History Is Happening All The Time

Pont Romá Mallorca

It would feel safe to say that the island of Mallorca was inhabited well before the Romans came to settle. In prehistoric times, in the Neolithic period, there was life on the island, mostly in caves, it is said. At around 2500 B. C. and up to about 1400 B. C., one speaks of the pre-Talaiotic period, coinciding with the bronze and iron ages, when people settled in caves and man-made Navetes. The Talaiotic period covers the time between 1400 B. C. and the arrival of the Romans, at around 123 B. C., when Talaiotic settlements were built with impressive towers and robust fortifications.

The Romans changed all that. It seems that they first arrived on the Northern shore of the island. Settlements were made in Bocchoris near what today is Port de Pollença, and Pollentia, near today’s Alcúdia. The Pont Roma (Roman bridge, shown here) in Pollença dates from approximately 400 A. D.

The North of the island must have had its attraction for the early settlers just as it has today, what with Port d’Alcúdia, Port de Pollença, Formentor, s’Albufera and the scenery between the Badia de Pollença and the Badia de Alcúdia, embracing the Peninsula de la Victoria. One might assume that the Romans did not play golf nor practiced kite surfing nor cycling, but they may have done some bird watching, mountaineering or rock climbing, just as you can do today in this popular part of Mallorca.

If you should be looking for accommodation in the rural area of Alcúdia, there is plenty of accommodation for rent, such as can be found at Alcúdia villas. Enjoy an encounter with the past when you savour your holiday.

The Drowned and the Saved


The Drowned and the Saved was created in 1992 by American artist, Richard Serra, as a site-specific work for the Synagogue in Stommeln (GER). Its title took reference from a book with the same title by Italian author, Primo Levi (1919-1987), an Auschwitz survivor. I had the pleasure of being there when the forged iron sculpture was installed in the synagogue in the presence of the artist.


The piece was purchased in 1997 by the Diocesan Museum in Cologne (GER). The work is now installed at the Kolumba Museum in Cologne, a fabulous museum. The magnificent building was created by Swiss architect, Peter Zumthor.

Richard Serra-Damned_Saved 1

San Fermin Bull Runs And More

Every July 6th, the central balcony on Pamplona’s Town Hall sees the Chupinazo, the rocket launched to mark the beginning of the San Fermin fiestas which started today.

In all, four rockets are traditionally launched during the annual encierros (bull running).

The first one is launched when the clock on the church of San Cernin strikes 08h00. Then the gates of the corral are opened and the barriers formed by Pamplona’s Municipal Police retaining the runners are withdrawn. The second rocket announces that the entire herd has left the corral, the third that the bulls and the oxen are in the Bullring and the fourth rocket indicates that the entire herd has entered the corral at the Plaza de Toros.

I have done a blog entry on the San Fermin activities in Pamplona in July 2007, and you might wish to check there on taurino matters.

 (photo: EFE)

Today, I am rather inclined to let you know that Pamplona has more to offer than just bullish things and events. Much more.

Surrounded by mountains, the plain of the basin of Pamplona has always favoured human settlement. Stone tools have been found on the terraces of the River Arga dating from some 75,000 years ago. In the first millennium B. C., there already existed a Vascon settlement beneath the modern-day city. This settlement gave rise to the name Iruña, Basque for ‘the city’. The Roman General, Gnaeus Pompey Magnus, arrived in 75 B. C. and founded a Roman-model city. He gave it its name, Pompaelo, and enhanced its function as a strategic link between the peninsula and Europe.

Quite a few years later, Pompaelo, now Pamplona, became a major venue for anyone walking the Camino de Santiago along the so-called Camino Francés.

The Gothic bridge of La Magdalena is the main entrance to the city for pilgrims. Built in the 12th Century, it has three slightly pointed arches as supports. There is a cross with an image of San Jacobeo at one end. After crossing the River Arga, pilgrims find themselves beneath Pamplona’s city walls.

Caminantes cross the Gateway of France, and climb Calle del Carmen, known as Rúa de los Peregrinos in the 14th and 15th centuries, to the ancient City of Navarrería. This is the oldest gateway in the city. It bears a coat of arms carved with the two-headed eagle and the imperial arms.

The Pilgrims’ road passes through the square in front of the Ayuntamiento de Pamplona (Town Hall), one of the most important stages of the San Fermin fiestas. 

A brotherhood used to attend and give shelter to pilgrims at the church of Santo Domingo. The church is large, open-plan and austere, typical of religious architecture. Inside, Saint James is present in the niche on the façade, dressed as a pilgrim, complete with stick, hat and scallop shell. The façade repeats the scallop-shell motif, icon of the Pilgrimage, on its niches and door.

The church of San Lorenzo saw the light of day in the 13th Century, but only the tower remains of the original medieval building. This church houses the famous Chapel of San Fermin with its bust-reliquary of Pamplona’s patron saint and first Bishop of the city. Next to the church is the Plaza de Recoletas with its Neoclassical fountains and the Convento de los Carmelitos, founded in 1634.

The good news, overall, is that you do not have to be a taurean aficionado, nor an Ernest Hemingway lover, nor even a pilgrim or anything, really, to get a lot of pleasure out of a visit to Pamplona, the capital city of Navarra province.

Navarra is the largest of the four Basque provinces that we have in Spain. A lot of good things come from the Basque culture and the Basque people, whatever you might think and hear, or read in the papers – good food, good music, good fun and lots of good life, all round. And of course, you know that on the French side of the Pyrenees, there are three more Basque provinces, with lots more good things, aussi.

But that is perhaps a story for another day.

Miquel Barceló in the Palais des Nations

In my blog entry dated July 2nd, 2007, I told you of a commission which the Felanitx born artist, Miquel Barceló, had accepted in Geneva (Switzerland). Felanitx is the town in Mallorca (Spain), where I made my home for the last twenty years.

I have it from a very reliable source that Miquel Barceló has accomplished the mammoth task. The mural painting for the 1,500 m2 domed ceiling of Room XX in the UN Palais des Nations building in Geneva is now completed and, apparently, the finished result is said to be rather impressive.

Here is some background information (I quote from the ONUART website):

In April, 2007, in a ceremony presided over by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé, the Fundación ONUART was established in Madrid (ONU is the Spanish acronym for the United Nations Organization). Fundación ONUART is a private, non-profit agency with mixed public and private funding, whose main aims are to promote dialogue, through the use of Spanish contemporary arts, to promote dialogue, to drive understanding between cultures and societies, and to foster multilateralism in Geneva. 

Fundación ONUART commissioned Spanish artist, Miquel Barceló, to create a unique ceiling painting for Room XX. This meeting venue will host the UN Human Rights Council and will be one of the largest and most state-of-the-art of all the negotiating rooms at the Palais des Nations. What also distinguishes Room XX in particular is that it has an enormous 1,500 m2 ellipsoidal dome. This dome provides the backdrop for the biggest challenge ever for 51-year-old artist. 

The Chamber for Human Rights and for the Alliance of Civilisations will be the room’s official title following its inauguration and it will be the permanent home of the newly created United Nations Human Rights Council. It will become the UN’s most modern negotiating room, using the latest materials and technology in audiovisual resources, conference services, interpretation systems, information technology and telecommunications.

Miquel Barceló, supported by a 20-strong team, was using some 35 tons of paint with pigments from all corners of the globe, specially designed equipment, with the involvement of specialists in various disciplines, including particle physics laboratories, engineers, architects and others in heritage restoration.   

The Chamber for Human Rights and for the Alliance of Civilisations is currently being fitted out and furnished to its 800+ seating capacity. I understand that the inauguration date is set for sometime in November, 2008. We just have to wait a bit longer before we can see what the man from Felanitx has created, this time.

In the meantime, an exhibition with work by the Felanitx artist opened last week at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (Ireland), called Miquel Barceló: The African Work. The show can be seen until 28th September, 2008. This exhibition will then travel to CAC Málaga, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga (Spain), where it will be opened in November, 2008.

The two photos (top and centre) show Miquel Barceló’s ceramic sculpture, Gran pot avec crânes sur 1 face, dated 2000. The photo (above) shows the artist in Room XX of the Palais des Nations, Geneva; it was borrowed from the Internet (© Agustí Torres – ONUART). Gracias.

Massacre in Barcelona


Barcelona was bombarded for three days from March 16th to 19th, 1938, at the height of the Spanish Civil War. That’s seventy years ago, today.

The attacking aeroplanes were Italian, under the ultimate command of the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, and had come at General Franco’s request to teach the Catalan population of Spain a lesson or two.

The Italian aeroplanes had been stationed on the island of Mallorca. The Republican forces had already retreated from Mallorca in September 1936. The retreat was more of a flight, leaving behind weapons, material and many men.

Now it was Barcelona’s turn. Barcelona suffered 13 massive air strikes by the Italian aeroplanes. A total of 44 tons of bombs were dropped over the city. The bombings were aimed at the civil population; no military objects were attacked. The bombs included fire bombs and gas bombs. More than one thousand people died, among them many children. The number of people injured is estimated to be in the thousands.

The medieval Cathedral of Barcelona was one of the targets that was bombed.


One has to remember that at that precise moment, Spain was still a Republic. General Elections in January 1936 had brought the Popular Front into Government, a coalition of Socialists, Communists, Catalan and Madrid-based left-wing Republicans. Manuel Azaña was the President of this Second Spanish Republic, formally and legally in charge until 1939, when Franco’s gruesome regime declared victory in the War of Brothers. 

Things had already gone out of control as early as 1936.

History bears evidence to the fact that from then on Spain entered a chaotic period of incredible violence and brutality in which not only partisans of the right and left but also ordinary citizens bore the burden of war, poverty, and murder.

It seems that only now, 70 years after the horrific events and massacres, people in Spain are finally coming to a state of mind where it is possible to talk about the events from the past and about what happened between 1936 and 1939, the Guerra Civil de España.


To this end, the Generalitat de Catalunya has organized a series of events, talks and exhibitions to make sure that the victims are not forgotten. And victims there were plenty. People were not only attacked, and killed, in Barcelona, but all over Catalunya during the years of the Civil War (and all over Spain, of course).

If you are interested in finding out more, and provided that your Spanish, Catalan or Italian language abilities are sufficient, you could get more information on the Barcelonabombardejada website (no English language option available).

The bloody war in Iraq started five years ago this week, on March 20th. Even though one can not compare one deadly war with another, it is quite evident that the only lesson we ever learn is that we never learn.

Skiing in Spain


Skiing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Spain because of its southern latitude. When most people think about Spain, they think rather of lemons, bullfights, palmtrees, flamenco, sangria, beaches, sun and hot weather. But snow? Only people in the know think of snow when it comes to Spain.

In reality, Spain is a relatively mountainous country and “high” in elevation, only second in Europe to that of Switzerland. Let’s take that in for a moment. The average altitude of land in Spain is higher than that of France, Germany, Italy or even the Scandinavian countries. There are lots of mountains in those countries, but Spain? Yes, Spain has mountains to boot, and snow to go with the mountains, as a satellite photo, courtesy of NASA, illustrates quite clearly (the photo was taken in the Spring of 2006, I believe. And muchas gracias, NASA).


There are 14 regions in Spain that cater to the skiing enthusiasts with a total of 39 ski stations. And, in my opinion, some of those regions compete easily with the best of any European ski resorts.

In effect, the number of options in Spain to go skiing is quite profuse. The two main and favourite options are the Pyrenees and the mountain range of the Sierra Nevada. The Pyrenees are in the Northeast of Spain and help delineate the Spanish borders with France. The Sierra Nevada is in Southern Spain, above the city of Granada.

Some claim that the Sierra Nevada range provides the best snow and longest skiing season in the country (5 months). Apparently it is possible to ski there in the morning and then travel a short distance to sunbathe on the beach in the afternoon, obviously depending on the season.

If you’re considering a skiing holiday in Spain, the main destinations to consider are probably the following:

In the Catalán Pyrenees: Baqueira Beret, Boí Taüll, Espot Esquí and La Molina.

In the Aragon Pyrenees: Astún, Candanchú, Cerler, Formigal, Javalambre and Panticosa.

In Andalucía: the Sierra Nevada, east of Granada.

You’ll also find some good skiing in the mountains to the north of Madrid in La Pinilla, Navacerrada, Valcotos and Valdesquí.

Further north there is skiing in La Rioja at Valdezcaray, at Alto Campo in Cantabria and at San Isidro in León though none of these stations are geared up to large scale tourism like one can find in the Pyrenees and, to a lesser extent, in the Sierra Nevada.

And there is Andorra, which of course is not Spain, but from abroad, you might consider the Andorran ski resorts just the same: Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig, Soldeu, El Tarter, Pal and La Massana.

All of the above resorts have had good skiing conditions during the six weeks since New Year, and most of them are ensured to have snow for good skiing until the end of March, under normal conditions. For up-to-date snow availability in Spain you might want to check on the internet, such as on j2ski.

And don’t forget to build your first Spanish snowman.

The 500 Most Important People in the History of Spain


The Spanish Academia de la Historia published a concise edition of the most important historical Spaniards, the definitive ‘Primer Gran Diccionario Biográfico’. It is a compilation of the 40,000 most influential people in Spain during the last 2,355 years, up to and including La Infanta Leonor, Crown Prince Felipe’s first born daughter. It makes interesting reading. 

The tome is written in Spanish for the time being, as would be expected. 

Let me for now introduce you to the Top 500 personalities of the ‘Gran Diccionario Biográfico’, in alphabetical order (no, La Infanta Leonor does not yet make the Top 500). And no, I do not offer a translation here, I am afraid. The more interested blog readers may have a sufficient command of the Castilian language; those who don’t would probably not be sufficiently interested in the listing to make such a tedious task viable.

1. Abarca de Bolea y Ximénez de Urrea, Pedro Pablo. Conde de Aranda (1719-1798).

2. Abd al-Rahmán I. El Inmigrado (734-788). 

3. Abd al-Rahmán III (891-961). 

4. Abd al-Rahmán II (790-852). 

5. Abú al-Hasán Alí. Muley Hacén (1464-1485). 

6. Abu Yusuf Yaqub Al-Mansur (fallecido en 1485). 

7. Adriano, Publio Elio (76-138).

8. Aguirre, Francisco de (1508-1581).

9. Al-Hakam II (915-976). 

10. Alarcón y Ariza, Pedro Antonio (1833-1891). 

11. Albéniz Pascual, Isaac Manuel (1860-1909). 

12. Alberoni, Giulio (1664-1752). 

13. Alberto de Áustria (1559-1621). 

14. Alcalá-Galiano y Alcalá-Galiano, Dionisio (1762-1805). 

15. Alcalá-Zamora y Torres, Niceto (1877-1949). 

16. Aleixandre Merlo,Vicente (1898-1984). 

17. Alejandro VI. El Papa Borgia (1431-1503). 

18. Alemán, Mateo (1547-1613). 

19. Alfonso XII. El Pacificador (1857-1885). 

20. Alfonso I. El Batallador (1073-1134). 

21. Alfonso I. El Católico (fallecido en 757).

22. Alfonso II de Aragón. El Casto (1154-1196). 

23. Alfonso II de Asturias. El Casto (759-842). 

24. Alfonso III. El Magno (848-910). 

25. Alfonso IV. El Benigno (1299-1336). 

26. Alfonso IX (1171-1230). 

27. Alfonso V. El Magnánimo (1394-1458). 

28. Alfonso V. El Noble (999-1028). 

29. Alfonso VI (1040-1109). 

30. Alfonso VII. El Emperador (1105-1157). 

31. Alfonso VIII. El de Las Navas (1155-1214).

32. Alfonso X. El Sabio (1221-1284). 

33. Alfonso XI. El Justiciero (1311-1350). 

34. Alfonso XIII (1886-1941). 

35. Almanzor (940-1002). 

36. Alonso Martínez, Manuel (1827-1891). 

37. Alonso Vega, Camilo (1889-1971). 

38. Alonso y Fernández de las Redondas, Dámaso (1898-1990). 

39. Alvarado, Pedro de (1485-1541).

40. Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, Fernando. El Gran Duque. Duque de Alba (III) (1507-1582). 

41. Amadeo I de Saboya. Duque de Aosta (1873-1933). 

42. Aníbal (247-182 a.C.). 

43. Aranda Mata, Antonio (1888-1979). 

44. Argüelles Álvarez, Agustín de. El Divino (1776-1844). 

45. Asenjo Barbieri, Francisco (1823-1894). 

46. Atahualpa (1500-1533). 

47. Augusto (63 a.C.-14 d.C.). 

48. Áustria, Carlos de. Príncipe don Carlos (1545-1568). 

49. Áustria, Jerónimo. Juan de Áustria (1545-1578). 

50. Áustria, Juan José de (1629-1679). 

51. Áustria, Margarita de (1584-1611). 

52. Azaña Díaz, Manuel (1880-1940). 

53. Aznar López, José María (1953-). 

54. Baroja y Nessi, Pío (1872-1956). 

55. Bartolomé de las Casas, Fray (1484-1566). 

56. Bazán y Guzmán, Álvaro de (1526-1588). 

57. Becerra y Bermúdez, Manuel (1823-1896). 

58. Bello López, Andrés (1781-1865). 

59. Ben Maimon, Rabí Moseh. Maimónides (1135-1204). 

60. Ben Rushd, Abú-l-Walíd Mohammed. Averroes (1126-1198). 

61. Benavente Martínez, Jacinto (1866-1954). 

62. Benlliure Gil, Mariano (1862-1947). 

63. Berceo, Gonzalo de (1198?-1264?).

64. Berenguer Fusté, Dámaso. (1878-1953). 

65. Berruguete, Alonso (1488-1561). 

66. Berruguete, Pedro (c.1450-c. 1503). 

67. Betancourt y Molina, Agustín de (1758-1824).

68. Blanca I de Navarra (1386-1441). 

69. Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente (1867-1928). 

70. Boccherini, Luigi (1743-1805). 

71. Bolívar, Simón (1783-1830). 

72. Borbón y Battenberg, Juan de. Juan III, Conde de Barcelona. (1913-1993).

73. Borbón y Borbón, Carlos María Isidro de. Conde de Molina, Carlos V (1788-1855). 

74. Borja, Alfonso de. Calixto III (1455-1458). 

75. Bravo Murillo, Juan (1803-1873). 

76. Bretón Hernández, Tomás (1850-1923). 

77. Buero Vallejo, Antonio (1916-2000). 

78. Buñuel Portolés, Luis (1900-1983).

79. Cabezón, Antonio de (1510-1566). 

80. Cabrera Griñó, Ramón (1806-1877). 

81. Cabrera y Felipe, Blas (1878-1945). 

82. Cala y Jarana, Elio Antonio de. Elio Antonio de Nebrija (1441-1522).

83. Calderón de la Barca y Henao, Pedro (1600-1681). 

84. Calvo Sotelo, José (1893-1936).

85. Cambó y Batlle, Francisco de Asís (1876-1947). 

86. Canalejas Méndez, José (1854-1912). 

87. Cano, Alonso (1601-1667). 

88. Cánovas del Castillo, Antonio (1828-1897).

89. Carlos I de España y V deAlemania (1500-1558). 

90. Carlos II. El Hechizado (1661-1700). 91. Carlos II. El Malo (1332-1387).

92. Carlos III (1716-1788). 

93. Carlos III. El Noble (1361-1425). 

94. Carlos IV (1748-1819).

95. Carlos VI (1685-1740). 

96. Carrero Blanco, Luis (1903-1973). 

97. Carrillo de Albornoz y Montiel, José Ignacio. 

98. Carvajal y Lancáster, José de (1698-1754). 

99. Casado López, Segismundo (1893-1968). 

100. Casals, Pau (1876-1973). 

101. Casas Nóvoa, Fernando de (?-1749). 

102. Castaños y Aragorri, Francisco Javier (1756-1852). 

103. Castelar y Ripoll, Emilio (1832-1899). 

104. Castillo, Fray Florencio del (1778 -1834). 

105. Castro de Murguía, Rosalía de (1837-1885). 

106. Catalina de Aragón (1485-1536). 

107. Cavanilles Palop, Antonio José (1745-1804). 

108. Cela Trulock, Camilo José (1916-2002). 

109. Cernuda Bidón, Luis (1902-1963). 

110. Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de (1547-1616). 

111. Cervera Topete, Pascual (1839-1909). 

112. César, Cayo Julio (110-44 a.C.). 

113. Cierva y Codorniú, Juan de la (1895-1936). 

114. Cieza de León, Pedro (1518-1554). 

115. Císcar y Císcar, Gabriel (1760-1829). 

116. Coello de Portugal y Quesada, Francisco (1822-1898). 

117. Coello, Claudio (1642-1693). 

118. Colón, Bartolomé (1461-1514). 

119. Colón, Cristóbal (1451-1506).

120. Colón, Diego (1482-1526). 

121. Colón, Hernando (1488-1539). 

122. Colonia, Juan de (1410 -1479). 

123. Columela, Lucio Junio Moderato (siglo I a.C.). 

124. Companys i Jover, Lluís (1883-1940). 

125. Cortés, Hernán (1485-1547). 

126. Cosa, Juan de la (1449-1510). 

127. Costa Martínez, Joaquín (1846-1911). 

128. Covarrubias y Leyva, Diego de (1512-1577). 

129. Covarrubias, Alonso de (1488-1570). 

130. Cuauhtémoc, Guatimoz (1502-1525). 

131. Chapí Lorente, Ruperto (1851-1909).

132. Chueca Robles, Federico (1846-1908). 

133. Churriguera, José Benito de (1665-1725). 

134. Churruca y Elorza, Cosme Damián (1761-1805). 

135. Dalí y Domenech, Salvador (1904-1989). 

136. Daoiz y Torres, Luís (1767-1808). 

137. Dato Iradier, Eduardo (1856-1921). 

138. Dávalos, Alfonso (1502-1546). 

139. Díaz de Vivar, Rodrigo. El Cid Campeador (1043-1099). 

140. Díaz del Castillo, Bernal (1495-1584). 

141. Díaz Ordóñez Escandón, Salvador (1845-1911). 

142. Domingo de Guzmán y Aza, Santo (1170-1221). 

143. Domínguez Bastida, Gustavo Adolfo. Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870). 

144. Echegaray y Eizaguirre, José de (1832-1916). 

145. Elcano, Juan Sebastián (1476-1526). 

146. Elorza y Aguirre, Francisco Antonio (1798-1873). 

147. Enrique II de Navarra (1503-1555). 

148. Enrique II. El de las Mercedes (1333-1379). 

149. Enrique III. El Doliente (1379-1406).

150. Enrique IV de Castilla. El Impotente (1425-1474). 

151. Ercilla y Zúñiga, Alonso de (1533-1594). 

152. Escaño y García de Cáceres, Antonio de (1750-1814). 

153. Espoz y Mina Ilundain, Francisco (1781-1836). 

154. Falla Mateu, Manuel de (1876-1946). 

155. Farnesio, Alejandro. Duque de Parma (1545-1592). 

156. Feijóo y Montenegro Puga, Benito Jerónimo (1676-1764). 

157. Felipe I. El Hermoso (1478-1506). 

158. Felipe II (1527-1598). 

159. Felipe III (1578-1621). 

160. Felipe IV (1605-1665). 

161. Felipe V (1683-1746). 

162. Fernán González (930-970). 

163. Fernández-Espartero Álvarez de Toro, Joaquín Baldomero (1793-1879). 

164. Fernández-Miranda y Hevia, Torcuato (1915-1980). 

165. Fernández de Castro Andrade y Portugal, Pedro (1632-1672). 

166. Fernández de Córdoba, Gonzalo. El Gran Capitán (1453-1515). 

167. Fernández de Moratín, Leandro (1760-1828).

168. Fernández Ladreda Menéndez Valdés, José María (1885-1954). 

169. Fernández Pacheco y Zúñiga, Juan Manuel (1650-1725). 

170. Fernández, Gregorio (1576-1636). 

171. Fernando I de Áustria (1503-1564). 

172. Fernando I de Castilla y León (1016-1065). 

173. Fernando I. El de Antequera (1379-1416). 

174. Fernando II de León (1137-1188). 

175. Fernando III. El Santo (1201-1252). 

176. Fernando IV (1285-1312). 

177. Fernando V de Castilla y II de Aragón. El Católico (1452-1516). 

178. Fernando VI (1713-1759). 

179. Fernando VII (1784-1833). 

180. Figueras y Moragas, Estanislao (1819-1882). 

181. Figueroa y Torres, Álvaro de (1863-1950). 

182. Flórez de Setién Huidobro y Velasco, Enrique Fernando (1702-1773). 

183. Fortuny y Marsal, Mariano José María (1838-1874).

184. Francisco de Borja y Aragón, San (1577-1658). 

185. Francisco Javier, San (1506-1552). 

186. Francisco Solano, San. Apóstol de Perú (1549-1610). 

187. Franco Bahamonde, Francisco (1892-1975). 

188. Gabriel Téllez, Fray. Tirso de Molina (1579-1648). 

189. Galindo, Beatriz. La Latina (1465-1534). 

190. Gálvez, Bernardo de (1746-1786). 

191. García-Alas y Ureña, Leopoldo. Clarín (1852-1901). 

192. García de la Cuesta, Gregorio (1741-1811). 

193. García Lorca, Federico (1898-1936). 

194. García Morato Castaño, Joaquín (1904-1939). 

195. Gaudí Cornet, Antonio (1852-1926).

196. Gelmírez, Diego de (1069-1140). 

197. Gil de Hontañón, Juan (1505-1577). 

198. Giordano, Luca. Lucas Jordán (1634-1705). 

199. Girón y Ezpeleta Las Casas y Enrile, Francisco Javier (1803-1869). 

200. Godoy Álvarez de Faria, Manuel de (1767-1851). 

201. Gómez Becerra, Álvaro (1771-1855). 

202. Gómez de la Serna, Ramón (1888-1963). 

203. Gómez de Mora, Juan (1586-1646). 

204. Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, Francisco. Duque de Lerma (?-1624). 

205. Gómez de Silva, Ruy. Duque de Pastrana (I) Príncipe de Éboli (1516-1573). 

206. Góngora y Argote, Luis de (1561-1627). 

207. González-Gallarza Iragorri, Eduardo (1898-1986). 

208. González de Mendoza, Pedro. (1428-1495).

209. González Márquez, Felipe (1942- ).

210. González Pellicer, Julio. 

211. González Pérez, José Victoriano. Juan Gris (1887-1927). 

212. Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de (1746-1828). 

213. Gracián y Morales, Baltasar (1601-1658). 

214. Granados Campiña, Enrique (1867-1916). 

215. Gravina y Napoli, Federico Carlos (1756-1806). 

216. Grimaldi Pallavicini y Spinola, Pablo Jerónimo. Marqués de Grimaldi, duque de Grimaldi (1720-1786). 

217. Guas, Juan (?-1496). 

218. Gutiérrez de la Concha Masón Irigoyen de la Quintana, Manuel. Marqués del Duero (1806-1874). 

219. Gutiérrez Mellado, Manuel (1912-1995). 

220. Gutiérrez Solana, José (1886-1945). 

221. Guzmán y Pimentel Rivera y Velasco de Tovar, Gaspar de. Conde-Duque de Olivares (I) (1587-1645). 

222. Hamen y León, Juan van der (1596-1631). 

223. Hernández, Francisco (1517-1587). 

224. Hernando de Talavera, Fray (1428-1507). 

225. Herrera Oria, Ángel (1886-1968). 

226. Herrera, Juan de (c. 1530-1597). 

227. Hurtado de Mendoza, Diego (1503-1575). 

228. Ibn-Zeyad, Tarik (primera mitad del siglo VIII). 

229. Iglesias Posse, Pablo (1850-1925). 

230. Ignacio de Loyola, San (1491-1556). 

231. Isabel Clara Eugenia (1566-1633). 

232. Isabel I. La Católica (1451-1504). 

233. Isabel II (1830-1904). 

234. Isidoro de Sevilla, San (c. 560-636). 

235. Jaime I. El Conquistador (1208-1276). 

236. Jiménez de Cisneros, Francisco (1436-1517). 

237. Jiménez de Rada, Rodrigo (1170-1247). 

238. Jiménez Mantecón, Juan Ramón (1881-1958). 

239. José de Calasanz, San (1556-1648). 

240. José I Bonaparte (1768-1844). 

241. Jovellanos y Ramírez, Gaspar Melchor de. Jovino (1744-1811). 

242. Juan Carlos I (1938- ). 

243. Juan de Dios, San (1495-1550). 

244. Juan de la Cruz, San (1542-1591). 

245. Juan I de Aragón (1350-1396).

246. Juan II de Aragón y de Navarra (1398-1479). 

247. Juan II de Castilla (1405-1454). 

248. Juan Macías, San (1585-1645). 

249. Juan Manuel, Don (1282-1348). 

250. Juan y Santacilia, Jorge (1713-1773).

251. Juana de Castilla. La Beltraneja (1462-1530). 

252. Juana I. La Loca (1479-1555). 

253. Juana Inés de la Cruz, Sor (1651-1695). 

254. Juni, Juan de (c. 1507-1577). 

255. Kindelán y Duany, Alfredo (1879-1962).

256. Laín Entralgo, Pedro (1908-2001). 

257. Largo Caballero, Francisco (1869-1946).

258. Larra y Sánchez de Castro, Mariano José de. (1809-1837). 

259. León Pinelo, Antonio de (1594-1660). 

260. Leoni, Pompeo (1533-1608). 

261. Leovigildo. Flavio Leovigildo Rex (?-586). 

262. Lerroux García, Alejandro (1864-1949). 

263. Lezo y Olavarrieta, Blas de (1687-1741). 

264. López de Ayala, Pero (1332-1407). 

265. López de Legazpi Gurruchátegui, Miguel (1505-1572). 

266. López de Mendoza, Íñigo (II). Marqués de Santillana (1398-1458). 

267. López Portaña, Vicente (1772-1850).

268. Luís de León, Fray (c. 1527-1591). 

269. Luís I de España (1707-1724). 

270. Luján Miguel-Romero, Francisco (1798 1867). 

271. Luna, Álvaro de (1390?-1453). 

272. Luna, Pedro de. Benedicto XIII. El Papa Luna (c. 1328-1423). 

273. Luque, Hernando de (fallecido en 1532). 

274. Llull, Ramón (1232-1316). 

275. Macià y Llusà, Francesc (1859-1933). 

276. Machado y Ruiz, Antonio (1875-1939). 

277. Machuca, Pedro (?-1550). 

278. Madoz Ibáñez, Pascual (1806-1870). 

279. Madrazo y Kuntz, Federico de (1815-1894). 

280. Magallanes, Fernando de (c. 1480-1521). 

281. Malaspina y Melipuppi, Alessandro (1754-1810). 

282. Manrique, Jorge (1440-1479). 

283. Marañón y Posadillo, Gregorio (1887-1960). 

284. María Cristina de Borbón dos Sicilias (1806-1878). 

285. María Cristina de Habsburgo-Lorena (1858-1929). 

286. María de Molina. Señora de Molina (?-1321). 

287. Mariana de Áustria (1634-1696). 

288. Mariana, Juan de (1536-1624). 

289. Martí, José (1853-1895).

290. Martín Díez, Juan. El Empecinado (1775-1825). 

291. Martínez de Campos y Antón, Arsenio (1831-1900). 

292. Martínez de Irala, Domingo (1509-1556). 

293. Martínez Ruiz, José. Azorín (1873-1967). 

294. Masip, Vicente Juan. Juan de Juanes (1523-1579). 

295. Mateo-Sagasta Escolar, Práxedes (1825-1903). 

296. Mateo, Maestro (s. XII-s.XIII). 

297. Maura y Montaner, Antonio (1853-1925). 

298. Meléndez, Luís (1716-1780). 

299. Mena Medrano, Pedro de (1628-1688). 

300. Mena, Juan de (1411-1456). 

301. Méndez de Haro y Guzmán, Luís. Luís de Haro (1598-1661). 

302. Mendoza Pacheco, Antonio de. Marqués de Mondéjar (1490-1552). 

303. Mendoza y de la Cerda, Ana. Princesa de Éboli (1540-1592). 

304. Menéndez Pelayo, Marcelino (1856-1912). 

305. Menéndez Pidal, Ramón (1869-1968). 

306. Mengs, Antonio Rafael (1728-1779). 

307. Mesa y Velasco, Juan de (1583-1627). 

308. Miaja Menant, José (1878-1958). 

309. Miranda, Francisco de (1750-1816). 

310. Miró Ferra, Joan (1893-1983). 

311. Miró Ferrer, Gabriel (1879-1930). 

312. Moctezuma II (1468-1520). 

313. Mola Vidal, Emilio. (1887-1937). 

314. Mompou Mompou, Federico (1893-1987). 

315. Montenegro Gutiérrez, Diego de. Diego de Almagro (1475-1538). 

316. Montero Ríos, Eugenio María (1832-1914). 

317. Moñino y Redondo, José. Conde de Floridablanca (1728-1808). 

318. Mora Fernández, Juan (1784-1854). 

319. Moreno Torroba, Federico (1891-1982). 

320. Moret y Prendergast, Segismundo (1838-1913). 

321. Moscardó Ituarte, José. Conde del Alcázar de Toledo (1878-1956). 

322. Muhammad XI. Boabdil (1459-1528). 

323. Múñoz Grandes, Agustín (1896-1970). 

324. Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban (1617-1682). 

325. Mutis y Bosio, José Celestino (1732-1808). 

326. Narváez y Campos, Ramón María (1800-1868). 

327. Narváez, Luis de (1490-1547). 

328. Navarro Rubio, Mariano (1913-2001). 

329. Navia-Osorio y Vigil de Quiñones, Álvaro José de (1684-1732).

330. Negrín López, Juan (1891-1956). 

331. Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar (c. 1490-c. 1557). 

332. Núñez de Balboa, Vasco (1475-1519). 

333. O’Donnell y Jorris, Leopoldo (1809-1867). 

334. O’Higgins, Ambrosio (1720-1801). 

335. Ochoa de Albornoz, Severo (1905-1993). 

336. Olavide y Jaúregui, Pablo Antonio de. Anastasio Céspedes y Monroy (1725-1803). 

337. Ordoño I (?-866). 

338. Orleans y Borbón, Alfonso de. Duque de Galliera, Infante de España (1886-1975). 

339. Ors y Rovira, Eugenio d‘. Xenius (1881-1954). 

340. Ortega y Gasset, José (1883-1955). 

341. Ovando, Nicolás de (1451-1511). 

342. Pacheco Téllez Girón de Mendoza y Toledo, Juan Francisco. (1640-1718). 

343. Pacheco, Juan. (1449-1474). 

344. Palafox y Mendoza, Juan (1600-1659). 

345. Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Acisclo Antonio (1655-1726). 

346. Pardo Bazán, Emilia (1852-1921). 

347. Pardo de Tavera, Juan (1534-1545). 

348. Parma, Margarita de. Duquesa de Parma (1522-1586). 

349. Patiño y Rosales, Baltasar (1666-1733). 

350. Patiño y Rosales, José (1666-1736). 

351. Paula Montal Fornés, Santa (1799-1889). 

352. Pavía y Rodríguez de Albuquerque, Manuel María (1827-1895).

353. Pedro I. El Cruel (1334-1369). 

354. Pedro de Alcántara, San (1499-1562). 

355. Pedro I de Aragón. Pedro I Sánchez El Católico (1068-1104). 

356. Pedro II de Aragón. El Católico (c. 1177-1213). 

357. Pedro III. El Grande (1240-1285). 

358. Pedro IV. El Ceremonioso o el del Puñalet (1319-1387). 

359. Pelayo. Don Pelayo (?-737). 

360. Peral y Caballero, Isaac (1851-1895). 

361. Pereda y Sánchez de Porrúa, José María de (1833-1906). 

362. Pérez de Ayala, Ramón (1888-1962). 

363. Pérez de Guzmán, Alonso. Guzmán el Bueno (1255-1309). 

364. Pérez Galdós, Benito (1843-1920).

365. Pérez Villaamil, Jenaro (1807-1854). 

366. Pérez, Antonio (1540-1611). 

367. Pi y Margall, Francisco (1824-1901). 

368. Pinazo Camerlench, Ignacio (1849-1916). 

369. Pinzón, Martín Alonso (1440-1493). 

370. Pinzón, Vicente Yáñez (1461-1514). 

371. Pizarro, Francisco (1476-1541). 

372. Plinio. El Viejo (23-79 d.C.). 

373. Ponce de León, Juan (1465-1521). 

374. Ponce de León, Rodrigo (1444-1492). 

375. Portocarrero Lasso de la Vega, Melchor Antonio (1636-1705). 

376. Prieto Tuero, Indalecio (1883-1962). 

377. Prim y Prats, Juan (1814-1870). 

378. Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja, Miguel (1870-1930). 

379. Primo de Rivera y Sáenz de Heredia, José Antonio (1903-1936). 

380. Prudencio Clemente, Aurelio (348-415). 

381. Queipo de Llano y Ruiz de Saravia, José María (1786-1843). 

382. Queipo de Llano y Sierra, Gonzalo (1875-1951). 

383. Quevedo y Villegas, Francisco de (1580-1645). 

384. Quintiliano, Marco Fabio (35-95 d. C.). 

385. Quiroga, Vasco de. Tata Vasco (1479-1565). 

386. Ramírez de Saavedra y Rodríguez de Baquedano, Ángel. Duque de Rivas III (1791-1865).

387. Ramiro I de Astúrias (791-850). 

388. Ramón Berenguer IV. El Santo (1113-1162). 

389. Ramón y Cajal, Santiago (1852-1934). 

390. Rebolledo de Palafox y Melci, José de (1776-1847). 

391. Recaredo, Flavio. Recaredo Rex (?-601). 

392. Rey Pastor, Julio (1888-1962). 

393. Ribalta, Francisco de (1565-1628). 

394. Ribera, José de. El Españoleto (1591-1652). 

395. Ribera, Pedro de (1683?-1742). 

396. Rodrigo Vidre, Joaquín (1901-1999). 

397. Rodríguez de Campomanes y Pérez de Sorriba, Pedro. Conde de Campomanes (1723-1803). 

398. de Silva y Velázquez, Diego (1599-1660).

399. Rodríguez Tizón, Ventura (1717-1785). 

400. Rojas, Fernando de (1475-1541). 

401. Rojo Lluch, Vicente (1894-1966). 

402. Romero Robledo, Francisco (1838-1906). 

403. Ros de Olano y Perpiñá, Antonio José Teodoro (1808-1886). 

404. Rosales y Martínez, Eduardo (1836- 1873). 

405. Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza, Juan (1581?-1639). 

406. Ruiz Mendoza, Jacinto (1779-1809). 

407. Ruiz Picasso, Pablo (1881-1973). 

408. Ruiz Zorrilla, Manuel (1833-1895). 

409. Ruiz, Juan. Arcipreste de Hita (c. 1283-c. 1350). 

410. Saavedra Fajardo, Diego de (1584-1648). 

411. Sabatini, Francesco (1722-1797). 

412. Sacchetti, Giovanni Battista (1690-1764). 

413. Salamanca y Mayol, José de. Marqués de Salamanca. (1811-1883). 

414. Salas Larrazábal, Ángel (1906-1994). 

415. Salmerón y Alonso, Nicolás (1838-1908). 

416. Salzillo y Alcaraz, Francisco (1707-1783). 

417. San Martín Matorras, José de (1778-1850). 

418. Sánchez-Albornoz y Menduiña, Claudio (1893-1984). 

419. Sánchez Coello, Alonso (1531-1588). 

420. Sánchez Guerra Martínez, José (1859-1935). 

421. Sánchez y Fernández de la Cotera, Tomás Antonio (1725-1802). 

422. Sancho Garcés II. Abarca (fallecido en 994). 

423. Sancho Garcés III. El Mayor (c. 992-1035). 

424. Sancho Garcés IV. El de Peñalén (1040-1076). 

425. Sancho I Ramírez (1043-1094). 

426. Sancho IV. El Bravo (1258-1295). 

427. Sancho VI. El Sabio (fallecido en 1194). 

428. Sancho VII. El Fuerte (1154-1234). 

429. Sanjurjo y Sacanell, José (1872-1936).

430. Santa Cruz, Alonso de (c. 1505-c. 1572). 

431. Sarasate Navascués, Pablo (1844-1908). 

432. Scarlatti, Domenico (1685-1757). 

433. Séneca, Lucio Anneo. Séneca, el Filósofo (c. 4 a.C.-65 d.C.).

434. Sepúlveda, Juan Ginés de (c. 1490-1573) ). 

435. Serrano Suñer, Ramón (1901-2003). 

436. Servet Conesa, Miguel (1511-1553). 

437. Siloé, Diego de (c. 1495-1563). 

438. Siloé, Gil (último tercio del siglo XV). 

439. Silvela y de la Vielleuze, Francisco. (1843-1905). 

440. Sofía de Grecia (1938- ).

441. Soler Ramos, Antonio (1729-1783). 

442. Solórzano y Pereyra, Juan de (1575-1655) ). 

443. Somodevilla y Bengoechea, Zenón de. Marqués de la Ensenada (I) (1702-1781). 

444. Sor Montadas, José Fernando Macario (1778-1839). 

445. Soria y Mata, Arturo (1844-1920). 

446. Sorolla Bastida, Joaquín (1863-1923). 

447. Soto, Hernando de (c. 1500-1542). 

448. Spínola y Grimaldi, Ambrosio de (1569-1630). 

449. Suárez González, Adolfo. Duque de Suárez (I) (1932- ). 

450. Tarradellas i Joan, Josep (1899-1988). 

451. Teodosio (c. 346-395). 

452. Teresa de Jesús, Santa (1515-1582). 

453. Theoto- kúpoulos, Doménikos. El Greco (1541-1614). 

454. Tiépolo, Giovanni Batistta (1696-1770). 

455. Toledo y Figueroa, Francisco de (1516-1582). 

456. Toledo, Juan Bautista de (fallecido en 1567).

457. Tomás de Villanueva, Santo (1488-1561). 

458. Tomé, Narciso (?-1742). 

459. Torquemada, Fray Tomás de (1420-1498).

460. Torres Quevedo, Leonardo (1852-1936). 

461. Torroja Miret, Eduardo (1899-1961). 

462. Trajano, Marco Ulpio (c. 53-117). 

463. Turina Pérez, Joaquín (1882-1949). 

464. Unamuno y Jugo, Miguel de (1864-1936). 

465. Urraca de León (c. 1080-1126). 

466. Vaca de Castro, Cristóbal (c. 1492-1566). 

467. Valdés Leal, Juan de (1622-1690). 

468. Valdés y Flores, Cayetano (1767- 1835). 

469. Valdés, Juan de (c. 1509-1542). 

470. Valdivia, Pedro de (1497-1553). 

471. Valera y Alcalá Galiano, Juan (1824-1905). 

472. Valle y Peña, Ramón José del. Ramón María del Valle-Inclán (1866-1936). 

473. Vallés, Francisco (1524-1592). 

474. Vara del Rey y Rubio, Joaquín (1840-1898).

475. Vargas y Ponce, José de (1760-1821). 

476. Vega Carpio, Lope de (1562-1635). 

477. Vega, Garcilaso de la (c. 1501-1536). 

478. Velasco y de Castilla, Luis de (1511-1564). 

479. Velázquez de Cuéllar, Diego de (1465-1524). 

480. Verdaguer Santaló, Jacint (1845-1902). 

481. Vespucci, Amerigo Mateo (1454-1512). 

482. Vicente Ferrer, San (1350-1419). 

483. Victoria, Tomás Luis de (1548-1611).

484. Villaamil y Fernández Cueto, Fernando (1845-1898). 

485. Villanueva, Juan de (1739-1811).

486. Vitoria Compludo, Francisco de (1486-1546). 

487. Vives March, Juan Luís (1492-1540). 

488. Vives y Vich, Pedro (1858-1938). 

489. Yagüe Blanco, Juan (1891-1952). 

490. Yañez de la Almedina, Fernando (?-1536). 

491. Yusuf I (1318-1354). 

492. Zafra, Hernando de. Señor de Castril (1460-1507). 

493. Zorrilla y Moral, José (1817-1893). 

494. Zubiri Apalategui, Xavier (1898-1983). 

495. Zumalacárregui y de Imaz, Tomás de (1788-1835). 

496. Zumárraga, Juan de (1468-1548). 

497. Zúñiga y Acevedo, Gaspar de (1560-1606). 

498. Zúñiga y Guzmán, Baltasar (1658-1727). 

499. Zúñiga y Velasco, Baltasar de (1561-1622). 

500. Zurbarán y Salazar, Francisco de (1598-1664).


I might well tell you more about one or the other of these people, in a blog entry to come. Just in case you should be interested.


Primus Circumdedistum


On the last day of this year I want to tell you about something first ever. Or rather, someone who was the first one ever.

Juan Sebastián Elcano was the first man, and a Spanish one at that, who ever made the complete circumnavigation of the globe. Of course, the world thinks that it was Portuguese-born naval commander and navigator Hernando Magellan (Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães) to claim such a feat, but one tends to overlook that Magellan was killed during a fight with natives in the Philippine Islands, half way through the circumference. Hence, Magellan attempted, but never completed the full circuit. 

Once Vasco da Gama and the Portuguese arrived in India in 1498, it became urgent for Spain to find a new commercial route to Asia and the Spice Islands. The Treaty of Tordesillas (see my entry dated  April 6th, 2007) reserved for Portugal the sea routes that went around Africa. The Spanish Crown therefore decided to send out exploratory expeditions in order to find a way to Asia, travelling westwards. 

Magellan had tried, but had failed to convince Manuel, the 14th King of Portugal and the Algarves, of such an endeavour. However, he was more successful in convincing the Spanish King Carlos V of his proposition. 

Magellan set out from Sevilla, Spain, in 1519 in service of the Spanish Crown with an expeditionary fleet of five vessels and a total of 265 men, including 40 from the Basque land (amongst which Juan Elcano from Getaria, Guipúzcoa). After Magellan’s death, it was Juan Elcano who brought the only surviving of Magellan’s original five ships, the Victoria, back to Sevilla with a handful of survivors, in September 1522, after a journey lasting three years and one month.

An adventurer, Elcano fought under orders of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba in Italy and, in 1509, he joined the expedition organized by Cardinal Cisneros against Algiers. Later, he settled himself in Sevilla and became a merchant ship captain.

After violating Castilian law by surrendering a ship of his to Genoan bankers in repayment of a debt, he sought a pardon from the Spanish King, by signing on, as a subordinate officer, to Hernando Magellan’s expedition to open a westward route to the Spice Islands (Molucca Islands). He was spared from execution by Magellan after taking part in a failed mutiny in Patagonia and, after five months of hard labour in chains, Elcano was made captain of the Concepción, one of the five vessels.

Elcano went on to take command of the fleet when Magellan was killed in the battle of Mactan, the Philippines, on April 27th, 1521. Only three ships of the original fleet survived by then, but there were insufficient hands to man them, so Elcano set the Concepción on fire and continued the voyage with the Trinidad and the Victoria.

Confused as to what direction to take, they sailed west towards Borneo, where they contacted the Sultan of Brunei. After a conflict with the Sultan’s men, they sailed back eastward and then southeast towards the Spice Islands.

After arriving in the Molucca Islands November 8th, 1521, and loading the ships with spices, he divided the fleet: the Trinidad was to sail back through the Pacific Ocean, while the Victoria, captained by Elcano himself, would risk the passage of the Indian Ocean, a Portuguese controlled area. The Trinidad was left behind for repairs and was later stripped by the Portuguese and destroyed in a squall.




In order to avoid conflict with the Portuguese, Elcano sailed directly from Timor through the Indian Ocean without approaching the coast. They reached Cape of Good Hope on May 6th, 1522.

After two months without re-supplying, in July 1522, the Victoria, without enough water or other necessary supplies, arrived at the Cabo Verde Islands, a Portuguese base in the Atlantic coast of Africa. Elcano lied to the Portuguese authorities pretending that he was sailing from the Castilian territories in America. Yet one of the sailors eventually revealed the fabrication and Elcano had to part hastily from Cabo Verde.

On September 6th, 1522, Elcano sailed into Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain, aboard the Victoria, after a 78,000 km trip around the world, along with 17 other survivors of the 265 men who originally had embarked on the expedition. The profits resulting from the spices they carried made them suitably rich.

For completing the first world circumnavigation in History and the unprecedented final sailing from the Philippines to Spain, King Carlos V awarded Juan Elcano a coat of arms with the words Primus circumdedisti me (‘You went around me first’) surrounding a world globe, plus an annual pension.

In July, 1525, Elcano sailed again from Spain, in a second expedition under command of Garcia Loaiza, and, after making some explorations on the eastern coast of South America, passed again through Magellan’s Strait, in May 1526. Loaiza died in July of that year and Elcano succeeded him, but did not survive him for very long. The voyage eventually led to the second circumnavigation of the globe, but without Elcano completing the full circuit the second time round.

The Basque people in Spain are particularly proud of Juan Sebastián Elcano for being a native of the País Vasco. The first circumnavigation of the globe was the greatest single journey ever made, by far exceeding Cristobal Colom’s discovery of the West Indies. By comparison, all subsequent journeys have been increments on the known.

On the day the leaking Victoria returned home, Elcano wrote to his King and Emperor ‘we have given practical proof that the earth is a sphere’, adding ‘having sailed round it, coming from the west, we have come back through the east’.

There has not been any event in the history of exploration which provoked among the general population such a sense of the miraculous.

Juan Sebastián Elcano’s statue (see main photo above) is erected in Getaria, Guipúzcoa, in the País Vasco. Say hello for me if you ever make it there.

Imagine All the People Living Life in Peace…


Twenty-seven years ago today, Mark David Chapman put a vicious end to the life of John Lennon (1940 – 1980). Lennon was the outstanding English songwriter, musician, singer, artist, author and peace activist who became famous worldwide as the founder of the Sixties pop group, The Beatles.

John Winston Lennon was perhaps the more intrepid part of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Lennon/McCartney partnership, writing songs for The Beatles as well as other artists. Lennon, with his cynical edge, knack for introspection and, at times, wicked humour, and McCartney, with his story-telling optimism and gift for melody, complemented each other unlike any other songwriter duo. In his solo career, Lennon wrote and recorded songs such as “Beautiful Boy”, “Give Peace a Chance”, “Imagine”, “Mother”, “Woman” and “Working Class Hero”.

Lennon revealed his rebellious nature and flippant wit on television, in films such as A Hard Day’s Night (1964), in books such as In His Own Write as well as A Spaniard in the Works, in press conferences, interviews and through his peace actions, such as the bed-ins in Amsterdam and Montreal. He channelled his fame and penchant for controversy into his work as a peace activist, artist and author.

John Lennon had two sons, Julian, with his first wife Cynthia, and Sean, with his second wife, Japanese avant-garde artist Yoko Ono. Both sons have tried their hand at performing. Lennon was murdered in cold blood by Chapman in New York City on December 8th, 1980, as he and Ono returned home from a recording session.

The photo (above) shows John Lennon performing onstage at Madison Square Garden in New York City with Elton John, as a result of having lost a wager that his song “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” (which Elton John also played and sang on) would hit No. 1 on the pop chart (on November 11th). This event turned into Lennon’s last concert appearance ever (November 28th, 1974).




A film about John Lennon’s assassination, The Killing of John Lennon, directed by Andrew Piddington, premiered in Lennon’s birthplace Liverpool (UK) five days ago.


Lennon’s utopian dream of people living life in peace continues to be shared by many.


Five Michelin Stars for One Catalan Lady


One lucky lady has good reason to be cheerful. She is the only chef in the world, male or female, to be given an accolade of five Michelin stars. Her name is Carme Ruscalleda.

Carme Ruscalleda is a Catalan lady, who was already proud about her three star Michelin rating for her ‘Restaurante Sant Pau’, in Sant Pol de Mar, some 35 minutes east of Barcelona. The restaurant is set in a villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea. But now, she has also been given two more Michelin stars for her relatively new venture, the ‘Restaurante Sant Pau de Tokio’, opened in 2004 in Tokyo, Japan. Mrs. Ruscalleda admitts that she had hoped for a one star rating for her Tokyo restaurant. She says that she was surprised but delighted to have been handed two stars.


Ferran Adrià, eat your heart out. 

This fancy Tokyo branch of Carme Ruscalleda’s famous restaurant serves some serious Catalan cuisine. The tasting menu is ¥21,000, whilst main dishes are around ¥7,000 each. The lunchtime “Bento menu” is ¥8,000. There’s a more informal wine bar downstairs, with some 350 varieties of mostly Spanish wines and a menu of light tapas.

Senyora Ruscalleda was raised in a family of farmers and began cooking as a young girl. Later she studied Charcuterie technics. After marrying a grocery shop owner in 1975, she convinced her husband to open a restaurant. The ‘Restaurante Sant Pau’ opened in 1988. Just over two years after its inauguration, ‘Sant Pau’ won one Michelin star. In 1996, Carme Ruscalleda was given a two-star rating by the Michelin critics. She finally obtained a third Michelin Guide star in 2006.

Carme Ruscalleda is one of Spain’s top and most international women chefs. She is best known in Spain for having been chosen in 2004 as the chef for the wedding celebrations of Principe Felipe and Letizia Ortiz. Her restaurant ‘San Pau’ in Sant Pol de Mar is a convincing example of how to create unique dishes by combining a sense of imagination with traditional Catalán ingredients.

If you want to test Mrs. Ruscalleda’s fine art of cooking yourself, or if you have a wedding celebration coming up, here are her details:

Restaurante Sant Pau

08395 Sant Pol de Mar (Catalunya)

Tel.: +34.93.760.0662

Restaurante Sant Pau de Tokio

Coredo Nihonbashi Annex 1/2F

1-6-1 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku

Tokyo (Japan)

Tel.: +81.03.3517.5700


If you enjoy eating out you probably know that Spanish gastronomy as a whole is highly esteemed by the gurus of le Guide Michelin, especially so if chefs from the Basque country and from Catalunya are involved in the cooking. 

Guide Michelin rated a total of 134 Spanish restaurants with either one, two or three stars, in their new Guide Michelin Hotels & Restaurants for Spain 2008

Six restaurants (three Basque and three Catalán) were confirmed for 2008 for their high food standard. These restaurants are those of chefs, Juan Mari Arzak (restaurant ‘Arzak’, San Sebastián); Santi Santamaría (‘Can Fabes’, Sant Celoni, Barcelona); Ferran Adrià (‘El Bulli’, Roses, Girona); Martín Berasategui (‘Martín Berasategui’, Lasarte, Guipúzcoa); Pedro Subijana (‘Akelarre’, San Sebastián) and Carme Ruscalleda (‘Sant Pau’, Sant Pol de Mar, Barcelona), mentioned above. Well done, and congratulations to all. There was no change to the 2007 compilation. Against all expectations, no additional Spanish restaurant was rated highly enough to rise to the top accolade of three stars.

These are the current two Michelin star restaurants in Spain: ‘Tristán’, in Portals Nous (Mallorca, Baleares); ‘Atrio’, in Cáceres; ‘El Poblet’, in Dènia; ‘Mugaritz’, in Rentería; ‘El Celler de Can Roca’, in Girona; ‘La Broche’ and ‘Santceloni’, in Madrid; ‘Zuberoa’, in Oiartzun, and ‘La Alquería de Hacienda Benazuza’, in Sanlúcar la Mayor (Sevilla), as well as now, for the first time, ‘Abac’, in Barcelona.

There are fifteen new one star eateries in Spain, according to the Michelin opinion, bringing the total of one star rated restaurants in Spain to a stunning 119. Ten previous one star bearers have lost their star rating.

The new one star rated restaurants are ‘Comerç 24’ and ‘Lluçanés’, in Barcelona; ‘Yayo Daporta’, in Cambados (Pontevedra); ‘Kokotxa’ and ‘Kursaal’, in San Sebastián; ‘Arrop’, in Gandía; ‘Massana’, in Girona; ‘Azurmendi’, in Larrabetzu (Vizcaya); ‘El Club Allard’, in Madrid; ‘Calima’, in Marbella; ‘Els Casals’, in Sagás (Barcelona); ‘Retiro da Costiña’, in Santa Comba (La Coruña); ‘Villena’, in Segovia; ‘El Molino de Urdaitz’, in Urdaitz (Navarra), and ‘Ramiro’s’, in Valladolid.

The following restaurants lost their single star, ‘La Posada de la Casa del Abad’, in Ampudia; ‘Aldebarán’, in Badajoz; ‘Jean Luc Figueras’, in Barcelona; ‘Gallery Paladares’, in Gijón; ‘Carballeira’, in Lleida; ‘Casa d’a Troya’, in Madrid; ‘Mesana’, in Marbella, ‘Chez Víctor’, in Salamanca, ‘Lluçanès’, in Prats de Lluçanès, and ‘Koldo Royo’, in Palma de Mallorca, where I live. Oh, well. It has to be Marc Fosh then, at Read’s, in Santa Maria, I suppose. About him, some other time, soon.



Funnily enough, Tokyo was rated with a surprising total of 191 Michelin stars, a record, given that Parisian restaurants were only awarded a total of 94 stars (New York has a total of 54 Michelin stars, just for the record). Japan is a new departure for le Guide Michelin but, no doubt, food lovers will flock there soon to try out the culinary delights, of eastern as well as western inclination, of the great gastronomic treats of Japan. Some connoisseurs consider some restaurant food in Tokyo as amongst the best cuisine in the world.


Others, of course, take objection to a European venture daring to consider themselves capable of judging traditional Japanese cooking.  


According to Restaurant Magazine (not related to le Guide Michelin), Spain has four establishments in the top eleven restaurants in the world, with the unique ‘El Bulli’, in Roses (Girona) being rated the world’s best restaurant for two years running. I have not eaten there myself, as yet, I must admit, but I do give the highest of my own ratings to Ferran Adrià’s lavishly edited El Bulli books. Always a sensual delight. Mouthwatering, again and again. 




Some volumes are available in English language editions for your convenience (as well as in Spanish, German, French and Catalán).