Tag: bill douglass (page 2 of 2)

February 18, 1770: The final voyage of the Oriflama, the Basque ghost ship

On February 18, 1770, the Basque-owned and operated vessel, the Oriflama (the oriflamme or golden flame), set sail from Cádiz, destined ultimately to become the “Basque ghost ship.”

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Diagrams of first and third rate warships, England, 1728. From the 1728 Cyclopaedia, vol. 2, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

William A. Douglass recounts the story in his Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean (pp.  185-86):

      On February 18, 1770, the Oriflama left Cádiz, commanded by José Antonio de Alzaga, with José de Zavalsa serving as master and Manuel de Buenechea as pilot. (All three are Basque surnames.) More than five months later, on July 25, the Oriflama was spotted in the Pacific by the crew of the Gallardo. Its captain, Juan Esteban de Ezpeleta (another Basque surname), knew Alzaga and ordered that a friendly cannon shot be fired in greeting. When there was no reply, a boarding party was sent to investigate. It found that half of the Oriflama’s crew had died of a mysterious plague and the survivors were deathly ill.

Later that day, before the Gallardo could render assistance, the two vessels were separated by bad weather. It was said that as the distressed ship disappeared into the night, it was bathed in a ghostly light. On July 28, some objects from the Oriflama, as well as several bodies, washed ashore on the Chilean coastline. The following spring, Viceroy Amat sent Juan Antonio Bonachea in command of trained divers to search for the shipwreck. They were unsuccessful.

 

Center Books Take Stage at Tabakalera

Etxepare presentation

Left to right: Daniel Montero, Argitxu Camus-Etxecopar, Aizpea Goenaga, Bill Douglass, Mari Jose Olaziregi, and Koldo San Sebastián

Five of the Center’s books on the Basque diaspora in the United States were presented at the brand new and ultra hip Tabakalera Cultural Center in Donostia-San Sebastián yesterday. Myself, along with researchers Koldo San Sebastián and Argitxu Camus-Etxecopar, author (and all-around Mr. Basque) Bill Douglass, and with co-sponsors of the event the Etxepare Basque Institute represented by director Aizpea Goenaga and director of the diffusion of Basque Mari Jose Olaziregi, presented five books that treat the Basque diaspora in the United States from a variety of perspectives: the 2 volumes of Basques in the United States, led by Koldo San Sebastián and Argitxu Camus-Etxecopar but also representing a network of reseachers looking at Basque immigration through time and space, Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean by Bill Douglass, Zelestina Urza in Outer Space by David Romtvedt, and Garmendia and the Black Rider by Kirmen Uribe and illustrated by Mikel Valverde. We chose these books to present on the diaspora because of the variety of perspective, viewpoints and voices that they bring to writing about the presence of Basques in the United States.

The event received wide coverage in the Basque press, including an important story in El Diario Vasco.

As readers of this blog will surely know, Basques in the United Statesrepresents a giant undertaking that has already been the product of many years of research and that will certainly result in many more. Now containing names and bibliographic information for nearly 10,000 Basque immigrants, we hope in forthcoming editions to grow this into as a complete and comprehensive as possible encyclopedia of all first-generation Basque immigrants to the United States. We hope to do this with the continuing diligence of researchers like Koldo and Argitxu (and too many others to name here), but also with your help, that is why we’ve set up basquesintheus.blogs.unr.edu where we hope that interested people will also help us continue this important historical work.

Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean is a different kind of work altogether, one of the most recent publications by one of the most important Basque researchers and anthropologists of all-time, it takes readers on an exciting journey along with the galleons and caravels of the “Spanish” empire when Basque mariners formed an essential corpus in the empires exploration of this tremendous area which was known for more than 200 years as the “Spanish lake.”

Zelestina Urza in Outer Space provides yet a different aspect on Basque immigration, telling the story of young Zelestina Urza, who is just 16 years old when she arrives in Wolf, Wyoming from the green hills of Arnegi, throuhg her story, and her friendship with another young Native America woman, not only is the Basque diaspora explored, but also are the whole idea of the “winning” of the west and what it really meant in human terms.

Finally, Garmendia and the Black Rider takes maybe the most exotic take on the Basque diaspora of all of the books presented. Written by acclaimed Basque poet and novelist Kirmen Uribe, it treats the subject of the Basque immigrant from the perspective of modern Basque culture, and, as a children’s book, also with an eye that brings the Western experience to life in a completely different way that what we are usually presented with.

In addition to the presentation of the book, there was also other exciting news at the presentation. The Etxepare Institute has organized, in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the creation of a William A. Douglass chair in Anthropology, which will help us continue to build strong academic links that promote Basque Studies throughout the United States and the world!

What an exciting day for Basque culture in the diaspora and everywhere!

Bill Douglass interviewed in Berria

December 10: An extensive interview with Bill Douglass was published in the Basque daily Berria.

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Bill Douglass

In the interview Bill talks about how the Basque Studies Program was created in 1967 and goes on to reflect how, while the era of the Basque sheepherder is over in the US, the Basque-American population is a settled and thriving community with around 30 Basque Clubs.

He also observes how things have changed since he first started visiting the Basque Country in the 1960s. Nowadays, he remarks, you catch a plane in New York for Bilbao, and on your arrival there’s hardly any cultural or social shock any more. In contrast, when he lived on the Buxungo Borda baserria in Etxalar, Nafarroa,  between 1963 and 1965, there was no electricity, indoor bathroom, or running water. The family there lived on a bit of money made from selling the milk from its four cows and the food it could get from its vegetable garden. Today, the same baserri has been transformed into an elegant modern home.

Bill discusses the celebrations that have been held this year in honor of the fortieth anniversary of his classic work, co-authored with Jon Bilbao, Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World. He recalls how the book started out as  a 30-page introductory study of Basques in Elko and grew to a work of over 400 pages, and how it has served as a source of inspiration for further studies of the Basque diaspora in the US.

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Bill then goes on to discuss how he is still actively involved in Basque-related research, citing his Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean and there is mention too of the recently published translations, in both Basque and Spanish, of his chronicle of Nevada:  Death After Life: Tales of Nevada.

Read the full interview (in Basque) here.

Two major Center-related events in the Basque Country on December 9

Two major William A. Douglass CBS-related events are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, December 9.

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Mondragon University is a young, vanguard university that emphasizes close partnerships with the working world, typically offering students the opportunity to combine their studies with hands-on experience in the workplace.

First of all, the Faculty of Humanities and Education Sciences at Mondragon University will host a conference in honor of the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World, by William A. Douglass and Jon Bilbao.

Titled “Basques: Images and Representations,” Bill Douglass will himself be in attendance and take part in an interview by University of the Basque Country professor and former William A. Douglass Visiting Scholar at the CBS, Oscar Alvarez, and by Miel A. Elustondo, author of William A. Douglass: Mr. Basque.

In addition, Center graduate student Amaia Irazoz will present a paper titled  
”La prensa vasco-americana del siglo XIX en California y el sentimiento anti Chino como estrategia para la integracion en la sociedad americana” (The nineteenth-century Basque-American press in California and anti-Chinese sentiment as an integration strategy in American society). And David Rio, University of the Basque Country professor and author of Robert Laxalt, the Voice of the Basques in American Literature, will also take part in the event.

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Logo of the Etxepare Basque Institute, an ambassador for the Basque language and culture abroad, which encourages the international diffusion of Euskara and Basque artists of all disciplines

Later that same day, the Etxepare Basque Institute will graciously host a presentation of new Center publications at its outstanding new location, Tabakalera, in Donostia-San Sebastián.

Here, Koldo San Sebastian and Argitxu Camus Etchecopar will present the major new work Basques in the United States, an ambitious and ongoing project that seeks to record, name by name, all those Basques that migrated to the United States.

Bill Douglass will be on hand again (a busy day for Bill!) to talk about his new publication, Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean, which seeks to situate Basques front and center of the dramatic and important story of European exploration of the Pacific.

Following on with the theme of the Basque experience beyond the borders of the Basque Country itself, we will also be presenting two fictional works that, in their own way, each playfully reinterpret the Basque history of the American West:  David Romtvedt’s novel Zelestina Urza in Outer Space and Kirmen Uribe’s adventure story for children and young adults, Garmendia and the Black Rider, wonderfully illustrated by Mikel Valverde.

 

 

CBS mentioned in Azoka interview

In an interesting interview with our good friends at EuskalKultura.com, Nerea Mujika, president of the Gerediaga Association that organizes the Durangoko Azoka (the Durango Book and Music Fair), explains how the Azoka is keen to develop relations with Basque diaspora communities. She also mentions the prominent place that the CBS has enjoyed as a forerunner in developing these transatlantic links with its stand at the fair, as well as the fact that both Jon Bilbao and Bill Douglass were presented with the fair’s own  prestigious Argizaiola Award.

Read the full interview here.

If you haven’t already done so, take a look at our Basque books editor’s very personal take on what the Azoka means to him here.

And don’t forget to check out Part II of our 2015 Books Round up, coming later today…

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The CBS stand at the Azoka with a selection of its publications

 

 

2015 Books Round-up I: New Bill Douglass, A “Famous” Basque Gunslinger, and Zelestina Urza in Outer Space

In the lead up to the Durango Azoka, we wanted to give all of our readers a round-up of all of our publishing efforts for the year (browse and shop for all of our new books here), which has been really active one. If you are interested in learning more about our new book and other news from the press, sign up for our monthly books email newsletter here.

In the first installment, here are three of the first books that we published this year all of them treating in one way or another the Basque diaspora, Basques who left their homeland to explore different worlds.

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Basque Explorers in the Pacific Oceanby Bill Douglass.

The Pacific Ocean was for several centuries, from the discovery of the Strait of Magellan in 1520 until Cook’s voyages in the 1700s, considered to be the “Spanish Lake.” However, Spain was never a monolithic entity and this book then considers “Spanish” exploration in the Pacific from the perspective of the Basques, who have an important maritime tradition and were key figures in Pacific exploration. From Juan Sebastián Elkano’s taking over command of the Victoria after Ferdinand Magellan’s death and completing the first circumnavigation of the planet to Andrés de Urdaneta’s discovery of the north Pacific route from the Philippines to modern-day Acapulco, Mexico, Basque mariners and ships were pivotal in European incursion into this vast area.

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Garmendia and the Black Rider, by Kirmen Uribe, illustrated by Mikel Valverde.

An exciting and informative children’s adventure story set in the Old Wild West authored by the celebrated Basque poet and novelist Kirmen Uribe and richly illustrated by Mikel Valverde. Garmendia is our first book in the Angeles Arrien Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research Series, a series that owes its existence to a generous bequest from this same foundation. So saddle up folks, and ride along with famed Basque gunslinger Garmendia. As well-known as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, or Wyatt Earp back in the day, in this lively page-turner Garmendia is pursued by evil Tidy Harry–who runs Clean City–and his henchmen Rat and Bat. Will Garmendia survive? And who is the mysterious Black Rider?

Zelestina Urza in Outer Space

Zelestina Urza in Outer Space, by David Romtvedt.

For a sixteen-year-old immigrant from a Basque village, northern Wyoming, on a cold February day in 1902, seemed as distant and barren as the moon. Zelestina Urza, who had left her impoverished family, had no idea what lay ahead of her. How would she make a life out of what seemed like less than nothing? In his new novel, David Romtvedt, the Pushcart Prize-award winning author of A Flower Whose Name I Do Not Know, and Wyoming poet laureate, draws the reader into a complex portrait of the immigrant experience in the American West. Zelestina’s life story is interwoven with that of her close friend Yellow Bird Daughter–a young Cheyenne Arapaho woman–a lifelong relationship that overcomes obstacles and spans cultural differences. Romtvedt’s sharply humorous style, full of pop and literary references, blends the historical and magical into an engaging conversation with the reader. Zelestina Urza is an engaging account of Basque immigration and a piercing look at the American West of the twentieth century, showing two women, one immigrant, one native, both outsiders from the traditional narrative of the Manifest Destiny.

 

STAY TUNED ALL WEEK FOR MORE 2015 NEW BOOKS!

 

Nevada Governor, UNR President and Many More Come out to Celebrate Our Renaming as the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies

We are so proud and honored to have welcomed many dignitaries and old friends last night for the official renaming event in which the Center for Basque Studies has become the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies. The event, and the renaming was the result of an incredible amount of hard work by the Center’s faculty, staff, and advisory board, as well as the great people of the University of Nevada Reno. This event was not only a celebration of the work of Bill Douglass, but also of the place that the Center has forged in the hearts and minds of the state of Nevada, attested by the fact that both UNR President Marc Johnson and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval called “A jewel in the crown” of the university and of the state. It is such an honor and privilege to get to represent this amazing center, a unique place in the world, as we move forward proudly carrying the name of founder and father of Basque Studies, William A. Douglass.

Here are some of our favorite moments from the night, including remarks by Governor Sandoval, President Johnson, and Bill himself.

Want to Learn More? Download Basque Textbooks for Free!!!

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There is just about nothing better than giving something away for free, and even better yet when it is knowledge about our great shared culture. The Center for Basque Studies is very proud to disseminate many of our publications for free, and as part of this mission we’ve recently made our entire corpus of Basque Textbooks available for free PDF download by clicking here, or by visiting our website, under books, and clicking on Books in Print/downloads. Enjoy the best of Basque scholarship this weekend including authors such as: Bill Douglass, Mari Jose Olaziregi, Joseba Zulaika, Cameron Watson, and many, many more!

Bill Douglass Honored at Lehendakari Reception for Basques in the United States

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A film captured some treasured moments of BIll’s career.

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The room was packed for the presentation and reception. All photos and video by Kerri Lesh.

We were so proud and honored to celebrate with our founder and professor emeritus Bill Douglass as he was honored in a very touching way at the reception presented for Basques in the United States at the Boise Centre Convention Center on the Friday before Jaialdi kicked off. We well know the contributions that Bill Douglass has made to Basque culture but it was still a great moment to see him honored. (And if you’d like to learn more, read his entertaining biography, William A. Douglass: Mr. Basque by Miel Elustondo.)

The award was presented by the Minister of Culture of the Basque Government, Christina Uriarte Toledo. Here is a short video from the presentation!

Old and New World Basques in the News

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Handball players in the Basque Country. Photo from Basque Library archive.

 

Two recent media articles examine Basque culture in both the Basque Country and the United States.

First, on March 22 the UK edition of Esquire magazine published a travel guide to the Basque Country. In “Another Country: The Basque Region,” author Tim Lewis takes us on a cultural, historical, gastronomic, sporting, and architectural tour of the Basque Country, inviting us to “discover the secrets of the original Europeans.”

If you’ve read the artice, or if you are interested exploring the topics yourself, on Basque culture in general, see Basque Culture: Anthropological Perspectives, by William A. Douglass and Joseba Zulaika, a comprehensive introduction to the topic, with chapters on a wide variety of subjects from Euskara and Prehistoric art to the contemporary literature, music, and art of the Basque Country, and including the personal experiences of both authors’ field research.

In Basque Pelota: A Ritual, an Aesthetic, meanwhile, Olatz González Abrisketa explains the social and symbolic importance of this most Basque of traditional sports, a sibling of jai alai (the “happy fiesta” in Basque) or cesta-punta, as it also known. González Abrisketa asks: “But why is it precisely this game that conquered the centers of urban spaces in the Basque Country and the neighboring provinces? Why do Basques play this game and not another? What is its specificity? What does it tell us about the Basques? Why do they consider it their ‘national sport’?”

Sports of a more modern variety are explored in Playing Fields: Power, Practice, and Passion, edited by Mariann Vaczi. These conference papers address a wide variety of themes crisscrossing several sports and countries. General topics covered here include gender, social connections, the logic of games, and the affective dimensions of sports, Of specific Basque interest, individual chapters discuss pelota, Basque soccer, the Udaleku Basque summer camp, and the famous 1931 boxing match held in Reno, Nevada,  between Max Bauer and “the Basque woodchopper,” Paulino Uzcudun.

Finally, for anyone interested in reading more about the significance and impact of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao for both the Basque Country and beyond, see Learning from the Bilbao Guggenheim, edited by Anna Maria Guasch and Joseba Zulaika and available for free download here.

Crossing over to the New World, “‘Ni Boisekoa naiz’, Keeping Basque alive in Idaho,” was also published on March 22, by Ryan Schuessler for  Al jazeera America. Idaho has the highest percentage of Basque speakers in the U.S. and this article reports on the numerous initiatives to maintain the language there.

If you’d like to read more about Basques and the Basque language in Idaho, check out Basque Sociolinguistics: Language, Society, and Culture,  by Estibaliz Amorrortu, which includes chapters on Basque language maintenance in the United States.

On Basques in Idaho, more generally, see Boise Basques: Dreamers and Doers, by Gloria Totoricagüena , which charts the Basque settlement of Idaho;  From Bizkaia to Boise: The Memoirs of Pete T. Cenarrusa, by Quane kenyon with Pete T. Cenarrusa, the remarkable personal account of “a patriot and statesman in two lands, half a world apart”; and Kashpar : The Saga of the Basque immigrants to North America, by Joseph Eiguren, which provides a highly personal account of what life was like for those early immigrants.

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