Category Archives: People

Basque Fact of the Week: Subh the Basque – Slave, Concubine, and Ruler of Córdoba

I’ve posted a few times about the intertwined history of the Basque Country and the neighboring Muslim empire during the Muslim occupation of Iberia. The more I look, the more intriguing bits of history I find. Not only was there a close relationship between the two kingdoms/empires, but at least a few Basques became important […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Juanita “Jay” Uberuaga Hormaechea

When going to Basque festivals or summer dinners, we often forget the effort and dedication that goes on behind the scenes. Even the most cherished traditions – such as the Oinkari Basque Dancers – had to start somewhere and sometimes those ideas are met with resistance. It’s so important to have those individuals that not […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Lehendakari José Antonio Ardanza

When I lived in the Basque Country, during the years 1991-1992, Jose Antonio Ardanza was the face of the nation. Being a young kid who knew little about the politics of Euskadi, I didn’t really appreciate all of the intricacies and nuances of regional politics, but Ardanza somehow was this presence that sort of served […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Koldo Mitxelena, the Greatest Scholar of Basque

It is sometimes amazing that, despite the long history of the Basque language, we know so little about it. Since it wasn’t a written language for so long and other languages like French and Spanish dominated the regions, Basque didn’t receive much attention from scholars. At least, not until relatively recently. It was people like […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Seven Mummies of the Basque Country

The paths I take to finding these facts of the week can be a bit tortuous, winding here and there, but they lead in the most interesting of directions. A few weeks ago, I posted about Inguma, the bringer of nightmares. One way to protect against Inguma is to say a short prayer to Santa […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Eneko Arista, the First King of Pamplona

If there was a time when the Basques were unified as one political entity, it was under the Kingdom of Nafarroa, which started out as the Kingdom of Pamplona. The first king of Pamplona, Eneko Arista, founded the kingdom sometime around 824. His family was closely intertwined with the neighboring Banu Qasi family – indeed, […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Restaurateur Henri Soulé and La Côte Basque

This one maybe goes in the “if” category. La Côte Basque has been in the news a lot lately. La Côte Basque is a chapter in an unfinished novel by Truman Capote named after a famed New York restaurant – it is about New York socialites and is being brought to the small screen as […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Uberuaga Island

Basque names are unusual and often striking, immediately recognizable. And generally they are rare, particularly on maps. So, it is pretty cool when your distant cousin is recognized for her career by having an island named after her. Maybe that should be on my bucket list – to visit Uberuaga Island. Thanks to Damiana Uberuaga […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Composer Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga

When a budding genius dies young, one wonders “what if” they had lived longer, what could they have accomplished? Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, though not even reaching his 20th birthday, displayed such musical genius that he was often compared to Mozart. His teachers praised him for his deep understanding of composition and harmony, despite the fact […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Pedro de Axular, the Man and the Myth

There are some people that become larger than life, who take on new roles in the popular imagination because of their accomplishment and become legendary characters in their own right. Axular is one such person. A priest who served many years in the Lapurdi town of Sara, he became mythic, the protagonist of local legends. […]