Before and after the nation

Basque patriotic heroes, 1834-1939


  • Coro Rubio
  • Santiago de Pablo


national heroes, Basque nationalism, Basque Fuerism


In the nineteenth century, Basque fuerism, a regionalist ideology, elaborated a narrative about Basque identity that was characterized by a double Basque and Spanish patriotism. When the nationalism created by Sabino Arana (1865-1903) appeared at the end of the century, a new Basque identity began to be constructed that flatly rejected that double patriotism. Both fuerists and Basque nationalists created a pantheon of Great Men drawn from Basque history. From the Middle Ages up to the recent past, these were patriotic heroes (warriors, musicians, saints, politicians, discoverers, etc.) that reflected the ideologies respective conceptions of Basque identity. Among them, fuerism included figures that expressed double patriotism. Conversely, the heroes of Basque nationalism were precisely those that had contributed, according to its interpretation, to the fight against Spanish domination. In this article we analyse the patriotic heroes of fuerism and early Basque nationalism from the decade of 1830-1840, when fuerism emerged, to the end of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). We will examine which heroes both movements shared and which were cast aside by Basque nationalism, as well as the reasons for these continuities or discontinuities.

Author Biographies

Coro Rubio

Coro Rubio Pobes, Ph.D. from the University of the Basque Country (1994), is professor in the Vitoria-Gasteiz Faculty of Arts at that same university. Her research interests include political history and the history of political culture, liberalism, governance of collective memory and Basque identity. On this last topic she was involved in several research projects over the last few years.

Santiago de Pablo

Santiago de Pablo promoted in 1987 in Geography and History at the University of the Basque Country. Since 2001 he is professor of contemporary history at the university campus of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Among other activities De Pablo is director of Sancho el Sabio, a research journal on Basque culture, and member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences of Spain.



How to Cite

Rubio, C., & de Pablo, S. (2015). Before and after the nation: Basque patriotic heroes, 1834-1939. Studies on National Movements (SNM), 3. Retrieved from




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