Category Archives: Diaspora

Did you know…?

3cPlanchas-de-PlataArizona is a Basque word. It seems that it wasn’t that long ago that this seemed a fringe hypothesis, but now it appears on the National Park Service’s page. The state of Arizona gets its name from a ranch from the 1700s where silver was discovered. The name of that ranch, which still exists, is Arizona. It seems to have been named by Bernardo de Urrea and means “haritz ona” or “the good oak”.  The original theory that Arizona might be a Basque word was proposed by William A Douglass, of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Center for Basque Studies, in 1979. It now seems to be a well accepted idea.

MerrywidowThat piece of lingerie, the basque, is named after traditional Basque costume. You have to be careful what you search for. If you enter the word “basque” into Google, you might not quite get what you expected. Your browser window might be filled with pictures of lingerie. What is now known as a basque was inspired by the traditional costume of Basque women (at least according to Wikipedia). The French were early adopters/adapters of the piece of clothing, but it spread from there to the rest of Western world.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 10.27.31 PMMolybdomancy is telling the future using molten lead. And it used to be practiced in the Basque Country. I stumbled on this curious word (and even more curious practice) on the Tumblr beautiful-basque-country. It seems that many cultures have the practice of dropping bits of molten lead into water and then divining the future from the shapes that are formed. In Bermeo, this was used to protect ships from bad luck (all I could find about this is this photo on a Facebook page…). Anyone know anything more about this?

Basque Soccer Friendly Rescheduled

basque-soccer-friendly2-2So, Athletic Bilbao did not win the Copa del Rey, Barcelona did. That means that Bilbao has to play a qualifying match for the Europe League championships on July 30th and cannot make the original July 29th date (in my last post, I got the date wrong — thanks to Teresa Franzoia for pointing that out) for the Basque Soccer Friendly against Tijuana. The good news: they are still coming, just a little earlier, now on July 18. You can still get tickets at the same places. The bad news: I can’t go now. And I know you are all disappointed. But, hopefully this is a huge success and maybe there will be other matches like this in the future. Can’t have too much of a good thing, can you?

Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean by William A. Douglass

BEPO Cover MapBetter2.inddWilliam A. Douglass, one-time Coordinator of what is now the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno and prolific author on Basque history, is out with a new book on the Basque explorers who navigated the Pacific Ocean, from Elkano (the Basque sailor who took over Magellan’s expedition when Magellan was killed in the Philippines) to later explorers.  Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean recounts the stories of these Basques and their role in Spanish and ultimately European activities in the Pacific. From the website:

The Pacific Ocean was for several centuries, from the discovery of the Strait of Magellan in 1520 until Cook’s voyages in the 1700s, considered to be the “Spanish Lake.” However, Spain was never a monolithic entity and this book then considers “Spanish” exploration in the Pacific from the perspective of the Basques, who have an important maritime tradition and were key figures in Pacific exploration. From Juan Sebastián Elkano’s taking over command of the Victoria after Ferdinand Magellan’s death and completing the first circumnavigation of the planet to Andrés de Urdaneta’s discovery of the north Pacific route from the Philippines to modern-day Acapulco, Mexico, Basque mariners and ships were pivotal in European incursion into this vast area. 

Basque Soccer Friendly Store Opening

basque-soccer-friendly2-2While the ultimate fate of the Basque Soccer Friendly, to be held on July 30 in Boise, rests on the performance of Athletic Bilbao this weekend against Barcelona, one thing that is not in doubt is that you’ll still be able to get your Basque Soccer Friendly gear! A retail space is opening up on 8th Street in Boise. In addition to being a place where you can get your team gear, it is a place for volunteers to meet and for people interested in the match to gather. It is open Wednesday-Sunday each week. Check it out!

jaialdi3

Jaialdi is coming, are you ready?

jaialdi3Jaialdi is getting closer and closer. Are you excited? I know I am, ready to see friends and family and a few kalimotxos too. Lots of people are working hard to get things ready. I thought I’d share a few things I’ve come across as we get closer to the big weekend.

The official website for Jaialdi is www.jaialdi.com, where you can find information about lodging, the schedule of events, vendors, sponsors, and more. Things start off on Tuesday and Wednesday with Welcome to Boise, but things really get going on Thursday with Sports Night and Street Dance. Events wrap up on Sunday at the Expo and a final Street Dance to close out the festivities.

In conjunction with Jaialdi, Athletic Bilbao, one of the premier soccer teams in Spain, will come and play Mexico’s Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente in a friendly match at Albertson’s Stadium (the stadium where the Boise State Broncos play) on July 29. Tickets are already half-way sold, so if you want to join in on the fun, you better hurry.

A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to get this friendly to happen. Originally, Athletic Bilbao was going to play a MLS team from the Pacific Northwest, but that fell through. And regulations state that the game has to be played on real turf (not that blue stuff the Broncos play on) so that had to be arranged. One of the drivers organizing this event is Argia Beristain and in this article in the Boise Weekly she gives up some of the dirt on how this was all pulled together.

What else should everyone know about? What are you looking forward to the most? Me, I’m looking forward to a kalimotxo on the Basque Block, talking to old friends, and maybe a few new ones too.

Luze ta oparo bizi: Leonard Nimoy’s Basque connection

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 8.34.17 PMLeonard Nimoy, beloved actor who is best known for his role as Mr. Spock, died today at the age of 83. He is of course world-renowned for his contributions to the Star Trek franchise, but he was a versatile actor, appearing in many movies, television series, and on Broadway. What I didn’t know was that he also had a Basque connection.

This NPR story highlights how Nimoy, before he got his big break on Star Trek, was a journey-man actor, playing primarily ethnic roles. One of those roles was on the TV show Wagon Train, which follows a wagon train as it makes its way across the American West, from Missouri to California. In the 4th episode of season 3, entitled The Esteban Zamora Story, the plot deals with a trio of Basque sons, one of which is found dead with a knife. When their father joins them from the old country and learns of his son’s death, he is honor-bound, as are all Basques, to avenge his son. Leonard Nimoy plays one of the sons, Bernabe Zamora. Ernest Borgnine, that venerable veteran of film and TV, plays his dad, Esteban Zamora.

This bit from the Basque media outlet EITB, playing on the resemblance between Mr. Spock and the previous Lehendakari of the Basque Country, Jose Ibarretxe, examines in detail the show’s interpretation of Basque culture, including the quite stunning outfit that Mr. Borgnine wears in honor of his home town.

At the risk of spoiling the show, here is the synopsis from IMDB:

Scouting ahead of the train Flint discovers a young man bleeding to death from a stab wound and a knife nearby. He takes the body and knife to Sheriff Hixon who he knows. The Sheriff recognizes the body as that of the youngest Zamora brother who has a reputation as a trouble maker. His father Estaban Zamora, a Basque from Spain, is on the train planning to join his three sons in the new country herding sheep. The sons tell him a horse fell killing his son but Estaban quickly realizes they are lying. The Basque tradition requires the father to exact revenge for the killing of a son. Everyone including the sons want to prevent Estaban from following the tradition. As Esteban asks questions, he soon learns his youngest son was running with a group of sheep rustlers and the family name is smeared. The Sheriff tells Estaban there is little evidence showing him the knife Flint recovered. Estaban recognizes the knife as one he made for his sons and confronts the eldest son Manuel. His wife shows Estaban Manuel’s knife to protect her husband forcing Estaban to learn the painful truth.

Thanks to Guillermo Zubiaga for translating “live long and prosper” to Euskara!