Category Archives: History

Basque Fact of the Week: Luis de Unzaga, the Basque Who Coined the Phrase “United States of America”

History is full of characters that, while not always highlighted in our text books, made seminal contributions that certainly impacted the course of events. In the early days of what would eventually become the United States of America, numerous Basque were behind the scenes, working in official capacities for France and Spain, aiding the American […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Zazpiak Bat, the Basque Coat of Arms

The phrase Zazpiak Bat – the seven [are] one – signifies the unity of the seven Basque provinces – four in Spain and three in France. It is also the nickname of the Basque coat of arms – the Euskal Harmarriak. But wait, there are only six panels in the coat of arms! Hold on… […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Fire and Flame in Basque Culture

Perhaps one of the most defining things that separate humans from the rest of the animal world is our command of fire. Fire is essential to who we are and how we have developed as a species. Indeed, it has been suggested that our taming of fire, and our development of cooking, is what let […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The House of Haro and the Lords of Bizkaia

I have to admit that, whenever I look into the medieval history of the Basque Country, I quickly get lost. There are simply so many players, so many changing alliances, and so many intermarriages that it is hard for me to keep track – theoretical physics is easier! However, one thing is clear: the importance […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Agotes, Outcasts of the Western Pyrenees

All over the world, people have a tendency to demonize others, to view others as different, as inferior, as outcasts. In Japan, there are the Burakumin; in India, the Dalit. Sometimes there is an ethnic or religious component to this marginalization, but not always. In Europe, there is a group of people who have been […]

Ethnographic Atlas of the Basque Country

I just stumbled on to the Ethnographic Atlas of the Basque Country, which intends “to provide an overview of popular culture and lifestyles of the Basques throughout the 20th century up to the present day.” It covers a range of every day activities and aspects of every day life, from “House and Family” to “Diet” […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Charles de Salaberry, Hero of Canada

It’s often easy to forget the role that France, and along with them the Basques from Iparralde, had in the history of North America. From Louisiana to Canada, Iparraldetarrak had an enormous hand in shaping the history of the continent. One dramatic example comes from Quebec, in which the grandson of a Basque military officer […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Butrón Castle

In probably 1996, after I had started this page and met Xabier Ormaetxea online, I visited the Basque Country and Xabier took me to see Butrón Castle. At the time, it was open for visitors, with people in period costume welcoming us and showing us the castle. For me, it was pretty impressive – you […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Florentino Goikoetxea, Smuggler of Allied Airmen in WWII

During World War II, the Basque Country occupied a special geopolitical position which provided unique opportunities to contribute to the effort against the Axis powers. The French side was of course occupied by Germany, but the Spanish side remained neutral. This led to networks to get soldiers, refugees, and politicians across the French-Spanish border and […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Basque History of Boise

Boise, Idaho, is one of the centers of Basque culture in the United States. The home of the Basque Block, which features the Boise Basque Center, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, a fronton, the Basque Market, and the restaurants Bar Gernika and Leku Ona, it is also home to the Oinkari Basque Dancers and […]