Basque History Of The World

Front Cover
Knopf Canada, Mar 11, 2011 - History - 400 pages
"They are a mythical people, almost an imagined people," writes Mark Kurlansky. Settled in a corner of France and Spain in a land marked on no maps except their own, the Basques are a nation without a country, whose ancient and dramatic story illuminates Europe's own saga.

Where did they come from? Signs of their civilization exist well before the arrival of the Romans in 218 B.C., and their culture appears to predate all others in Europe. Their mysterious and forbidden tongue, Euskera, is related to no other language on Earth. The Basques have stubbornly defended their unique culture against the Celts, the Romans, the Visigoths and Moors, the kings of Spain and France, Napoleon, Franco, the modern Spanish state, and the European Union.

Yet as much as their origins are obscure, the Basques' contributions to world history have been clear and remarkable. Early explorers, they made fortunes whaling before the year 1000 and became the premier cod fishermen in Europe after discovering Canada's Grand Banks. Juan Sebastian de Elcano, a Basque, was the first man to circumnavigate the globe in 1522. Their influence has also been felt in religion as founders of the Jesuits in 1534, and in business, as leaders of the Industrial Revolution in southern Europe.

Mark Kurlanky's passion for the Basque people, and his exuberant eye for detail, shine throughout this fascinating history. Like his acclaimed Cod, it blends human, economic, political, literary and culinary history into a rich and heroic tale.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Ma_Washigeri - LibraryThing

I picked this off the charity shop shelf because it has a great cover. Only realised when I got it home that it's by the author of "Cod" which was one of the earliest (and best) of the books that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kidzdoc - LibraryThing

The Basque Country, also known as Euskal Herria, consists of the four provinces of the Basque Autonomous Community (Euskadi) in northern Spain (Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa, Alava and Navarra) and three ... Read full review

All 15 reviews »


The Island and the World
The Basque Cake
The Basque Myth
The Basque Problem
The Basque Whale
The Basque Saint
The Potato Time
Speaking Christian
Eventually Night Falls
Slippery Maketos
The Great Opportunity
Checks and Balances

The Basque Billy Goat
The Wealth of NonNations
The Basque Onomatopoeia
The Basque Beret
The Basque Ear
Surviving Democracy
The Nation
The Death of a Basque Pig
The Basque Thank You

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Mark Kurlansky is the author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, a Canadian and international bestseller. He is also the author of A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny, and A Chosen Few: The Resurrection of European Jewry. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information