Tag Archives: bombing

Today in Basque History: Treaty of Briones, Conspiracy against Magellan, Governor of Chile, Durango is Bombed, Pact of Baiona

1379: Carlos II of Nafarroa, “the Bad,” is forced to sign the Treaty of Briones between Castilla and Nafarroa, in which Castilla is given several cities for 10 years and Carlos promises not to marry any of his children to English royalty.

1520: Magellan’s expedition reaches the San Julian river, on the coast of what is now Argentina. It is here that some of Magellan’s crew begins to conspire against him, and the Gipuzkoan Juan de Elorriaga, master of the ship Trinidad, is killed.

1656: Juan Andres de Ustariz is born in Narvarte, Nafarroa. In 1709, he becomes the governor of Chile.

1937-03-311937: Durango, Bizkaia, is bombed. This is the first systematic bombing of a civilian population during the Spanish Civil War. The bombing begins at 8:30 in the morning and lasts about 30 minutes. The bombing continues in the afternoon. It is estimated that 130 people died directly in the bombing and another 110 died as a consequence within a few days. Many survivors flee to Gernika, which is bombed about one month later. Otxandio, in the south of Bizkaia, and Elorrio are also bombed on this day.

1945: The pact of Baiona is signed, in which all of the political and labor organizations declare their support for the Basque Government, now in exile, and organize the Basque Advisory Council.

Today in Basque History: Architect of Gernika’s Fronton

1892: Castor Uriarte Aguirreamalloa, architect and author, is born in Catabuig, Philipines. In 1937 he witnessed the German bombardment of Gernika, during which the village fronton, which he had designed, was destroyed. He later tried to get Picasso’s Guernica moved to Gernika without success.

Commemoration of the bombing of Gernika amongst the Basque diaspora

I received this request for assistance from Daniel Clarke, who needs help researching how the diaspora commemorated the bombing of Gernika.  Feel free to write Daniel directly or to post your comments here.

Dear all,

I am a student at the University of Cambridge, England, working as part of a project looking at memory, heritage and identity in post-conflict situations, with five case studies around Europe (www.cric.arch.cam.ac.uk).

Specifically, I am working in Gernika – based at the ‘Gernika Gogoratuz’ peace research centre – examining the way in which memory of its destruction in the Civil War has persisted through the years.

Particularly given the difficulty of open commemoration in the Basque Country itself during the dictatorship, I am interested in what kinds of transmission of memory were taking place amongst the Basque diaspora.

I would love to hear about any such practices within the community, either public commemorative events, programmes, monuments etc., or simply reflections on the ways in which the memory of the event has been transmitted unofficially through family customs etc.

I am particularly interested in the situation pre-1976 (when the public commemorations appear to begin in Gernika), but information on such activities in any period would be much appreciated – if possible including when they were started, by whom etc.

Eskerrik asko!

Daniel Clarke (dcc35@cam.ac.uk)

72nd Anniversary of the Bombing of Gernika

Sunday, April 26, marks the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Gernika.  When I posted on a previous anniversary, I wrote that the Wikipedia article on the bombing briefly mentions that, in addition to Gernika and Durango, Gerrikaitz was also bombed.  I was intrigued by this as my dad is from that town and I very much wanted to know more.

Joe Guerricabeitia’s dad is also from Munitibar/Arbatzegi-Gerrikaitz and he had the opportunity to talk to his grandfather about the bombing.  In this posting on the Seattle Euskal Etxea’s blog, Joe describes his Aitxitxe’s experience and how they were very lucky not to lose the family basseri.