Category Archives: Basque Fact of the Week

Basque Fact of the Week: Native Basque Words for the Elements

There are currently 118 elements on the periodic table. Maybe 10 were known to the ancients: copper, lead, gold, silver, iron, carbon, tin, sulfur, mercury, and zinc. Given the importance of these elements to metal working, it isn’t surprising to find that several of these have native words in Basque. As noted by linguist Larry […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Trainera Rowing Regattas, or Estropadak

As one might suspect for a people so intimately connected to the sea, the Basques have a special relationship with the ocean. From a long history of fishing and whaling, to exploring distant lands, the Basques have taken to the seas like literal fish to water. Combined with a competitive spirit, it was only natural […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Aztikeria, Basque Magic

Humans have always had a contentious relationship with nature. We’ve always sought to control the world around us. Today, science and technology allow us to manipulate the very atoms that literally make up everything. However, it wasn’t so long ago that people turned to other ways of trying to bend the cosmos to their will, […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The First Tourist Guides of the Basque Country

Tourism accounts for about 10% of the world’s gross domestic product. We all want to experience new things, see new sites, get to know new people. We want to see something new. And, for many of us, the Basque Country is something new. As of 2014, tourism contributed just about 6% of the Basque Country’s […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Gazta! Cheese!

There is a story that, millennia ago, a Basque shepherd was working under the hot southerly wind. The night before, he had finished a lamb for his dinner and, today, he used the lamb’s hide to hold milk. He then trekked home — this all took place near the modern town of Eibar — and […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Basque Surnames

Magunagoikoetxea. Gorostiaga. Arroitajauregi. Bastarretxea. Basque last names are as distinct as they are complex, at least to an English tongue. It is only relatively recently that children took the names of their parents. Rather, Basques were often, though not universally, known by the names of their houses, which were in turn based upon the location […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Concept of Emptiness in Basque

The idea of something being ’empty’ is typically a negative one. When the glass is half full, we are taking an optimistic view of the situation, but a glass that is half empty is certainly negative. The Basque language has similar connotations around the word huts. Possibly stemming from Neolithic times when an empty stomach […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Egunkaria, the First Basque-Only Daily Newspaper

Today, if you go to the Basque Country, you will see Basque media pretty much everywhere. There is a Basque-language television station, a Basque newspaper (Berria), Basque radio stations, and Basque magazines. There are bookstores full of books written in Euskara. However, the concept of a daily newspaper written entirely in Basque is relatively new. […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Jon Rahm, Number 1 Golfer in the World

On Sunday, July 19, 2020, Jon Rahm won the Memorial Tournament, founded in 1976 by Jack Nicklaus and held every year in Dublin, Ohio. The win catapulted Rahm to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his young career. Rahm was born in the Basque Country and is the […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Basque Radical Rock

Basque festivals, at least in the United States, are characterized by the sounds of folk music: the accordion, the tambourine, and sometimes the txistu. These are core elements of Basque culture and identity. However, in the Basque Country, there co-exists a very different flavor of music, with electric guitars, throbbing bass, and aggressive lyrics. Born […]