An exchange of gifts was held recently between the Welsh charity Friends of the Newport Ship and the Basque foundation Albaola: The Sea Factory of Basques. This included the Friends of the Newport Ship receiving an ikurriña or Basque flag, which will fly alongside the flag of Wales in the group’s maritime center.

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The Newport ship in the foundations of the Riverfront Arts Centre, Newport, Wales, September 8, 2002. Photo by Owain at Wikimedia Commons.

The Newport Ship is the most complete surviving example of a fifteenth-century ship, discovered in Newport (Casnewydd in Welsh), Wales. According to the Welsh charity website, “the Ship was built from local timber in the Basque Country, probably around 1449 -1451,”  and was probably one of the larger ships of the era. Later, it was “left to partly sink into the riverbed [of the River Usk or Afon Wysg in Welsh] before being covered by accumulated sediment. This preserved the vessel for around 532 years before its discovery in 2002.”

According to a report on the exchange for the South Wales Argus: Chairman of Friends of Newport Ship, Phil Cox, described the flag as a “symbol of friendship and collaboration.” He said: “The Basque flag will fly proudly in our ship centre as a symbol of our shared maritime history, alongside our own Welsh dragon. “We look forward to visiting the Basque country, visiting Albaola and seeing their amazing projects as they create full scale replicas of medieval vessels.” Local Basques were also in attendance. Read the report in full here.

If you’re interested in this topic, check out the recent Center publication Basques in the Pacific Ocean by William A. Douglass explores Basque maritime prowess through the centuries.