Category Archives: Basque Fact of the Week

Basque Fact of the Week: The Rise of Basque Craft Beer

When I lived in the Basque Country, from the fall of 1991 to the summer of 1992, I spent more than my fair share of time in the ubiquitous bars and taverns. But, for all of those hours, I drank maybe three different beers: San Miguel, Fosters, and Heineken. Once in a while, we got […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Pío Baroja y Nessi

No Basque has won the Nobel Prize for literature. If there was ever a strong candidate, it might have been Pío Baroja y Nessi. He was a prolific writer whose influence extended to Nobel Prize winners such as Ernest Hemingway. However, he simply didn’t have the desire for self-promotion. He just wanted to write. His […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Basque Derby

Rivalries in sports transcend the games themselves. The Yankees and Red Socks. Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Celtics and Lakers. The Huskies and Cougars. They become part of the local identity, and beating your rival is almost more important than winning the championship. In the Basque Country, one of the biggest rivalries is between Athletic […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Robert Laxalt, the Voice of the American Basques

“My father was a sheepherder, and his home was the hills.” The opening to Robert Laxalt’s Sweet Promised Land resonates with so many of us, capturing not only the sheepherder life of his own father, but the experience of many Basque immigrants who made new homes in the American West. I discovered Laxalt’s books when […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Maialen Lujanbio, Bertsolari Champion

Bertsolaritza is the art of Basque improvisational poetry. Every four years, the best bertsolaris come together to crown a champion. (It has been five years since the last competition because of, you know, COVID.) The latest edition of the championship, called the Bertsolari Txapelketa Nagusia, just wrapped up, with the final taking place on December […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Good Birds to You!

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Hanukkah Sameach! However you celebrate, the holidays are upon us. In Basque, it is traditional to say Gabon Zoriontsua! or Eguberri On! Sometimes you’ll hear the ubiquitous Zorionak! But where does this word, used in so many situations, come from…? Primary source: Euskal Hiztegi Historiko-Etimologikoa, Euskaltzaindia

Basque Fact of the Week: Basque Desserts for Your Holiday Spread

The holidays are upon us. Time to gather with family and friends, to take a break from all of the worries and responsibilities of work and school. And to eat! There always seem to be tables full of food everywhere we go, especially desserts! My mom always has a flan and often rice pudding on […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Revolt of the Priest Matalaz

The Basques have always enjoyed a high level of rights and autonomy, at least relative to their neighbors. These are embedded in the revered Fueros. However, as European nobility became more powerful, the common man lost more and more autonomy and rights. In France, the centralization of power in the hands of the king led […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Miguel de Unamuno

Sometimes, it seems that the very idea of being Basque is inherently full of contradictions. Perhaps this is a consequence of not having their own country, of being split into two different regimes with two different external cultures influencing them. Miguel de Unamuno is perhaps one of the most important Basque intellectuals, certainly of the […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Flysch of Zumaia

During the week of October 25-28, Zumaia, a small town of about 10,000 people, hosted an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the IUGS – the International Union of Geological Sciences. At this meeting, the IUGS announced the first 100 geoheritage sites, “key place[s] with geological elements and/or processes of scientific international relevance, used as […]