The Adventures of Maite and Kepa: Part 185

The next morning, Maite awoke to find Kepa already wide awake, his goofy smile beaming at her as he lay next to her. She would have been less annoyed by the sun blasting her directly in the face.

The Adventures of Maite and Kepa is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!

“How can you be so awake so early,” she grumbled as she flipped over and buried her face in her pillow.

“I’m excited for our vacation in Paris,” Kepa relied. “I’m all ready to go.”

“You’re packed and everything?”

“We don’t need to pack, we’ll have everything we need when we get there.”

“Can I at least get a cup of coffee?”

Kepa mused a moment, his smile only slightly deflating. “I guess that would be fine.”

About half an hour later, Maite popped out of the bedroom, steaming cup of coffee in her hands. “Thanks for the coffee,” she said.

Kepa smiled. “Of course.”

Maite sat next to him as she took a sip. “So, how does this work?”

Kepa waved his hands in the air and the virtual map appeared in front of them once again. “I’m not entirely sure as I haven’t tried it yet, but I think we just touch one of the zatia on the map and it will take us there.”

“You think?”

“Well, more I hope that’s what will happen.”

Maite nodded as she took another sip from her cup. She then placed it on the table in front of her, her head crossing through the virtual display in front of them, sending ripples across its surface.

“I think you just destroyed Australia,” chuckled Kepa.

As Maite sat back into the sofa, she saw the ripples flow across Australia which was almost unrecognizable because of the distortions.

“Ha!” chuckled Maite. “Though, Australia is always a place I wanted to visit. Maybe it can be next on our list.”

“We don’t have any resolution there, at least not yet,” replied Kepa. “I can’t see any zatia there.”

Maite shrugged. “Maybe someday. Ok, I’m ready. Let’s go to Paris.”

Kepa’s smile was as big as she had ever seen it. He was really proud to have figured this out. She just hoped the whole thing wasn’t ruined by them being put into some kind of hell hole.

Kepa reached out, his fingertip glowing brightly from the zatia’s power within him. He tapped a white dot that was centered on Paris. As was almost routine for them now, a bright light emerged out of that one point, growing larger and brighter until it engulfed the entire room.

Kepa grabbed Maite’s hand. “Here we go!” he exclaimed.

If you get this post via email, the return-to address goes no where, so please write if you want to get in touch with me.

Basque Fact of the Week: La Gabarra, A Victory Parade Like No Other

On Saturday, April 6, 2024, after 40 years which saw the team make it to the finals 6 times – 3 in the last 10 years – only to lose, Athletic Club of Bilbao was once again on top of the Spanish soccer world, winning the Copa del Rey final against Mallorca. With a slogan “Unique in the World,” it is only fitting that the team and the people of Bilbo have their own unique way of celebrating their victory: la gabarra.

A view of la gabarra and the celebration of Athletic Bilbao’s Copa del Rey victory. Photo from Deia.
  • Literally, a gabarra is a barge – a flat bottomed boat used to ship heavy goods down rivers and canals. Athletic Club of Bilbao has used their barge, the Athleticen gabarra, to celebrate victories since 1983.
  • In 1983, Athletic unexpectedly won the league championship. An impromptu celebration was organized by the club, with the team floating down the Ría de Bilbao on the Gabarra. A million people lined the banks of the river, celebrating the team’s win as the gabarra floated down the river for over three hours.
  • The idea of floating the barge down the river to celebrate came from Cecilio Gerrikabeitia. He was reminded of an old song about the Acero club from Olabea which, in 1924, celebrated a victory in part by floating the river accompanied by fireworks. He and some other rechristened an existing barge Athletic and made history.
  • The club repeated la gabarra celebration in 1984 when they won the Copa del Rey and the league. Since that last victory, the boat had been used to haul goods along the river. In 2013, it was repaired but since then, the boat has sat silently in the port’s museum. Tests were made in 2021 to ensure it would still float. However, it wasn’t until this week, after Athletic won the Copa del Rey against Mallorca, that la gabarra again floated the river in celebration of victory.
  • La gabarra set “sail” once again on Thursday, April 11. Starting at Getxo, the barge and its accompanying fleet of boats filled with supporters meandered the thirteen kilometers to the Bilbo city hall. Every balcony along the route was crammed with fans. Again, about a million people lined the banks to celebrate. RTVE has a play-by-play of the entire celebration, including interviews with fans.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Athleticen gabarra, Wikipedia; ‘La Gabarra’: Athletic Bilbao’s one-of-a-kind trophy celebration befits one of the world’s most unique football clubs,; La Gabarra: the river barge Athletic Club uses to celebrate winning titles, San Mames

Basque Fact of the Week: Proto-Basque, the Basque of 2000 Years Ago

A few weeks ago, I introduced Koldo Mitxelena, who was the chief architect of the reconstruction of Proto-Basque, the Basque that was spoken some 2000 years ago. So, what is Proto-Basque, exactly, and how do people like Mitxelena reconstruct a form of a language that is 2000 years old when there are no, or at best few, written resources from the time? Read on, dear reader, and take a journey back in time.

The extent of Proto-Basque, in grey, as compared to the current borders of Euskal Herria. Image from Wikipedia.
  • The idea of Proto-Basque, called aitzineuskara in Euskara, was first broached by André Martinet but was fully developed by Koldo Mitxelena in the 1950s. By analyzing how words in Basque varied across the various modern dialects of the language, which provides a time capsule of sorts as to how words evolved over time, as well as how loan words from Latin evolved since Roman times, he was able to reconstruct what Basque must have looked liked some 2000 years ago. His reconstruction was validated when texts in Aquitanian were found and matched his Proto-Basque reconstruction very well; this also established Aquitanian as an ancestor of modern Basque.
  • In his The History of Basque, Larry Trask summarizes several findings about Proto-Basque that are useful in both understanding the evolution of the language and in making attempts to relate Basque to other languages:
    • No native Basque lexical item of any period (except for imitative items of no great antiquity) can begin with any of p-, t-, d- or r-.
    • Virtually no native Basque lexical item of any antiquity can begin with k-.
    • No native Basque lexical item in the period before the Roman invasion could contain m.
    • No native Basque lexical item of any period can begin with any consonant cluster at all.
    • Except in the eastern dialects, no native Basque lexical item of any antiquity can contain any of the cluster np, nt, nk, lp, lt or lk.
    • The palatal segments are always secondary: they could not occur anciently in lexical items.
  • These findings help linguists to better interpret the history of the language. For example, the fact that Proto-Basque had no ‘m’ means that any Basque words that do contain an ‘m’ are loan words from other languages. Looking at how those words have since evolved in the various dialects helps linguists reconstruct how other words must have evolved.
  • Going even further back in time, to before contact with the Celtic languages, Joseba Lakarra has reconstructed Pre-Proto-Basque. It seems that modern Basque, and Proto-Basque, have a relatively large number of words that start with a vowel and in which that vowel is immediately repeated after a consonant. A couple of examples include adar (horn), odol (blood), and ihintz (dew). This fact has led Lakarra to postulate that Pre-Proto-Basque must have exhibited a lot of reduplication, or the repeating of initial syllables: da-dar, do-dol, ni-nin. He also suggests that, while in modern Basque the verb typically goes at the end of the sentence, in Pre-Proto-Basque it was at the beginning.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Proto-Basque language, Wikipedia; Aitzineuskara, Wikipedia; The Proto-Basque Language,

Basque Fact of the Week: Korrika, The Race in Support of the Basque Language

Earlier this month, the Basque Country witnessed what has become an amazing spectacle in support of the Basque language. Starting on March 14 in Irun and ending in Baiona after 11 days and more than 2,700 kilometers, thousands upon thousands of people ran across the Basque Country in support of Euskara. It is an event like no other in the world, though other places are trying to mimic its success. This is Korrika.

Baiona from above as the 2024 edition of Korrika concluded. Photo from EITB.
  • Korrika, which means running in Basque, started in 1980. The first race took place between Oñati, Gipuzkoa and Bilbo, Bizkaia over the course of 9 days, starting on November 29 and ending on December 7. It was organized by AEK – Alfabetatze Euskalduntze Koordinakundea or Coordinadora de Euskaldunización Alfabetización – an organization that promotes the learning of the Basque language across the entire Basque Country.
  • Ever since that first event, Korrika is held every two years, usually over 10 days, and passes via a different route throughout the seven historical provinces of the Basque Country – some 200 cities and towns have been visited during the 44 year history of the event.
  • Korrika has been described as one of the largest pro-language demonstrations in the world and the longest relay race on the planet. Some 600,000 runners participate, and the relay goes straight through the 10 days with no breaks – even in the dead of night, runners keep running, passing a wooden baton that was used in the first race, to the next runner.
  • Korrika is not only a demonstration, but a fund raiser in support of the Basque language. Every kilometer – the race this year covered 2,700 kilometers, or nearly 1700 miles – is sold to a sponsor who then leads that kilometer. Supporters follow with banners and music, giving the whole event a festive air.
  • The baton also contains a secret message in Basque that is read at the end of the race by a Basque personality. This year, it was read by Garazi Arrula, an author who authored the message. She called the situation of the language both political and urgent and stressed how in Baiona, the city where the 2024 edition finished, the Basque language is not even official. She called the Korrika a “hungry people” and echoed the motto of the 2024 race: “harro herri” or “proud people.”
  • Korrika has become a world-wide phenomenon, with runs wherever there are Basques. For example, Boise holds its own version of Korrika, though much shorter in length. In 2024, many cities across the globe participated, from Reno to Tokyo and from Necochea, Argentina to Lapland, Finland. Further, Korrika has inspired other regions to hold similar events, including Brittany starting in 2008, Catalonia in 1993, and Wales in 2014.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Korrika,; Korrika, Wikipedia

Thanks to Robert Uselton for suggesting this Basque Fact of the Week.

Basque Fact of the Week: Koldo Mitxelena, the Greatest Scholar of Basque

It is sometimes amazing that, despite the long history of the Basque language, we know so little about it. Since it wasn’t a written language for so long and other languages like French and Spanish dominated the regions, Basque didn’t receive much attention from scholars. At least, not until relatively recently. It was people like Koldo Mitxelena who turned things around, who not only studied the language, but made it a subject worthy of pursuit. Larry Trask called Mitxelena “the greatest scholar the Basque language has ever seen.”

Portrait of Koldo Mitxelena, found on Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea’s website.
  • Koldo (Luis in Spanish) Mitxelena Elissalt was born in 1915 in Errenteria, Gipuzkoa. He came from a modest background – his father was a basket maker and his maternal grandfather a weaver. As a child, he was bed-ridden due to illness for an extended time and it was during this period that he developed his passion for the Basque language.
  • During the Spanish Civil War, he fought on the side of the anti-Fascists, joining the Euzko Gudarostea, or Basque army. He was captured and sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison. In the end, he was released about five years later. However, during his time in prison he met several intellectuals and was encouraged to study at the university, which he did in 1948.
  • Before that, he took an accounting job in Madrid where he was recruited by the Basque Government Resistance and worked clandestinely against Franco’s government with the hope that, if the Allies won World War II, Franco’s government would fall. For a time he led the Madrid cell. He was arrested during a raid and spent two more years in prison. In 1949 he married Matilde Martínez de Ilárduya, one of his co-conspirators in Madrid.
  • In the 1950s, Mitxelena undertook the reconstruction of prehistorical Proto-Basque. Proto-Basque is what the Basque language looked like about 2000 years ago, right before and after the Basques first had contact with the Romans. By comparing how words vary in modern dialects of Basque and how loan words from Latin had evolved in the Basque language, he was able to go back in time, undoing those changes, to deduce what Basque must have been like back then.
  • After he published his reconstruction of Proto-Basque, texts in Aquitanian were found which agreed with his reconstructions. This also established Aquitanian as an ancestral form of Basque, a conclusion he demonstrated in 1954.
  • Mitxelena’s stature as the preeminent Basque linguist lead him to be asked, in 1968, to helm efforts to create Batua, the unified Basque dialect. He was also involved in the creation of the University of the Basque Country.
  • Mitxelena died in 1987. A collection of his works, more than 6000 documents, can be found at the Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Koldo Mitxelena, Wikipedia; Estornés Zubizarreta, Idoia. Mitxelena Elissalt, Koldo. Auñamendi Encyclopedia, 2024. Available at:

Basque Fact of the Week: The Seven Mummies of the Basque Country

The paths I take to finding these facts of the week can be a bit tortuous, winding here and there, but they lead in the most interesting of directions. A few weeks ago, I posted about Inguma, the bringer of nightmares. One way to protect against Inguma is to say a short prayer to Santa Inés. It turns out, Santa Inés is a mummy, the remains of a woman who died in the early 1600s. And she isn’t the only mummy in the Basque Country – there are several. We don’t know the truth about all of them, but several are venerated for their healing powers.

People viewing the mummy of Amandre Santa Inés. Photo from Goiena.
  • The best preserved mummy is Inés Ruiz de Otalora, popularly known as Amandre Santa Inés. Her remains lie in Mondragón, where her body was taken after she died in Valladolid in 1607, childless and widowed. She had already been interred for some time and when her remains were excavated to move to Mondragón, it was in an immaculate state, leading people to say it was a sign of her sanctity. People believe that she protects against nightmares and Inguma and insomnia to the point of they pray to her in case they are not able to sleep. In life, she was the fourth daughter of Miguel Ruiz de Otalora, a regent of the Court of Nafarroa.
  • The Counts of Durango are actually two mummies that, until 1967, had been interred in Elorrio. However, at that time, one of their heads was stolen so the two bodies were transferred to the Basque Archaeological, Ethnographic and Historical Museum of Bilbao. The bodies were attributed to the first Counts of Durango – Munio Sánchez and his wife Leguncia – who founded the Church of San Agustín de Echevarria in the year 1053. However, their tomb is of a later style, so this identification is uncertain.
  • The Gorputz Santue, or Holy Corpse, resides in Errigoiti. It had been found in a niche in the wall of the church when it was renovated in 1550. Legends says that when the townspeople tried to build a new church, the construction supplies kept mysteriously moving to the site of the old church. One night, a group of men stood watch, and saw a virgin driving a cart pulled by two ox that moved the supplies. Thus, she became known as Our Lady of Idibalzaga, Our Lady of the Black Ox (as one of the ox was black). When the body was discovered, legends says that two boys tossed her shoes aside – one was immediately struck blind and the other lost the use of his arm, though both recovered after spending a few days near the body. In reality, the body is that of a man, not a woman.
  • San Fausto is preserved in the parish church of Bujanda in Araba. References to San Fausto date as far back as 1547. The Catholic Church has said that the remains are those of San Fausto Labrador, the protector of childbirth and fertility, particularly the fertility of marriages and the land. Legend has he was from Catalonia and was a slave in Africa, before converting his master to Christianity. Upon his death, maybe in 604, he told his friends to put his body on his horse and let it take it where it would, which is how he ended up in Araba. However, whether he actually existed is not clear, and he may be a legendary figure confused with Faust of Córdoba.
  • In Labiano, Nafarroa, lies Santa Felicia. Felicia was the daughter of a king of Aquitaine. Her mummy has been mentioned since at least 1650, though it isn’t clear if the mummy is really her. She is said to be able to help against headaches and disorders, as mentally disabled children were brought to her. Chips from her wooden coffin were taken as they were thought to have special properties. Legends says she retired from the world but her brother, Guillermo, killed her when she refused to return with him. As with Fausto, it is said her body was placed on a mule that went where it would, eventually stopping at Labiano.
  • Madre Catalina – Mother Catalina – is in a convent in Pamplona/Iruna, Nafarroa. A sixteenth century nun, she died in Barcelona when she was 50 and 7 months later her body was still in a state of incorruptibility. There are no special traditions associated with her as her body is hidden away in the convent.
  • The remains of Leonor de Calbo are also preserved in a convent, in Astigarraga, Gipuzkoa. Her almost perfectly preserved body was found when they were digging the foundations of a convent. it is said that the remains are those of Mother Leonor de Calbo, the founder of the convent of San Bartolomé in Donostia where it was discovered in 1325. Most of her remains were subsequently destroyed in a fire in 1813 during the War of Independence, or Peninsular War. The nuns that watch over her say she has cured seriously ill children. If the child wears clothing passed over the body, he or she will either be cured or die within three days.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Antropologia, historia y creencias populares en torno a las momias conservadas en el Pais Vasco, Francisco Etxeberria, Angel Armendariz, José Angel Barrutiabengoa, Miguel Angel Carnicero, Lourdes Herrasti, Germán Tamayo, José Ignacio Vegas, Cuadernos de Sección. Ciencias Médicas 3, 11 (1994); Estornés Lasa, Bernardo. OTALORA, Inés Ruiz de. Auñamendi Encyclopedia, 2024. Available at:; Una ‘amandre’ de 405 años by Kepa Oliden, El Diaro Vasco; Urzainqui Miqueleiz, Iosune. SANTA FELICIA. Auñamendi Encyclopedia, 2024. Available at:

The Adventures of Maite and Kepa: Part 184

“Paris?” asked Maite. “Why Paris?”

The Adventures of Maite and Kepa is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!

Kepa shrugged his shoulders. “Why not? I’ve never been and it seems like a pretty cool city.”

Maite nodded absentmindedly. “I’ve never been either. Ok, why not. How do we do this?”

“Let me show you.” 

Kepa waved his hand in the air in a circle. At first nothing happened, but then the faint outline of a circle started hovering in the air before them, glowing dimly at first but, with each circling of his hand, it brightened. Soon, a glowing globe floated in front of them. Most of it was fuzzy, but Maite could clearly see the outlines of the continents. Kepa then sliced the air with his hand and seemingly pulled the globe apart. It flattened into a map. He then pinched his fingers and pulled them apart, and the area in front of them zoomed in. Maite could clearly see Donostia at the center. It was also the clearest part of the map – the further away she looked, the blurrier it became. But, she could make things out clearly across most of Spain and France, including Paris. There were pulsing white dots all over the map. 

“Are those…?” she began.

Kepa nodded. “Yep, every one of those dots is a zatia.” He paused. “We have a lot of work to do.”

As they watched, one of the dots disappeared with a sudden flash. 

“That was a bubble bursting,” said Kepa. “I can only guess that de Lancre found a zatia. Or Marina.”

“Seriously?” exclaimed Maite. “How often does that happen?”

“Not very,” replied Kepa. “Maybe once every few days.”

“Every few days?” Maite collapsed on the bed. “I can’t, Kepa. It’s too much. How can we keep up with de Lancre? There are so many…”

“And that’s why we don’t have to stress it so much. There are so many, so if he gets a few, what does it matter. There are so many more to get.”

“But if he gets enough…”

“Maybe, but for all we know those are another team that Marina has recruited to find zatiak. We might not be alone.”

Maite nodded. “That’s probably true. There could be a lot of others out there doing her bidding. Maybe they are the ones that found that zatia.”

“Maybe. Anyways, that’s why I think we should pick a place we want to go to and enjoy it a little bit before we search for the zatia, assuming of course that de Lancre hasn’t already corrupted the place.”

“That sounds like a good plan. So, Paris. When in Paris? I mean, what year will we be going there?”

Kepa shrugged. “If I can tell when the zatia are, I haven’t figured it out. So far, I can only see where, not when.”

“I guess as long as it isn’t in the middle of the French Revolution…”

If you get this post via email, the return-to address goes no where, so please write if you want to get in touch with me.

Basque Fact of the Week: Eneko Arista, the First King of Pamplona

If there was a time when the Basques were unified as one political entity, it was under the Kingdom of Nafarroa, which started out as the Kingdom of Pamplona. The first king of Pamplona, Eneko Arista, founded the kingdom sometime around 824. His family was closely intertwined with the neighboring Banu Qasi family – indeed, the leader of that clan was Eneko’s half brother. Though not always friendly, they were often allies and it is said that it was their defeat of the Carolingians that led to the formation of the Kingdom of Pamplona.

Statue of Eneko (Iñigo) Arista in the Plaza de Oriente of Madrid, sculpted by Jóse Oñate. Photo from Wikipedia.
  • We know little about the early life of Eneko, or alternatively Iñigo, Arista. He is first mentioned by Arab historian Ibn Haiyan. His daughter was married in 812, so that puts his birth some time around 780 or so. His full name – Eneko Enékez Arista – suggests his father was also named Eneko. One text suggests he was from Bigorra. More certain, as attested by multiple texts, is that he was the first King of Pamplona, establishing the kingdom and its first ruling dynasty.
  • Eneko’s mother, thought to be Oneca though that isn’t certain, married one of the Banu Qasi upon the death of her husband. Their son, Musa ibn Musa, Eneko’s half brother, became a central figure in the region and, often allied with Eneko, provided significant aid to his half brother, helping him to expand his influence.
  • In 824, they together vanquished Carolingian forces in the second battle of Roncesvalles (Orreaga). There is no actual evidence that Eneko was at the battle, nor that there was any kind of official crowning afterwards, but it was this battle that is said to have led to the founding of the Kingdom of Pamplona, with Eneko as its king.
  • In retaliation for an attack on Eneko’s kingdom by the wali of Zaragoza in 840, Musa ibn Musa rose against the Emir and the Caliphate centered in Cordoba. Eneko joined his half-brother in this rebellion. In retaliation of that uprising, the Emir sent troops to quell the rebellion and these same were sent against the Kingdom of Pamplona.
  • Eneko died in 852. He had already suffered from paralysis, possibly from wounds sustained during battle, and his son García Enekez had already been installed as King of Pamplona.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Estornés Lasa, Bernardo [et al.]. Íñigo Íñiguez Arista. Auñamendi Encyclopedia, 2024. Available at:; Íñigo Arista, Wikipedia

Basque Fact of the Week: The History of Gernika

The Basque city of Gernika, in the heart of Bizkaia, holds a particularly special place in Basque consciousness. It is hugely important as a symbol of Basque rights and democracy, as kings would have to meet local leaders under the famous Tree of Gernika to swear to uphold the rights of the Basques. However, more recently, Gernika has become a darker symbol, a testament to the horrors of war when it was bombed by the German Air Force at the behest of Franco during the Spanish Civil War.

Family and friends with the remains of the old Tree of Gernika.
  • Gernika-Lumo was, at one point, two separate villages. Before they joined together in 1882, they were separately called Gernika and Luno. However, it wasn’t until 1983 that they formally changed their name to the combined Gernika-Lumo. The village of Ajangiz was added in 1943. In 1967, other villages, including Arrazua, Kortezubi, Forua, Murueta and Nabarniz, were temporarily annexed into the larger Gernika-Lumo metropolitan area.
  • However, before that, Gernika was simply part of the antechurch of Luno. Gernika officially became its own village in 1366 when Tello Alfonso, then Lord of Bizkaia, separated it from the jurisdiction of the antechurch of Luno. It was formed at the crossroads that connected Bermeo to Durango and Bilbao to Elantxobe and Lekeitio. This separation caused conflict between the two over who controlled various lands, which wasn’t resolved until 1882 when they were again merged into a single municipal entity.
  • The history of Gernika dates to prehistory, when prehistoric humans painted on the walls of the nearby Santimamiñe cave. Legend says that Jaun Zuria, the White Lord, was given rule of Bizkaia in Gernika, after the battle of Arrigorriaga, said to take place in 870.
  • For many years, what would be Gernika was part of the Kingdom of Pamplona, specifically from 931 to 1076 and again between 1112 and 1175, this latter association ending when Castilian troops invaded and broke up the kingdom.
  • The most enduring and important symbol of the town, the Tree of Gernika, has been a meeting place to decide laws since time immemorial. At least by 1390, the people of Bizkaia demanded that the king come and swear an oath to uphold their rights and freedoms. The fueros of 1452 established this tradition more formally with the new kings of Castille, with Henry IV taking the oath in 1457. The last monarch to take the oath under the tree was the Spanish regent Maria Christina and her infant daughter Queen Isabella II in 1839.
  • Gernika also had a central role in the War of the Bands, which saw rival families fighting one another that evolved into a rural-vs-urban conflict. The Gernika bridge was the scene of multiple fights between the Arteaga and Múgica families in the mid 1400s.
  • Of course, on April 26, 1937, Gernika was bombed during the Spanish Civil War by the German air force. The bombing occurred on market day, when civilians were shopping in the streets.

Primary sources: Castaño García, Manu. Gernika-Lumo. Auñamendi Encyclopedia, 2024. Available at:; Guernica, Wikipedia