Gernikako Arbola (anthem)

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Gernikako Arbola
English: The Tree of Gernika
Arbol de Gernika día.jpg
The Tree of Gernika

National anthem of the Basque Country (Spain, France)
LyricsJose Maria Iparragirre, 1853
MusicJose Maria Iparragirre, 1853
Audio sample
Gernikako Arbola

Gernikako Arbola is the title of a song in bertso form presented both in Madrid (1853) and by the shrine of Saint Anthony at Urkiola (1854) by the Basque bard Jose Maria Iparragirre (Spanish spelling Iparraguirre), celebrating the Tree of Gernika and the Basque liberties. The song is an unofficial anthem of the Basques, besides the Eusko Abendaren Ereserkia, a largely instrumental version used for official purposes in the Basque Autonomous Community. In 2007, as set out by the 4/2007 Chartered Decision, the General Assembly of Biscay declared it the district's official anthem.[1]

The popularity of the song quickly expanded (sung by the bard in Madrid venues) on the heat of the pro-fueros movement in the run-up to their definite suppression (1876) and the political unrest following it. Its echo quickly spread to the French Basque Country, where it took hold spurred by the Lore Jokoak festivals, the "Floral Games".

The song was chosen for the solemn end to the demonstration held at Pamplona in 1893, and sang along by the crowds, after widespread indignation sparked at the Spanish government's breach of fiscal terms concerning Navarre—protests known as the Gamazada.

The local newspaper La Voz de Fitero (southern fringes of Navarre) reported on the cheerful official reception in honour of the district MP Ramon Lasanta held on 30 April 1913, where an enthusiast audience sang the Gernikako Arbola along, and demanded an encore from the music band.

The anthem was often rendered in performances by Pablo de Sarasate and Julian Gayarre. It has been called the "Marseillaise of the Basques". The tree has also inspired a passage of La prudencia en la mujer[2] by the Spanish playwright Tirso de Molina and a sonnet of William Wordsworth.[3]


There are versions with four, eight or twelve stanzas. Also, Iparragirre as a bertsolari would introduce changes during his performances.[4]

Original Gipuzkoan text[5] Text in Standard Basque English
First stanza
Guernicaco arbola
Da bedeincatuba
Euscaldunen artean
Guztiz maitatuba:
Eman ta zabaltzazu
Munduban frutuba,
Adoratzen zaitugu
Arbola santuba.
Gernikako arbola
Da bedeinkatua
Euskaldunen artean
Guztiz maitatua:
Eman ta zabal zazu
Munduan frutua,
Adoratzen zaitugu
Arbola santua.
The Tree of Guernica
is blessed
among the Basques;
absolutely loved.
Give and deliver
the fruit unto the world.
We adore you,
holy tree.
Second stanza
Milla urte inguruda
Esaten dutela
Jaincoac jarrizubela
Guernicaco arbola:
Saude bada zutican
Orain da dembora,
Eroritzen bacera
Arras galduguera.
Mila urte inguru da
Esaten dutela
Jainkoak jarri zuela
Gernikako arbola:
Zaude bada zutikan
Orain da denbora,
Eroritzen bazera
Erraz galdu gera.
About one thousand years,
they say,
since God planted it,
the Guernica tree:
Stand, so,
now is the time
If you fall
we will perish easily.
Third stanza
Etzera erorico
Arbola maitea,
Baldin portatzen bada
Vizcaico juntia:
Lauroc artuco degu
Surequin partia
Paquian bici dedin
Euscaldun gendia.
Ez zara eroriko
Arbola maitea,
Baldin portatzen bada
Bizkaiko juntua:
Laurok hartuko dugu
Zurekin partea
Bakean bizi dedin
Euskaldun jentea.
You will not fall,
dear tree,
if the Biscay assembly
We four will take
your party
so that the Basque people
live in peace.
Fourth stanza
Betico bicidedin
Jaunari escatzeco
Jarri gaitecen danoc
Laster belaunico:
Eta biotzetican
Escatu esquero
Arbola bicico da
Orain eta guero.
Betiko bizi dedin
Jaunari eskatzeko
Jarri gaitezen denok
Laster belauniko:
Eta bihotzetikan
Eskatu ez gero
Arbola biziko da
Orain eta gero.
So that it lives forever,
to ask the Lord,
let us all
kneel down quickly:
and from the heart,
by asking,
the tree will live
now and forever.
Fifth stanza
Arbola botatzia
Dutela pentzatu
Euscal erri guztiyan
Denac badakigu:
Ea bada gendia
Dembora orain degu,
Erori gabetanic
Iruqui biagu.
Arbola botatzea
Dutela pentsatu
Euskal Herri guztian
Denak badakigu:
Ea bada jentea
Denbora orain dugu,
Erori gabedanik
Iruki biagu.
That they have thought
to fell the tree
in the Basque Country
we all know.
So, people,
now is the time!
We have to hold it up
and not let it fall.
Sixth stanza
Beti egongocera
Uda berricua,
Lore ainciñetaco
Mancha gabecoa:
Erruquisaitez bada
Biotz gurecoa,
Dembora galdu gabe
Emanic frutuba.
Beti egongo zara
Lore aintzinetako
Mantxa gabekoa:
Erruki zaitez bada
Bihotz gurekoa,
Denbora galdu gabe
Emanik frutua.
You will always be
of spring,
without the stain
of the flowers of old.
Have mercy,
you of our heart,
losing no time,
give fruit.
Seventh stanza
Arbolac erantzun du
Contuz bicitzeko,
Eta biotzetican
Jaunari escatzeco:
Guerraric nai ez degu
Paquea betico,
Gure legue zuzenac
Emen maitatzeco.
Arbolak erantzun du
Kontuz bizitzeko,
Eta bihotzetikan
Jaunari eskatzeko:
Gerrarik nahi ez dugu
Bakea betiko,
Gure lege zuzenak
Emen maitatzeko.
The tree answered
that we should live carefully
and in our hearts
ask the Lord:
We do not want wars
[but] peace forever,
to love here
our fair laws.
Eighth stanza
Erregutu diogun
Jaungoico jaunari
Paquea emateco
Orain eta beti:
Bay eta indarrare
Cedorren lurrari
Eta bendiciyoa
Euscal erriyari.
Erregutu diogun
Jaungoiko jaunari
Bakea emateko
Orain eta beti:
Bai eta indarra ere
Zetorren lurrari
Eta benedizioa
Euskal Herriari.
We ask
of the Lord God
that he gives us peace,
now and forever:
and strength as well
to His land
and the blessing
for the Basque land.
Ninth stanza
Orain cantaditzagun
Laubat bertzo berri
Gure provinciaren
Alabac esaten du
Su garrez beteric
Nere biotzecua
Eutzico diat nic.
Orain kanta ditzagun
Laubat bertso berri
Gure probintziaren
Arabak esaten du
Sukarriz beterik
Nere bihotzekoa
Eutsiko diat nik.
Now let us sing
four new verses
in praise
of our province:
Alava says
full of fever
the one of my heart
I will keep.
Tenth stanza
Guipúzcoa urrena
Arras sentituric
Asi da deadarrez
Ama Guernicari:
Erori etzeitzen
Arrimatu neri
Zure cendogarriya
Emen nacazu ni.
Gipuzkoa hurrena
Arras sentiturik
Hasi da deiadarrez
Ama Gernikari:
Erori etzeitzen
Arrimatu niri
Zure zendogarria
Hemen nazazu ni.
Gipuzkoa next,
very moved,
has started with the call
to mother Guernica:
Do not fall:
come near me!
Your strengthener
you have in me!
Eleventh stanza
Ostoa verdia eta
Zañac ere fresco,
Nere seme maiteac
Ez naiz erorico:
Beartzen banaiz ere
Egon beti pronto
Nigandican etzayac
Hostoa berdea eta
Zainak ere fresko,
Nere seme maiteak
Ez naiz eroriko:
Behartzen banaiz ere
Egon beti pronto
Nigandikan etsaiak
The green leaf and
the fresh veins,
my dear sons,
I will not let fall:
If I need it to
be always ready
the enemies around me
to force into retreat.
Twelfth stanza
Guztiz maitagarria
Eta oestarguiña
Beguiratu gaitzasu
Ceruco erreguiña
Guerraric gabetanic
Bici albaguiña.
Oraindaño izandegu
Guretzaco diña."
Guztiz maitagarria
Eta ostargina
Begiratu gaitzazu
Zeruko erregina
Gerrarik gabedanik
Bizi ahal bagina.
Oraindaño izan dugu
Guretzako diña."
Always lovable
and sky light,
look at us,
Queen of Heaven
without war
so that we can.
She has been until now
good to us.

In film[edit]

A tune based on the anthem can be heard in a test bullfight scene of The Happy Thieves, a film shot in Spain in 1961.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martiaren 20ko 5/2007 Foru-Araua,Bizkaiko Udal Mugarteei buruzko uztailaren 7ko 8/1993 Foru-Arauaren II. kapitulua,Toki-Erakundeen armarri, bandera, zutoihal eta gidoinen gainekoa, aldatzeari buruzkoa (PDF). General Assembly of Biscay. p. 15.
  2. ^ La prudencia en la mujer, Acto 1, Tirso de Molina. Referred as the Arbol de Garnica [sic].
  3. ^ The Oak of Guernica, William Wordsworth, 1810.
  4. ^ Gernikako Arbola véritable hymne basque, French-language paper by Jean Haritschelhar.
  5. ^ Guernicaco Arbola, by Jose Maria Iparragirre, Colección de aires vascongados, Ed. Sendoa, Donostia, 1981.