The History of the Basque Country

Basque Country: Bilbao - San Sebastián

Historical Events

Victory in Battle

0778-08-15 Battle of Roncevaux Pass: Roland, commander of the rearguard of Charlemagne's army is defeated by the Basques

  • 1933-11-05 Spanish Basques vote for autonomy
  • 1937-04-26 German Luftwaffe destroys Basque town of Guernica in Spain

Victory in Battle

1937-06-19 Francisco Franco's troops conquer the Bilbao Basques

  • 1937-08-24 In the Spanish Civil War, the Basque Army surrenders to the Italian Corpo Truppe Volontarie following the Santoña Agreement.
  • 1985-06-03 Massive anti-ETA demonstration in Basques
  • 1997-07-10 Spain, Partido Popular member Miguel Ángel Blanco is kidnapped in the Basque city of Ermua by ETA members, sparking widespread protests
  • 2006-03-22 ETA, armed Basque separatist group, declares permanent ceasefire
  • 2009-07-30 A bomb explodes in Palma Nova, Mallorca, killing 2 police officers. Basque separatist group ETA is believed to be responsible.
  • 2018-05-02 Spanish Basque separatist group Eta announces it will be formally disbanding after 50 years
  • 2018-08-15 Bar-hopping for pintxos (Basque tapas) in San Sebastián, Spain, named world's best food experience in Lonely Planet's Ultimate Eatlist

Famous Birthdays

  • 1533-08-07 Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, Basque soldier and poet, born in Madrid (d. 1595)
  • 1719-10-26 Joaquín Martínez de Oxinagas, composer, born in Bilbao, Basque Country (d. 1789)
  • 1854-04-05 Vicente Goicoechea Errasti, Basque composer, born in Ibarra, Álava (d. 1916)
  • 1864-08-05 Resurreccion Maria de Azkue, Basque priest, composer and first head of the Euskaltzaindia, born in Lekeitio, Spain (d. 1951)

Pío Baroja

1872-12-28 Pío Baroja y Nessi, Spanish Basque writer, author of over 100 novels (The Struggle for Life, Zalacain the Adventurer), born in San Sebastián, Basque Country (d. 1956)

  • 1886-01-10 Jose Antonio de Donostia, Basque musicologist & composer, born in Donostia/San Sebastián, Spain (d. 1956)
  • 1887-10-05 René Cassin, French jurist and judge (Nobel Peace Prize 1968), born in Bayonne, Basque Country, France (d. 1976)
  • 1890-10-28 Andrés Isasi, Spanish Basque composer, born in Bilbao, Spain (d. 1940)
  • 1904-03-06 José Antonio Aguirre, Basque politician (d. 1960)
  • 1913-08-13 Francisco Escudero, Basque composer, born in San Sebastián, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain (d. 2002)
  • 1914-08-13 Luis Mariano, Basque operetta singer, born in Irun, Spain (d. 1970)
  • 1923-03-09 André Courrèges, French fashion designer, born in Pau, French Basque country (d. 2016)
  • 1946-05-29 Fernando Buesa, Basque politician (d. 2000)
  • 1957-05-15 Juan José Ibarretxe, Basque Lehendakari (Prime Minister)
  • 1965-12-04 Álex de la Iglesia, Spanish film director (As Luck Would Have It), born in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
  • 1968-01-15 Iñaki Urdangarín, Spanish handball player & royal, born in Basque Country, Spain
  • 1981-01-29 Álex Ubago, Spanish-Basque pop-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist (¿Qué pides tú?), born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, Spain
  • 1981-09-13 Koldo Fernández, Spanish cyclist, born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain

Famous Deaths

  • 1556-07-31 Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish knight from a Basque noble family, hermit, priest, theologian and co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit) religious order, dies in Rome at about 65
  • 1582-03-18 Jean Jaurequi, Basque attacker of William of Orange, killed by William's guards
  • 1595-11-29 Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, Basque soldier and poet, dies at 61
  • 1916-04-09 Vicente Goicoechea Errasti, Basque composer, dies at 62
  • 1940-04-06 Andrés Isasi, Spanish Basque composer, dies at 49

Pío Baroja

1956-10-30 Pío Baroja y Nessi, Spanish Basque writer, author of over 100 novels (The Struggle for Life, Zalacain the Adventurer), dies at 83

  • 1960-03-22 José Antonio Aguirre, Basque politician (b. 1904)
  • 2002-06-17 Francisco Escudero, Basque composer, dies at 89
  • 2008-12-01 Mikel Laboa, Basque singer and songwriter (b. 1934)