Category Archives: Websites

Talk on Gure Esku Dago at Jaialdi

Gure Esku Dago is an effort to provide the Basque Country the right to decide its own future. The goal is to hold a referendum on independence. A signature hallmark of the movement is the long human chains that have extended across Euskadi to promote the goals of Gure Esku Dago. This website provides a video, in English, describing the goals of Gure Esku Dago and their plan of action. Another video can be found here, on YouTube.

On July 30th, from 4:30-6:00pm, at the Grove Hotel in Boise, there will be a talk about Gure Esku Dago and Basque public opinion. There will also be a presentation on former Lehendakari Juan Jose Ibarretxe’s new book The Basque Experience. The talk will discuss Gure Esku Dago and the motivation of the movement.

If you’re going to be in Boise for Jaialdi on July 30, a great way to spend the afternoon would be to attend this presentation. Details are below.

jaildi talk

Quick Items of Note: Gernika film, Red Bay, Iparralde, Be Basque Talent Network

gernikaA film about the bombing of Gernika, appropriately entitled Gernika, is currently being shot in Bilbao. As opposed to other films about the Spanish Civil War, this one focuses entirely on the city of Gernika and that fateful day in April.

red-bay4_3324859bLikely you’ve heard about the Basque presence on the eastern Canadian coast. Red Bay is the heart of that historical activity. Red Bay is both a Canadian National Historic Site as well as a World Heritage Site, as designated by UNESCO due to the various archeological finds related to the Basque whaling operations in that area that have been discovered since the 1970s.

07FRENCHBASQUEJP3-articleLargeI’m admittedly biased in my “coverage” of the Basque Country, tending to focus on hegoalde where my dad and my mom’s grandparents are from. Of all of the time I’ve spent in the Basque Country, the vast majority of it has been in hegoalde. I’ve spent, at most, maybe 3 or so days in iparralde, most notably a couple of nights in Baiona with my wife a number of years ago. That said, the French side has much charm of its own and is certainly not to be forgotten. This article from the New York Times reminds us of that.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 9.21.45 PMI’m not quite sure what Be Basque Talent Network is exactly. It seems to be a LinkedIn for people with a connection to the Basque Country or any interest in Basque. The reason to join it is, as stated on the website: To be part of the largest network of top professionals from over 75 countries around the world who are or wish to be linked to the Basque Country, regardless of origin. If you are a professional wishing to have stronger ties to the Basque Country, this might be useful.

 

 

Online Basque Art and Gifts

Here are a couple of links to online Basque artists, both of which specialize in traditional art. If you are looking for something special for that old friend you’re going to see at Jaialdi, these might be the places to start.

peine-del-vientoIrrintzi specializes in wood, clay and steel, with items that highlight the Guggenheim Museum and the Basque history of boating. They also have some panoramic photos of various scenic views from the Basque Country, including in Bilbao and Donostia, where they also have stores for those that prefer a more tactile experience.

argizaiolaIxiart has even more traditional items, such as the wound candles (Argizaiola) that are common especially in Gipuzkoa and are used especially on All Saints Day. They also carry some interesting novelty items, such as stylized wood carvings of scenes from Picasso’s Guernica and a series of wooden spoons.

 

Catalina de Erauso, the Basque Lieutenant Nun

Catalina_de_ErausoBasque history is full of colorful figures, and Catalina de Erauso is no exception. Born in San Sebastian in 1592, Catalina was born into a world where the prospects for women were very limited. The convent was one of the few options, and she was enrolled in one at the age of 4, but by the age of 15, Catalina realized that a nun’s life wasn’t for her and she ran away, dressed as a man, called herself Francisco, and had a life full of adventures masquerading as a man. She was a sailor and soldier, traveling to South America. She was in several fights, killing more than one man, and even had a few romances, at least one of which nearly led to a wedding.

Her fame grew, and at one point the Pope gave her a special dispensation to continue dressing as a man.

Her memoirs have been translated into English. The Spanish version can be read online. She was also recently featured on Rejected Princesses, which is an amazing site in its own right, highlighting women from history and myth that don’t conform to the typical Disney mold. The owner of that site, Jason Porath, has done a great job of summarizing Catalina’s life and drawn this illustration to capture the essence of that life. See his site for this and many other intriguing women.

The Basque-Algonquin Language of Canada

This article originally appeared in Spanish and Basque on Kondaira’s Facebook page. It is translated and posted here with permission.

zubiaga-basques-native americans

Meeting between Basques and Native Americans by Guillermo Zubiaga (used with permission).

The Basque-Algonquian language is a pidgin that arose for intercommunication between the members of the Mi’kmaq tribe, Innu and other Amerindians with the Basque whalers, cod fishermen, and merchants in Newfoundland, Quebec, the Labrador Peninsula, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Most of its vocabulary consisted of the Micmac, Innu and Basque languages, but also had words from Gascon, since it was the lingua franca of southwest France at the time.

While the Basques were in those waters whaling and fishing cod in the late fourteenth century, it was not until about 1530 that this pidgin was spoken. The Basques established a minimum of nine fishing settlements in Newfoundland and Labrador; the largest could hold 900 people and was in found in what the Basques called Balea Badia (“Whale Bay”), now known as Red Bay (Labrador Peninsula). The French and British sent expeditions to North America, following the routes of the Basque whalers, to explore routes to the Indies shorter than those of the Spanish, as well as to map fishing grounds. The French settled in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and began the conquest of North America.

The golden age of Basque-Algonquian would occur between 1580 and 1635. In 1612, Marc Lescarbot, writing in his “Histoire de la Nouvelle France” (History of New France), indicates that the local population spoke a language to communicate with the Europeans which had Basque words. In 1710 there was still evidence of the use of Basque-Algonquian.

Regarding this pidgin, Esteban de Garibay, chronicler of King Philip II of Spain, in 1571 published a book in Antwerp where he showed that the Basque language was not a difficult language to learn. Garibai cites the case of the Canadian Indians who had learned it:

“… Since the sailors of the province of Gipuzkoa and the lordship of Biscay and the Basque Country go each year to the newly discovered land [Newfoundland] to fish and hunt, the savages of that region learned their Cantabrian language [Basque] despite the brief communication, of such short duration, that they have with the people from here just once a year, for a period of less than three months. And if that people deprived of reason and organization is able to learn it, how much easier it would be for the people of respectable life of our old world. “

Lope Martínez de Isasti wrote in 1625:

“… in a region so remote like Newfoundland the mountain-dwelling savages have learned to communicate with the Basque sailors, who go annually for the cod fish, which among other things they are asked in Basque: nola zaude (how are you): they respond gracefully: Apaizac Obeto (the priests are better): without knowing what is a priest, but by hearing about them. They speak and deal with us, and they help with the fishing on the riverbank for the barter of some cake and cider which they do not have there. “

Basque sailors also brought Christianity to those lands. This is indicated by a person from the Micmac tribe to a European missionary in his language:

“Noukhimami Jesus, ïagoua Khistinohimaonitou Khik hitouina CaiE Khiteritamouïn. Ca cataouachichien ouccaonia Jesu Maria, Joseph cacataouachichien aïamihitouinan.” [My Lord Jesus, teach me your words and your will! Oh, good Mary, Mother of God! Oh, good Jose! Pray for me!]

map-whale hunting grounds

Map from 1592 listing areas for whale hunting.

In 1616 a Jesuit missionary noted that Amerindians of Port-Royal (Nova Scotia) used the word “adesquidex” (Basque adiskide [friend]) to greet the French. In 1603, another French missionary established in Tadoussac (Quebec) claimed that the Amerindians called the “Montagnais” made use of the word “ania” (Basque anaia [brother]) to greet just the French, while amongst themselves they used the word “nichtais”.

The result of this pidgin is that the Micmac integrated Basque words into their language. From the Basque word atorra (shirt), the Basque-Algonquian word “atouray” derived and from this the actual Micmac word “atlei”; “king” is said in Micmac as “elegewit” (from the Basque-Algonquian “elege” which, in turn, is from the Basque errege) or, for example, France is called “Plansia” (from the colloquial Basque “Prantzia”).

Today, place names of Basque origin in this region where Basque-Algonquian was spoken are abundant, as well as French place names that refer to the Basques.The ancient name for Montreal, Hochelaga, used by the Huron people, is considered by some etymologists to be a place name of Basque origin.

Examples of Basque-Algonquian

Basque-Algonquian Basque English
Ania, kir captain? Anaia, kapitaina to zara? Brother, are you Captain?
Nola zaude? Apezak Obeto Nola zaude? Apaizak hobeto How are you? The priests are better.
Gara gara ender-quir gara gara Gerra izango dugu We will have war.
Endia chave Normandia Frantsesek asko dakite The French know a lot.
Adesquidex/s Adiskide Friend
Endia Handia Large
Ania Anaia Brother
Kessona Gizona Man
Canadaquoa Kanadakoa From Canada
Escorken Mozkor Drunk
Chabaya Xabaia, Basatia Wild
Baccalaos Bakailoa Cod
Elege Errege King
Orignak Oreinak Deer
Makia Makila Stick
Maria Balea Whale
Caracona Gariona, ogia Good Wheat, Bread

 

More articles on the history of the Basque Country and the Basque language are at the Facebook page of Kondaira.net: www.facebook.com/kondaira.net

Basque Country has 5 of the top 50 Restaurants in the World

I’m a man of simple tastes, seemingly from a long line of Uberuagas with similar levels of refinement. My dad would rather make sure he get his dollar’s worth at an all-you-can-eat buffet. And when I took my aunts, who grew up in rural Bizkaia, to the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and I asked them what their favorite thing was in the museum, they said “The frames (on the paintings) were nice.”top-50-2014

That said, even I can recognize the singular place that food holds in the Basque Country. I easily gain 15 pounds whenever I visit, partially because my family won’t stop shoving full plates of food in front of me every 15 minutes, but also because the food is simply so wonderful.

But there is food, and then there is food, and the Basque County excels at food in a way that few other regions in the world can boast. David Cox alerted me to the fact that Restaurant Magazine just released their 2014 list of the top 50 restaurants in the world, and the Basque Country has 5 restaurants on the list, 3 in Gipuzkoa and 2 in Bizkaia (Real fans, at least you win this one).

I’ve never eaten at any of these places, and don’t know when I will, but it is simply amazing to me that a region of the world that has less than 0.03% of the world’s population can have 10% of the world’s top restaurants.

In case some of you are looking for a gastronomical oasis for your next adventure, the Basque restaurants on the list are:

If anyone has had the pleasure of dining at one of these restaurants, please share your experience!