish and whales, the Basques ventured further and further west across the Atlantic. Of course, they are well known to have established settlements in Newfoundland, where they had oil processing plants to process the whale blubber into oil. However, things didn’t always turn out so great everywhere […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Sanctuary of Arantzazu

The Sanctuary of Arantzazu is nestled in the mountains just outside of the city of Oñati, famous itself for the University of Oñati, one of the oldest buildings in Iberia. Arantzazu is known for its uncharacteristic and distinctly modern look, “one of the most avant-garde religious buildings in the world“. The spires are covered in […]