The idea of setting up a Basque Diaspora Archive meets an imperative need in our country: to preserve our history in its all its depth and breadth.
Because, unlike what normally occurs to us when we hear of history, the history of peoples, of nations like ours, is not exclusively based on great historic events, or the history of the masses, or that of leaders.
A fundamental part of our history is based on us, on our families, on our popular culture, and on our traditions. It’s the historical baggage of a national community built on the everyday lives of the people who make it up.
And when it comes it this history, to that of individuals and their day-to-day lives, ethnographic museums usually take responsibility. We Basques have great museums like that that are mostly dedicated to collecting elements of the Basque community that lives in our country.
But, as we never tire of recalling, our national community is not made up only of those Basques who are living in the Basque Country (referring in this case to the maximum territory in Europe that was the original homeland of Basque speakers). Our national community is made up of all Basques, those who feel and live being Basque, all over the world. That would be what we call the Basque diaspora.
The Archives of the Basque Diaspora
This part of our national reality was not covered in an effective and overarching way until 2018. That was when the Directorate for the Basque Community Abroad set up the Basque Diaspora Archives, in order to create a place to store and preserve articles related to the Basque emigration. It’s here to preserve the memory and activity of the Basques all over the world, as well as those of the collectives they formed throughout history.
Its goal is not to become a mere warehouse of documents and objects, but rather to make them available to the general public and researchers, in order to analyze and share the history of our nation that has taken place outside our borders.
Since its foundation, this archives has been collecting objects, documents, books, and audiovisual material that has been donated by people, families, and Basque centers. It’s now collected over 10,000 catalogued items.
Be a part of it
Its future development directly depends on the will of the Basque Community abroad to preserve its history. No objects, documents, photos, etc. should be thrown away before thought is given to its value for researching Basque history. When in doubt, ask the Archives to enquire as to its potential value.
To understand how things that may seem worthless to us might really be valuable when it comes to studying our history, we recommend reading the articles we’ve collected on the archaeological work being carried out by Cyrus Jacobs/ Uberuaga House from Boise. It’s amazing how things we give no value to might help researchers to flesh out the history of the Basques with greater precision.
This is the contact information for the Archives for those who might wish to make a contribution.
Last Updated on Nov 18, 2022 by About Basque Country