On October 2, 1576, Boniface Lasse, a judge in Lapurdi in the Northern Basque Country, ordered the execution of a woman from the town of Uztaritze, Marie de Chorropique, who was prosecuted for witchcraft. In particular, Chorropique was accused of committing infanticide and using children’s bodies to prepare magical potions. The judge condemned her to be hanged and burned. Besides Chorropique, another forty Basque women were accused of witchcraft and burned to death too. Thirty four years later, in 1610, the case of those Basque women went to trial and a new judge validated and reaffirmed the decision of the previous judge. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Protestant and Catholic churches alike hunted and persecuted alleged witches, who were accused of serving the Antichrist.
Engraving of two witches preparing a potion
Check out Begoña Echeverria’s historical novel The Hammer of Witches, which will immerse you into early seventeenth-century problems, religious and spiritual issues, and court procedures concerning witchcraft in the Basque Country.
Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day.
On August 14, 1931, at the onset of the Spanish Second Republic (1931-1939), Justo de Echeguren (1884-1937), Basque priest, was arrested in Irun (Gipuzkoa), when he proceeded to cross the border and meet his fellow Bishop of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Mateo Mújica Urrestarazu (1870-1968). Some months earlier, on May 17, Múgica was exiled in Angelu (Lapurdi), in the Northern Basque Country, because his opposition against the constitution of the Spanish Republic, which had defended the separation of the Church from the State. The Republican authorities seized from Echeguren some documents whose content revealed the intentions of the Catholic Church to alienate its properties to the uses of the new Republican State. Following this incident, on August 20, the central government prohibited by executive order the right to alienate ecclesiastical property. During the Second Republic, the religious question became an acute source of division, which stirred a strong opposition among the right wing circles, including these Basque clergymen.
Portrait of Mateo Mújica Urrestarazu (1870-1968)
Cover page of “La Traca” Almanac for 1932
Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day