Category Archives: People

Basque Fact of the Week: The Great Basque Anthropologist, Ethnologist, and Historian Julio Caro Baroja

It hasn’t been all that long that Basque studies started delving into Basque prehistory and the myths and legends that shaped the Basque world view. José Miguel de Barandiaran Ayerbe was a pioneer in these efforts, but he didn’t work alone and his student, Julio Caro Baroja – the nephew of one of the greatest […]

Basque Fact of the Week: José Miguel de Barandiaran Ayerbe, the Great Patriarch of Basque Culture

The Basques converted to Christianity relatively late compared to many of their neighbors, and before that they had a complex and fascinating mythology that involved a myriad of creatures and powerful beings that impacted the daily life of the people dotting the Basque coast. Much of what we know about that mythology – and Basque […]

Reasons, a Poem by Harkaitz Cano, Translated by Elizabeth Macklin

The New Yorker recently published the poem Reasons, by Basque poet Harkaitz Cano. Actually, they published the translation by Elizabeth Macklin, but on their site you can also find an audio clip of both reading the poem. I’m copying the translated version below. I admit, I’m not much of a poetry reader, not really having […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Napoleon’s Nephew was a Linguist who Studied Basque

How does an aristocrat – a man born into privilege and titles, the nephew of one of the most powerful leaders of Europe – become one of the most important researchers of the Basque language? Louis Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon’s nephew, extensively studied the regional variations of Euskara, establishing a critical map of the dialects. While […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Anton Abadia, the Basque Scientist Who Promoted Basque Culture

Leading scientist – once president of the French Academy of Sciences – and key promoter and defender of the Basques. Anton Abadia was both. During his career, he won numerous scientific accolades while also founding the first festivals celebrating the Basque people and their culture. His impact was so great that, in 1997 – one […]

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 […]