Manuel Irujo Lecture on the life of Joaquín de Eguia

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2019-03-18

This year, the Annual Manuel Irujo Lecture, organized by the University of Liverpool, will focus on the life of this seafarer born in Bilbao in 1903. On March 20, Joaquín de Eguia’s daughter, Miren de Eguia, will present this lecture titled ´From Bilbao to Liverpool: A Basque is captain´s journey through times of peace, conflict and exile´.

The Spanish Civil War from 1936 and 1939 took a terrible toll on the Basque Country. One of the consequences was that many of those who fought had to go into exile after losing the war. Some were able to rebuild their lives in exile and never returned to their homeland. Such was the case of Joaquín de Eguia.

This year, the Annual Manuel Irujo Lecture, organized by the University of Liverpool, will focus on the life of this seafarer born in Bilbao in 1903. On March 20, Joaquín de Eguia’s daughter, Miren de Eguia, will present this lecture titled ´From Bilbao to Liverpool: A Basque is captain´s journey through times of peace, conflict and exile´.

Captain Eguia’s life took a radical turn with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. He became the leader of the Basque Navy and fought with the Basque Army until in June 1937 when Bilbao fell to Franco’s forces. He first went into exile in France, then to Ireland and, finally to England, where became a Flight Engineer and Sergeant in Coastal Command for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. These events in the life of Eguia serve as a means of addressing numerous topics: the Civil War, the formation of the first Basque government and army, Basque identity, exile, the Basque diaspora...

The life of Joaquín de Eguia has many things in common with Manuel Irujo, the man whom the lecture was named after. Born in Estella in 1891, Irujo was a Basque politician who went into exile in England, but who, unlike the sailor, lived his last years in the Basque Country.

This chair was launched in the 2014-2015. Since then, the lectures focus on issues such as exile, politics or the Basque arts.

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