We’re sure any Basque from south of the Pyrenees would be shocked that one of the two “regional” broadcasters run by Spanish Public Television, be it the one covering the Basque Autonomous Community or the one covering the Chartered Community of Navarre, would ever one the news from the other region.  And it would be even stranger (indeed unbelievable) that they would spend any time at all telling the news of the Basques from north of the Pyrenees.

Well, that’s exactly what the French public broadcaster, France Bleu, does, at least when telling stories about the footsteps of the Basques throughout the world.  It doesn’t matter if it’s about a Navarres, a Biscayan, or a Souletan, if it’s about they Basques, they tell it.  And they share all these stories on their website with an ikurriña as the header.

And then it turns out that the “Jacobin centralists” are the French.

But let’s get to this story about the Galapagos island Ecuador owes the Basque people, specifically, the Soule town of Barcus (which we visited when doing our Viewpoints article on the maskaradas of Soule)

The story is presented to us by journalist Lucas Aizuprua, and told by Patrick Queheille, member of the Euskal Kultur Erakundea / Basque Cultural Institute, and resident of Barcus.

It’s the story of Léon Uthurburu, a rich financier born in Barcus, who made his fortune in the New World, in the tumultuous times when the Spanish colonies in the New World were declaring their independence.

Uthurburu loaned a great deal of money to the Republic of Ecuador, and General José de Villamil, one of the heroes of the independence of that country, ceded him Floreana Island, one of those that makes up the Galapagos archipelago that he conquered for Ecuador in 1833.

Uthurburu, in turn, left all of his possessions, including his part of the island, to the town of Barcus, so that the town would use his assets to tend to the needy.  But it would seem that the town of Barcus would never get to have this island and thus fulfill their hometown hero’s final wishes.

Nor would it seem that the Republic of Ecuador, or those who took over the islands, ever compensated the town of Barcus.

We’ll leave you with the video sharing this very interesting story (in French), the profile of this Basque financier (also from France Bleu) who made it rich in the New World but never forgot where he came from, and also the links to these incredibly fascinating stories (many of which we’ve brought you here on the blog).

France Bleu –  28/6/2021 – France

Le Pays Basque est dans les Galapagos !

Léon Uturburu était un homme généreux. Enfant de Barcus, il légua à son village une ile : Floreana ! Mais alors ? Le drapeau souletin devrait flotter sur ce territoire volcanique ? Ah si seulement  les volontés du défunt avaient été respectées…

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France Bleu –  20/12/2020 – France

Affaire Léon Uthurburu – Léon le bienfaiteur / épisode n°1 : Léon, l’enfant de Barcus

Dans “Affaires Classées”, on voyage dans le temps et dans l’espace. Nous remontons 160 ans en arrière pour nous retrouver en l’an 1860, dans le village de Barcus, en Soule. Un matin de novembre, les cloches du village sonnent à toute volée…

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France Bleu –  2021 – France

Au Pays Basque comme ailleurs

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