This article was translated by John R. Bopp
We could say that some political leaders in Spain ought to be a bit more worried than they already are, given that they’re a bit worried about the way things are going regarding Gibraltar in the talks being held about Brexit between the European Union and Great Britain.
Well, we’re not sure what they’ll think or how they’ll feel when they find out that a boat belonging to the Marine Nationale of France has a Zazpiak Bat coat of arms on it. Yes, all seven territories, including the four south of the Pyrenees.
We’re talking about the BSM Garonne, a French military logistic support ship that was put into service in 1965 and which was sunk 100 km / 60 mi off the coast of Réunion on October 9, 2003.
The standard and the tampion of this ship carried the coats of arms of Guyenne, an old French region whose capital was in Bordeaux, in Gascony; and, here’s the surprising bit, the Zazpiak Bat coat of arms with its six quarters, representing Navarre, Gipuzkoa, Biscay, Alava, Labourd, and Soule.
We don’t know if this might be the influence of the New Phoenicia project that was repeatedly presented to Napoleon by the Senator of Labourd Dominique J. Garat between 1803 and 1811 with the intention of creating a Basque state that would join together all the different parts of our nation on both sides of the Pyrenees in an independent unit under the protection of the Emperor.
Garat explained in his project that the idea was to create a unit of «peoples who together possess all the relationships that men can have amongst themselves while have almost none with either the Spanish they’re united to nor the French the others belong to.»
As we said, we’re not sure if there’s any connection here, but our readers won’t deny that seeing a Zazpiak Bat as part of a French military ship’s standard is quite interesting, to say the least.
If the defenders of Spanish unity believe that they can rest easy because this ship now rests at the bottom of the Indian Ocean slowly becoming a coral reef, they’d better not. A new Garonne, the BSAH Garonne, is being built at the Breton Concarneau shipyards. We can’t be sure, but we get the impression the new ship will again have the coat of arms of all Basques as part of its standard.