Portal:Basque/Selected biography archive

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June 29, 2007
Portrait of Ignatius of Loyola

Sabino Arana Goiri, self-styled as Arana ta Goiri'taŕ Sabin (January 26, 1865 – November 25, 1903), founder of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and a creator of Basque nationalism. Author of several books and numerous articles arguing in favour of Basque nationalism based on the idea of the Basques as a special race with a land of their own, the "purity" of which must be preserved.

He died in Sukarrieta at the age of 38 after falling ill with Addison's disease during time spent in prison. He had been charged with treason for attempting to send a telegram to President Theodore Roosevelt, in which he praised America for helping Cuba gain independence from Spain.

He was an early defender of the use of the Basque language in all areas of society, to avoid its increasing marginalization in the face of the dominant Spanish. He made a strong effort to establish an agreed orthography for the Basque language, and proposed several neologisms to replace words of Spanish origin.

In 1894 he founded the first center for the new nationalist party (Partido Nacionalista Vasco) to provide a place for gathering and proselitizing. (continued...)



March 8, 2007
Portrait of Ignatius of Loyola

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, (December 24, 1491 – July 31, 1556), was the principal founder and first Superior General of the Society of Jesus, a religious order of the Catholic Church professing direct service to the Pope in terms of mission. Members of the order are called Jesuits.

He was born in the municipality of Azpeitia, 16 miles southwest of Donostia/San Sebastian in the Basque province of Guipúzcoa, Spain. The youngest of 13 children, Ignatius was only seven years old when his mother died. In 1517, he took service in the army, defending the small town of Pamplona against the recently expelled (1512) Navarrese monarchy. Highly outnumbered, the Spaniards wanted to surrender, but Ignatius persuaded them to fight on. One leg wounded, the other broken by a cannonball, Ignatius was returned to his castle by the Navarrese.

He was compiler of the Spiritual Exercises and a gifted spiritual director, Ignatius has been described by Pope Benedict XVI as being "above all a man of God, who gave the first place of his life to God...a man of profound prayer." He was very active in fighting the Protestant Reformation and promoting the subsequent Counter-Reformation. He was beatified and then canonized to receive the title of Saint on March 12, 1622. His feast day is July 31, celebrated annually. He is the patron saint of Guipúzcoa as well as of the Society of Jesus. (continued...)


February 1, 2007
Title page of Arrest Memorable

Martin Guerre, a French peasant of the 16th century, was at the center of a famous case of imposture. Several years after he had left his family, a man claiming to be Guerre took his place and lived with Guerre's wife and son for three years. After a trial, during which the real Martin Guerre returned, the impostor was discovered and executed. The case continues to be studied and dramatized to this day.

He was born as Martin Daguerre around 1524 in the Basque town of Hendaye. In 1527, his family moved to the Pyrenean village Artigat in southwestern France, where they changed their name to Guerre. When he was about fourteen years old, Martin was married to Bertrande de Rols, daughter of a well-off family. The marriage was childless for eight years until a son was born. Being accused of having stolen grain from his father, Martin abruptly disappeared in 1548. Catholic law governing France did not allow his abandoned wife to remarry (unlike that of the Protestants, who were slowly gaining ground. (continued...)


January 1, 2007

José Antonio Aguirre (6 March 1904 – 22 March 1960) was a Basque political figure.Aguirre was a native of Bilbao, a former player in the Athletic Bilbao football team, a student at Deusto University and militant of the EAJ-PNV party. Before becoming Basque president, he was mayor of the Biscayne locality of Getxo.

He assumed the position of first lehendakari or president of Euskadi (the Basque lands of Spain) during the Spanish Civil War. He was determined to create a Basque Army to fight on the side of the Republic. Badly armed and barely trained, the Basque Army, the Eusko Gudarostea, managed to mobilize 100,000 soldiers. One of the most pressing deficiencies, that unbalanced the odds, was the absence of heavy artillery and aviation. Famous are the desperate calls of Aguirre to his allies Prieto and Azaña to send equipment to Euskadi. Historians agree that this action was nonviable due to the difficulty in breaking the siege that Biscay was put under. (continued...)


December 8, 2006
Miguel Indurain

Miguel Ángel Indurain Larraya (born July 16, 1964, Villava, Navarre) is a retired Spanish road bicycle racer. He is best known for having won the Tour de France from 1991 to 1995, becoming one of the four persons to win the event five times. Indurain's ability and physical size—1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) and 80 kg (176 lbs)—earned him the nickname "Miguelón".

Indurain turned professional in 1985 and entered the Tour de France for the first time the same year, ultimately entering it in each of the next eleven years. Although he dropped out of the Tour in 1985 and 1986, his standing improved steadily until his first win in 1991. He rode in support of his team captain Pedro Delgado in the 1990 Tour, even though he might have been strong enough to win it himself. He won the event from 1991 to 1995, becoming the first to win five consecutive times (Jacques Anquetil was the first to win the event five times non-consecutively.)

Miguelón, the most complete of the Homo antecessor skulls found in Atapuerca deposits (Burgos, Spain) was named after Miguel Indurain by the palaeontologist team of Juan Luis Arsuaga. (continued...)


December 1, 2006

Léopold Eyharts (Colonel, French Air Force) is an ESA astronaut (Mission Specialist). Eyharts was born April 28, 1957, in Biarritz, France. He graduated as an engineer from the French Air Force Academy of Salon-de-Provence in 1979.

In 1988, he was graduated as a test pilot in the French test pilot school (EPNER) and was assigned to Bretigny flight test center near Paris. He then flew on different types of military and civilian aircraft including Mirage 2000, Alpha Jet, Mirage 3, Caravelle, C-160 mainly involved in radar and equipment testing.

Léopold Eyharts was assigned to full spaceflight training in January 1995. He trained as a back-up cosmonaut for the "Cassiopeia" French-Russian space mission, which took place in August 1996. He was the prime cosmonaut for the follow-on CNES scientific space mission called “Pégase.” He flew in the Mir Space Station in February 1998. During the three week Pégase mission he performed various French experiments in the area of medical research, neuroscience, biology, fluid physics and technology. In completing his first space mission, he has logged 20 days, 18 hours and 20 minutes in space.

In August 1998, Léopold Eyharts was assigned by the European Space Agency to train at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. As part of the international astronauts of the 1998 class, he attended Astronaut Candidate Training which included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Léopold Eyharts is currently assigned to the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch. He will serve in technical assignments until assigned to a space flight. (continued...)


November 7, 2006

Alberto del Palacio Elissague (1856-1939) was a Spanish engineer and architect born in Bilbao, Basque Country. Between 1890 and 1893, he worked on his most important project, the transporter bridge ("Puente Colgante") on the Nervion river, between Portugalete and Getxo (Biscay), for which he gained international recognition. It was the first bridge of this kind ever built. (continued...)