Category Archives: History

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 […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Jeanne d’Albret, the Queen of Nafarroa

The history of Europe, with its myriad kings, queens, and royal intrigue, is confusing and convoluted. There were some 19 Kings of France named Louis and at least 4 Henrys. The same Henry could be number III or IV depending on which title you consider and which period of his life you examine. On the […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Bromo, the Basque Double Agent of World War II

Double agents are a trope of movies, their uncertain loyalties adding tension and drama to the story. However, they are inspired by real men and women that played sides against one another. During World War II, a Basque man from Bizkaia, José Laradogoitia Menchaca, actually served as a double agent. This “Basque shepherd, swindler and […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Juan Zumárraga, First Bishop of Mexico

Basques, with their adventurous spirit and ambitions for a better life, were key players in the conquest and history of the Americas. Reminders of that history are everywhere, from the names of towns (Durango, Colorado and the state of Durango in Mexico) to some of the most influential figures in American history, such as Simón […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Disappearance of Jesús Galíndez Suárez

The aftermath of Spanish Civil War and World War II forced many Basque intelligentsia to flee their native land and settle elsewhere. Indeed, the Basque government itself was in exile. Many of those Basques eventually found their way to the Americas where they became important figures, both representing the cause of the Basque government or […]