Month: April 2016 (page 2 of 3)

A Man Called Aita debuts in the Basque Country

aita-deitzen-zen-gizona

Joan Errea, the author of My Mama Marie is making a major splash in the Basque Country. Her manuscript A Man Called Aita has recently been published as Aita deitzen zen gizona by Pamiela in Basque to widespread acclaim! Good friend of the Center Pello Salaburu has been instrumental in its being published in Basque and has provided the introduction for it. The book was presented in April in Baigorri, in the Basque Country, and Josephine, Joan’s sister, who lives in Erraztu, was able to attend the event!

The book tells the story of Joan’s family and especially her beloved father Arnaud Paris, but also many of the other characters with whom the author grew up in the Nevada countryside. The stories are written in rhyming verse and the books was presented to Pello translated into Basque by the author herself, in the dialect from Nafarroa Beherea, in a story full of emotion and respect for the experiences lived by this family of Basque immigrants.

Pello has written about the genesis of the book’s Basque edition in our 2015 newsletter, which I quote here:

When I read My Mama Marie I was so impressed that on my next trip to Nevada I decided to rent a car and spend a few days in the inhospitable places described in the book. Today there are only mountain lions and rattlesnakes there. Hard to imagine the 18 year old girl with nowhere to go, a suitcase in hand at the Currie train station, after an endless journey that had started in the village of Banka in the Northern Basque Country. Hard to imagine her working at the Currie Hotel or at the Eureka Hotel, or fighting with her mother in the kitchen of their Forest Ranch and tinkering with an old car whose ruins still remain today. The solitude of those places is impressive, first abandoned by the hand of God and now abandoned by the hand of man. But that place was a few decades ago a lively place. My trip to the sites referred to in the pages of his book ended in Winnemucca. There I met Joan Errea, as well as John and Lianne Iroz, Joan’s son-in-law and daughter. I spent a very pleasant time at their home, while Joan, full of energy, showed photos in her computer and talked to me of Louis, from Baigorri, who had passed away some years ago. When I was saying goodbye to her she told me that she had a present for me. And, among other things, she gave me a manuscript with the title A Man Called Aita. I told her I would read it on the plane back home. So I did. The first thing that surprised me was the introduction: it was in English, but also in Basque, in the dialect of Baigorri. Then came the pictures: the family members, cowboys, bears, coyotes, bulls, the ranch, the train, the old car, ants, holidays, Christmas, the adventures of children, etc. All this was in English. In view of the introduction I got in touch with her daughter Lianne and suggested her that she should encourage her mother to put everything in Basque. Lianne answered quickly: my mother and I did so a few years ago. And she sent me the manuscript in Basque. When I read those pages I was astonished. It was a beautiful text, written in a very close and moving style. And, most surprising, it was written in verse.

Here are 2 videos from the Baigorri event and another from the book’s formal presentation in Sara in March, posted on YouTube:

 

 

 

April 14, 1808: Napoleon visits Basque Country

On April 14, 1808, the emperor of the French, Napoleon I or Napoleon Bonaparte, came to the Basque Country for the first time during his reign, taking up residence in Baiona, Lapurdi. The context of the visit was the outbreak of the Peninsular War in 1807, a conflict for control of the Iberian Peninsula.

In taking up a position so close to the unfolding events, Napoleon was attempting to provoke the abdication of Spain’s newly crowned King Ferdinand VII. Philippe Veyrin, in his classic study The Basques of Lapurdi, Zuberoa, and Lower Navarre: Their History and Their Traditions (pp. 242-43):

The emperor arrived on April 14, took a dislike to the Hôtel de la Division, and went off to Marracq where he set up in the little château built a century earlier for Maria Anna of Neubourg. By a strange quirk, it was against this background (since ruined by a fire) that the historic scenes of the spoliation of the Bourbons of Spain took place. Napoleon lingered on in Baiona until July 20; he visited part of the country, taking a particular interest in the port of Baiona, La Barre, and the maritime arsenals that had once been so flourishing and whose activities he attempted to rekindle. Soon, more troops than had ever been seen in this part of the world were marching across our region. Baiona was filled with a feverish hubbub of activity.

640px-Vernet-port-Bayonne

Seconde vue du port de Bayonne, prise de l’allée des Boufflers (1755) by Claude Joseph Vernet. View of the Port of Baiona in the mid-eighteenth century. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1808, Spain was in turmoil, beset by violent civil strife that had, in March, resulted in the abdication of King Charles IV in favor of his son Ferdinand VII. Indeed, by this time, Napoleon had already ordered the invasion of the peninsula to take advantage of Spain’s domestic woes. As Cameron Watson notes, in Modern Basque History (p. 74):

As the invasion took place, the French emperor sought the abdication of the Spanish monarch, in favor of a handpicked French candidate for the post: his brother, Joseph Bonaparte. During the summer of 1808, Napoleon called an assembly in Baiona (Bayonne), to which he invited several influential figures within the Spanish kingdom, including Basque representatives. His plan was to gain support for the creation of a new noble class supportive of the royal candidacy of his brother. At the meeting, the separate delegations of Araba, Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, and Nafarroa coordinated their efforts in an attempt to convince the French that the centralizing tendencies of their state had little chance of success in a political culture long used to specific rights and liberties. Amazingly, considering the nature of the French empire, not to mention events just a few years previously in Iparralde, Napoleon agreed to their demands. The new Spanish constitution of 1808 thus guaranteed the foruak of Hegoalde while at the same time installing Joseph Bonaparte as king.

The Peninsular War, which dragged on to 1814, marks a moment in European history when the Basque Country assumed center stage. French occupation of the provinces making up Hegoalde in the Spanish Kingdom moved Basque Senator Dominique-Joseph Garat in Iparralde to implore Napoleon, on several occasions, to create a Basque federation (in effect, a united Basque Country), a protectorate that would serve as a buffer state between France and the Iberian Peninsula. Garat even proposed naming it La Nouvelle Phénicie (The New Phoenicia)!

Battle_of_the_Pyrenees_1813_Map

Battle of the Pyrenees, 1813. Created by Djmaschek. this work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

But these efforts were to no avail. A rearguard action on the part of Spain and Portugal, together with their ally Britain, saw allied forces sweep back up through the Basque Country, on both sides of the border. At the key battle of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Araba, in June 1813, a combined allied army led by General Wellington broke the French army, and that same summer witnessed key battles in Navarre, including those at Maya-Amaiur and Roncesvalles-Orreaga (July 25) as well as Sorauren (July 28 and 30). Wellington’s forces finally took Donostia-San Sebastián (September) and Iruñea-Pamplona (October) from the French, and eventually swept into Iparralde that same fall, with fighting taking place there right through the Winter and into the Spring of 1814. In April that same year, beset by multiple wars on many fronts, Napoleon abdicated effectively heralding the end of the Peninsular War.

Interestingly, then, the Basque Country–both Iparralde and Hegoalde–was a key stage on which Napoleon came to demonstrate both the zenith and nadir of his own personal power and influence.

Two Center Grad Students Win UNR Graduate Student Scholarship Awards

GSA 2016

Center graduate students Kerri Lesh (left) and Ziortza Gandarias (right) are all smiles after receiving Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship awards!

We are proud to announce that not one but two of the Center’s graduate students, Ziortza Gandarias and Kerri Lesh, were awarded Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarships by the Graduate Student Association of the university. The Graduate Student Association offers the Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship to outstanding, full-time graduate students. The award is judged strictly upon a personal statement, scholarly work, and extracurricular activities completed during enrollment in degree programs as a University of Nevada, Reno graduate student.

Zorionak!!!!

Tales from Basques in the United States: Basques, Bets, Ball, and a Few Cadillacs, Life in the Fast Lane with Jean “John” Etchebarren

Today’s story in our ongoing series of tales from Basques in the United Statesadapted from volume 2, revolves around the charismatic figure of Jean “John” Etchebarren. Interestingly, he got involved in just about all the activities we would associate Basques with historically in the Western United States: the sheep and hotel industries, some retail interests, banking and insurance, and even gaming. To cap it all, as a young man he was even a champion handball player and a major figure in the lively gambling world that surrounded the sport. So saddle up and welcome to the story of one of the great go-getting Basque-American entrepreneurs and adventurers!

IPAR_Baigorri_08

Jean “John” Etchebarren

Born Mar. 12, 1880 in Baigorri, Lower Navarre, he arrived in New York City on May 3, 1898 and went initially to San Jose, California. Soon after, he moved to Nevada where he worked as a sheepherder. He later opened a hotel in the mining town of Golconda, Humboldt Co. and in Feb. 1910, after selling his hotel there, he took ownership of the Commercial Hotel in Reno. A year later, in partnership with Jack Marymont, he opened a clothing store on Center St., Reno. And in 1915 he rebuilt the largest hotel in town to add a new dining room and bedrooms (Reno Evening Gazette, Jun. 16, 1915).

Etchebarren expanded his business and by 1917 was president of the Stockgrowers & Ranchers Bank of Reno. One of its vice presidents, Martin Pradera, was also a Basque sheepman. A year later, he was president of an insurance company, the Nevada State Life Insurance Co., based in Reno (which he ran until 1924). By 1918 Etchebarren was also an important sheepman in Reno, and a prominent member of the Nevada Woolgrowers’ Association, in which he held various positions. In 1931, in partnership with Felix Turrillas, he rented the Laughton’s in Hot Springs, south of Reno, requesting a gaming license and becoming one of the first hotel casinos in the city (Nevada legalized gaming on Mar. 19, 1931).

 

Laughton Hot Springs

Laughton Hot Springs on the Victory Highway, US 40, 5 miles west of Reno, ca. 1933. From the Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Library.

Throughout his life, in whatever free time he could muster, he also distinguished himself as an excellent sportsman, especially as a handball player, shooter, and bowler. He also loved cars to the point that Sol Silen used to say that Etchebarren sold his Cadillac every year to buy the latest model. His love of cars (and speed) brought him some trouble with the law for exceeding speed limits, and for the same reason, he suffered several serious accidents as well.

(Enmarcado en negro).

Pilota or Basque handball in the Old Country. From the Jon Bilbao Basque Library archive.

Back in 1907, on the occasion of the opening of the Saval Hotel in Elko, Nevada, Gabino “Guy” Saval (Ispaster, Bizkaia, 1883 – Lovelock, NV, 1940) and Michael Saval organized a pilota (handball) game between Andrés “Andrew” Ripa, champion of California and an employee of the Commercial Hotel in Reno (which Etchebarren would later own), and Etchebarren (then still living in Golconda), the champion of Nevada. The winner would receive $1,000. George Etchart (born in Ospitalepea, Zuberoa), the owner of the Commercial Hotel and Ripa’s boss, reputedly wagered up to $5,000 on the “Californian” winning, but even so, the betting generally went 5-1 in favor of the guy from Baigorri (Nevada State Journal, Nov. 11, 1907).

The game was played to 50 points and Etchebarren gradually proved his superiority in the serve. Still, until the 43rd point, the game was very even but in the end Etchebarren won. That event brought Basques to Elko from Nevada, California, Idaho, and Utah, and was followed by a “grand ball and supper.” According to the local media, a lot of money changed hands that day and “an immense crowd was in attendance” (Nevada State Journal, Nov. 16, 1907). This was not, however, Etchebarren’s only major game. In 1915, another game was played, this time doubles, with Etchebarren partnering John Jauregui against the two best pilotariak (handball players) from San Francisco.

He married Demetria Arburua (b. Etxalar, Nafarroa, ca. 1886), who came to the US in 1905, and they had two sons: John (1908) and Peter (1909).

We intend for this work to be more than just an encyclopedic reference; we’d like it to be a true forum for sharing stories and anecdotes about the thousands of Basque women and men who forged new lives for themselves in the US.

If you’d like to share your own family stories with us, please click here at our dedicated Basques in the United States Project website.

Center hosts fiscal systems conference in conjunction with the Bizkaia government

Xabier Irujo presents Nieves Pereda, who spoke to the conference on economic theories of fiscal federalism.

On Monday, April 11, the Center hosted a one-day conference on  an international approach to the Basque fiscal system. The conference featured presentations by Mehmet Tosun, the chair of the economics faculty at the UNR College of Business, Gemma Martínez, tax policy senior manager for the province of Bizkaia, Nieves Pereda, deputy director of tax collection for the province of Bizkaia, and Mikel Erkoreka, a doctoral candidate. The conference focused on principles and challenges of “fiscal federalism.”

We were lucky enough to have Gemma with us in 2015, and Nieves is here in 2016, due to an agreement between UNR and the government of Bizkaia that has the common objective of promoting and disseminating research in the international arena on the economic agreement in the Basque Country and its relationship with the current federal tax systems in the United States.

 

image1

Gemma Martínez presented on principles and fundamentals of the US and Basque fiscal systems.

Readers interested in learning more about this subject should check out Basque Fiscal Sytems: History, Current Status, and Future Perspectives, edited by another recent visiting scholar and friend of the Center, Joseba Aguirreazkuenaga, together with Eduardo Alonso Olea.

Pyrenayca, 90 years old

This months marks the 90th anniversary of the journal Anales de la Federación Vasco-Navarra de Alpinismo or, more easily, Pyrenaica. It’s the journal of the Basque Mountaineering Federation (originally the Basque-Navarrese Mountaineering Federation), an organization founded in Elgeta. Gipuzkoa, in 1924. Given the tremendous interest in all forms of hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and other outdoor pursuits in the Basque Country, this is still an important organization today.

First number of <em>Pyrenaica</em>.

First edition of Pyrenaica.

At the time of the journal’s inception, the Basque Country was experiencing a cultural renaissance: Eusko Ikaskuntza, the Society of Basque Studies, had been founded in 1918, followed by the creation of Euskaltzaindia, the Royal Academy of the Basque Language, a year later in 1919. Despite the fact that the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera was ruling Spain at the time (1923-1930), this was an era of fervent Basque cultural activity, and Pyrenaica was part of this flourishing movement, demonstrating the key symbolic importance of mountains and mountaineering in Basque culture and to Basque identity as a whole.

During its long history, the journal has changed with the social transformations going on around it. To see these changes as reflected in the pages of the journal, check out the different editions of this valuable sociocultural historical resource over time here.

 

 

CBS blog making a splash online

We’re going to collectively pat ourselves on the back today–actually, let’s make that a hearty, big-handed Basque slap on the back–after finding out that we’ve been mentioned a few times recently at other online sites dedicated to all things Basque.

640px-Blog-684748_640

Image by Sophie Janotta, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

First of all, our longtime friends at EuskalKultura.com featured a piece on our ongoing series of stories from Basques in the United States, including interviews with author Koldo San Sebastián and the Center’s Publications Editor Daniel Montero. These stories have enjoyed a tremendous reception from all of you out there and we couldn’t be happier to share them with you. Read the full story here.

Next up, we also got a very nice mention in a great article on Basque-American news outlets by basquewhalers.info, saying that we offer “always really interesting stuff.” Thanks a lot Basque Whalers, and may you enjoy smooth sailing in your quest for terra firma!

Finally, a recent post of ours on the replanting of a sapling from the famous Tree of Gernika on the grounds of the Nevada State Arboretum at the University of Nevada, Reno, was reproduced here at About Basque Country. Eskerrik asko!

A big thanks to all these sites and please check them out as well. And if you have any thoughts or feedback on our blog, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Come on folks, don’t be shy!

Professor Irujo Teaches 30th Weekend Workshop at Boise State University

16 04 03 BSU Genocide Holocaust Workshop (4)

Dr. Irujo taught the workshop “Genocide Studies: An Introduction to the Holocaust” at BSU on April 2 and 3, Saturday and Sunday, from 9 am to 5 pm. 49 students were enrolled.

This course offered students an introduction to genocide studies and the Holocaust offers an excellent case study. The workshop provided students with a global view of how terror has been generated and how it has been managed with political aims in the twentieth century in Europe and other parts in the world.

Dr. Irujo focused on the study of the theoretical and technical development of tools and strategies to generate and manage terror during the twentieth century, with special attention to the Holocaust. The analysis of the atrocities perpetrated by the German regime from 1933 to 1939 and, after that, in the occupied territories between 1939 and 1945 in the light of international law gave the opportunity to students to discuss and understand concepts such as atrocity, crime, aggression, terror, and genocide.

By the end of this course successful students will be able to demonstrate knowledge on the Holocaust (causes, development, denial, and recognition); discuss the interaction of psychological, sociological, and cultural factors that cause genocide; articulate characteristics unique to the Holocaust in the context of genocide in the 20th century and discuss major historical, legal, and political problems regarding genocide.

April 4, 1804: The Greatest Battle of the Last Great Basque Corsair

Étienne (or sometimes Ixtebe) Pellot “Montvieux,” aka le Renard Basque (the Basque fox) was the last in a long line of legendary Basque corsairs, privateers, or buccaneers (to put it another way, pirates who had been officially authorized to attack and raid their paymaster countries’ enemy ships). These legendary figures included the fourteenth-century figure Pedro Larraondo from Bizkaia, Antton Garai from Gorliz, Bizkaia (? – 1509), the seventeenth-century Joanes Suhigaraitxipi from Baiona, aka Le Coursic (the little corsair), and Jean Dalbarade (or d’Albarade) from Biarritz, Lapurdi (1743-1819).

Plaque_Saint-Jean-de-Luz

“To Our Basque Corsairs, Sailors, and Fishermen.” Plaque in Donibane Lohizune (Saint-Jean-de-Luz), Lapurdi, bearing the names of many noted seafarers, with Pellot at the end. Photo by Salvatore Poier. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Born in Hendaia (Lapurdi), he was especially renowned for his skill and bravery and some of his ships, like the Deux-Amis and the Général Augereau, have gone down in corsair legend. Indeed it was on-board the latter that he enjoyed his most spectacular victory, capturing two English ships in the process. Philippe Veyrin, in his classic The Basques of Lapurdi, Zuberoa, and Lower Navarre  (p. 242) tells the story of the last great Basque corsair:

…at sea, the Basque corsairs, given a new lease of life during the Revolution under the leadership of one of their number, Dalbarade, continued to fight the English. But privateering was tending to decrease, especially in terms of the tonnage of the ships that were involved. Their range was now limited to (successful) actions just off the coastal areas, sometimes within sight of localities on the Basque coast. The last of the corsairs, Etienne Pellot-Montvieux, from Hendaia (Hendaye; 1766–1856), owed his legendary popularity to his remarkable feats and the picturesque sallies of his very individual character, as well as to his extremely long life. Captured on several occasions, he managed to make the most daring escapes, right from under the noses of his British jailors. In his still sprightly old age, he considered his finest exploit to be his victorious battle on April 4, 1804, on board the Général Augereau against two powerful English ships, one of which, armed with twenty-two big cannons, was boarded and captured. In 1830, Pellot had a painting done of this episode and offered it to the Institute of Hydrography of Donibane Lohizune, founded in the eighteenth century by another well-known Basque, the abbot Garra de Salagoïty, from Heleta (Hélette; 1736–1808). This school of navigation is no longer in existence, but the painting offered by the old corsair is still, as far as we know, in the Maritime Registry of Baiona. Pellot died at the age of ninety-one years; only in 1843 had he been awarded the Legion of Honor.

Every January, on the occasion of Hendaia’s patron saint’s festival (Saint Vicent, or Bizente in Basque), children dress up as corsairs and parade the streets of the town to celebrate the safe return of Étienne Pellot, the last Basque corsair. Peillot is even celebrated in song by the great Ruper Ordorika, who, in “Hargiñenean” (on the album Hurrengo goizean) sings the lines “Biba Pellot, biba festa!” (Long live Pellot, long live the party!”). Listen to this great tune here (track 3 in the four-song playlist).

There are plenty of corsair stories in the latest publication by Bill Douglass, Basque Explorers of the Pacific Ocean. Interestingly, though, here the corsairs tend to be English and adversaries of Basque explorers in the service of the Spanish Crown.

 

Tales from Basques in the United States: Two Lessons Learned in the New World

Today in our survey of stories adapted from Basques in the United States, we look at a couple of invaluable lessons learned by Basques newly arrived in the US.

674px-Gold_prospector

Gold prospector. Pen and ink illustration by Tony Oliver, Denver, CO, based on original photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

First of all, there’s the story of (Juan) Pablo Aramburu, born July 23, 1902 in Aulesti, Bizkaia, who arrived in the US in 1920. He worked as a sheepherder in Emmett, Idaho for Andy Little. One day while keeping watch on his herd near Idaho City, he saw a group of people prospecting on his boss’s property. He informed Old Little; “There are some men prospecting on your land; you want me to kick them out?” The boss calmed him: “When they find something, then we kick them out!”

BIZ_URIBE KOSTA_01

Eusebio Asla

Next up is the tale of Eusebio Asla, born on Feb. 26, 1928 in Arrieta, Bizkaia. After an eventful early life, which included a stint in the Spanish navy (during which time he once served General Dwight D. Eisenhower dinner), he came to the US in 1952 to visit his uncle Doroteo and brother Jess, who lived in Mountain Home, Idaho. He traveled by ship to New Orleans and rode a Greyhound Bus with a little piece of paper indicating his destination, Mountain Home. He loved telling the story of his arrival at Mountain Home bus station, where he hailed a cab to take him to the Basque boardinghouse in town. After loading his suitcase and getting into the car, the cab driver did a u-turn in the road, stopped abruptly on the other side of the street, and announced “we’re here.” The $5 charge to cross the street was a “welcome to the US” moment!

We intend for this work to be more than just an encyclopedic reference; we’d like it to be a true forum for sharing stories and anecdotes about the thousands of Basque women and men who forged new lives for themselves in the US.

If you’d like to share your own family stories with us, please click here at our dedicated Basques in the United States Project website.

Older posts Newer posts