France.- Although the transoceanic relationships of Basque fishermen since the 16th century in Newfoundland and Labrador, in what is now Canada, are widely documented, their presence has just been discovered on the continent of America at least “one hundred years before the navigations of Christopher Columbus”.
The discovery of this temporality occurred thanks to the acquisition of a book by the Mintzoa Navarre publishing house in France, which is the work of the jurist Étienne Cleirac, known for being the author of the first naval dictionary in history.
It is common knowledge that Basque whalers had a presence in Newfoundland and Labrador in the 16th century, they are even accredited for the diffusion of certain naval techniques, however the work in question, seen from the perspective of the fishermen explains its presence in America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
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The work is called Us et Coutumes de la Mer, it is the work of the jurist Étienne Cleirac and in the 17th century it was a well-known naval treaty, such is the case that its first edition dates from the year 1647.
“This is one of the six copies that exist in the world of the first edition of the book. We have acquired it in Paris, from a retired antique dealer. The interest for the Basques is in the section dedicated to whale fishing, where there are multiple references to the Basques and the role they played in the whaling and shipping” mentioned the publishing house that made the purchase of the work.
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This book is a historical reference to the arrival of the Basque whalers in America, “there has been much speculation about when this navigation through the Atlantic Ocean to America began. In this case, the importance lies in the fact that they place it 100 years before the arrival of Columbus and they do so in an entire international navigation treaty, not in a book about the Basques. In addition, we see that whoever collects it is not a madman, the author of the treaty is an eminence, the author of the first naval dictionary in history”.
The jurist Étienne Cleirac wrote in his work that “a Basque warned Christopher Columbus of the West Indies, giving him the address”This had been suspected among scholars, however finally having the book confirmed what happened in the 16th century.
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