Tag Archives: aragon

Today in Basque History: Death of Henry II King of Navarre

1555: Henry II, king of Nafarroa, dies. His father, John III or Jean d’Albret, had been defeated in 1512 by Ferdinand II of Aragon, both of whom had claimed the throne of Nafarroa. After that defeated, that portion of Nafarroa south fo the Pyrenees was annexed by Ferdinand while what became Nafarroa Beherea stayed in the House of d’Albert. Henry II tried to recapture the throne, but was unsuccessful. He was later taken prisoner at the Battle of Pavia during the Italian wars, though he escaped under disguise. As King, he restored the Parliament and other Nafarroan institutions in Nafarroa Beherea. He was married to the celebrated Marguerite de Valois. His daughter, Queen Jeanne III, converted to Calvinism and promoted a translation of the Bible into Basque, one of the first works in the language. Her son, Henry IV King of France, was the first of the Bourbon kings.

Today in Basque History: Charles IV of Nafarroa, Miners strike, Jon Bilbao dies, First woman president

1453: After being imprisoned for more than two years after his defeat in his quest to claim his throne from his father, Charles IV of Nafarroa is set free after his father, John II, is pressured by deputies of the Kingdom of Aragon. Charles tries again to claim his throne and is again defeated and imprisoned, though is freed again after the Catalonians revolt in protest. At that time, he is made governor of Catalonia, but soon dies, possibly of poison. During his time in prison, he writes the Chronicle of Navarre, the primary source on the history of the lineage of the kings of Nafarroa.

1890: Miners in Bilbao, having striked against their employers because of bad working conditions (sleeping in barracks, often three to a bed; work hours from dawn to dusk; forced to buy food from the companies; irregular pay), return to work. With the police unable to stop the strike, which eventually comprised 28,000 workers, 16,000 of which were miners, the military had been called in, under the command of General Loma, who established the “pacto de Loma” which improved some of the working conditions. However, the failure of the companies to observe these conditions led to subsequent strikes.

1994: Jon Manuel Bilbao Azkarreta who, along with William A. Douglass, founded the Basque Studies Program (later to be known as the Center for Basque Studies) at the University of Nevada, Reno, dies in Vitoria-Gasteiz. His many accomplishments include building the Basque Studies Program Library; founding Eusko Bibliographia (the Institute of Basque Bibliography) and Harriluze, an institute dedicated to the study of the Basque diaspora; and the books Eusko Bibliographia, Los Vascos en Cuba, and Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World (with William A. Douglass).

2005: Izaskun Bilbao Barandika, born in Bermeo, is elected President of the Basque Parliament, the first woman to hold that post in the history of that body.

Today in Basque History: Siege of Zaragoza, Guerrillas against Napoleon, Basque opera

1118: The forces of Alfonso the Battler, King of Aragon and Nafarroa, besiege Zaragoza in an effort to reconquer the city from the Moors. After a siege of nine months, the city falls to Alfonso, who promptly makes Zaragoza the capital of Aragon.

1809: Mariano Renovales Revollar, soldier from Bizkaia, organizes a guerrilla campaign in the Nafarroan Roncal and defeats the troops of General D’Agoult of Napoleon’s army. He later participated in a plot to restore the Constitution of 1812 and had to flee Bilbao, ultimately landing first in New Orleans, where he published his celebrated Manifesto, and then Havana, where, after an argument with an official, he was imprisoned and later died.

1920: The opera Amaya, composed by Jesus Guridi Bidaola, premieres at the Coliseo Albia in Bilbao. Accompanied by the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and the Bilbao Choral Society (led by Juan de Grignon Lamote), Amaya is considered the greatest opera of Basque musical nationalism. Guridi would use themes of Basque folklore in his operettas El Caserio (1926) and Mari Eli (1936).