Medium Aaevum is a thoroughly interesting website for history lovers, where one can dive in for hours and still not cease to be surprised, and thrilled, by the content.  This site, and its accompanying Facebook page, collect all sorts of references to articles about the Medieval period that appear in the media.

We went there recently because they have a short entry dedicated to a topic we’ve covered often, but not recently: Basques and whales.  This time, it’s about the first documents that mention the hunt for the “Basque whale”, on both sides of the Pyrenees.

Nevertheless, the first reference to Basques as whalers dates back to the year 670, when a citation appears mentioning a load of ten tons of whale oil or sain, as it’s called in Basque, which was sent to the Jumieges Monastery on the shores of the Seine.

Plus, the text is accompanied by an amazing illustration by an American artist from Dover, New Hampshirt by the name of Michelle Morin.  You can find out more about her and her work here.


Medium Aaevum – 15/4/2014 -USA

Basque whaling

Whale – Michelle Morin

The first mention of Basque whaling was made in 1059, when it was said to have been practiced at the Basque town of Bayonne. The fishery spread to what is now the Spanish Basque Country in 1150, when King Sancho the Wise of Navarre granted petitions for the warehousing of such commodities as whalebone (baleen).

(Follow) (Automatic translation)


Last Updated on Dec 20, 2020 by About Basque Country

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