Category Archives: People

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: Julen Zabaleta, Master Drawer

Eneko Ennekõike, who is passionate about his home town of Eibar, told me about Julen Zabaleta, a long-time resident of Eibar who died at the age of 101 a few months past. Julen lived through the Spanish Civil War and World War II. He saw the world change dramatically over the last 100 years, with […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Basque Adventurer Marga d’Andurain

Adventurer. A spy, maybe for the British, maybe for the Nazis. Smuggler, black marketeer. Concubine? Marga d’Andurain was many things, though the details of her life have become too blurred between fact and fiction to know the whole truth. Men, including two husbands, died in her wake. She certainly was an adventurous soul that couldn’t […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Kattalin Agirre, Member of the French Resistance

Not long ago, we learned about Florentino Goikoetxea, a mugalari – a smuggler – who helped fugitives cross the French-Spanish border during World War II. Of course, he didn’t act alone. Those fugitives needed a place to stay, and sometimes heal, before they could make the crossing. That was the role of people like Kattalin […]

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: Cosme Damián de Churruca y Elorza, Scientist and Sailor

The late 1700s were a turbulent time for Europe, with the United States declaring independence and Napoleon trying to conquer the continent. It was also a time in which scientific enlightenment was crescendoing, leading to many people having both distinguished military and political careers as well as making important contributions to science. According to Julio […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Canadian Hall of Fame Quarterback Sam Etcheverry

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, the culmination of the National Football League’s season, which saw star quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, and Dak Prescott light up the field (yeah, these last two are on my fantasy football team, so I might be biased; and I’m rooting for the Bengals!). However, there’s another league, […]

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 First Translation of the New Testament into Basque

As compared to its neighbors, the Basque language was standardized only recently, in the 1970s. The challenges in standardizing the language so that all Basque speakers could communicate with one another was expressed by Joanes Leizarraga, one of the first to attempt the task. One of the first to refer to the Basque Country in […]