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The New World Inside A Basque Village: The Oiartzun Valley And Its Atlantic Emigrants, 1550-1800 (The Basque Series)
by:Juan Javier Pescador
The Basques' remarkable role in the establishment and exploitation of Spain's vast American empire is well known, but until now the impact of these achievements on the Basque Country itself has received little attention. In this pioneering study, Juan Javier Pescador has meticulously examined three centuries of social and economic change in the Oiartzun...
The Basques' remarkable role in the establishment and exploitation of Spain's vast American empire is well known, but until now the impact of these achievements on the Basque Country itself has received little attention. In this pioneering study, Juan Javier Pescador has meticulously examined three centuries of social and economic change in the Oiartzun Valley of Gipuzkoa, a typical Basque peasant community remarkably altered by its contacts with the New World. Many individuals from Oiartzun--mostly male--sought their fortunes in the New World. The wealth that some of them brought back forever disrupted Oiartzun's traditional economy and hierarchy. But social norms were no less altered. In the absence of menfolk who had gone to America, the women of Oiartzun assumed new responsibilities on the family farmsteads and in the community. The local Church found itself expected to adopt New World religious practices and saints popular with returning adventurers. And the changing roles of personal and family wealth, individual responsibility, and social relationships affected attitudes toward such intimate matters as sexuality, the recognition and treatment of illegitimate children, and the practice of charity, as well as perceptions about identity, memory, and local history. It is a truism that all of western Europe was changed by the discovery and exploration of the New World. Juan Javier Pescador's study of the Oiartzun Valley, rich in detail, puts a human face on those affected by these changes, showing us not only why and how members of this community sought their fortunes in America but how this experience impacted everyone who remained behind. The Basque achievement in the New World was fueled by places like Oiartzun, and in turn the New World reshaped every aspect of life in this ancient community
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