The military conflicts that surrounded the Basque Country in the early 1800s changed the fortunes of many. Comrades in one war fought against each other in the next. Heroes were exiled only to be called upon again when the politics of Spain shifted. Gaspar de Jauregui saw it all. Starting as a guerrilla fighter, he […]
The French Revolution and the subsequent reign of Napoleon was a tumultuous time that led to significant changes in and to the Basque Country. Before, the three provinces of Iparralde – Lapurdi, Zubero, and Nafarroa Beherea – had enjoyed some level of self-governance. For example, Lapurdi had the Biltzar, which was effectively a local parliament. […]
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 […]
One of the challenges I had when I tried to learn Euskara in Donostia was that I was learning Batua but when I went to visit my dad’s family, they spoken the Bizkaian dialect and I had a hard time understanding them. When I told my dad about it, he nodded, saying he couldn’t understand […]
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 culture is ubiquitous with numerous unique symbols and iconography — the lauburu, the eguzkilore, the omnipresent font that decorates store fronts, and so much more. One of the most unique Basque symbols is the makila, a walking stick that is, today, ceremonially used to recognize important persons. However, did you know that it can […]
The Tree of Gernika is one of the most iconic symbols of the Basque Country, featuring prominently on the coats-of-arms of the province of Bizkaia and thus of Euskal Herria. The fueros of Bizkaia specifically call out the tree as the place where people came to meet and any Bizkaian captured for any crime had […]
Étienne Pellot Aspikoeta (1765-1856), known as the Basque Fox (le Renard Basque in French), was the last known French corsair. He was imprisoned at least twice by the British, though much of his later activity was centered off the coast of Galicia. He was born and died in Hendaia.
La Tamborrada is a 24-hour festival taking place every January 20, the feast day of the city’s patron Saint Sebastian, in Donostia. Over 100 different bands dressed as soldiers and cooks march through the city throughout the 24 hours of the day, starting at midnight.
In July, I was on a business trip in Versailles, France, and the hosts took us on a tour of the palace and the Jeu de Paume Room. Jeu de Paume is a game where players played a form of handball and tennis. The court at Versailles is famous because the French deputies of the […]