Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Basque Culture in the Americas

There's a chapter in Elizabeth Little's Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Languages (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012) called "Nevada: Basque" that delves into Basque linguistics and culture, anything ranging from vocabulary to Picon Punch ("tasted like lighter fluid mixed with battery acid . . .") to the "Basco Fiasco" or National Basque Festival in Elko, Nevada, held every year (God willing) right around July 4th. There are Basques and people of Basque descent in every state of the Union -- including a small handful in West Virginia -- but most live west of the Mississippi River.

The Basque language is distinct from Indo-European languages, but most people would recognize the influence of Basque in names like Saint Francis Xavier (Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta, 1506-1552), for instance, and Saint Ignatius of Loyola (Iñigo Loiolakoa, 1491-1556). 

Today, there are lots of Basque-related people living outside the Spanish-French "heartland," particularly in Latin American countries such as Chile, Argentina (where, for example, Che Guevara had Basque lineage), Mexico (also of Basque lineage, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 1651-1694; José Doroteo Arango Arámbula aka Francisco Pancho Villa, 1878-1923), and Cuba.

Today's Rune: Joy.    

1 comment:

the walking man said...

So it would seem that the Basques have always wanted a separatism and revolution to get it.