This article was translated by John R. Bopp

On this occasion, we’re going to bring together news from several sources.  One was published on the website The Culture Trip, in an article penned by Esme Fox, who gives readers some basic information about this sport, its different variants, and its origins.  The other is an article we’ve been saving for a while, about to burst because we really wanted to share it with you.  It’s about Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa’s enormous love for this sport, especially the variant played with a pala.

This second article, which fascinated us when we learned it, we found on one of those websites that is a basic reference site for anyone who wants to learn about the Basques: Euskonews.

On this website, which does the priceless job of compiling and sharing everything Basque, we found an article penned by Palmira Oyanguren explaining the spread of this sport throughout the Americas.  She talks about the presence of Basque pelota in the New World starting in the 16th century, and goes into detail about how much Pancho Villa loved this sport.

The Mexican revolutionary was a huge fan of the sport.  Given his surnames (he was born Doroteo Arango Arámbula), some define him as having Basque ancestry, but his actions don’t seem to have shown any feeling of belonging to the Basque community.  Even the expulsion of the “Spaniards” from towns like Torreón implied the expulsion of many Basque families that had made their fortune in that part of Mexico, as we were told on El Siglo de Torreón (The Torreón Century).

As an anecdote, we found a curious comment that tried to unite the fact that pelota as one of the sports included in the 1900 Paris Olympics with the weight and popularity this sport had among the Basques.

We’re sharing the article about Basque pelota published on The Culture Trip, the Euskonews article about this history of this sport in the Americas, and the article from Mexico that talks about the measures taken by Pancho Villa in the Mexican town of Torreón, which had a large influence on many Basque families.

The Culture Trip – 8/3/2017 – 

A Brief Introduction to Pelota, Bilbao’s Sport You’ve Never Heard Of

Pelota is one of the most popular sports in the Basque Country, it’s the common name for a variety of ball games played against a wall, called a fronton. Similar to a combination of squash and handball, it can be played using your hand, racket or wooden bat. Pelota is a fast-moving game that you can play one-on-one, in partners or in a team.

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Euskonews –   – Euskadi

Anécdotas de la pelota vasca en América

Pancho Villa poses for the camera during a Basque pelota match.
Pancho Villa poses for the camera during a Basque pelota match.

La historia de los historiadores se preocupa de los grandes hechos de la humanidad: descubrimientos, guerras, héroes y a veces olvida al hombre de carne y hueso, que trabaja, lucha, se divierte, que vive detrás del personaje. En ese su día a día surgen las anécdotas, sucedidos sabrosos que son transmitidos de boca en boca dándole sabor a la rutina. Es así como también nos llegan las curiosidades en el mundo de la pelota.

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El Siglo de Torreón – 7/12/2014 – México

En 1914, Pancho Villa expulsó a los españoles de La Laguna

Luego de derrotar al ejército de Victoriano Huerta y hacer su entrada triunfal a la ciudad de Torreón, durante la mañana del 3 de abril de 1914, Francisco Villa tomó la decisión de expulsar a todos los españoles que aquí radicaban. La orden fue terminante, el temperamento del Centauro del Norte desbordaba venganza, meses antes había desterrado a los hispanos de Chihuahua. El éxodo de más de 600 miembros de la colonia española de La Laguna, a poco más de un siglo de acontecido, se efectuó por vía ferroviaria y el convoy partió de la Estación Alianza con destino a la ciudad de El Paso, Texas, a donde algunos de ellos llegaron acompañados de sus familias.

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