Category Archives: Basque Fact of the Week

Basque Fact of the Week: Handball

If you go to any town in the Basque Country, you will find a plaza surrounded by a church, a bar, and a fronton. The fronton, and pelota, are a cornerstone of Basque society. Perhaps one of the most famous exports of the Basque Country is jai alai, the fastest ball game played in the […]

Basque Fact of the Week: John Adams’s Basque Adventure

It was 1779 and John Adams and his sons were on their way to Paris with the goal of establishing a commercial treaty with Great Britain and ending the Revolutionary War. On the way, however, their ship was battered by storms and they limped their way into Spain. After some debate and discussion, Adams and […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Basque First Names

I’ve delved into my genealogy a bit, scouring the priests’ books that document births, deaths, and marriages in each little town. Going back centuries, the names are all too familiar: Pedro, Jose, Domingo, Juan for the men; Josefa, Maria, Manuela, Magdalena for the women. Once in a while, there will be a Bartolome, or an […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Summer Solstice

The summer solstice, being the longest day of the year, is an important event in many cultures, marking the changing of seasons. Because of its importance, elaborate rituals and rites have arisen around this date all around around the globe, and the Basque Country is no exception. Many of the pre-Christian elements have been confused […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Selma Huxley Barkham, Basque-Canadian Historian

Today, it is well accepted that the Basques were early visitors to the coast of what would be known as North America. They established sites along the coast of what is now Newfoundland to process the whales they hunted and return the final product to Europe. With the local Native Americans, they created pidgin trading […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Julio Eiguren, the Basque-American Spy

As so strongly depicted in “Fighting Basques,” an initiative by the Sancho de Beurko Association, Basque-Americans have always played an important role in the armed services of the United States. They served in all branches of the military and served their country, often the adopted country of their immigrant parents, with honor and distinction. However, […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Sun in the Basque Cosmos

As the brightest object in the heavens, the sun has always captured the fascination of those humans who gazed upon it. The Basques, of course, were no different. As the source of warmth, and thus its connection to nature and growth, it is central to several myths and stories. Much of what we know about […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Unique Basque Drinks

Whenever I visit the Basque Country, my entire time ends up being centered around dinner tables abounding with food and drink. I swear I always find 10 pounds that I never manage to lose after each visit. Food and drink are such central parts of Basque life that it is hard to imagine a Basque […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Mari, the Basque Mother Earth

In the pre-Christian religion of the Basques, there wasn’t a strict hierarchy of beings, no Zeus or Odin who ruled over the rest of the gods. There were many wild spirts, such as the basajaunak, the lamiak, and the jentilak. And there were more powerful beings, including Sugaar and the vague sky-god Ortzi. However, Mari […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Etxekoandre, the Mother of the Home

Happy Mother’s Day! In honor of all of the moms out there, this Basque Fact of the Week is about the Etxekoandre, or the Mother of the House. Women have historically held a higher position in Basque society than in many other places, leading some to argue that pre-Christian Basque society was matriarchal, or, at […]